When Fontainebleau opened in 1954, the critics were unanimous in their condemnation. But the public was enthralled by the hotel’s sweeping lines, its unusual lighting effects, its glamor, and its drama. Architect Morris Lapidus had openly defied the “less is more” Bauhaus establishment to create the culmination of what he had learned from two decades of retail design. As art critic Dave Hickey says in the book, “How does one explain the puritanical liturgy of white, right angle and ‘less is more’ to a man whose autobiography is entitled Too Much is Never Enough?” While peers were taking their cues from factory boxes, Lapidus was paying homage to Coney Island. The architect’s “woggles,” “cheese holes,” “bean poles,” and signature stairway to nowhere invited hotel guests to have fun, and look fabulous while they were at it.
In the half century since its unveiling, Fontainebleau has finally gained the respect it deserves and has attained the iconic status due its innovative design. Lapidus/Fontainebleau briefly chronicles the development of the architect and what he—and everyone else—considered his masterpiece. With nods from Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, and most recently Ai Weiwei, Lapidus has claimed his rightful place among the world’s most original and influential designers. With humor, intelligence, and a deep understanding of the psychology of color and form, he created not only spaces, but experiences for those fortunate enough to inhabit them.
This expanded third edition adds still more to our appreciation for the architect’s work.
74 pages, 57 photographs | ISBN: 978-0-9795898-5-0 | $25 softcover | 2013 Third edition | 2013