Alexandra Lange

Just Looking

At a certain point during our three-year renovation, I OD’d on design websites. I couldn’t look at another wallpaper-inspired, radically-simplified, IKEA-hacked, upcycled fill-in-the-blank, much as I sometimes needed to choose tile or a shower curtain or a coffee maker. Now that we are done, my purchases tend to design-free diapers and Carters pajamas (though in truth, I did avoid those with mottoes). And in truth, I am repressing the Marimekko throw pillow spree. But those are a lifetime obsession.

Which is why my new favorite source of procrastination is Reference Library. I don’t know who the author is (though judging by his friends, I ought to), but his site offers beauties new and old, architecture and objects, fashion and textiles, idiosyncratically grouped by personal taste and rarely with a price. I love how plain and unexplained it all is. And I love almost everything on the site. But I get the feeling I can just admire.

I ran across Reference Library Googling Alexander Girard. As I may have mentioned, I am trying my hardest to write a book on Girard, mid-century architect, textile designer, exhibition designer, folk art collector and have found the internet material on him selective and repetitive. That’s why I was thrilled to turn up his Detrola chair, part of the vast RF Ebay trove, most tagged “Items I Didn’t Win.” He says these are his disappointments, but for me the idea of ownership during the period of the auction is usually enough, just like checking out a book from the library.

Posted in: Internet

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Alexandra Lange Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.


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