Authors
27/07/18

Loos sits on his secrets

"What will you do when old man Veilich dies?”, says Loos, who was told by clients, never many but select. Josef Veilich made all the chairs for Adolf Loos’ houses from his first works until his death in 1929, and the architect dedicated a heartfelt obituary in the Frankfurter Zeitung where they type like precise bursts of machine gun the ideas on how to respond to the need to sit down that he had been defending since the end of the previous century. Loos is the greatest defender of originality, the modern fetish for excellence: there is no need to invent what is already solved, so old man Veilich, who worked alone in his Viennese workshop since his assistant was killed in the Great War, replicated with great care for him multiple variants of Chippendale and Windsor chairs where "the annual rings of growth of the wood had to exactly match the curved shape". If the English and the Americans had already thought about all the different ways of sitting and resting, why go crazy? In addition, Veilich was deaf as his patron, "that's why we understood each other well". For Loos, a residential interior is the face of its owner and to him, and to their different needs of rest, the architect had to remain. He liked to sit by the fireplace.

 

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The one he made for his Viennese apartment, made of brick, with two workbenches that, around 1904, he remodeled to insert two iron boxes into its ends - in the reconstruction that can be seen in Vienna’s Museum of the City they are wood - that Dr. Theodor Beer had left in his custody, for which he was working in his Villa Karma, next to Lake Geneva. Beer fled Vienna to avoid pretrial detention for a charge of pedophilia, for which he was eventually convicted, lost his title, his post at the University of Vienna and his wife, who committed suicide. Loos, along with his friends Karl Kraus and Peter Altenberg, vehemently defended Beer. In 1928, he himself had to face a controversial accusation of abuse related to girls who had posed for him and that took him to prison for four months. His house was searched and the compromising content of Beer's boxes came to light in the trial. It was useless to argue that it had nothing to do with him. Loos, who always knew that design was, in the first place, a choice, never designed a chair properly, only sharply rectified those that were close, including the chest of secrets of a friend in distress that ended up being his own (the secrets and troubles). The design as destiny. Loos, the first metadesigner.

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