COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Rugs by Architects
R. Venturi & D. Scott Brown. Spots. 1993. Courtesy of V'SOSKE.

R. Venturi & D. Scott Brown. Spots. 1993. Courtesy of V’SOSKE.

Cherry blossoms are long gone but the 28 flower buds, irregularly spread on a woolen “midnight navy” rug appeared for the first time today on La Guardia Place.  The rug, designed in a flat style derivative of Japanese art by American architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (1993, 6’x8’, 100% wool), is one of the 38 original works by 23 architects currently on view at the American Institute of Architects.

“When circumstances defy order, order should bend or break: anomalies and uncertainties give validity to architecture,” Venturi and Scott Brown exclaimed some time in the 1970s, when architecture went through a period of transition. At the time, this transition marked the public’s disillusionment with post-WWII ideals of suburban bliss and was interpreted by the architects as an opportunity to reject context and history.

V’SOSKE, American manufacturer of preeminent rugs (founded in 1924) seized the opportunity and commissioned the leading and emerging architects of the period between 1979 and 1993 to create a collection of rugs that would depict precisely the ideological transition that shaped American architecture at the time. Some rugs remain decorative, as any floor covering should be, while others look strikingly familiar and are clearly influenced by contemporary art. All present a solution that undoubtedly reflects the designer’s theoretical approach to two- and three-dimensional design, except for the three pieces by Venturi and Scott Brown. These have appropriated their flatness, colors, and vocabulary from Japanese art and they are stunning. Which reminded me that architects have always a compelling theoretical point of view but it should not necessarily materialize in the form of buildings. Here the architects achieved perfection.

The exhibit will be on view through May 28. It presents a great opportunity for collectors of post-war design to appreciate the nuances of each piece’s personality. It is also nice to know that V’SOSKE has maintained a pioneering role in the design world since 1924 and that its production allows design enthusiasts to collect around their primary areas of interest.

© Thomaï Serdari