Sunday 3 September 2017
L’hommage: Charlie Gullström > Léonie Geisendorf

One of architect Charlie Gullström’s research areas is about Léonie Geisendorf (1914–2016), a collaborator of hers since the 90’s. Right now Charlie is writing a book with the working title ‘Women in the making of modernity – Architect Léonie Geisendorf’s pioneering collaborative practice across Europe’. The 13th of September she will give her hommage to Léonie Geisendorf at Tensta Konsthall.

Charlie porträtt
When did you discover Léonie Geisendorf’s work? What impression did it make on you?
Léonie Geisendorf was always a prominent presence on the Stockholm architectural scene when I was studying in the 1980s. She was both feared and admired – a starchitect long before the term was invented, and in spite of a minimal production. What I first grasped was the importance of quality and detail, which emanated from everything she said and did, but I think it was her overall critical approach to architecture that really fascinated me. The way she spoke of the architectural experience was new to me. Many senior practitioners came to spice up the teaching at KTH School of Architecture, but hers was a very different voice! She brought an air from Europe and was extremely articulate and engaged in discussions that often heated because of her sharp tongue. As a guest critic at our reviews, she would dive into the drawings like a hawk, immediately recognizing a minor flaw of the design – or so we perceived it. Here was someone who had worked with Le Corbusier. This gave us a unique and direct link to modernism, a subject to which we were trying to position ourselves. She had been everywhere and spoke every language. She was ageless and without gender. She was actually over 70 at the time, but noone really knew and she was still getting commissions. She looked great and of course she was quite explicitly a woman, but refused to address this in professional terms. I think this suited my generation of architects – raised with the notion that gender doesn’t matter.

What part of Léonie Geisendorf’s work do you find most relevant today?
I think we can learn so much from closely observing how she works with scale in such a way that people really will take pleasure in sharing a space. Whether she combines really small spatial entities, like in the terraced houses on Riksrådsvägen, or creates a very large interior, like the entrance hall of S:t Görans Gymnasium, her attention to light, materiality and detail contributes an exceptional three-dimensional experience. In contemporary architecture, there is almost an extravagance, or nonchalance, regarding space – but large is not the same as spacious, and from Léonie Geisendorf we can learn how to make spacious with minimum material. This is of course particularly important today, when our resources are limited.

I think also she is an important role-model and not primarily because she is a woman but because she represents migration and how international cross-fertilization is necessary for cultural development, especially for a small country like Sweden.

Léonie at the office.

Tell us about your first meeting with Léonie Geisendorf.
At the time of my first employment as an architect, in the late 1980s, Stockholm was experiencing a building-boom and I was horrified by all the ugly additions to the city. Many buildings were, strangely enough, fruit-shaped and I found it impossible to connect what was on my drawing-desk with what I had been learning at school. My former professor in architecture, the late Jan Henriksson, saw my despair and proposed I help Léonie Geisendorf in producing an exhibition about her work, which was in planning at the Swedish Academy of Art. But would she and I make a good team?

My first visit to meet her (in the combined office and flat in an 19th century residential building downtown), because it was marked by a combination of uncertainty, tremor, vigilance and ardor, warmth and curiosity, which created that I would experience repeatedly throughout the strong friendship we developed over 25 years. I pressed the label ‘L & CE Geisendorf Arkitektkontor’ on the intercom downstairs a few times, thinking I must have mistaken the agreed meeting time. After a while of waiting (adding to my curiosity about the possible vastness upstairs), a slightly sharp and high-pitched voice invited me in by buzzing the door open. I took the lift, and was ready to ring the door-bell when I saw that the door was open, adding a strong scent of Chanel to the hallway. I entered, called out to mark my arrival but nothing happened. Was I supposed to go somewhere? A corridor offered light in the distance and led to a room full of old models and magazines. But there was nowhere to sit. Beyond, I could see I was quite uncertain about where you are supposed to go.

Posted by: 19:09

Categories: L'Hommage, Uncategorized

Wednesday 30 August 2017
L’hommage: Katarina Bonnevier > Eileen Gray

In 2007 the architect and artist Katarina Bonnevier wrote her thesis, ‘Behind Straight Curtains: Towards a Queer Feminist Theory of Architecture’ about Eileen Gray (among others) and her building E.1027. The 6th of September she will give her hommage to Eileen Gray at Tensta Konsthall 

Katarina Bonnevier
What is your relationship to Eileen Gray’s work? Do you have any personal favourites among her work?
My infatuation with her work started with her dark green lacquer table (the Lotus Table) with tassels and amber stones in the corners – its soft, slinky textile-like appearance made an impression. I love her brick screen/wall, her non-conformist chair, her cork table and, and, and…

What part of Eileen Gray’s work do you find most relevant today?
The fact that she constantly reworked the limitations and usual orders of that which surrounds us. Nothing stays still, neither her animated things and spaces nor the ones who use them.

