Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 13: Less is More

   A quote can be a gate to a personal philosophy, a mantra for a cause, or that endless ad jingle rattling in your ear. In this case, the quote "less is more" ... originally from the 1851 poem Andrea Del Sarto (or The Faultless Painter) by Robert Browning ( was used by pioneer modernist architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to define his architectural style. The original poem by Browning has nothing to do with the sleek lines and circumspect visage of Mies van der Rohe's pure forms and spacious interiors... in fact, the quote doesn't appear until lines 70 through 78 of the poem! and has nothing to do with space and form, but rather, a somewhat lovelorn drama and extensive self inspection.. as Browning's works can be... where each line seems to hold the information of a hundred trains of thought...

"I could count twenty such
On twice your fingers, and not leave this town,
Who strive—you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,—        75
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter)—so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged." -R. Browning

Oh well, the book...

"...I am judged." -RB
The Colophon:
Less is More is a tiny 2-inch by 2-inch case-bound book constructed of black silk bookcloth, hand-painted pastepaper, and gray Rives BFK paper. Binding is completed with the kettle stitch with french-link binding. The fore-edge of each page is tipped with black bookcloth to resemble posts of a wrought-iron gate. A strand of metallic silver thread is strung through each page as well... similar to the industrial steel cable outlining Mies van der Rohe's balconies and stairwells. 

silver thread along the fore-edge..
Each page was illustrated by this artist with calligraphic brush marks in India ink.

mark of entry
Polyester plate lithography was used to transcribe the single line of text, in InaiMathi 18 pt. font, of Mies van der Rohe's adaption of the Browning quote "Less is More".
... a cross can mean change...
more of less...
symbolism of three
...the gate
Fifteen pages of the quote, "Less is More," with fifteen unique pen and ink drawings complete the tiny book. Unlike many of the works of Mies van der Rohe, it is physically insignificant.

Some examples of the works of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe...
architectural drawing of an unfinished 1950's residential complex
Seagrams Tower, NYC
Barcelona chair
Farnsworth House

a gate
and permission 
your shelter