A reflection on Joseph Holtzman's legendary innovative publication.
|Photo of page from Nest Quarterly.|
And while Karl has been a longtime creative inspiration, my true eye opener to the design world was the moment I opened my first copy of Nest: A Quarterly of Interiors.
Begun by fledgling publisher and art director Joseph Holtzman, a self-taught interior designer and decorator, Nest Quarterly (unrelated to current monthly, The Nest) was a shelter magazine which featured unorthodox exposes on architecture, landscaping, graphic design, interior design and general culture. Its lens took us to unlikely places of wonder, focusing on found sites and the often overlooked world of design - spaces people really lived in as opposed to the ubiquitous, vacant, exclusive interpretations of beauty that filled the pages most interior design magazines.
|Fall 2000 cover.|
Likewise, it often evoked compelling reactions from much of the design establishment. Architect Rem Koolhaas called it "an anti-materialistic, idealistic magazine about the hyper-specific in a world that is undergoing radical leveling, an 'interior design' magazine hostile to the cosmetic." And design columnist Fred A. Bernstein, writing in the New York Times, declared that publisher Joseph Holtzman "believed that an igloo, a prison cell or a child's attic room (adorned with Farrah Fawcett posters) could be as compelling as a room by a famous designer."
|Photo of pages from Nest Quarterly.|
|Photos of pages from Nest Quarterly.|
|Julian Schnabel's Montuak House feature.|
During its tenure it examined everything from dusty mod bus depots of the Sixties, to offbeat traditional dwellings such as filmmaker Julian Schnabel's Montuak House, to the fascinating geometric adobe huts of Africa's lost tribes of the Dogon. It was the crossroad of design and anthropology, a document of truth and fearless honesty. It drew reverence from top designers such as Todd Oldham and pop-culture anti-hero John Waters. It almost never relied on repeated, redundant formats or regular features, and experimented playfully with graphic design, seeking to make each issue a treasured work of art. In essence, Nest Quarterly challenged the meaning of interior design, consumerism, and the very nature of the magazine publishing world.
Sustainable Publishing for the Book Arts.
|Nest wallpaper feature.|
"Publication Studio is an experiment in sustainable publication. We print and bind books on demand, creating original work with artists and writers we admire, books that both respond to the conversation of the moment and can endure. We attend to the social life of the book, cultivating a public that cares and is engaged. Publication Studio is a laboratory for publication in its fullest sense — not just the production of books, but the production of a public. This public, which is more than a market, is created through deliberate acts: the circulation of texts; discussions and gatherings in physical space; and the maintenance of a digital commons. Together these construct a space of conversation, a public space, which beckons a public into being.”
Old issues of Nest sell on Ebay for as much as $150. But if you happen to be one of the lucky enthusiasts who held on to their original issues, I recommend keeping them. Times are tough, I know. Sell your car, furniture, plumbing fixtures, house, whatever. But don't sell your copies of Nest - they're priceless!--D.A. DeMers.
Coming Friday: Designer In Exile's exclusive chat with distinguished muralist and teacher Harvey Weinreich, a veteran of the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia.