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New photo exhibit showcases exquisite modernist architectural details

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‘Objects of Refinement’ celebrates the modernist idea of a total work of art

Photo of a lobby foyer with walls, columns, floors, and ceilings mosaiced with abstract shapes and hand prints and animals.
Chicco, Mosaic Walls, Apartment Building, Turin, 1950s.
Photos by Adam Štěch

Prague-based editor and photographer Adam Štěch, who together with Jan Kloss and Matěj Činčera forms the collective Okolo, has curated a selection of photographs of modernist works from lesser-known architectures from his travels around the world.

Titled “Objects of Refinement: Custom-designed Elements in Modernist Interiors and Architecture,” the exhibition comprises hundreds of photographs from Europe, Latin America, Australia, Japan, and the U.S. of oft-unnoticed details, like a doorknob, for instance, or a screen, that, when taken together, “celebrate the modernist idea of total work of art.”

Carlo Mollino, Door, Casa Mollino, Turin, 1960-1968.
Marcello Belleri, Mario Bianchini, Door, Via Archimede 16 Apartment Building, Milan, 1949-1950.

The exhibition is divided into four chapters—furniture, lighting, static elements, and dynamic elements—and encompass designs by modernists famous and obscure, from the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright to Max Cetto to Ferdinand Milučký.

Frank Lloyd Wright and Aaron Green, Gate, Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, 1960-1976.
Antoni Bonet Castellana, Movable Wall, Suipacha y Paraguay Atelier, Buenos Aires, 1939.

“Objects of Refinement” was first shown during the London Design Festival. Below, a selection of photographs that captures glimpses of sections of buildings that could readily stand on their own as art objects.

Antoni de Moragas, Post Boxes, Vía Augusta Apartment Building, Barcelona, 1964-1970.
Agustín Hernandez Navarro, Handrail, Praxis-Agustín Hernandez House, Mexico City, 1970.
Konstantin Melnikov, Stove, Melnikov House, Moscow, 1928.
Edward Durrell Stone, Windown Screen, Durrell Stone House, New York, 1956.
Ricardo Legorreta, Fountain, Hotel Camino Real Polanco, Mexico City, 1968.

Ferdinand Milučký, Sconces, Crematory, Bratislava, 1967-1968.

(h/t The Spaces)