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CITTA VIOLENTA

Thursday, November 08, 2007


The creation of a sort of Eden is not impossible if there is but a will.
Piet Mondrian

Punching the numbers in, to open the front door, to go home. This open box in a warehouse renovation project, security-protected and certified, an unambiguous enclosure to contain and protect me. It expresses certain impulses and ideals; it can create or sustain a way of being. There is, in here, a perfect synthesis between (what I will call) body and soul and surface texture, fixtures and lighting patterns. (You know the very air can be textured.) I am saying then: I own a space that is more than the size or shape or sum of its parts. The things in it, every object carefully chosen, become the very content of a large and whole life-force. It is egoism as casual science. I value nothing more than this space: for clarity and privacy, and productive activity. This is the very first thing.

Next, you must have interests outside of work, for the rhythm and content of life, to balance and feed the protected and enlightened life-force (stay with me) and there is something important to say here too: keep obsessions lean. I have to cut life down to certain essentials, or its gets messy, quite unkempt. It is important that the mind is reined in and focused and nourished simultaneously. With the right application, I find, all three can be accomplished at once.

What I have been talking about up to now is choice: this is where, or how, space and content are connected. (No, indivisible.) To begin: you have a mind, you have a body, you have square meters of space. You cannot consider your self functional or actually alive unless all three resonate as one. It is not a tremulous thing however, or vague. People with ideas and the money to back them pay professionals to design their interiors, with the occasional disastrous result. (It is a psychological certainty that loathed decoration triggers mental distress and breakdown.) The elite do it themselves.

I began with a grid: I began, in fact, with Piet Mondrian, and that is, the grid. Why Mondrian? Well, I would not say that I defend culture. What purpose does it serve? Emotional, mythic, economic. Ah, now you know it. With Mondrian I understood order and pattern as transcendent force. So I got a book. I found the grid. I found something others seemed to miss in this fabled Theosophist. I found the man who wrote, or maybe said, "we see the electric lights of luxury and utility; the window displays. Even the thought of all this is gratifying. Then we feel the great difference between modern times and the past." He could have gone on. (He did go on.) Even the thought of all this is gratifying.

Yes, for you know that the arrangement of electric light in a room has a profound rhythmic effect on the soul, a mirror of the moon and oceans. Balancing light and shade, the obscurity and precision of this art, can make a difference as wide as life and death. It is a certain calibration (accent lighting): the exact angle and location of lamps (Castiglione, chrome); distribution of LED fittings; brightness, or not, or colour, of bulbs; the shape of shades. And the alteration of light, like when moving lamps around, or when a bulb blows, shifting tones and shadows, will alter your turn of thought, your run of feeling, your very activity. So, in one logical step, I installed a pre-set lighting system with four or five different variations to suit any particular moment; a multifunctional, multicurcuit mood-enhancer. I established tidal regularity. This had clarity, therefore beauty. And it is what Mondrian meant.

He is the only decoration I have, or need. I mean this literally. I mounted vast Mondrian prints behind non-reflective glass and hung them in taut positions around the apartment. Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue (1921) above white linen-drenched Limobed, where I sleep; in the bathroom, above the sink, facing bath-length mirrors, Rhythm of Black Lines (1935-42); in the living room, where I plug-in, relax, practice Pilates, Composition in a Square (1929); to set off steel Rangermaster Elite dual hob, Composition II with Black Lines (1930). (Prints all custom made.)

This helped unify spatial content, my life and living: a field of connecting energies. It provided visual punctuation to control volume and depth, pure lines and stark colour. I do not need or desire rich textures, layers of warmth, or colourful fabrics. There is nothing "cosy" or "comforting" about this city, and the kind of atmosphere and style it concedes and leads. I do not wish to lie to myself, you understand, or be ensconced. I need clarity. Strong vertical and horizontal lines and angles. Flexible and versatile lighting. Plain walls (white, taupe). Bath and shower room with sanitary ware by Porcelanosa, all white tiled. Original dark wood floorboards on the upper landing and bedroom. Open shelves, no cupboards. The kitchen "area" fully-fitted, with stainless steel accessories, Royal Doulton china (Conran collection) and integrated appliances on black granite worktops. LCD flat screen TV inside a sliding door system, to contain wires and add-ons; Dolby surround sound sunk into walls. Everything in high-lustre white, black lacquer, dark brown leather, grey glass, clean steel.

Unnecessary vibrations are eliminated, order imposed, which keeps psychic lines on the straight and narrow, by which I mean direct and focused. I cannot explain these elemental correlations fully. But what Mondrian said, about creating paradise by force of will, expresses at least the special effort involved in successful living. As much, of course, as fine judgement, good taste, and natural class.

posted by oc  # 12:20 PM

citta vecchio

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