Interview: John Connell
Cooling Your Home Without Bulky AC Units

book review: Nature Form & Spirit

book-iconI buy a lot of books, and I get a lot of books as gifts, so they tend to really pile up at home. As anyone who has spent time in a big chain bookstore knows, there are a tremendous number of visual reference and coffee-table picture books on A&C homes and design out now, and a lot of them are pretty mediocre in terms of useability, although usually the photos are pretty decent. I'm going to start a series of regular reviews here, focusing on books a bit off the beaten path - the work of craftspeople, mostly, who might not be seen as directly part of the American and European A&C movements, but who are still important to those of us interested in A&C.

Today I'll write a bit about George Nakashima and a great book on his work that his daughter wrote and which was published a few months ago.

nakashimaNature Form & Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima, by daughter Mira Nakashima, is a good introduction to one of the great furniture designers and -builders of the 20th century. Nakashima's organic but tightly-engineered sensibility brings out the Japanese inspiration inherent in the formal wide squared-off floorplans of midwestern Prairie-style homes, and his influence can be seen in the work of many contemporary designers - Thomas Moser and Berkeley Mills both articulate and honor Nakashima's philosophy of woodworking and design. Nakashima's ability to focus on grain and natural form within every piece of wood he worked also makes his work - and much of what has come after in his style - a wonderful contemporary complement for almost any Craftsman space. This book is a sort of biography-in-pictures, with Mira's commentary running second to the fantastic pictures of spaces full of Nakashima furniture.