Daniel Libeskind 04.08.15

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A prolific architect and urbanist known for his ability to create sensitive and at times dramatic spaces that evoke cultural memory, the Polish-born Libeskind seeks out objects that do much the same

Ribbon chair
Pierre Paulin

Well, I did a kind of crazy thing one day: I saw an exhibition at Miami/Basel, and I bought a prototype of a Paulin sofa, and with great difficulty I had it delivered through the windows of my little apartment in Tribeca. I mean, it’s bigger than a car — it was never produced commercially! But I’ve fallen in love with Paulin’s work as a result. And I discovered the Ribbon chair in books, and I think it would look so good in the living room. The sofa needs a friend – right now it’s next to this Mies lounge chair and it just looks a little anomalous.

Red Square tea cups
Kazimir Malevich

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Kazimir Malevich was an incredible visionary, and kind of a mystic, and had a teapot produced in what is now St Petersburg in 1923. I haven’t been able to get the original cups, which had a red square – he believed every proletarian should have a cup with a red square, which would be the ultimate redemption of reality! I have the teapot, which leaks by the way. Of course, it was pointed out to Malevich that it leaks, and he said, “Of course it leaks, because it’s not a teapot, it’s an idea of a teapot!” It looks more like a building in Krakow in 1920 than something you put on a table!

Hunting knife
Tapio Wirkkala

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Ah, Wirkkala! To me he’s one of the greatest designers. He did everything, he even tried his hand at architecture. His hunting knife – which actually I had, and was either lost of stolen – was one of the most beautiful objects. And I’m not a hunter, but the way the handle was produced, the proportion of the knife itself, the care for beauty — to me Wirkkala stands out, and now it’s so difficult to find his things. I’m trying to collect. And, by the way, it’s a mass-produced work! I’m very sentimental, actually, because I was meant to be at dinner with Wirkkala the night he died. He was a fantastic designer, everything that he did has such a sensibility, a modernity, a beauty and it’s kind of uncompromising in its form.

First edition of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary, 1755
J & P Knapton, London

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Johnson’s dictionary is just about the greatest book I’ve ever read. I have the paperback, but I would love to have a leather-bound, 1750s volume and carry it around with me. It has all the references to words that have long since been discarded, and it shows the humour and the wit of the English language that I truly love. It’s truly poetic. Dictionaries today are more about information, and it shows me how much we’ve lost in the art of articulating a language. I was looking something up, and came across “army” – Johnson’s definition is “a collection of armed men, obliged to obey one man”. That’s his definition! There’s a sense of humour, and of irony.

Shark-skin boots
Lucchese

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I have about ten pairs of cowboy boots, it’s a true luxury – but I don’t have any shoes, so that makes up for it! I’ve not only fallen in love with the sound of the boot on the ground, but also with that shark-skin shadow ... And Lucchese are a third-generation boot maker – they do everything by hand. I toured the factory recently, and they told me they’d gotten a computer and thrown it out because they didn’t believe it could compete with their handwork. So, it’s also a piece of nostalgia on my part.

 

Words

Daniel Libeskind

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I have about ten pairs of cowboy boots, it’s a true luxury – but I don’t have any shoes, so that makes up for it

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