Sunday, 24 June 2012

Mies Day-Bed Slight Return

The long radiator in our living room has turned the colour of a WW2 Lancaster night flyer, a deep green/black. The correlation is accidental but fortuitous. If I've wanted that colour I'd never have got it, such is the duplicity of colour charts. I thought I was getting Luftewaffe grey. Next to it will lie the Mies day-bed, which arrived on Friday, but without legs. The lack of legs, the Lancaster green, could drive you mad, but could make you smile. For instance I'm now wondering if I could customize Mies's legs, make the thing ride a bit higher so to speak. I must be in a very good mood.
The Mies day bed is my favourite representation of Mies's perhaps rhetorical, perhaps practical, quest for nothing. There's not much you can do on the day bed but stare at the ceiling. No wonder the Americans thought the Farnsworth house 'un-American' (but of course, being ingenious, found a way to perfectly co-opt Mies's giant nothing into huge city centre blank canvasses for smart looking commercial enterprise). You can't imagine your average American on the day bed for very long, but on the other hand you can easily imagine meditative taciturn Berliners hardly getting off it. We of course, are presently only enjoying it sideways up.
Mies craved solitude, silence, in short, another world. I do too, but I'm a lot less good at it. The Mies bed will train me, as he said himself, and it will, probably in the process, make me wonder at it's inferior construction too, but so be it. Nomatter what, the quest for nothing remains a utopian ideal, but not a bad one.

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