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The problem with contemporary design


“Die unausweichliche Frage nach dem eigenen Stil beginnt mit der Überwinding der Mode.”

This quote, unattributed, comes from the homepage of Kniže & Co., a haberdashery in Vienna still operating in a building designed by Adolf Loos. Luckily for me, the Kniže website provides this English translation: “The unavoidable question of style begins with the overcoming of fashion.” As a teacher of architecture (on a good day), I can think of no more succinct statement of the current dilemma in design.

Not incidentally, Adolf Loos, who designed the Kniže shop on Am Graben, said many similar things, if not this quote itself. I’ll have to do some checking. Does anyone recognize it?

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