Monday, January 10, 2011

Whither Go Books?

Okay, I'm just going to admit it from the outset. This story in The New York Times (NYT) depressed me.

Let me begin by saying that I've had a friend for over twenty years who is an interior designer. Therefore, I'm familiar with the interior decorating practice of buying books by the yard as decorations. Marilyn has sometimes had to go on a hunt to find leather-bound books of a particular color or size as finishing touches for a home office or library. The way she described the old law books and beautifully bound but outdated medical books she purchased, I envisioned what she was doing as a retirement for books who'd outlived their usefulness, kind of like sending a wornout racehorse to a pasture in the country to live out his life in a pleasant setting.

I'm not sure why I had such a different reaction to Juniper Books, Thatcher Wine's business. Maybe it was just the conspicuous consumption implicit in the endeavor that made me feel slightly queasy.

At any rate, Thatcher Wine--an improbable name if I've ever heard one, although clever when paired with the title of his company--builds "custom book collections and decorative 'book solutions'" for his clients. As an example:
For the spa in Philippe Starck’s Icon Brickell, the icy glass condo tower in Miami, [Mr. Wine] was asked to wrap 1,500 books in blank white paper, without titles, to provide a “textural accent” to the space.
Okay, okay, maybe I'm being overly sensitive. My neighbors routinely complain that it takes me way too long to prune back my rose bushes in the spring. I hate to admit to them that I'm afraid I'll hurt the bushes.

I was somewhat mollified when a decorator recalled her father buying “masses of random, leatherbound books to assemble libraries ... But the people I work for don’t want books just as backdrop or theater, which they did 20 years ago. Now they want books they actually might read.”

But my relief was short-lived. Federico Uribe, described as "a Colombian conceptual artist working in Miami," tears up the books he buys to make primary colored sculptures.

Go here to read the article and here to look at the dozen photos of Mr. Wine's collections.


1 comment:

Mike Keyton said...

Designer Fahrenheit 451