White is usually defined as the absence of color. Citing an experiment using prisms in the late 1600’s by Sir Isaac Newton, in her new book, Brilliant: White in Design, Linda O’Keeffe—formerly the design editor of the now, sadly, defunct magazine Metropolitan Home—argues that white is, in fact, the amalgamation of all colors, and is hence the most powerful tool in the decorative arts. Given the examples she uses to bolster her point, there is little room to argue. These include an all-white master bedroom in a Manhattan apartment that includes a glowing Hans Wegner “Ox” chair and ottoman, architect Oscar Niemeyer’s ovoid National Museum in Brasilia, porcelain wares by the designer Ted Meuhling, white molded-plastic chairs by the late Danish designer Vernor Panton, all-white interiors by interior designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, and, of course, the architecture of white-aholic Richard Meier. In short, “Brilliant” is brilliant.
Brilliant: White in Design
By Linda O’Keeffe
Monacelli Press, 224 pages, $50