The predominant opinion is that to be good at something you need to solely focus on one thing and invest all your time into it. This is probably true, but as always there are exceptions to the rule. A highly interesting example therefore is the Greek multi-talent Iannis Xenakis, who combined music and architecture, especially the mathematics of architecture, but it took him a while to figure that out.
He was born in Romania in 1922 to Greek parents. His parents were both interested in music, especially his mother, but here sudden and early death traumatized the young boy. After going to a boarding school, he started to study engineering at Athens Polytechnic, but this was abruptly interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. Being part of the resistance, he was hit by a shrapnel in his face in December 1944 that nearly killed him and caused the loss of sight in his right eye.
Despite all the turmoil he was able to graduate in 1947, but as politically the grip in Greece tightened he was wanted for being part in the resistance and fled the country. He was even sentenced to death in his absence. His initial goal were the United States of America, but he settled in Paris. There he started working for Le Corbusier and had initially to do simple tasks. But Le Corbusier saw his talent and dedication and gave him more and more architecture work. Most famously they worked together on monastery of Sainte Marie de La Tourette, and the Philipps Pavillon for the world expo in Brussels in 1958.
Philips Pavilion at the Expo' 58
Next to all his work in architecture, he was trying to study music, often at the expense of his sleep and was looking for guidance from various scholars. Nadia Boulanger and Arthur Honegger rejected him and also Olivier Messiaen, but he put it this way: "I understood straight away that he was not someone like the others. [...] He is of superior intelligence. [...] I did something horrible which I should do with no other student, for I think one should study harmony and counterpoint. But this was a man so much out of the ordinary that I said... No, you are almost thirty, you have the good fortune of being Greek, of being an architect and having studied special mathematics. Take advantage of these things. Do them in your music."
Messiaen pointed out to him what was already there and he started to apply this at the same time he was working on the Philips Pavillon, which led to his first mature work entitled Metastaseis (1953-54). His work was not at all accepted right away, as it is marked by an intensity, raw power that is not always easy to listen to, but over the years his reputation and the respect for his compositions grew and his focus shifted more and more to music.
Next to combining architecture and music, he also was precursor in the field of using computerized composition, where he developed his own program called UPIC. He was also theoretical writer and taught at various universities around the world. He died in 2001 at the age of 79 survived by his wife Françoise and his daughter Mâkhi.
Trends can be seen in each artistic field, so also in interior photography. The last few years saw the rise of perfect, clean, a little bit stiff but still cozy homes, which magazines like Kinfolk together social media and bloggers pushed. But then there are interior photographers, who have been here a little bit longer and their focus is slightly different like François Halard or the Italian photographer Oberto Gili.
Giorgio Armani's Home, designed by Peter Marino, 1980
The later was born in Turin in 1946 and spent most of his childhood between his birthplace and the summer at his grandfather's farmhouse in Bra. His interest in photography was sparked early on as he had a little camera since his childhood. He went on to study physics in his hometown but after seeing Michaelangelo Antionio's film Blow Up he wanted to become a photographer.
Mario Scheinchenbauer's Home in Milan, Undeground Interiors, 1972
In the early 1970s he quit his studies went to London to work as Michael Joseph's assistant photographer, who worked mainly in advertising. After a year he left and settled in Milan to work for the publishing company L'Esperto. There he started working on a book with the project title Crazy, Mad, Outrageous Interiors for which he traveled the world. After everything was photographed L'Esperto cancelled the project. As Norma Skurka, the New York Times Interior editor at that time, saw the pictures, he liked them and released them together with Gili as Underground Interiors in 1972.
In the early 1980s Oberto Gili moved to the United States of America to New York where he started working for House & Garden and New York Magazine. After making a name for himself, he collaborated with Condè Nast and Harpers magazines in the USA and around the world. In recent years he has returned to live in Italy, in San Michele di Bra and shares his time between his native Italy and New York with his partner Joy Sohn, also a photographer.
Photo: © Oberto Gili, courtesy of Rizzoli
What makes him stand out is his preference to a lived-in aesthetic. To Oberto Gili people who hire professional decorator's are suspicious as very often, according to him, these homes then lack soul. This is also visible in his approach to taking pictures as he mainly works with natural light and tries not to use any artificial lights. Next to his first book he also released books like Home Sweet Home: Sumptuous and Bohemian Interiors, co-authored with Susanna Salk, in 2011 or Domus: A Journey Into Italy’s Most Creative Interiors in 2016, both published by Rizzoli, to great critical acclaim.
Design, especially midcentury, has been closely associated with the Scandinavian countries and one then tends to oversee the beauty in one's own homecountry, like the proverb "a prophet is not without honour, but in his own country". But Austria has a rich Design history, which does not need to hide at all. One of the more famous names related to this heritage is Carl Auböck, but it is not a single person that stands behind this name.
