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Art Design Peek Into The Homes of Norman Foster, Eileen Gray, Finn Juhl And More Celebrated Creatives in This New Book

Peek Into The Homes of Norman Foster, Eileen Gray, Finn Juhl And More Celebrated Creatives in This New Book

Peek Into The Homes of Norman Foster, Eileen Gray, Finn Juhl And More Celebrated Creatives in This New Book
By Hong Xinying
By Hong Xinying
October 23, 2020
Our homes often become a representation of who we are—this view holds true for these celebrated designers and architects, whose inspiring abodes are chronicled in a new book published by Phaidon

When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, or so the saying goes. That much is true for the outstanding individuals featured in Life Meets Art: Inside the Homes of the World’s Most Creative People, a new book published by Phaidon; their creative drive and passion are as aptly represented by their abodes, which offer intimate insights into their way of life.

Featuring over 260 homes of architectural icons, influential musicians, blue-chip artists, contemporary designers and literary giants, the book’s extensive selection almost reads like a glossary of the most acclaimed creative names in the past two centuries. Encompassing everything from English Romantic poet John Keats’ 19th-century house to the flamboyant residences of British musician David Bowie and fashion legend Gianni Versace, these homes represent each individual’s ubiquitous style and life’s work, while offering a snapshot of the zeitgeist.

(Related: Home Tour: This Historic French Villa Gets An Elegant And Colourful New Look

Located north of Copenhagen in Denmark, Finn Juhl’s home is a perfect blend of timeless elegance and visual lightness. It also beautifully presents notable chair designs by the architect, who is also a pioneer of the Danish Modern movement. “If ever there were a drool-worthy Modernist home, this would be it,” says Lubell. “He knew exactly when to be restrained, and when to be lively. And the abundance of his exquisite furniture makes the home come alive.”
Located north of Copenhagen in Denmark, Finn Juhl’s home is a perfect blend of timeless elegance and visual lightness. It also beautifully presents notable chair designs by the architect, who is also a pioneer of the Danish Modern movement. “If ever there were a drool-worthy Modernist home, this would be it,” says Lubell. “He knew exactly when to be restrained, and when to be lively. And the abundance of his exquisite furniture makes the home come alive.”

“Homes are much more than creative accomplishments. They’re physical histories, embedded with our stories, and the stuff of our lives,” shares Sam Lubell, the author of the book. “A home is a perfect way to get to know (the owners) and what’s most important to them. We knew we had to include the homes of well-known creatives, but we also wanted a lot of surprises; we looked to get a wide cross-section in terms of geography, race, ethnicity and gender representation.”

 

Lubell, who has worked as a journalist for close to two decades, has a lifelong passion for architecture and design. The Paris-born writer recalls being “surrounded by beautiful structures from the start”; his love of architecture deepened while studying art and architectural history at Brown University in Rhode Island. He worked with Phaidon editor Virginia McLeod and her team, poring over hundreds of homes in eight months, before shortlisting and researching on the final selection for this compilation. “The most important commonality is that (the homes selected) are a reflection of their owners’ life, creativity, and spirit,” says Lubell. “Without the human element, an interior is just a pretty space.” 

Located in Naucalpan de Juárez, Mexico, the surrealist abode of Mexican architect Javier  Senosiain provides an intriguing introduction to his work. Created in 1984, Casa Orgánica is designed to be at one with its landscape; visitors strolling in the garden are effectively walking on the green roof without realising it. “When I first discovered the designs of Javier Senosiain, I couldn’t believe they were real,” says the book’s author, Sam Lubell. “Employing organic shapes and merging them with the landscape, he creates some of the strangest, most original architecture I’ve ever come across. His home outside of Mexico City is a perfect example, with a curving form covered in grass and looking like a hill. Inside, spaces flow into each other, as if hollowed out by lava. The furnishings all interconnect, forming a unified whole.”
Located in Naucalpan de Juárez, Mexico, the surrealist abode of Mexican architect Javier Senosiain provides an intriguing introduction to his work. Created in 1984, Casa Orgánica is designed to be at one with its landscape; visitors strolling in the garden are effectively walking on the green roof without realising it. “When I first discovered the designs of Javier Senosiain, I couldn’t believe they were real,” says the book’s author, Sam Lubell. “Employing organic shapes and merging them with the landscape, he creates some of the strangest, most original architecture I’ve ever come across. His home outside of Mexico City is a perfect example, with a curving form covered in grass and looking like a hill. Inside, spaces flow into each other, as if hollowed out by lava. The furnishings all interconnect, forming a unified whole.”

