About this talk

Running time: 26 minutes

The late Theo Crosby - architect, sculptor, designer, author, editor - was a partner in the London multi-design firm Pentagram. He fought throughout his working life for the integration of the arts, the subject of this talk. He says: "Early modern buildings often contained a great deal of art. New modern buildings invariably have none".

Seeking the reason, he finds "roots in the nineteenth century and implications that illuminate many contemporary attitudes". For example, the Foreign Office in London which he has recently been examining is "an exercise by a superb professional" (Gilbert Scott).

"The sculptures play two roles in the building... as physical ornaments... but they also carry a load of meanings and ideas which make the reading of the building more interesting". This sort of approach was discarded by the Modern Movement in the 20th century. The idea of integration was replaced by the idea of confrontation, the work of art now standing in isolation from the building. But, pleads Crosby, art is cheap at the moment and "an architect can very easily gather around him a team of artists, a great variety of capabilities which he can use of make a truly unique work".

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

Theo Crosby


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