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Article

Andrea Nulli

(b Robbiate, Como, Oct 17, 1905; d Milan, Nov 1, 1977).

Italian architect, urban planner and furniture designer. After graduating from the Polytechnic of Milan (1929), he set up individual practice in Milan. One of the group of Rationalist architects who formed around the magazine Casabella, his work in the 1930s ranged from workers’ housing in Milan (1936, 1938; with Renato Camus and Giancarlo Palanti) to an ideal flat and furniture, exhibited at the Triennale in Milan in 1936. Immediately after World War II a series of masterplanning projects included schemes for the City of Milan (1946; with BBPR, Piero Bottoni, Luigi Figini and Gino Pollini) and for Reggio Emilia (1947–8; with Giancarlo De Carlo). Albini’s post-war architecture has a Rationalist clarity combined with sensitivity to context, tradition and history. Expressed first in the Rifugio Pirovano (1949–51) at Cervinia, Aosta, it was the office building for the Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni (INA; 1950), Parma, with its simply stated concrete frame that set the pattern developed later in La Rinascente department store (...

Article

Alessandra Frabetti

[l’Argenta]

(b Argenta, nr Ferrara, 1546; d Ferrara, Dec 9, 1636).

Italian architect, engineer and designer. He was the son of Vincenzo Aleotti (not Francesco Aleotti, as is sometimes erroneously stated), from whom Giovanni Battista claimed he ‘learnt the art … as much as from all the other teachers I had’ (letter, 1583; see Coffin, p. 121). In 1575 he succeeded Galasso Alghisi as architect to Alfonso II d’Este (ii), Duke of Ferrara and Modena, who nicknamed him l’Argenta after the town of his birth. When, on the death of the Duke, the Este duchy devolved to the Papal States (1598), Aleotti was confirmed as official architect, with a stipend of 20 scudi per month. His activity extended to various parts of the Po plain, embracing different architectural genres and including some important urban projects.

Among Aleotti’s religious buildings were several churches in Ferrara, including S Barbara (1586–8), S Maria della Rotonda at Castel Tedaldo (1597...

Article

John F. Pile

(b Resistencia, June 1943).

American architect, industrial designer and museum curator of Argentine birth. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree in architecture from Princeton University, NJ, and then taught at Princeton, at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh and at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, Germany. From 1969 to 1976 he was Curator of Design for the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. In 1972 he produced the exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape and a related book for MOMA. The exhibition offered historical background and a presentation of contemporary Italian avant-garde work and theory. His architectural works include the Lucille Halsell Conservatory at San Antonio, TX (1987); Banque Bruxelles Lambert offices in Milan (1981), Lausanne (1983) and New York (1984); and offices for the Financial Guaranty Insurance Company in New York (1986), for which he won the International Interior Design Award. An innovative designer, Ambasz sought to reinterpret the poetic aspects of Modernism and the relationship between architecture and the landscape. As an industrial designer, he developed furniture, lighting, a diesel engine, and packaging and graphic designs. His work has won many honours and awards....

Article

AUA  

Christian Devillers

[Atelier d’Urbanisme et d’Architecture]

French multi-disciplinary architectural cooperative founded in Paris in 1960. Initial members, among whom were urban planners, architects, engineers and designers, included Jacques Allegret (b 1930), Jacques Berce (b 1929), Valentin Fabre (b 1927), Georges Loiseau (b 1928), Jean Perrottet (b 1925), Michel Steinebach (b 1928), Jean Tribel (b 1929), Paul Chemetov, Jean Deroche (b 1931), Annie Tribel (b 1933), Jacques Kalisz (b 1928), Michel Corajoud (b 1937), Jean-François Parent (b 1930), Henri Ciriani, Borja Huidobro (b 1936), Maria Deroche (b 1938) and Christian Devillers (b 1946). A total of about 200 architects and technicians collaborated at AUA between 1960 and 1986, when it was dissolved.

