Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Literary Movement

Lately, I’ve been inspired by literature, both literally and philosophically.  Normally, I am inspired by the message of the written word, but these days, at least in a “design” sense, I am inspired by the actual books themselves.  Now don’t get me wrong—I love to read!  In fact, I just posted a list of the 20 books I read last year (though somehow, it felt like much more). 

I have always loved books, ever since I was a little girl.  I value not only the messages within, but the aesthetics without.  These days, with so much new technology (like the Kindle and the iPad) and with a world that is more conscientious about the use of paper, I fear the hard- and soft-bound paper pages may one day come to an end.  What I would love to see, rather than old books being tossed into landfills as they are replaced with eReaders, is books used as bricks with mortar.  And I’ve seen this done for fun in both residential and commercial spaces.  (Literati Café in Los Angeles is a good example.  Some creative contractor there closed up a doorway using concrete and old hardback books, hence the name “Literati.”)  And while books may not be as sturdy as bricks, for me, they lend a solid psychological feeling to a space because books are, in essence, the bricks and mortar of my soul.  I am who I am largely because of the literature I have absorbed throughout my life.  The words I have read serve to shape, transform, reinforce, challenge, and ultimately, create my worldview.

I remember reading somewhere that, in her later years, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ house was filled with books—they were stacked everywhere in piles, elegantly gracing her home like old friends.  Which brings me back to something I learned from my high school English teacher:  When writing or speaking about books, always use the present tense, because “literature lives on!”  And just as good literature withstands the test of time, so do the aesthetics of our favorite folios.  We bring these beloved, bound treasures into our homes to remind us of the past, inspire us in the present, and open our minds to the possibilities of the future. 

Well, enough monologue from me.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps these photos will inspire you as much as they have inspired me. 
d’espresso, New York by nemaworkshop
A Modern Kitchen from The Contemporist
A bookstore by CUBE Architects
Sky Ranch by Miller Hull Partnership
A residence by Omer Arbel

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