“American kitchens never smell of onions. The American woman can prepare exquisite meals in a quarter of an hour, she twitters like a bird and always smiles”, according to Loos who spent several years in the USA. Loos’s love of America, its people and American design – as exemplified in his interest in Josephine Baker for whom he designed a house – was discussed last night on BBC Radio 3 as part of the review of the new Adolf Loos exhibition at the RIBA.
Exhibition co-curator Dr Irena Murray (Sir Banister Fletcher Director of the British Architectural Library) and architectural journalist Kieran Long discussed the impact of Loos on achitecture. Night Waves presenter Matthew Sweet started the discussion off by quoting Loos: “Without Loos there would be no Le Corbusier!” Can the new exhibition support the high regard Loos had for his own work? From the discussion it seems so.
According to Kieran: “The work speaks for itself, it is extraordinarily powerful, and to see it in the exhibition is as to see it in the flesh, is to see something quite unique.” He was interested in where Loos sat in the history of architecture; Loos was working at a time when “construction and craftsmanship if not ending were being questioned.” Because of this, Irena considers Loos as: “a one off, because he was a precursor rather than a mainstream Modernist, yet his work is very modern.”
If you are interested in hearing the programme in full (the Adolf Loos discussion appear around 34 minutes in) it is available on BBC iPlayer for the next six days.
The Adolf Loos Season opens tomorrow and no-one at the RIBA headquarters in London could have ignored the transformation currently happening inside the building. For those who would like to do some homework before tomorrow and find out more about Adolf Loos, the exhibition has been recently reviewed in detail by Rowan Moore in the Observer.
Attached to this post are more previews of the exhibition. The photographs show some of the exhibits through the doors of the currently closed Gallery 1, where the Learning to Dwell: Adolf Loos in the Czech Lands exhibition will show Loos’s work in the Czech Republic, including Villa Müller.
Tomorrow the public will find out why the RIBA is celebrating this one man and his influence, and what has brought a team from the City of Prague Museum with unique items related to Loos from their collections all the way to London. It’s almost ready…..