AUA was created in response to the situation prevailing in the building industry in France at the end of the 1950s, when much was being built, but badly, and when urban planning was little developed. It was thus considered necessary to bring together the different skills required for the proper planning of space, from the social sciences and urban planning to landscape and industrial design, and to enable architects and engineers to work together. This multi-disciplinary approach countered the corporatism of the architectural profession; members of AUA were also left-wing political activists and intellectuals, publishing the review ...

Article

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

After the closure in 1933 of the Bauhaus in Berlin, its staff and students dispersed. Many found their way to the USA, where they became highly influential teachers as well as artists and architects. The pedagogical methods developed at the school, particularly in the preliminary course, became commonplace in all levels of art education, as the former centrality in America of life drawing to instruction in the visual arts was now challenged by experimentation with abstract principles of composition and the qualities of individual materials.

Josef and Anni Albers family were the first Bauhäusler to immigrate to the USA. They arrived in 1933 and quickly took up positions at Black Mountain College, NC. In 1950 Josef became chair of the department of design at Yale University, New Haven, CT, from which he retired in 1958. His increasingly rigorous investigations into geometry and colour culminated in a series of paintings entitled ...

Article

Monica Bohm-Duchen

(b Haag, Austria, April 5, 1900; d Santa Barbara, CA, Sept 30, 1985).

American painter, designer, photographer and typographer, of Austrian birth. After serving in the Austrian army (1917–18), Bayer studied architecture under Professor Schmidthammer in Linz in 1919 and in 1920 worked with the architect Emanuel Margold in Darmstadt. From 1921 to 1923 he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying mural painting (with Vasily Kandinsky) and typography; it was at this time that he created the Universal alphabet, consisting only of lowercase letters. In 1925 he returned to the Bauhaus, then in Dessau, as a teacher of advertising, layout and typography, remaining there until 1928. For the next ten years he was based in Berlin as a commercial artist: he worked as art manager of Vogue (1929–30) and as director of the Dorland advertising agency. Shortly after his first one-man exhibitions at the Galerie Povolotski, Paris, and at the Kunstlerbund März, Linz (both 1929), he created photomontages of a Surrealist nature, such as ...

Article

Iain Boyd Whyte

(b Hamburg, April 14, 1868; d Berlin, Feb 27, 1940).

German architect, designer and painter. Progressing from painting and graphics to product design and architecture, Behrens achieved his greatest successes with his work for the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), in which he reconciled the Prussian Classicist tradition with the demands of industrial fabrication.

After attending the Realgymnasium in Altona, he began his painting studies in 1886 at the Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe. From there he moved to Düsseldorf, where he studied with Ferdinand Brütt. In December 1889 Behrens married Lilli Krämer, and the following year the couple moved to Munich, where he continued his studies with Hugo Kotschenreiter (1854–1908). Behrens was one of the founder-members of the Munich Secession (see Secession, §1) in 1893 and, shortly afterwards, a founder of the more progressive Freie Vereinigung Münchener Künstler, with Otto Eckmann, Max Slevogt, Wilhelm Trübner and Lovis Corinth. He also joined the circle associated with the magazine Pan, which included Otto Julius Bierbaum, Julius Meier-Graefe, Franz Blei, Richard Dehmel and Otto Eckmann....

Article

(b London, Oct 17, 1854; d Manorbier, Dyfed, July 5, 1924).

English designer. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford, and in 1877 he was articled to the architect Basil Champneys. Encouraged by William Morris, in 1880 Benson set up his own workshop in Hammersmith specializing in metalwork. Two years later he established a foundry at Chiswick, a showroom in Kensington and a new factory at Hammersmith (all in London), equipped with machinery to mass-produce a wide range of forms, such as kettles, vases, tables, dishes and firescreens. Benson’s elegant and spare designs were admired for their modernity and minimal use of ornament. He is best known for his lamps and lighting fixtures, mostly in copper and bronze, which are fitted with flat reflective surfaces (e.g. c. 1890; London, V&A). These items were displayed in S. Bing’s Maison de l’Art Nouveau, Paris, and were used in the Morris & Co. interiors at Wightwick Manor, W. Midlands (NT), and Standen, East Grinstead, W. Sussex. Many of Benson’s designs were patented, including those for jacketed vessels, which keep hot or cold liquids at a constant temperature, and for a ‘Colander’ teapot with a button mechanism for raising the tea leaves after the tea has infused. Benson sold his designs, labelled ‘Art Metal’, through his showroom on Bond Street, which opened in ...

