August Sarnitz, Peter Gössel
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The Life Aesthetic
Josef Hoffmann’s pioneering minimalism
Before aesthete, designer, and architect Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956) came along, Austrian architecture and design was suffocating under a surfeit of opulent ornamentation and bombastic flourish. With his radical new approach and a band of like-minded figures, Hoffmann was a founding father of the Viennese Secession and Wiener Werkstätte and revolutionized Western aesthetics with a brave new minimalism.
This essential introduction explores Hoffmann’s key ideas, projects, and designs to understand his radical aesthetics and their continued influence on European architecture and design, from monochrome interior schemes to the cutlery we put on the table. We explore his integral role at the center of both the Vienna Secession in 1897 and the Wiener Werkstätte, and his commitment to stylistic purity, including some of Europe’s first major modernist buildings, such as the Purkersdorf Sanatorium (1904) and the Palais Stoclet (1905–1911).
August Sarnitz is a practicing architect and professor of history and theory of architecture at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna. His many publications include books on R. M. Schindler, Lois Welzenbacher, Ernst Lichtblau, Adolf Loos, and E. A. Plischke.
Peter Gössel runs an agency for museum and exhibition design. He has published TASCHEN monographs on Julius Shulman, R. M. Schindler, John Lautner, and Richard Neutra, as well as several titles in the Basic Architecture series.