Thursday, August 22, 2013

Library Inspiration: Ferruccio Vitale Landscape Architect

Another book on my nightstand is an oldie but a goodie about the landscape architect Ferruccio Vitale. This is yet another inspiring tome which I think should be in every design library.
Vitale was the son of an architect in Florence, Italy, but moved to the United States in his 20s to practice landscape architecture and eventually become a giant in his field.
The most fascinating thing about this book is the transience of landscape architecture: many of these spaces no longer exist or are in greatly altered forms. So while some of the images may be of low quality in the book, the fact that they exist 100 years later is pretty amazing; a snapshot of these amazing gardens stuck in time in grainy b&w.
One of the projects is currently in danger of being lost; the grounds of Insifada seen above. The Long Island estate is currently in danger of being torn down by developers as it was recently sold by the Jesuits after they could no longer afford the upkeep.
Many of the most interesting projects for me are located in the back of the book are in the section on civic projects. These are close to home for me in DC such as the grounds of Meridian Hill Park seen above.  I've blogged about the park in the past (here and here).
As with many architectural projects not all of the work was completed as planned but Vitale did make his mark on the National Mall. Definitely add Ferruccio Vitale to your design library, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Inspiration: Tom Scheerer Decorates

I recently returned from vacation and a copy of Tom Sheerer Decorates was waiting for me at home: a great way to get inspired and back to work!
Scheerer's stunning work should be no stranger to anyone as it has been widely published since the late 90s. I think I'm particularly drawn to it as he has an architect's eye (trained as an architect at prestigious Cooper Union) but a love for good living and pretty things.
The art of fine living is at the basis of all of Sheerer's projects whether they be private clubs (the Lyford Clay Club seen above), private homes (the basis of his work), or his own homes (seen below is his Charleston home published in House & Garden January 1997).
Sheerer describes his work as 'no nonsense' and 'cheerful' and one can easily see why. The book is full of diverse projects but this crisp, relaxed simplicity is their unifying thread.
Oddly enough I had just been admiring a project of his located in Sag Harbor, NY,  in a summer 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Living and it was featured prominently in this book with loads of more detail and photographs (living room above).
Whats not to love about his undecorated work; Scheerer combines classic decorating with modernist touches which is how we all really live today. Get the extremely well-written book today! I'll be posting more book reviews this week as it's a way we can all be inspired.
Images courtesy of The Vendome Press by Francesco Lagnese and text by Mimi Read