Article

Paulo J. V. Bruna

revised by Cynthia Neri Lewis

(Wladimir)

(b Rio de Janeiro, Apr 9, 1919; d Rio de Janeiro, Jun 15, 2002).

Brazilian architect and industrial designer. He graduated as an architect in 1948 at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where he subsequently taught architectural composition. He went into private practice in Rio de Janeiro in 1948, and his early residential work was in the elegant, rationalist style of Modernism then dominant in Rio. Examples include the M. G. Brandi house (1952), near Petrópolis, where a stone wall resolves the uneven terrain and the angular volume of the main building, and the L. de Macedo Soares house (1953), Rio, in which very light bare steel structures rest on tubular pillars, reflecting his growing interest in structural techniques. This treatment was used in a series of non-residential works, such as the administrative headquarters and workshops (1956) of the CCBE Company in São Paulo and several exhibition pavilions, including the prize-winning Brazilian Pavilion at the Exposition Universelle (...

Article

Rosamond Allwood

(fl London, 1865–82).

English furniture designer and manufacturer. He may have been trained by the Gothic Revival architect and furniture designer J. P. Seddon, whose work certainly influenced his first published design, a davenport in a geometric Reformed Gothic style, in the Building News of 1865. That year he also advertised a ‘New Registered Reclining Chair’, made by Marsh & Jones of Leeds, whose London showrooms were near his own premises off Cavendish Square. In 1865 Marsh & Jones supplied the Yorkshire mill-owner Sir Titus Salt with a large group of furniture, including a bedroom suite, and in 1867 with the case of an Erard grand piano (all Leeds, Temple Newsam House) designed by Bevan; described at the time as ‘medieval’, the pieces are decorated with geometric marquetry ornament. Bevan designed a bookcase for the Manchester firm James Lamb, which was shown in the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1867, and by the following year was also designing for ...

Article

Hans Frei

(b Winterthur, Dec 22, 1908; d Zurich, Dec 9, 1994).

Swiss architect, sculptor, painter, industrial designer, graphic designer and writer. He attended silversmithing classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich from 1924 to 1927. Then, inspired by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925), Paris, by the works of Le Corbusier and by a competition entry (1927) for the Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer (1894–1952), he decided to become an architect and enrolled in the Bauhaus, Dessau, in 1927. He studied there for two years as a pupil of Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky, mainly in the field of ‘free art’. In 1929 he returned to Zurich. After working on graphic designs for the few modern buildings being constructed, he built his first work, his own house and studio (1932–3) in Zurich-Höngg; although this adheres to the principles of the new architecture, it retains echoes of the traditional, for example in the gently sloping saddle roof....

Article

Christian Norberg-Schulz

Norwegian architectural and furniture design partnership formed in 1922 by Gudolf Blakstad (b Gjerpen, 19 May 1893; d Oslo, 1986) and Herman Munthe-Kaas (b Christiania [now Oslo], 25 May 1890; d Oslo, 5 March 1970). Blakstad was awarded his diploma as an architect at the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim in 1916. He collaborated with Jens Dunker on the New Theatre, Oslo, from 1919 to 1929. After a preliminary training in Christiania, Munthe-Kaas finished his education at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in 1919.

