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Ode to the Beaux (-Arts)

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It would be impossible to write about design from New York Public Library and not mention the Library building itself.  When I first came to work at the Library, I would marvel at its grandeur, the overwhelming scale of the staircases, the height of the ceilings, the copious amounts of marble. But now, after working in this building everyday for five years, it is the details that amaze me–a hidden staircase, a lion mask on a chandelier, the carved acanthus leaves crowning a wooden column.  The architects of this grand Beaux-Arts building designed everything from the overall space to the chairs, benches and even the trash cans.

And who were these detail-oriented architects? John Mervin Carrère and Thomas Hastings. These gentlemen and their firm of Carrère & Hastings are the focus of a recently published glossy book by Acanthus Press.  This book is, of course, available for browsing in the very building that the authors of Carrère & Hastings Architects call “an undeniable turning point for the firm.”

 

 

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