sigurd lewerentz, florist, 1969
flower shop, completed 1969.
östra kyrkogården, malmö, 1916-1969.
architect: sigurd lewerentz, 1885-1975 (with bernt nyberg 1927-1978)
for a long time, the flower shop in malmö was my favourite building, and believing it to be the one piece of architecture able to express aspects of the human condition I would normally seek out in literature, I have visited the place more times than any other building outside copenhagen.
while this grey little girl no longer tops my long list of crushes, returning always leaves me thinking "still crazy after all these years"...
kraus claimed that art should present itself in the form of an enigma and lewerentz certainly delievers. this time in malmö, however, I felt I was able to decipher more than ever before.
I now believe the flower shop to be a return to neoclassicism for lewerentz and a departure from the neo-ruskinian anti-modernism of his two great churches. its skillful play on squares and the golden section, and the subversive distortion of familiar details connect this house with the methodology of his 1920s projects.
the sheer elegance of its proportions alone separates it from klippan and björkhagen and demonstrates at least two things: a continuity in all of lewerentz' works, and the willfulness of the churches in terms of an artist consciously working against his prior knowledge of his craft, unlearning with every step taken.
"all I know is that you are not going to do it the way you normally do", was not only an order spoken to his masons but a reminder spoken to himself during the design and construction of the churches, and - as a method, an obsessive, tortuous method - finally abandoned in this, his last building.
those concerned with the survival of our late-modernist heritage will be disheartened to hear that a second extension has been added to the shop. this time, at least, not physically connected.
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