What has your acquaintance with Eileen meant to you as an architect and artist?
It has been revolutionary.

Photo: Emma Fredriksson for ArkDes

 

Posted by: 19:35

Categories: L'Hommage

Monday 14 March 2016
Guest blogger: Kim Ihre

Kim Ihre

http://typequality.com

When I was accepted as a student at Beckmans College of Design I was thrilled. But early on I started to worry about doing things wrong. I felt inadequate, insecure and like I wasn’t good enough. I started to question if I could live up to this fantastic school. Being a young woman, questioning yourself doesn’t come as news. My feminist awakening changed my life and how I looked at myself. Suddenly I could put into words why I had felt inadequate all my life.

Within my creative work I started to realize that my insecurity could be the result of the lack of women role models within my field. Even though there are an even number of men and women at the school, it was obvious the men had the success, reputation and cult of genius surrounding them. It’s a problem that students mostly hear about the men who changed design history in different ways. Of course they are relevant to our education, but as a young woman it can be hard to identify.

Typography is a big part of the education we’re given as graphic designers and art directors, we are taught how to work with type in different contexts. Rules about how to set type for books, which typefaces are used for what and so on. We learn what typefaces are well known and who drew them. A discipline involving apparently 0 women. To exemplify with some well known typefaces; Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Futura, Gill Sans, Akzidenz Grotesk, Baskerville … All drawn by men.

I always felt extra insecure in typography. When I did an internship with Brita Lindvall and Alexandra Falagara at Bastion Studio, I realized it was due to the fact that I didn’t have anyone to identify with in the discipline. Through BL and AF and my own research I realized there were many women typographers. BL and AF became my role models together with other women, and I realized I wanted to share this with other young women who felt like me. What I mainly wanted to do was to highlight /invite female typographers into typography.

Typequality.com, a platform to share and find typefaces drawn by women, became my bachelor project at Beckmans 2015. During the working process I realized the importance of creating an open platform for sharing. I felt tired of the notion that one person could have the privilege to decide what’s to be seen and not, or to decide what’s good enough, and that is the reason why anyone can share typefaces on typequality.com.

4

Today there are 208 typefaces on the site. To me it’s fantastic to see the site has 120 returning visitors, in other words – people are using it, meaning change is possible when it comes to a more equal usage of typefaces.

5

Discovering female role models gave me confidence in my role as a designer. It also made me passionate about creating design that matters to me. I think it’s important that young women dare to make their statements, but without role models to lean on it’s so much harder. Everyone wants design to be a level playing field for men and women, but if we don’t see any alternatives to the norm, it’s hard to get there. I hope that Typequality will make more people reflect and inspire different perspectives on design schools, work places and the society as a whole.

 

ahoj

Ahoj by Veronika Burian, Irene Vlachou, Sonja Stange, Elena Veguillas

BrezelGrotesk-Stefanie Preis

Brezel Grotesk by Stefanie Preis

Posted by: 19:50

Categories: Guest blogger

Friday 8 January 2016
3000 Saudi Women can’t be wrong

”For young Saudis, life is conducted online, on phones and on gaming platforms. Saudi Arabia is a young country. The fastest-growing segment of the population is under 30 years old. In this deeply conservative society, with its strict moral codes of behavior and gender segregation, many young Saudis turn to social media and technology to entertain and express themselves.

For women, especially, it’s a social revolution.”
Read the full article by NPR here.

Tickets for Tasneem Salim’s talk in Stockholm can be bought here.
Read more about the event here.

Photos from this year’s convent:

DSC_2103_fb DSC_2156_Fb DSC_2161_fb

Posted by: 09:52

Categories: Uncategorized

Saturday 12 December 2015
Marie-Louise Ekman

Our birthdays are in December and March, please give us something by Marie-Louise Ekman. Thank you so much.

8827238_fullsize 8830321_fullsize 8904905_fullscreen
marie-louise-ekman-63x82-50x69-rummet1

marie-louise-ekman_stor-640x375And here’s a new book about Ekman. The photo was found here.

Posted by: 10:31

Categories: Uncategorized

Tuesday 8 December 2015
Bang & Bang

Barbro Alving (1909–1987) was a Swedish journalist and writer, a pacifist and feminist, that used the pseudonym Bang. She reported from the Spanish Civil War, World War II and the Cold War.

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Bang magazine, named after Bang above, is a Swedish feminist magazine. It’s designed by Bastion Agency, who use a feministic approach in their work to challenge estethic standards. Here are a some of our favorites:

BANG-3-2014-omslag-liten BANG-3-2015-omslag omslag_1_2013
vinnare2012

Posted by: 10:10

Categories: Magazines, Uncategorized

Friday 4 December 2015
Denise Scott Brown

Recommended reading: Still Learning from Denise Scott Brown from Designers and Books.