Photography Courtesy of Piasa Paris
The family was already working in the bronze and metal industry in 19th century, but the company Auböck Werkstätte was founded by Karl Heinrich Auböck in 1912 as a metal-workshop. It was mainly known for his Wiener Bronzen, small, bronze figurines, which were collectibles and highly popular in Austria in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century.
Carl Auböck II, Umkehrlampe, 1950
Carl Auböck, Amboss Besteck 2060, 1955
Carl Auböck III studied architecture at Vienna University of Technology and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His stint in the United States of America highly influenced his approach to design, as he wanted to bring some of its coolness to Europe. He worked with his father and together they won four gold medals at the Triennale in Milan. This led to an international interest and also the company produced for Hermés and Pierre Cardin. Carl Auböck III also designed for other companies like Amboss or Tyrolia.
Photography by Cristobal Zanartu
Cultural appropriation has been heavily discussed in recent years, as so often artists blatantly steal from other cultures without respecting its origins. That it can be done respectfully and still create something unique is proven by the American artist Sheila Hicks. Known for her textile art, she sees textile as "a universal language. In all of the cultures of the world, textile is a crucial and essential component" and therefore lets different techniques from all around the globe inspire and influence her work.
Born in 1934 in Hastings, Nebraska, she moved around a lot as a child, as her father after the Great Depression was looking for work. After living in Detroit and Chicago, she studied painting at Yale School of Art. There she was taught by Josef Albers, whose teaching about color highly influenced her. But also his wife the artist Anni Albers together opened her eyes for textile art.
I Wish I Were a Wave, 2019-20 Courtesy by Demisch Danant
This fascination was deepened by Raoul d’Harcourt's book Les textiles anciens du Pérou et leurs techniques on ancient Peruvian textile techniques. From 1957 to 1958, a Fulbright scholarship enabled her to travel to Chile, Bolivia and Peru, where she first-handedly experienced archeological sights but also local textile techniques.
After graduating, she lived from 1959 to 1964 in Mexico, where she taught at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. This job she got through the architect Mathias Goeritz, who also introduced her to Luis Barragán. Generally her work is highly influenced by architects as she always considers space and prefers their way of working.
Saffron Sentinel, 2017. Courtesy of Magasin III Jaffa. Photography by Noam Preisman
She moved to Paris in 1964, where she still lives. Through the aforementioned influences and her continuous traveling, she examines in her art the relationship between color, space and material. Her work spans now over seven decades and is shown in museums and shows worldwide like the Venice Biennale in 2017, Whitney Biennial in New York in 2014 or São Paulo Biennial in 2012.
Christmas time at GRUNDTNER & SöHNE means especially one thing and it is probably quite needed after this year, it is time for our annual Christmas Calendar. Through this calendar we offer you a short excursion into the fields of art, music, design, architecture and more to brighten up your day. Additionally we present you 4 exclusive specials.
We hope to bring you some joy during Advent 2020!
Gitman Vintage asked us to participate in their Stockist Style series. As Austria is at the moment in its second lockdown, all retail is closed and only workshops are open.
Luckily our landlord is a bibliopegist, our parent’s have a bicycle store and one of our devoted Gitman customers is a confectioner.
We took the chance and photographed them at their respective workshops in action wearing Gitman Vintage.
Spring and summer are not the only seasons with formal events, they are common in fall and winter as well, but of course demand for something different.
A beautiful option for such occassions is the suit by Danish brand Sunflower. The Jet Blazer is a regular fitting, slightly longer 3-Button jacket, made from a warm wool blend. In the same material Sunflower fabricated the Soft Trousers. It is a relaxed, but still elegant pair of trousers with belt loops, a zip fly and two buttoned back pockets.
Seen often a little bit preppy, but very practical during the change of seasons, but also as an additional layer is a warm vest. For us, A Kind Of Guise delivers an impeccable option for that.
Their Kilkee Vest is made from 100% recycled post-consumer padding and outer material. Of course it is handmade in Germany and features two front patch pockets with additional opening on the side and an internal pocket.
The latter one produced its classic crew neck sweater Sigfred in a beautiful green shade made in Italy from finest Lambswool. Séfr is represented with its Jay Sweater. A mockneck sweater made from a ribbed Merino blend in black.
And finally S.N.S. Herning's oldest knit, the Fisherman in a crew neck version. Made from durable Virgin wool, the sweater features a slightly wider crew neck, long sleeves and of course its typical bubble knit.
As the temperatures suddenly dropped and fall arrived rapidly, it is time to think about warmer pieces for the following months. A beautiful choice therefore is Libertine-Libertine's winter version of their classic World Coat.
It is a regular cut, slightly longer Mac coat, but suiting for the colder months made from a luxurios wool blend. Next to its beautiful patterns, the coat features slant pockets and smooth black lining.