From the beginning of their careers Blakstad and Munthe-Kaas played a leading role in Norwegian architecture. After studying in Italy in the early 1920s, they advocated Neo-classicism in architectural projects, furniture designs and writings. In 1922 they won the competition for the new Town Hall in Haugesund (1924–31), a major work of 20th-century Norwegian Neo-classicism. Above a powerfully rusticated basement, the long office wing with its regular fenestration contrasts with the higher City Council Hall, accentuated by pairs of monumental, free-standing columns. In general the effect is of robust strength and an exciting interplay of horizontals and verticals....

Article

Paul Huvenne

[Lancelot]

(b ?Poperinghe, 1488; d Bruges, bur March 4, 1581).

South Netherlandish painter, draughtsman, designer, architect, civil engineer, cartographer and engraver. He is said to have trained as a bricklayer, and the trowel he used to add as his housemark next to his monogram lab testifies to this and to his pretensions as an architectural designer. In 1519 he was registered as a master painter in the Bruges Guild of St Luke, where he chose as his speciality painting on canvas. The following year he collaborated with the little-known painter Willem Cornu in designing and executing 12 scenes for the Triumphal Entry of Emperor Charles V into Bruges. From then onwards Blondeel received regular commissions, mainly as a designer and organizer. Records of legal actions show that he was sometimes late with commissions; he took seven years to execute a Last Judgement ordered in 1540 for the council chamber at Blankenberge, and in 1545 the Guild of St Luke summoned him for his failure to supply their guild banner on time. Blondeel was married to Kathelyne, sister of the wood-carver ...

Article

Margot Gayle and Carol Gayle

(b Catskill, NY, March 14, 1800; d New York, April 13, 1874).

American inventor, engineer, designer and manufacturer. He trained as a watchmaker’s apprentice in Catskill, NY, worked as an engraver in Savannah, GA and again in Catskill. About 1830 he moved to New York City to promote his inventions. He secured many patents for various devices, including clocks, an eversharp pencil, a dry gas meter and a meter for measuring fluids. His most remunerative invention was a widely useful grinding mill (first patented 1832), which provided steady income throughout his life. During years spent in England (1836–40) he was granted an English patent for a postage device and won £100 in a competition with his proposal for a pre-paid postal system. He also observed the extensive use of iron in the construction of British factories, bridges and large buildings. After a trip to Italy, he conceived the idea of erecting prefabricated multi-storey structures with cast-iron exterior walls that reproduced Classical and Renaissance architectural styles. Returning to New York in ...

Article

Anna Rowland

(Lajos)

(b Pécs, May 21, 1902; d New York, July 1, 1981).

American furniture designer and architect of Hungarian birth. In 1920 he took up a scholarship at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, but he left almost immediately to find a job in an architect’s office. A few weeks later he enrolled at the Bauhaus at Weimar on the recommendation of the Hungarian architect Fred Forbat (1897–1972). Breuer soon became an outstanding student in the carpentry workshop, which he led in its endeavours to find radically innovative forms for modern furniture. In practice, this meant rejecting traditional forms, which were considered symbolic of bourgeois life. The results of these experiments were initially as idiosyncratic as those of other workshops at Weimar, including the adoption of non-Western forms, for example the African chair (1921; see Rowland, 1990, p. 66) and an aggressively castellated style inspired by Constructivism.

Breuer was impressed by De Stijl, whose founder Theo van Doesburg made his presence felt in Weimar in ...

Article

Monique D. J. M. Teunissen

(b Amsterdam, July 12, 1893; d Amsterdam, May 11, 1949).

Dutch interior designer, furniture designer and writer. He was the son of a furniture dealer and was involved with the profession from an early age. He took lessons with the architect J. L. van Ishoven (1870–1931) and gained work experience in Germany. After operating independently for a few years he became the leading designer of the Amsterdam firm Metz & Co. His work displayed a rational concept of form and became well known through exhibitions and publications. At the firm of Hendrik Pander & Zonen in The Hague, where he was employed from 1924 to 1933, he specialized in using different types of wood that gave his taut, functional, batch-produced furniture a distinctive decorative character. On account of their plastic shapes his designs were considered to be related to those of the Amsterdam school architects. For Bromberg functionalism in interiors was a vital starting-point. He created various model rooms and homes in order to illustrate new ideas about the arrangement of domestic interiors. He also taught and wrote manuals, children’s books and many articles in periodicals and trade journals promoting contemporary applied art. He was particularly active within the Dutch Association of Trade and Industrial Art and the ...