Have a nice weekend!

Photo found here

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Posted by: 16:46

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Categories: Uncategorized

Wednesday 2 December 2015
Sussman and the Eames

When we met Deborah Sussman to plan a book about her in the Hall of Femmes book serie, she asked us: Do you want me to read a letter for you? Eh, of course we did. The letter was from young Deborah from the early years working for the Eames. It started:

Nov 2, 1954 in Santa Monica, CA.
dear folks, could life be more beautiful?
i am living at the eames house-since friday-ray left for europe last week

right now i am seated in a cozy alcove -an eames builtin sofa, covered with
brilliant indian blankets & silken pillows. My letter-paper, cigarettes, &
other goodies-pink roses-a candle in an alabaster holder- on a table top
covered with gold leaf.
… 
I just lit a cigarette-took it from a thin china dish, ashes in a large mother of pearl shell. 

and continues page after page of detailed descriptions of the Eames’ house. More from our recorded interview can be heard in an upcoming podcast (we just need someone to help us to edit the recording – is that you?).

For more Sussman please check out this previous post.

Bonus: Portrait of the Eames couple by talented illustrator Sara Andreasson for The Architectural Review, 2014. Check out her web for more great work!

_SaraAndreasson_Eames_web_800

Posted by: 16:13

Categories: Uncategorized

Friday 20 November 2015
L’hommage: Paola Antonelli > Irma Boom

PAWhy is Irma Boom’s work relevant for the MoMA collection?
Quite simply, her work epitomizes the very best in design – graphic, book, or otherwise. It manifests itself in books, apparently, but every single book is a memorable explanatory/celebratory object for which being a book is just a pretext for existing. Even in very complex projects like her SHV Think Book Irma is both elegant and economic with her design choices. And she has pioneered and been successful in a field – design at large – that, even now, is still struggling for gender parity.

What is your relation to Irma Boom work? Do you have personal favorites among her work?
I have many favorites among Irma’s work, and we have most of her work in MoMA’s collection. I just took a look at our database at the museum just now in order to reminisce, and it made me so happy to see the bold, experimental covers of Irma’s books (we have about 100 of them) staring back at me like old acquaintances. For example, we are proud to have her masterful tome for Sheila Hicks’s exhibition that happened at the Bard Graduate Center here in New York in 2006 (Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor). The book has the most gorgeous, tactile rough-cut deckle edges, and a pure, white cover that is quite sublime.

Perhaps my particular favorite, though, is a very personal one: the design of the catalogue for a really seminal exhibition for me at MoMA, Design and the Elastic Mind in 2008. It was great to have a chance to work together. In the acknowledgements for the catalogue I thanked Irma for her “hyper-elastic mind” and called her out as “one of the most inventive and perceptive designers in the world, able to straddle space and time to produce an amazing visual synthesis of ideas.” I think I said it pretty well in 2008, so I’m going to let it stand!

Tell us about your first meeting with Irma Boom.
It feels like I have known Irma forever – when you asked me this question I tried to cast my mind back to our very first meeting, and I simply cannot. So my answer must be “forever,” which is a very happy thought.

Photo: Marton Perlaki for The Aston Martin Magazine

 

Posted by: 17:56

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Categories: L'Hommage

Friday 20 November 2015
L’hommage: Olafur Eliasson > Irma Boom

Olafur Eliasson headshot_webTell us about your first meeting with Irma Boom?
Hans Ulrich Obrist first introduced me to her. »We urgently need Irma to design the catalogue for the Fondation Louis Vuitton show«, he wrote. She came to my studio, in Berlin. We talked about the show and when she came back to the second meeting, she brought with her a mock-up for the catalogue that included changes that reflected exactly what we had been working on for the exhibition, even though she could not have known what we had changed – it was a magical connection.

What was your relation to Irma Boom work’s before this project?
I had heard about her work and about her how she works on books as objects, focusing on the book in terms of its performativity. The doing is in the book, rather than the book presenting something that has been done.

What part of Irma Boom’s work do you find most relevant today?
She takes the content she works with very seriously. She looks at what the artworks do and brings that doing into the book, and that constitutes the core of the book. Irma is daring, non-compromising in a charming and convincing way. Although it is often a cliché to say that someone is passionate about what they do, I believe it is entirely accurate to say that Irma is truly passionate about following a design idea from beginning to end in the face of whatever challenges that may arise.

How was the process behind the catalogue and your cooperation?
Irma is a great thinker and it was inspiring to see how she thinks through design. I can’t wait to do another book with her.

Photo found here.

Posted by: 17:55

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Categories: L'Hommage

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