From the 1920s to the present day, there is a wealth of evidence of how architectural design has responded to the extravagances and excesses of famous people, sometimes obsessed with the idea of a residence to match their ego. They show how exuberant and unusual projects have been the backdrop not only to glittering parties and receptions, but to some power games and political events.
Grandeur is certainly a watchword, an unquestionable dogma that a successful person cannot seem to disavow (as in the houses designed by Barry Dierks for Maxine Elliott, by John Lautner for Bob Hope and by Ferris Rafauli for Drake).
However, in the opposite direction, the search for an intimate, secluded refuge in contact with nature, escaping the clamour of the limelight (as in the houses designed by Dante Bini for Monica Vitti and Michelangelo Antonioni, by Horace Gifford for Calvin Klein), is also a strong inspirational principle.
Last but not least, the architects’ desire to create a home “made to measure” for the owner's unconventional personality (Adolf Loos’ home for Joséphine Baker, Ora ïto’s for AIR, Rem Koolhaas’ for Vincent Gallo, Axel Vervoordt’s for Kim Kardashian, Tadao Ando’s for Kanye West) reveal the architect’s never-ending desire to go beyond ostentation and clichés to investigate the profound meaning of dwelling, even in the dazzling firmament of celebrities.
Opening image: Axel Vervoordt for Kim Kardashian, Los Angeles, USA 2020