June 23, 2018 - January 7, 2019
Today, we think of architects as people who design buildings, construct skylines, and help create the visual identities of our cities and towns. But to a progressive group of European and American architects in the 20th century, the term "architect" applied not just to people who designed buildings, but to people who designed all aspects of interior decoration. They believed their role was to seamlessly integrate a modern aesthetic into all aspects of daily life. For these architects, furniture, ceramics, textiles, and glass played an essential role in completing their new artistic vision.
Glass of the Architects: Vienna, 1900–1937 explores the notion of architect as designer and presents a captivating period of glass design and production in Austria. Emerging from a confluence of individuals, ideas, and cultures, the design of Austrian glass from 1900 to 1937 embodied a newfound spirit of modernity. More than 150 objects, including the re-installation of Josef Hoffmann’s Dressing Room for a Star (first displayed at the 1937 International Exposition in Paris), bring to life this invigorating period for glass.
Alexandra Ruggiero, Assistant Curator, CMoG, is the curator for the exhibition. At the MAK (Austrian Museum of Applied Art/Contemporary Art) and LE STANZE DEL VETRO, the exhibition was curated by Rainald Franz, Curator, MAK Glass and Ceramics Collection.
25th Anniversary Book, Die Wiener Werkstätte, 1903–1928: Modernes Kunstgewerbe und sein Weg
Compiled by Mathilde Flögl; binding designed by
Vally Wieselthier and Gudrun Baudisch;
Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna: Krystall-Verlag, 1929).
In 1903, Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Fritz (Friedrich) Waerndorfer founded the Wiener Werkstätte. In 1929, the group produced this elaborate album, containing illustrated works from 24 Wiener Werkstätte members, alongside essays and quotations from design visionaries they admired—such as John Ruskin and William Morris —written in German, English, and French.
The illustrated album highlights the wide variety of products created by the workshop since its founding, from the stark and geometric designs of the beginning years to the ornate and whimsical designs produced later under the direction of Dagobert Peche. Images of glass objects are scattered throughout the album’s pages, including designs represented within the Museum’s collection: Maria Likarz-Strauss’s beaded bag (97.3.1) and Josef Hoffmann’s set of blown glass tableware (74.3.24) and fluted vase (97.3.9). Collectively, they demonstrate the workshop’s ability to design and produce various types of applied arts and emphasize that the Wiener Werkstätte produced objects that were meant to be purchased, displayed, and used in concert with one another.
Even the album’s embossed, orange and black papier-mâché binding was so unconventional that it had to be executed, not by a bookbinder, but by a Viennese toymaker. In its total dismissal of traditional book design, the album imparts a sense of spontaneity, but the seemingly disparate graphic elements work in harmony to form a Gesamtkunstwerk (a total work of art) that is imaginative and energetic.
Adapted from text written by Alexandra Ruggiero, Assistant Curator at The Corning Museum of Glass and the curator for the Glass of the Architects exhibition.