Taschen's latest release is a hefty, two-volume tour of, as the title suggests, "100 Interiors Around the World." Organized alphabetically, the set gives the reader a peek into a hundred breathtaking houses, apartments, penthouses and villas from Acapulco to Zurich, fourteen of which are located in Paris alone. You'll see many familiar names—both the homes' owners and their architects and interior designers. No interiors or architecture compendium would be complete without Mies van der Rohe's beautifully spare, gridded Barcelona Pavilion that he designed in 1929 in marble, onyx and travertine and filled with his signature furnishings. His aesthetics are echoed throughout many of the pages, as are those of Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier and interior designers Louis Kahn and Tadao Ando. The pages brim with prime examples of Modernism, NeoClassical, Colonial and Art Deco; We even get a glimpse of the NeoGothic in the Red House, "the cradle of the Arts and Crafts movement," built in the English town of Bexleyheath in 1859 for William Morris, who sought to counter the influx of inferior industrial products at the time with high quality craftsmanship.
Aside from access to products and materials of the highest quality and premium locations, another thing that sets these homes apart is the generous communal seating areas for receiving guests as well as spacious, indulgent bathrooms - freestanding tubs that overlook jaw-dropping vistas straight out of an issue of National Geographic. There are gilded bathtubs, claw-footed basins—even one that sits in a wooden boat—but the best of the bunch belongs to architect Ken Crosson, who designed a tub on wheels for his Coromandel, New Zealand vacation house. Conceived as the ultimate getaway, there's no dishwasher, TV or computer—sounds like paradise. The home is equipped with two exterior facing walls that can be raised and lowered like drawbridges to become outdoor patios, as well as the aforementioned bathtub that can be filled indoors and then rolled outside for a soak under the stars.
Other homes of note include Chris Boros' penthouse, which resides atop a four-story above ground air-raid bunker in Berlin that he uses to store his art collection, which he makes available to the public. His sparse, contemporary furnishings and large artwork contrast beautifully with the bare concrete walls. "Only art has the power to turn a bunker into something that is relevant to us today," he said of the space.
As you page through spectacular home after home in locations both exotic and familiar, you start to notice that while they each reflect local tastes and traditions, certain international influences pervade even the most regional abodes. Whether in Denmark, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Uruguay or Marrakech, you can spot Eero Saarinen's Tulip chair, Bertoia's Knoll chairs, the Eames' fiber glass or plastic shells or Arne Jacobsen's plywood Series 7 range, proving, perhaps, that design just might be the most universal language of all.
"100 Interiors Around the World" is available from Taschen for $59.99.