05 May 2007

20 Domus 1928 - 1999: The Quintessential Works of Modernism

Few months ago Domus Magazine launched a gigantic set of their anthology: Domus 1928 - 1999: The Quintessential Works of Modernism. For those who are not familiar with Domus, it one of the most influential design magazines in the world. It is also one of the oldest design magazines. The first issue began in 1928 in Milan by a very influential architect / designer, Gio Ponti and a business man, Mr Marzocchi (whose family still owns the business until nowadays). The web version can be found at www.edidomus.it (it requires a free subsription).

I happened to be invited to give a talk at Playground, Thonglor for a launching event of the set in Thailand. (Perhaps because I am the only contributor from Thailand who ever worked with Domus.) For the talk, I asked Playground Bookstore to send me the set for me to have a look. The 12 big volumes arrived in two big boxes to our all(zone) meeting space on the ground floor, and nobody has any initiative to move them up to our working space!





Domus has this very nice and strong approach of showing art, architecture and design at the same time because of the belief in the inter-locking discipline that has a crucial political responsibility going from 'spoon to city'. The 71 years of modern design are condensedly portrayed altogether from art, urban design, architecture, interior, products, graphic, materials or even advertising. We went exhaustedly through all the 12 volumes and have learned a lot. They are basically a very vivid encyclopedia of design and give you the idea of what was really going on during the moment.

The first issue on January 1928!



For example, when Villa Savoy of Le Corbusier was first published in Domus in 1928, along with the building, there were several other things that give us 'the context' of how Villa Savoy was conceived.



Another super interesting aspect of the series is that they put some selected advertising pages of each period along with the content.



Eames chairs was published in the 1950s. But if you look into the issue, there are a lot of things along with the chair.



Buckminster Fuller's dome in 1960s.



Frank Gehry's the first house was featured in detail. :O



House in Bordeaux of Koolhaas.



After Gio Ponti, the long-time editor and the founder of the magazine resigned in 1970s, Domus runs the policy to change its editor every few years. A new editor, besides giving a new direction for the magazine within its frame set in 1928, is supposed to give 'a new look' - a new graphic design of the magazine. With this strategy, Domus always gets very interesting people to work with them. For example, Alan Fletcher was an art director of the magazine for a period of time. Stefano Boeri who was the editor until last April Issue brought Domus into a new aspect of design focusing on politics and design profession. The May 2007 issue will be done under the new editor Flavio Albanese, we will see what will happen to the magazine again. Looking forward to.

Anyway, I am now really considering to get the 12 volumes as the encyclopedia for all(zone).... It is just quite expensive...hmmmm

2 comments:

urbanomania said...

oh, you mean playgroung just send those books for your review only? that's really stingy. they should give all of them to you for free.

chai

Joel said...

I found an interesting interview with Stefano Boeri, former editor of Domus magazine, in Artkrush. Check it out:
http://www.artkrush.com/mailer/issue41/#interview