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Decoration Is Not Enough

April 25, 2017


A great 55 minutes of radio NOW a Podcast: LISTEN

We want where we live to be ours. We want our homes to reflect us, There are over 70 million free-standing homes, but very few of them were built by those who live in them, and no apartment, condo or co-op was built with anyone in mind. So we Decorate: color, furniture, lighting, carpets – our stuff: us.

But there is an ethic in design, one where the making is itself an art experience: where the way of creating, building, experiencing a home is richly evolved. It’s ornament, it’s craft, it’s architecture: Its origin, it’s meaning and it’s design is not to create a surface of frozen time – here, design is used and has beauty in its essential utility in use and function.

Three of the most accomplished, skillful and engaging design/architecture/artist creators in the world are with HOME PAGE this week. In studios is Yale-trained architect Louis Mackall – for 50 years his unbridled creativity was in everything he did – but he managed to also create Breakfast Woodworks with Ken Field about 40 years ago although Breakfast has new owners the founders still work on site – the work is incredible, award winning, in every environment and in many regions.

A special treat this week is an interview with sculptor, artist, craftsman Kent Bloomer – he trained at Yale and never left the area: teaching at the school for two generations. He may be the greatest definer and builder of architectural ornament in the world: In fact, he is. Bloomer’s book with co-author Charlie Moore, “Body, Memory, Architecture” is required reading . His insights into why we decorate, why ornament is an extreme leap to the universal, the intimate, the alive is both compelling and fascinating.

Lastly, architect Barry Svigals is also Yale trained in architecture school. He started his own firm a generation ago and his work exploded to have a huge impact on everyone who uses them. His work can be seen in schools, apartment buildings, institutions, but completely in his art: the exquisite, evocative personal expression they embody goes beyond embellishment to inspire the entire building composed under Barry’s hand. His most famed project is the just-completed Newtown Elementary School, where healing and hope found their essential beauty in Svigal’s ethic.


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