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RCL Career Resources Graphic and Apparel Arts: Interior Design

RCL Interior Design + Choice Titles

This well-illustrated volume surveys the history of Chicago architecture and its centrality in American architectural history in the context of interior design. The nonscholarly essay makes continual references to how and when certain interior design features were created or employed by architects. The almost 250 illustrations are the most exciting feature of the book, providing readers with both color and black-and-white rarely seen general images of interior spaces, but relatively few plans and details. Many of these images are from the Hedrich-Blessing Collection now at the Chicago Historical Society. Although the text has enough introductory material to provide background for even a general reader, it is not clear what the authors intend this book to be: it includes aspects of a historical survey, a vintage photography album, a brief glossary, introductory bibliography, and even a selected, not very useful guidebook-type list of Chicago landmark buildings. General; professional. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--R. J. Onorato, University of Rhode Island

Tantalizing at first glance, this wide-ranging treatment of color does not live up to its dust jacket description as a "comprehensive, illustrated encyclopedia entirely devoted to color." Overstatement appears in the prefatory pages and in many entries. To point to a "revolutionary and phenomenal expansion of color usage in everyday life in the twentieth century" (p.vii) confuses the use of color in communication technology with the very existence of color in the real world itself. Although the statement would justify attention to color, and to books on color, it cannot be substantiated. The same criticism applies to much of this text. The work consists of entries in alphabetical order--an arrangement that may lead to the claim that the work is encyclopedic. Although some topics clearly deal with color, others are questionable. Consider, for example, the first four entries: "Aalto, Alvar," "Aberration," "Abraum," "Absinthe." Some articles, e.g., "Conservation of Color in the Fine Arts" or "Genesis of Color," are entered under unexpected key words. Some entries are essays in themselves, and are labeled as such. By and large, these extended treatments are thoughtful and well written; among the best is "Fashion and Clothing Color." The book concludes with sources of historic colors derived from unnamed works of art. Without evidence, and without a thorough discussion of fading and uneven deterioration of pigments and materials, the visual data in this section are highly questionable. The list of organizations provided is very useful, but the bibliography is cluttered with many works of tangential connection to the main topic. The work is highly uneven in quality and unclear in focus. All in all, interesting browsing, but the work cannot be recommended with enthusiasm for art libraries that must choose their collections for reliable content and lasting value.

--D. C. Stam, Syracuse University

The fourth edition of this mainstay of the architecture reference shelf includes 2,500 new terms and 100 new illustrations. The alphabetical dictionary format remains identical, and the additions are inserted seamlessly. New terminology reflects the evolution of building practice and theory; new illustrations also complete visual documentation for basic historical elements. Technical building, historical, and stylistic terms account for the lion's share of this dictionary, but recent styles and their theory have been added or revised; common vernacular types appear here for the first time. A limited number of names for current theorists and practitioners are discreetly included in some recent entries but cannot be found alphabetically, and are more readily searchable elsewhere. The handy one-volume format, the reasonable cost, the clarity and accuracy of entries, the legible type and drawings, and the inclusive approach to current developments in the design, building, and scholarly professions related to architecture make this publication a crucial tool. Earlier editions remain useful for students in traditional survey classes. Practitioners, theorists, historians, researchers, and librarians will want to update their reference collections to include this latest edition. Summing Up: Essential. All levels.

--M. Nilsen, Indiana University South Bend

Outstanding Academic Title

Using skyscrapers, department stores, shopping malls, maternity hospitals and public housing, Leslie Weisman presents the feminist approach to spatial perspective and documents the privileges and penalties in gender, race, and class. The question of building communities that foster relationships of equality and environmental wholeness is the emphatic theme of this volume. Practical advice is offered to planners, architects, politicians, and social activists, making this book a useful and unique tool on many levels. Discrimination by Design is a pioneering work that will pave new territory not only for feminists but for all those who are prepared to rethink environmental and societal issues.

--L. Doumato, National Gallery of Art

Outstanding Academic Title

Essential and much needed, this encyclopedia meets its goal of providing a source that combines the disparate elements of interior design into one comprehensive reference work. Two main categories of entries are included: individual entries covering architects, critics, designers, and patrons; and topical entries describing room types, decoration, and types of furniture. Longer survey articles relating to individual countries, periods, and styles are also included. The work is limited in focus to 19th- and 20th-century American and European secular design. Each entry includes a signed critical essay, a list of collections where representative examples of the works can be viewed, cross-references, and a bibliography of major writings. The impressive list of contributors consists of professors, curators, and professionals working in interior design. Excellent black-and-white illustrations. Enthusiastically recommended for all undergraduate library collections.

