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I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo by Design featuring a one on one conversation with a modern design clarion. A design creative with exceptional vision and true perspective on who he is as a creative and what he wants his eponymous firm to be. This is Benjamin Johnston recorded live fat the WestEdge Design Fair’s first Texas edit in September 2022.
Architect and designer, Benjamin Johnston is the face of his namesake firm but he is not a one-man show. He is partner & Creative Director and seems extremely comfortable with the roles he has chosen for himself. That of creative to work the business but not necessarily CEO, president or other lofty titles because he has made the decision not to let the business work him. The true gift I receive from moderating these chats is a unique perspective that sometimes, really surprise me. This was one of those conversations and I am really pleased to present it to you for your enjoyment and edification.
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Before we get to Benjamin, I received a special delivery recently and that warrants another BOOKLOOK. I don’t review every book I receive, but the specials ones do get special treatment. This is one such occurrence.
During the early days of the pandemic, I started a new series called Designing for Disaster™. During the series, I met Thomas Kligerman. He shared his story during the lockdown and it was a very cool episode of the show. Check the show notes, if I remember…there will be a link to that episode. So when Thomas wrote a book, I was certainly going to tell you about it. The book, Shingle and Stone Thomas Kligerman Houses is extraordinary for a number of reasons. This is a reflection on his years of work it’s also a lovingly tender notice to the architecture and design community that the band is breaking up in pursuit of solo careers. Thomas lays out his point of view and the manner in which he, Joel and John have their own interests both personally and professionally to pursue. For Kilgerman, it’s the announcement of his first solo enterprise, Kligerman Architecture + Design. This 275+ page announcement comes complete with a well-defined narrative. Every Louvre, shingle, elevation is uniquely Thomas Kligerman and as he even points out, it’s not that he did everything by himself, it is a team joined together by a vision. That vision is uniquely Kligerman’s. Thomas is not only an architect but an artist who uses what architects use, elevation, space, material… But, his vision for taking shingle and bending it to angles and joints that create something new is mesmerizing as one turns from page to page. This book is one for the library because it represents timeless work with singular vision and artistry.
Since we are talking about a design and architecture book, I will tell you that the book is solid in construction and beautiful to look at when closed which means it is also a perfect specimen for accessorizing. When you open this book, the experience of turning pages is as much a journey as it is an exercise in surprise and delight. BOOKLOOK has turned into a a really cool segment for me and it has also received some very positive feedback. I would tell you that I only review design books that I can touch, hold and feel because I believe that is how books are meant to be enjoyed. I don’t review pdf’s because I want you to know what the experience was like for me so you can factor that not the calculus when deciding if or if not to get a copy for yourself. I spend aver an hour paging through, flipping, turning and reading Thomas’ thoughts.
As much as it is a “mirror” as Kligerman describes it, he envisages things to come. With that, I am also anxiously awaiting the next book that will showcase the work he does from here on out. Between now and then, this book is a keeper. Godspeed Thomas.
Thank you Benjamin. Amazing. Thank you WestEdge Design Fair for allowing me once again to take over the stage and present panels and conversations like these. I view it as a gift. A chance to challenge both myself and the design community with ideas and programming that is different, inspiring and thought-provoking. Thank you to CXD partners and sponsors, ThermaSol, York Wallcoverings, Franz Viegener, Moya Living and Article Furniture for your continued support. I would ask that if you enjoy the show, you support these companies by giving them a chance to earn your design business. Thank you for listening, downloading and subscribing to the show. Thank you for your emails and guest submissions. I love them, keep em coming. You are the reason I produce CXD. Designers, architects, set decorators, showroom managers, publicists, artists, makers…You make this world a better place. Remember why you do what you do. Be well. Until next week, take today first. -CXD