PRINT February 2007


Josef Hoffmann

TODAY DESIGN RULES. The notion of a designed world, a designed home, a designed life has penetrated deep into consumer consciousness through reality TV shows, magazines, and huge stores dedicated to the concept. Architects and the product industry promote customization, while Chinese factories can imitate virtually any existing style. “Josef Hoffmann: Interiors, 1902–1913” at New York’s Neue Galerie reveals an extreme example of the impulse to create an environment unified by design, and re-creates in grand detail an early collision of past styles with the forms of industrialized labor and technologies that continue to shape our world.

A well-known early modernist architect based in Vienna, Hoffmann proposed that his clients live within a seamless domestic world of his own making—a Gesamtkunstwerk, or “total design.” At the Neue Galerie curator Christian Witt-Dörring has reassembled

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