--M. Fusich, California State University, Fresno

This is an excellent handbook covering both fundamental and advanced topics. Parts 1 and 2 include 18 chapters explaining the basics of acoustics, noise, and vibration. Parts 3 and 4 consist of six chapters that deal with speech and human hearing, including the effects of noise, blast, vibration, and shock on people. The 19 chapters in Part 5 discuss instrumentation, signal processing, and measurement methods. Part 6 (14 chapters) provides information on the principles of noise and vibration control and the design of quiet machinery. Part 7 (15 chapters) discusses industrial and machine elements. Part 8 (11 chapters) covers various types of transportation. The interior acoustical design of various transportation vehicles is treated in part 9 (eight chapters). Part 10 deals with the noise and vibrational environment in buildings, while part 11 addresses community and environmental noise. The figures and tables are very clear, and the bibliography is extensive. The glossary is very useful. A valuable addition to the acoustical literature. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections.

--M. G. Prasad, Stevens Institute of Technology

One would expect the strength of any volume on interior decoration to be visual evidence. Gere does not disappoint. Lavishly illustrated with contemporary photographs and watercolors of the 19th-century rooms discussed, hers is a resplendant history, not only because of the houses discussed, but also for the exquisite quality of those art objects used as illustrations. Accompanying these fine drawings, watercolors, and photographs are quotations and descriptions drawn from contemporary accounts that add to historical veracity and provide the readers a sense of immersion in the 19th-century. Illustrations predominate; the text covers the pages around each visual source. In this regard, the volume is crowded, but because of the wealth of material included, the design is excusable. Generally, the sources cited are described in the text, but fuller citations would have been helpful to those wishing to do further research and footnotes should have been included. The bibliography of both 19th-century and contemporary work is good, however. Design historians have tended to focus on commissioned, architect-designed rooms; what is still needed is a history of interior design that addresses social and class distinction. This book, as promised, serves as a general overview of 19th-century interior design and can be used as a companion to more specific and scholarly works. Recommended.

--J. Barter, Amherst College

As the chief editor of Interior Design magazine, Stanley Abercrombie has been instrumental in contributing to the formulation of design attitudes of a whole generation of interior designers. In this book his discriminating style allows one to envision a clearer understanding of design as it is interpreted and presented in an original way. Individual chapters explore a comprehensive range of elements and how they specifically relate to interior design. A wealth of clear, concise, black-and-white photographs and illustrations are distributed appropriately throughout. Although the ideal audience is the design student, any interior designer or architect will benefit from its potential for formulation of individual philosophies of one's own work. Highly recommended for academic libraries, practicing designers, students, and those interested in a clearer understanding of the design process.

--R. P. Meden, Marymount University

Outstanding Academic Title

Ironically, this reviewer had the opportunity to review the authors' first edition of Sourcebook of Modern Furniture (CH, Mar'89, 26-3669). This new edition (2nd ed., 1996) has expanded from the original 469 pages to 788. It has also increased from about 800 furnishing entries to more than 2,000. The book remains much the same in many ways; the content has been consistent, providing valuable data on the design, date, model name or number, manufacturer, materials, and dimensions of each specific entry. The sections remain subdivided by the type of furnishing, with a 33 percent increase in the categories. What has changed significantly is that the original edition was exclusively black-and-white photographs, whereas in the newest edition approximately half the photographs are in clear, sharp color. The book's significance lies in being a valuable overview of distinctive modern furniture design, thus making it an essential reference for most interior designers, architects, and collectors. A complete list of suppliers, designers, and manufacturers is also included. Appropriate for all readers. Summing Up: Essential. All levels.

--R. P. Meden, Marymount University

Readers will find no shortage of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and glossaries that define, illustrate, and chronicle the world of architecture. Elements of Style, however, is singular in its presentation, scope, and comprehensiveness. Devoted to fashionable British and American domestic architecture from 1485 to the present, this reference book depicts the development of the interior environment. The richly illustrated chapters depict architectural features such as doorways, staircases, fireplaces, walls, and windows. Original line drawings, images from trade catalogs, and photographs illustrate details of woodworking, tiling, wall treatments, and light fixtures. Chapters are organized chronologically; each features a short essay on overarching themes and influences, written by a museum professional or academic. Each architectural feature is assigned a color tab; someone interested in, for example, the development of doors across time may flip through all the orange tabs. First published in 1991 and revised in 1996 and 2005 (CH, May'06, 43-4997), this volume now has a new chapter, "Contemporary Era," that covers 1975 to the present; it does not significantly update the other chapters. Buying the new edition is not necessary for libraries that own the previous one(s); overall, though, this book is a staple for any university library with an architecture or interior design department. Summing Up: Recommended. Libraries lacking the previous editions; lower-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.

--A. H. Simmons, National Gallery of Art