That human factor shines through the mix of residences with complementary and contrasting styles, bringing out unexpected similarities while highlighting their unique elements. Take, for instance, a shot of the artistic chaos in Francis Bacon’s studio that’s published next to the elegant French-style house of Agnès b. founder Agnès Troublé in the book. On another spread, woodworker and furniture maker George Nakashima’s Japanese-influenced modernist complex is adjacent to the rustic house of Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

The author also revelled in discovering lesser-known facts about these artistic legends, with some of these creative talents proving to be as adroit in the field of home design as their chosen profession. “I especially loved finding hidden talents; evidence that exceptional people are often exceptional in more ways than we know,” says Lubell. “I never knew, for instance, that American author Edith Wharton was also a talented designer, collaborating with architect Ogden Codman Jr. to build her exceptional classically inspired home, along with its gorgeous landscaping. 

Lubell is effusive in his praise for the British multidisciplinary designer Faye Toogood’s abode, which embodies her varied talents; Toogood deftly works across the realms of furniture, fashion and interior design, and is also a sculptor and artist. “Most people don’t have the talent, or the self-assuredness, to pull off this home,” he says. “She’s a true original and proof that rawness, minimalism and creativity can be sophisticated and liveable.”
Lubell is effusive in his praise for the British multidisciplinary designer Faye Toogood’s abode, which embodies her varied talents; Toogood deftly works across the realms of furniture, fashion and interior design, and is also a sculptor and artist. “Most people don’t have the talent, or the self-assuredness, to pull off this home,” he says. “She’s a true original and proof that rawness, minimalism and creativity can be sophisticated and liveable.”

(Related: Home Tour: A Parisian Apartment That Elegantly Combines Vintage Finds With Modern Design

Or that French dramatist Victor Hugo was a very original furniture maker, crafting strange new work out of chair arms and table legs. Likewise, some of my favourite furniture makers—like Isamu Noguchi, Wharton Esherick, George Nakashima, and Sam Maloof—all had a significant hand in designing their homes, creating buildings that were in many ways inspired by their sinuous, hand-crafted furnishings.” 

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The Pritzker Prize-winning British architect Norman Foster created La Voile with his wife Elena. Ensconced in the stunning area of Côte d’Azur in Cap Ferrat, France, it served as their personal residence between 2002 and 2006. The formerly five-storey tower underwent a dramatic transformation, becoming a light-filled seven-storey retreat. “His home is so Norman Foster,” quips Lubell. “Not afraid, and always seeking a high-tech solution that others wouldn’t even dream of.”

(Related: 10 Whimsical Designer Pieces For Your Home

In a time when our ability to travel is limited by the Covid-19 pandemic, the wanderlust that the book ignites seems all the more poignant. “We all want to imagine we’re in beautiful places like these,” says Lubell. “Reading a book is like taking a trip to places unknown. It’s very uplifting to me to know that we’ll never run out of inspiring people and inspiring homes to discover.”

The Irish architect Eileen Gray designed this cliffside abode in France with her then-lover, Romanian architect Jean Badovici, in 1929. After the two separated, Le Corbusier infamously defaced this residence with vivid murals of unclothed women, immortalising the residence as a now-legendary location. “Her home is so assured and ahead of its time,” says Lubell. “I love the multi-use furniture, touches of colour and, of course, Le Corbusier’s graffiti; a glimpse into both his hubris and his power to capture our attention.”
The Irish architect Eileen Gray designed this cliffside abode in France with her then-lover, Romanian architect Jean Badovici, in 1929. After the two separated, Le Corbusier infamously defaced this residence with vivid murals of unclothed women, immortalising the residence as a now-legendary location. “Her home is so assured and ahead of its time,” says Lubell. “I love the multi-use furniture, touches of colour and, of course, Le Corbusier’s graffiti; a glimpse into both his hubris and his power to capture our attention.”

(Related: 10 Home Design Trends To Watch In 2020

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Art & Design Tatler Homes Architect Home Design Phaidon books architecture interior design decor furniture designer

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