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Servranckx, Victor  

Roger Avermaete

(b Diegem, nr Brussels, June 26, 1897; d Vilvoorde, nr Brussels, Dec 12, 1965).

Belgian painter, sculptor, designer and writer. He studied from 1913 to 1917 at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, winning a number of prizes for academic paintings while simultaneously exploring abstract art, of which he was one of the first practitioners in Belgium. He was encouraged in this direction by his work in a wallpaper factory, where he became fascinated by the interplay of coloured dyes in the vats; he continued working there for many years, contributing to the development of wallpaper designs. He also became involved with domestic interior decoration and took an interest in the different branches of the applied arts.

Servranckx was a vigorous champion of abstract art as a writer and teacher and in his own work, and he staunchly defended it as a rigorous and disciplined idiom against those who conceived of it in purely decorative terms. Seeking through abstraction to transcend the mere imitation of appearances, as an act of bravado he occasionally painted in a representational style in order to display his skill as a conventional painter; such is the case with ...

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Sottsass, Ettore, jr  

(b Innsbruck, 1917; d Milan, Dec 31, 2007).

Austrian architect and designer, active in Italy. He was the son of the architect Ettore Sottsass sr. Sottsass jr moved to Turin with his family at the age of 11 and qualified in architecture at the Politecnico, Turin, in 1939. Convinced of the role of colour as creator of space and as a means of breaking with the monochromatic preferences of the Rationalists, he developed a close relationship with avant-garde artists, organizing the first international exhibition of abstract art in Milan. His design for the Grassotti publicity stand (1948), an abstract composition of organic curves in laminated plywood, pays tribute to such Surrealist sculptors as Alexander Calder. In the early 1950s he concentrated on architecture. In the block of workers’ dwellings (1951), Romentino, Novara, he explored the relationship between architecture, terrain and climate, emphasizing the social function of spatial organization in encouraging community interaction. References to vernacular building types and the inclusion of traditional communal spaces, such as staircases and balconies, are also evident in later housing schemes at Arborea (...