Article

(b Edinburgh, 1749; d Leith, Sept 5, 1787).

Scottish draughtsman and printmaker. He was the son of a goldsmith and watchmaker, and studied at the Trustees’ Academy, Edinburgh, before moving to Rome in 1769 to join his friend Alexander Runciman. He produced small-scale or miniature works, using pencil, pen and wash. For his Scottish employers, William Townley and Sir William Young, he drew antiquities, landscapes and archaeological ruins in Italy and Sicily, such as the Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius (c. 1774–6; Edinburgh, N.G.). Among the more personal works that survive from his 11 years in Italy are a number of strange little genre scenes, such as Two Men in Conversation (c. 1775–80; U. London, Courtauld Inst. Gals), which clearly show the influence of another friend, Henry Fuseli. Brown’s reputation rests principally on his great skill as a portrait draughtsman. He returned to Scotland in 1780, and spent his later years executing fine pencil and pen portraits of various dignitaries, such as ...

Article

Alice Dugdale

[Bernardo delle Girandole]

(b Florence, c. 1531; d Florence, June 6, 1608).

Italian architect, engineer, designer, painter and inventor. He was one of the great Renaissance polymaths and was not only admired but also liked by his contemporaries. A friend of princes, he spent most of his life at the Tuscan court, but his influence stretched throughout Europe.

After his parents were drowned, he was brought up at the court of Cosimo I de’ Medici. As an apprentice he trained first with Francesco Salviati, then with Agnolo Bronzino, Vasari family, §1 and finally Don Giulio Clovio. His education must have been broadly based, as he was appointed tutor at the age of 15 to the future Francesco I de’ Medici, to whom he taught not only drawing, colouring and perspective but also architecture and engineering. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship, in which they shared a passionate interest in the natural sciences.

Buontalenti’s earliest known work was a wooden crucifix (destr.) for the church of S Maria degli Angeli, Florence. On ...

Article

Blanca Serrano Ortiz de Solórzano

Cuban artist collective founded in 1992 in Havana. Their work examines the concurrent semiotics of bricolage and their relationship to contemporary art, design, and architecture. The collective is composed of Marco Antonio Castillo Valdés (b 1971) and Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez (b 1969); Alexandre Jesús Arrechea Zambrano (b 1970) was part of the collective until 2003. The artists graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), Havana, the Cuban national graduate school of arts, in 1994. At ISA they studied painting with Flavio Garciandía (b 1954), and participated in the art students group Desde Una Pragmática Pedagógica (From a Pragmatic Pedagogy) created by René Francisco Rodríguez (b 1960), which explored different avenues for the merging of art and life, and allowed the artists to take carpentry classes. The artists’ collective was given its name by their colleagues because of their engagement with manual trades and repurposing of objects....

Article

Andrea Nulli

Italian family of designers and architects. Livio Castiglioni (b Milan, 16 Jan 1911; d Milan, 30 April 1971) and his brother Pier Giacomo Castiglioni (b Milan, 22 April 1913; d Milan, 27 Nov 1968) graduated in architecture from the Politecnico, Milan, in 1936 and 1937 respectively and began to work as industrial designers. Their Phonola radio-set (1938) of bakelite, designed in collaboration with the architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni, was exhibited at the VII Triennale in Milan (1940) and came to be considered the first significant example of Italian product design integrating technical, functional and figurative aspects. After World War II Achille Castiglioni (b Milan, 16 Feb 1918), who graduated in architecture from the Politecnico, Milan, in 1944, joined the studio, and after 1952, when Livio Castiglioni began independent work on lighting design, Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni maintained a partnership until the latter’s death. Although they produced architectural projects until ...