What happens when architects design their own living spaces? In The Architect’s Home, Gennaro Postiglione has collected images of 100 European architect’s houses to offer a revealing glimpse through the keyholes of some of the best-designed and most stylish living spaces you’re likely to find anywhere.
‘A house’, said Italian architect Gio Ponti, ‘should be a simple thing, to be judged by the degree of enchantment one feels both when looking at it from the outside and when living inside.’ Ponti’s own apartment in Milan, built in 1957, embodied his idea of creating a whole architectural vision. It was spacious, modern, full of colour and light, whilst being divided by moveable partition walls.
The question of space, material and points of interest differ from one architect to another. Each lived through different movements, with the book’s survey of the 20th-century giving a visual insight into how the changing times informed architect’s attitudes towards design and the needs of a living space.
In 1936, Alvar Aalto furnished the home he built in Helsinki with many of his own pieces including his 1930s classic Alvar Aalto Lounge Chair, as well as tables and vases. Meanwhile, the apartment Le Corbusier designed for himself on the top two floors of his seven-storey block at 24 Rue Nungesser et Coli (or ’24NC’ as he called it), built between 1931 and 1933, was furnished under his ‘habitation equipment’ theory presented at the Salon d’Automne in Paris 1929. Although he did decorate it with his own paintings.
Meanwhile, Charlotte Perriand, who worked with Le Corbusier on the habitation equipment, embraced a far more organic approach to design with her 1960-61 chalet in Meribel les Allues. Her use of wood and indigenous materials reflected her interest in alpine furniture and design while the simplicity of the materials harked back to Le Corbusier’s cabanon he built on the Cote d’Azur.
Also included in the book is Egon Eiermann, winner of the Berlin Art Prize and member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, who went back to basics with his 1959-62 house, built in a traditional style of rectangular brick walls, tiled stove and pine furnishings.
Meanwhile, Toivo Korhonen’s experimental ethos shines through in the design of his 1960 house with its flat roof and courtyard- unusual for the Finnish climate, but seen as a functional solution to Korhonen’s need for privacy.
With so many pivotal designers collected in the book, the depth and breadth of imagination when solving particular issues faced in architects’ own private spaces offers a fascinating insight into the minds that created some of the most iconic work of the 20th-century. We can but emulate…
Want some inspiration? Take a look at our latest design edit in issue 4 with the best design-led lamps, tables and plates to hit the summer shelves…
The Architect’s Home, Gennaro Postiglione, £27.99; taschen.com