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Anatomy for Interior Designers

A witty and uniquely illustrated vintage book that solves interior design issues

by Evan Orensten in Design on 16 April 2010

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Written by Julius Panero with brilliant illustrations by Nino Repetto, the 1948 "Anatomy for Interior Designers" is an inspired and still relevant take on organizing living, working and commercial environments. From closets to kitchen drawers, filing cabinets to game rooms, the book details the ideal proportions for creating harmonious and appropriate spaces.

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Several editions of the book exist; the one we found is the 1962 revised and expanded edition that expertly combines Repetto's tongue-in-cheek drawings (a kangaroo falling down stairs that fall short of ideal dimensions, above) with Panero's analysis. The book includes such vintage gems as "The Human Eye and Television," which explains that "it cannot digest more than sixteen separate pictures passing before it in one second," as well as more timeless references.

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In "The Business Office," Panero and Repetto manage to explain 3-D problems in 2-D. When two filing cabinets are placed exactly opposite each other, the results are calamity, as illustrated by the bothered figures. Likewise, cabinets placed too close to a wall create disastrous, not to mention uncomfortable, conundrums for the office worker. Beneath these warnings, Repetto lays out simple drawings with exact measurements for the most harmonious workspace.

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Anatomy for Interior Designers examines all the spaces of modern life, from bedroom to bar with attention to detail and humor. The book makes for an excellent introduction to interior design and food for thought to those already practiced in the field.

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