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by John Pawson
ISBN 0714843539 / 9780714843537 / 0-7148-4353-9
Publisher Phaidon Press
› Find signed collectible books: 'Minimum'
Architect John Pawson delves into all aspects of minimalism in this compact (five-by-five-inch) but thick (325-page) format. Reading Minimum is almost like sitting in a slide lecture given by a passionate professor of pared-down design. It is a picture book primarily, and Pawson's choice of images is personal and quirky. His chapter headings refer to many sources and aspects of design: Mass, Light, Structure, Ritual, Landscape, Order, Containment, Repetition, Volume, Essence, and Expression. The pictures in each section range from sculptures and paintings to landscapes to ritual objects to rooms to colonnades and piazzas, cityscapes and private homes. Pawson's selections are evocative, but not always effective. One caption reads, "The intense luminescence of Mark Rothko's painting," but the picture shown is one of Rothko's late, dark, depressed canvasses, which at three-by-five-inches seems more a smudge than a glow. Images dominate this book, but Pawson has also written an ardent introductory essay that places his selections in context. "What I look for is the excitement of empty space," he writes. "It has the capacity to bring architecture alive, just as it does a Chinese scroll painting. Emptiness allows us to see space as it is, to see architecture as it is, preventing it from being corrupted, or hidden, by the incidental debris of the paraphernalia of everyday life. It offers the space, both psychological and physical, for contemplation, and the serenity that can encourage meditative quiet and calm, without the jarring distraction of possessions." --Peggy Moorman [via]