Richard Neutra Furniture: The Body and the Sense
Ernst Wasmuth, 2015
With his houses flooded with light, Austrian-American architect Richard J. Neutra (1892-1970) shaped the scene of Californian Modernism. From there he rose to be one of the most influential names in the history of modern architecture. However, in contrast to his peers – such as Aalto, Breuer, Jacobsen and Prouvé – Neutra’s furniture designs have long been undiscovered.
Author Barbara Lamprecht fills this gap by studying the extensive but little known furniture range that had faded into obscurity until Dion Neutra, Neutra’s son and architectural partner, started work on the designs with German manufacturer VS, whose ties to Modernism date back to the Deutscher Werkbund. Referring to the original sketches and patent drawings, the author focused on the details of the designs to show the furniture’s role in creating the balanced environments that Neutra intended for his clients. Each element: furniture, lighting, building, Nature, and landscape all worked together as a “Gesamtwerk” (a complete expression) to create a “sensorium,” or a “soul anchorage,” as Neutra called those environments best suited to human well-being.