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Magazine    September 2002

Has John Stefanidis loosened up his decorating style a bit or is it his clients? Whatever the case may be, the rigidly English-style interior designer proffers pictures of one clean, lightly patterned room after another in his latest volume, Stefanidis Designs. Actually, the book offers a clue as to why we're looking at quite contemporary interiors coming from a man who's known for period design. For a penthouse apartment in London, Stefanidis decided to give his chief designer "free rein," as he puts it, and she went for a 1920s and 30s look. The result is cool spaces inhabited by blue chip Art Deco furniture and punctuated by pretty groovy art. Way to go, John.

OK, so a few period houses do slip in, such as the Regency sporting estate Eldon, but the clever angles of the photos minimize the stuffiness of the rooms and almost parody the grossly exagerrated proportions of the wide-seated squat armchairs and other fuddy duddy furniture. The houses on Mustique in the Caribbean and in Windsor, Florida, are definitely worth taking in. It appears that Stefanidis and his design team indulged themselves, painting walls in bright peony pink and acid green, hanging lamps with oversized tassels and designing mantels with huge carved shells.

Architecture Now! is for those who want to soar the heights of architectsí imaginations and witness the transformation of what might seem to be crazy ideas into buildings that are lived in or used by people around the world.

The thick Taschen tome, which profiles more than 60 leading international architects, illustrates such monuments as Sir Norman Fosterís design of the cocoon-like energy-efficient Greater London Authority headquarters on the Thames River and Santiago Calatravaís City of Arts and Sciences in Spain, which includes an eye-shaped Planetarium that has a moving eyelid and a rib-like Museum of Science built in the form of a prehistoric reptile. Author Philip Jodidio also presents a parade of contemporary houses made of copper, aluminum or concrete, but Steven Hollís Y-House in Catskills, New York, certainly is memorable for its shape. Why Y? To accommodate two generations of an Austrian family.

Subtitled Contemporary Native American Art from the Southwest, Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation is the first in a series of three titles that presents craft, art and design that is being produced today. Unlike other surveys, this book focuses on artworks that are aesthetically pleasing, rather than ethnographically significant, so for once contemporary Native American works in clay, glass, fiber, jewelry, metal, wood and mixed media can be held up to comparison with contemporary art in general.

Ninety artists are profiled by the authors, who are experts in the subject of American crafts, in this 224-page amply illustrated volume, published in association with the American Crafts Museum in New York.

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Stefanidis Designs by John Stefanidis
The Vendome Press, $50.00

Architecture Now! by Philip Jodidio
Taschen, $40.00

Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation by David McFadden and Ellen N. Taubman
Merrell, $50.00
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