What is "Mies in London"?
In the early 1960s, the modernist architect Mies van der Rohe designed a spectacular amber glass and steel office tower for the City of London. If completed it would have been his only project in Britain. But after two decades of planning, the building was cancelled, amidst political intrigue and controversy.
For almost forty years, the project archive has been inaccessible and unpublished, as the commissioner Lord Peter Palumbo (a well-known developer and patron of architecture in the UK) held the only copies of all Mies' work.
Now the REAL foundation has managed to get exclusive access to this material (in collaboration with RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects). We are planning to publish the first ever book on the project, in a title called Mies in London.
It will be an extremely high-quality publication, with exceptionally reproduced drawings and images – including never-before-seen plans, sections, elevations, details, objects designed specifically for the building (door handles, ashtrays, etc), extensive photographs of both study and final models, as well as beautiful photo-collages. There will also be interviews with Lord Palumbo and important texts from the team at RIBA who have worked with us to piece together the history of this fascinating project. The publication date is currently set for 7 March 2017.
We're asking you, the Kickstarter community, to help us make this incredible book reality!
What is in the archive?
There are more than 150 original documents available for inclusion in the book, including blueprints, photographs, collages, details and models.
What else has the REAL foundation done?
In 2016 alone, we published three books, curated two exhibitions and successfully funded and delivered (through Kickstarter) an architectural magazine, Real Review. We also curated the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, one of the most prestigious exhibitions on architecture in the world. All our publications are designed by OK-RM, one of the UK's foremost design studios.
The book Home Economics is the catalogue to the exhibition of the same name, and concerned new ways of thinking about Britain's housing crisis. It featured a lot of original commissions, from art and essays to architectural projects and photographic works. It was a heavily bespoke and high-quality publication, with multiple paper stocks, custom cover and spine design, and a "just-in-time" production for exhibition photography. In terms of complexity and beauty as a design object, this is the closest thing we can show you to Mies in London, although the idea is follow aesthetically Mies' own strict ideas about typography (see blueprint above).
Some other work we produced this year included the Real Review, which was funded by Kickstarter and recently won Stack Magazine "New Title of the Year Award". Two other publications we produced were Symbolic Exchange and Three Found Models. We love to explore new and interesting ways to make books, and Mies in London will be no different: engaging, beautiful, exceptionally well made.
Risks and challenges
The REAL foundation has extensive experience as a publisher press. In 2016 alone we printed several publications - ranging from a hardback, high-specification book with multiple paper stocks and customised binding ("Home Economics"), through to an inexpensive paperback ("Symbolic Exchange") and postcard catalogue ("Three Found Models"). We also successfully funded through Kickstarter our quarterly magazine, Real Review.
In addition to being the Director of REAL I have had more than 12 years experience as an editor and writer for national newspapers, architectural magazines and academic publishers. I am confident we can achieve this book exactly as promised.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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