Founding Editor, FANTOM Photographic Quarterly
Reportedly the first eyeglasses were made in late 14th Century in Pisa. Johnson borrowed his design from Le Corbusier and had his own version custom made. Like the theatrical devises now commonly called "lorgnettes" through which theater goers can view other people and remain un-noticed, spectacles can effect a major change to the facial landscape and at the same time orient focus onto the fantastic story on stage. Spectacles for spectacles.
While mulling over the relationship of a designer’s personal style and the design choices that dominate a designer’s renderings, the subject of frames -- specifically eyeglass frames -- come to mind. In short, it seems that spectacles as eyeglasses are structures we see through, and spectacles as events are something we look to. The former can be said to make a person’s appearance memorable, but the latter is predicated on making a memorable impression. Both allow for a balance of what is hidden and what gets revealed and thus both involve a certain amount of voyeuristic sleight of hand directing of the eye and the subject.
Philip Johnson's glasses were his signature, his Glass House was his "Pavilion for viewing nature." What design spectacles – eyewear or event – have had a significant impact on you?
Terence gave the final word
I have had to wear eyeglasses since I was in 3rd grade so I have spent a lot of time thinking about them.
I think architects put a lot emphasis on them for various reasons. But the root association might be seen in the self-portrait that El Lissitzky created of himself….
If you look at it closely, Lissitzky has superimposed his hand (with compass) over his eye, as if to emphasize the architect’s hand – and work, I suppose – being linked to his eye. The hand is also using the compass to draw a circle. Overall, this is a little manifesto about self-invention – the circle being an abstraction of the artist’s head. Or eye.
Wednesday, March 21 at 2:46pm
Selected list of words appearing in this and other conversations.