Adolf Loos, dandy and architect, gave a series of talks in Paris in 1926: Der Mensch mit den Modernen Nerven, “Man with Modern Nerves,” including a lecture on “Walking, Standing, Sitting, and Lying Down” – to design even the matter of how one sits, and whether and how to remove one’s hat when entering a building: to make posture and gait itself as absolutely modern as a chair or a window. To say nothing of inside the body: “He had already upset the Viennese by advocating replacing their rich cuisine with a diet of raw tomatoes, roast beef, and cabbage (Loos himself subsisted exclusively on ham and cream to cure a stomach ailment).”
For decades Buckminster Fuller ate only steak, Jell-O, and grapefruit juice, with cup after cup of tea – so much tea that after a sweltering night his hosts found a pillowcase stained slightly pink from tannic acid seeping through his scalp. Fuller thought that live with modern nerves meant to live in a flow of information. He designed his housing projects around control rooms and observation rooms: world globes, maps, “O-Volving” bookshelves, radio, typewriter, stock ticker, television, a drawing board. In the Dymaxion houses, this was dubbed the “Go-Ahead-With-Life Room.”
In Silver Lake, at the Van der Leeuw Research House, Richard Neutra made his bed into a soft studio, with two public phones, communication stations for his offices, call bells, drafting boards and easels he could fold down over the bed, and an apparatus of lights and music he could control from an overhead dashboard. (The bedside table on casters had his tape recorder, clock, and drawing equipment.) He would hold meetings from his bed, for which he would put a tie on with his nightshirt as a concession to the niceties of public life.
Giovanni Venosta’s Classics Comes Out off the 1984 Olympic Signals (Improbable Music for People Who Aren’t Very Disposed): a gravely playful Italian take on American minimalism, this is the theme to Peanuts coming home after seeing the world.