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Customize: IN-EX 02 Review of Peripheral Architecture. (Books: European Fashions).

By IN-EX projects. Basel: Birkhauser. 2001. [euro]38

IN-EX is the nom-de-plume of a French team called Peripheriques, in collaboration with graphic designer Franck Tallon; the name is supposed to prompt various associations such as Interior / EXterior, IN situ / EXample, INverse / EXtreme, or any one of about 25 other suggested possibilities. This one is about 'Customization', and consists of short interviews with several largely European architects followed by illustrations of some of their projects, where the graphic presentation is given some precedence over their relevance to the preceding text, or for that matter their legibility. The interviewees come from varying stages of careers: there are intense young persons posing with cigarettes or assorted Eurotrash style accessories, highly suitable for inclusion in a book printed on astonishingly glossy paper; there are Perrault and Markli (neither of whom has anything interesting to say); and there are three delightful pages of the damning with faint praise of Koolhaas by Zenghelis and Gigantes, which are a jo y to read and should be posted up in huge print in every architecture school. If the assembled architects have anything in common, it is to disabuse Messrs IN-EX of the 'customize' idea; many speak in a pleasantly pragmatic manner. A Japanese pair called Yui and Takakura Tazuka come across as particularly sympathetic, and it is unfortunate that their compatriot Toyo Ito is given so little space.

The book ends with some unexplained photographs by 11 artists; a section devoted to some kind of workshop held by Peripheriques together with Atelier Bow-wow in Tokyo; and, finally, two longer pieces on urban projects by Chemetoff and Lion, notwithstanding that the former was the victim of a particularly vicious attack by Claude Parent earlier in the book, and thereby providing further evidence that editorial discipline is not the strongpoint of the IN-EX team. IN-EXperience? It is, however, a jolly, well-spirited, entertaining, colourful and unpretentious little book, and it provides a useful window onto some European practitioners not otherwise much published in English.
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Author:Brittain-Catlin, Timothy
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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