I don't consider myself to be a "fan." I don't seem to have the ability to be passionate, to the nth degree, about much, if anything. I appreciate beauty and talent where I find it, but I rarely find it consistently – it's unusual for me, that is, to be so taken with a designer, or an artist, that everything they do delights me.
Thus, when I say that I am not a fan of Miles Redd, I don't want you to misunderstand me – I'm not not, I should say. I'm not anti-Miles Redd for some of his work I like and some of it I don't care for. Some of it is fun, bold, sassy, a clever pastiche, and some of it is trite, cute, derivative, and occasionally ridiculous. More style than substance in fact.
I am a fan of books, of course, especially books about decorating, so I was delighted to be lent a copy of Miles Redd's The Big Book of Chic. Well, it's certainly big and really makes a statement on the coffee table. But I must confess, leafing through what I can only describe as this tome, I came away unsatisfied. Rarely, I felt, have so many trees been slaughtered for so little purpose.
It's as if Mr. Redd had printed out his Pinterest page. Printed it out on lovely rustly cartridge paper, bound it in wonderful thick wrapped board, and finished it off with a glossy dust jacket courtesy of Assouline. But a Pinterest it remains – droll quotations, notwithstanding.
One half expects to turn the page and find two cute Labrador puppies in a basket, or a four-poster bed in a meadow of flowers (picturelesspinterest.tumblr.com). Well, maybe Salukis would be more chic than Labradors, but you gets the idea.
I am a fan of books, as I say above, and the design of them (perhaps because my first degree was in graphic design) is of interest and concern. An agglomeration of photographs with a small amount of text is, in itself, no bad thing for not all interior design books need essays of pith and moment to accompany imagery – visuals that, sometimes, very clearly belie the text. Yet a book that is all imagery beyond a few words as an introductory chapter is somehow unsatisfactory – we are used to explanations and feel, and are, cheated if they are not there. Mr. Redd's book is more than that but when one is faced, for example, with images repeated as vignettes or with an identical image, but black and white, pairing the one on the opposite page the result cannot help but be unsubstantial and unsatisfying. I'd love see more of Mr. Redd's work and understand more about his design proces and philosophy, but sadly this book delivers neither.
Behind the Candelabra
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