A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces

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By Caroline Wallis / Published by Dwell
Part history book, part design bible, Inside Utopia captures the midcentury modernist psyche and beyond.

As many designers will attest, modernism is a concept that holds a lot more weight than one may expect. Gestalten's new book titled Inside Utopia attempts to unpack the meaning of modernism, with case studies spanning over three decades and 13 countries. Coming from the Berlin-based publishing house that's known for its exquisitely curated titles on art and design, the book articulates and connects seemingly disparate design movements across time and geography. 

Top photo: Frey House II by Albert Frey, Palm Springs, CA, 1948; Photo by Undine Pröhl

A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 1 of 10 - Inside Utopia, published by Gestalten. Stahl House by Pierre Koenig, Los Angeles, CA, 1957.

Inside Utopia, published by Gestalten. Stahl House by Pierre Koenig, Los Angeles, CA, 1957.


A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 2 of 10 - Eames House by Charles and Ray Eames, Pacific Palisades, CA 1949

Eames House by Charles and Ray Eames, Pacific Palisades, CA 1949

Inside Utopia highlights three distinct sub-movements under the umbrella of modernism, starting with the optimistic flair of the 1950s. As the introductory reads, the '50s set the tone for architects to act as "emperors of uncharted territory," prompting a profusion of futuristic Case Study homes, primarily in and around Los Angeles. At the center of California modernism, designers like Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, and A. Quincy Jones created the design canon for midcentury modernism.

A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 3 of 10 - Stahl House by Pierre Koenig, Los Angeles, CA, 1957

Stahl House by Pierre Koenig, Los Angeles, CA, 1957


A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 4 of 10 - Sleeper House by Charles Deaton, Genesee Mountain, CO, 1963

Sleeper House by Charles Deaton, Genesee Mountain, CO, 1963

If the 1950s aesthetic was all about what a grand future might look like, then the '60s and '70s were about a psychedelic means of self expression. Gestalten states,"Examining the evolution of the living space and its expressive cues in the second half of the century is illuminating. Because today, our tastes revolve around that past more than ever, around an idea of a radical future that never came true." As many of today's designers continue to source inspiration from the midcentury canon, it's helpful to understand the origin and historical significance of characteristic modern design elements. This book does just that by taking you back in time and leading you to some of the most influential homes in modernism's history.

A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 5 of 10 - Casa Bola by Eduardo Longo, São Paolo, Brazil, 1979

Casa Bola by Eduardo Longo, São Paolo, Brazil, 1979


A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 6 of 10 - Palais Bulles by Antti Lovag, Théoule-sur-Mer, France, 1989

Palais Bulles by Antti Lovag, Théoule-sur-Mer, France, 1989


A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 7 of 10 - Elrod House by John Lautner, Palm Springs, CA, 1968

Elrod House by John Lautner, Palm Springs, CA, 1968


A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 8 of 10 - Walstrom House by John Lautner, Los Angeles, CA, 1979

Walstrom House by John Lautner, Los Angeles, CA, 1979


A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 9 of 10 - Torres Blancas by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza, Madrid, Spain, 1964-1969

Torres Blancas by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza, Madrid, Spain, 1964-1969


A New Book Celebrates Modernism With Futuristic Homes and Visionary Masterpieces - Photo 10 of 10 - La Renardiere by Etienne Fromanger, Jouars-Pontchartrain, 1975

La Renardiere by Etienne Fromanger, Jouars-Pontchartrain, 1975

"Inside Utopia" is now available through Gestalten here.