Adam Štěch of OKOLO has spent the past 10 years hunting down unusual and idiosyncratic elements in custom-built modernist architecture and interiors. His research is now the topic of the Objects of Refinement exhibition showing during London Design Week in the Brompton Design District until September 24, 2017.

The exhibition comprises an archive of more than 350 images collected by the Prague-based design and architecture curator and editor since 2006. Štěch has traveled across Europe, USA, Latin America, Australia, and Japan in search of these compelling examples of modernist architecture dating as far back as the turn of the 20th century.

The lighting, seating, storages, tables, handrails, doors, windows and other objects of refinement function both as parts of an architectural whole and as distinctive design objects in their own right. Designed by Matěj Činčera and Jan Kloss of OKOLO, the installation comprises four sections – furniture, lighting, static elements, and dynamic elements.

Contrary to the stereotypical minimalism of modernist architecture, the unusual design objects reveal the more eccentric aspects of the movement. Within the modernist idea of a total work of art – the Gesamtkunstwerk – these customised expressive elements hint at the deeper complexities and plural interpretations of modernism.

As the exhibition introduction reads: “All these amazing objects, echoing the styles of famous as well as little-known architects of the 20th century, offer completely different perspectives on designing furniture, lighting and other objects, and uncover chapters of applied art history not yet seen before.”

Willem Marinus Dudok, Clock, Hilversum City Hall, Hilversum, 1931
Greene and Green, Lantern, Gamble House, Pasadena, 1908
Gio Ponti, Curtains, Italian Cultural Institute, Stockholm, 1954
Alziro Bergonzo, Lighting, Teatro Manzoni, Milan, 1950
Kendrick Bangs Kellog and John Vurgin, Door Bell and Fence, Doolittle House, Joshua Tree, 1994-2014
Félix Candela, Chandelier, Iglesia de la Medalla de la Virgen Milagrosa, Mexico City, 1955