Text by Felix Burrichter
powerHouse Books, New York, 2013, English
Nonfiction, Architecture; Nonfiction, Art and Cultural History
6.25 x 8.625 inches, paperback, 448 pages
ISBN: 9781576876534
Suggested Retail Price: $29.95

From the Publisher. PIN-UP Interviews is a compilation of over 50 of the most fascinating interviews from PIN-UP magazine since its first issue was published in October 2006. Serious, yet accessible, featuring the elegant and modern aesthetic PIN-UP’s readers have come to expect, there is no comparable source available for such a stunning array of contemporary design talent collected in one place. It is indispensable to all lovers of today’s brightest architectural and design ideas.

PIN-UP Interviews is the first book produced by PIN-UP, the award-winning, New York-based, biannual architecture and design magazine. Cheekily dubbing itself the “Magazine for Architectural Entertainment,” PIN-UP features interviews with architects, designers, and artists, and presents their work informally—as a fun assembly of ideas, stories, and conversations, all paired with cutting-edge photography and artwork. Both raw and glossy, this “cult design zine” (The New York Times) is a nimble mix of genres and themes, finding inspiration in the high and the low by casting a refreshingly playful eye on rare architectural gems, amazing interiors, smart design, and that fascinating area where those spheres connect with contemporary art.

Included in PIN-UP Interviews are the architects David Adjaye, Shigeru Ban, Ricardo Bofill, David Chipperfield, Zaha Hadid, Junya Ishigami, Rem Koolhaas, Peter Marino, Richard Meier, and Ettore Sottsass; artists Daniel Arsham, Cyprien Gaillard, Simon Fujiwara, Oscar Tuazon, Francesco Vezzoli, Boris Rebetez, Retna, Robert Wilson, and Andro Wekua; and designers Rafael de Cárdenas, Martino Gamper, Rick Owens, Hedi Slimane, Bethan Laura Wood, and Clémence Seilles.

On 1 book list
John Hill

Since editor Felix Burrichter launched PIN-UP in 2006, a staple of the biannual “magazine for architectural entertainment” has been the interviews with architects, designers, artists, photographers, and other persons of interest. Often accompanied by candid photos of the subjects shot exclusively for the publication, the interviews adopt a “less serious approach” to reveal the “surprising depths” hiding below the “shallow surfaces,” as Burrichter puts it in the introduction to the 57 interviews collected in this first PIN-UP book. The same can be said of the magazine, which resembles a fashion rag more than an architectural journal—Issue 3, the first copy I purchased, features a portfolio of naked bodies in designer chairs and a perfume ad on the back cover with a topless woman cupping her breasts—but below the visual saturation is deep, insightful commentary on architectural culture.

Missing from the book is the imagery that originally accompanied the interviews—they are presented simply as words on a page, a fact to which the cover attests. But this omission does not diminish the content in any way; in fact it strengthens what is being said by focusing solely on just that. Images have a way of revealing things that words cannot describe, but they also have a way of distracting us, putting us in “skim mode” when we could be slowly absorbing more insightful information.

PIN-UP Interviews benefits from this concerted selection of words over images, but also from the choice of who converses with the likes of David Adjaye, Jeanne Gang, Rem Koolhaas, Richard Meier, ROLU, and James Wines. (I’m partial to the architects in the collection, though it should be noted they comprise about half to two-thirds of the interviews.) Burrichter and his fellow editors are frequent interviewers, but this is not like a collection of Hans Ulrich Obrist’s “infinite conversations” where one voice prevails; the diversity of voices on the question side sometimes brings PIN-UP Interviews closer to Interview magazine, where big names talk to each other. Examples in this vein are Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli’s conversation with Rem Koolhaas, where each seems to be interviewing the other; and landscape artist Fritz Haeg’s interview with Julius Shulman at the photographer’s studio, in which talk of his gardens is a major ingredient. These are two highlights among many worthwhile reads.

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