Published by Metropolis Books/Gordon de Vries Studio. Foreword by Alastair Gordon. Text by Christopher Bascom Rawlins.
As the 1960s became The Sixties, architect Horace Gifford executed a remarkable series of beach houses that transformed the terrain and culture of New York’s Fire Island. Growing up on the beaches of Florida, Gifford forged a deep connection with coastal landscapes. Pairing this sensitivity with jazzy improvisations on modernist themes, he perfected a sustainable modernism in cedar and glass that was as attuned to natural landscapes as to our animal natures. Gifford’s serene 1960s pavilions provided refuge from a hostile world, while his exuberant post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS masterpieces orchestrated bacchanals of liberation. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift once spurned Hollywood limos for the rustic charm of Fire Island’s boardwalks. Truman Capote wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s here. Diane von Furstenburg showed off her latest wrap dresses to an audience that included Halston, Giorgio Sant’ Angelo, Calvin Klein and Geoffrey Beene. Today, such a roster evokes the aloof, gated compounds of the Hamptons or Malibu. But these celebrities lived in modestly scaled homes alongside middle-class vacationers, all with equal access to Fire Island’s natural beauty. Blending cultural and architectural history, Fire Island Modernist ponders a fascinating era through an overlooked architect whose life, work and colorful milieu trace the operatic arc of a lost generation, and still resonate with artistic and historical import.
Published by Gregory R. Miller & Co./The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Introduction by Evan Snyderman. Text by Alastair Gordon.
American studio furniture icon Wendell Castle is one of the most important, influential and celebrated designers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. For more than 50 years, he has consistently pioneered new territory in design and beyond. His visionary constructions and distinctive stacked-laminate woodworking process cross the boundaries between sculpture, design and craft. Published on the occasion of Castle’s retrospective exhibition at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, this publication is the first in 20 years devoted to the designer’s work. The book focuses on Castle’s exceptional early works in wood and fiberglass, which transformed the way we look at furniture and its making. These highly original works have influenced generations of furniture makers, designers, artists, sculptors, collectors and design enthusiasts. Renowned writer Alastair Gordon lucidly tells the exciting story of Castle’s impact and innovations through the defining works of his career. The text is accompanied by hundreds of drawings, press clippings and never-before-seen images of Castle, his workspace and process. Beautifully designed by the award-winning Pandiscio Co. and incorporating materials from Castle’s personal archives, this book is certain to be the definitive study of one of the most significant furniture designers working in the world today and one of America’s true cultural treasures.
Published by Damiani/Gordon De Vries Studio. Text by Alastair Gordon.
The branch of a sycamore grows through the opening of a wall in a Manhattan studio. A pool-house on Long Island becomes a sod-roofed teahouse. An eighteenth-century farmhouse in Pennsylvania expands to echo the path of a meandering stream. Such are the inventive and inspired designs of Phillip Smith and Douglas Thompson, whose work stands out as an oasis of calm in an age of hyperspeed and information smog. Since they met in 1966, Smith and Thompson have sought out a “softer” alternative to the legacy of “heroic modernism,” a quest for spatial quietude guided more by instinct and gradual accretion than enforced concept and ideology. Taking Bernard Rudofsky’s emphasis on forgotten vernacular buildings and “architecture without architects” as the underlying theme in their work, Smith and Thompson’s sources of inspiration have varied widely over the years, from early European modernism to the barns and fishermen’s cottages of Nantucket, to the monasteries of Tibet, the hill towns of Italy and the stilted kampongs of Malaysia. Qualities of Duration is the first book to chronicle their firm’s complete body of work, detailing its numerous residential, commercial, corporate and institutional projects through 350 illustrations and a text by architectural historian Alastair Gordon.