The architecture of interiors in Harvard Design Magazine

by Steve Watson in July 2019
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Architecture Art & design

Harvard Design Magazine is published by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and this latest issue focuses on architecture. Looking specifically at the idea of the interior in architecture, it presents both a practical appraisal of the design of interior spaces, as well as a more conceptual idea of what the inside means, looking in on itself to dig deeper into the subject.

It’s a topic the magazine has tackled before – 10 years ago the team responded to Mohsen Mostafavi, then the school’s new dean, when he challenged architects to ask why they focus so much of their time and energy on exteriors: “Do architects just pay more attention to the outside? Or is it perhaps because the external view of a building provides the image of a totality, an image that in its flatness is easier to comprehend than one of the interior?”

Selected texts from that previous issue are reproduced here, along with contemporary responses to those pieces, and the whole issue is framed by Mohsen’s original essay. It’s a provocative and stimulating read, and works on several levels – the magazine is both answering Mohsen’s question about interiors, and also looking in on itself to do so.

This self-referential exploration of the magazine is beautifully encapsulated by the cover, which shows a simple InDesign page to reveal the hidden digital architecture that underpins virtually all print magazines today. An idea like this could easily feel like a lazy design solution, but it’s executed with such style that it really works – the gridlines are subtly embossed and lovely fluorescent inks make it feel like a premium piece of production.

I hope the video above does a good enough job of showing what this all looks and feels like, but of course the only way to really appreciate it is in the flesh, so if this all looks like something you want to get hold of, check our shop for copies while stock lasts…

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