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Alexander Koch

(1860—1939)


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(1860–1939). German publisher, highly influential in promoting new architecture and design from the 1880s, not to be confused with Alexander Koch of Zürich and London. He established his firm in the 1880s, bringing out successful journals such as Fachblatt für Innen-Dekoration (Journal of Interior Decoration—from 1890), and Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration (German Art and Decoration—from 1897), the first journal to report on the work of the Wiener Werkstätte (publishing 12 issues on its achievements between 1904 and 1911). Friendly with Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse (reigned 1892–1918), Koch inspired him and the Hessian authorities to found the famous artists' colony at the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt in 1899 to which Behrens and Olbrich (among others) contributed designs: the idea was to produce exemplary work to improve the quality of design in Hessian industries. Koch published a record of the important exhibition (which promoted Jugendstil), held under the aegis of the Grand Duke in Darmstadt in 1901, and also brought out Meister der Innenkunst (1902—edited by Muthesius), which included the series of prizewinning designs for Das Haus eines Kunstfreundes (House for an Art Lover) competition which he had announced in and sponsored through Innen-Dekoration: the book contained the celebrated designs by Baillie Scott and Mackintosh. Following the success of the Darmstadt exhibition, Koch was appointed adviser to the Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Decorativa, Turin (1902), which promoted the Stile floreale and Stile Liberty in Italy. Other important and influential publications of Koch include Moderne Innen-Architektur und innerer Aufbau (Modern Interior Decoration and Completion of Interiors—1899), and Handbuch neuzeitlicher Wohnungskultur (Compendium of Modern Styles of Living—1914), a survey of recently completed German domestic interiors, some of which were very up-to-date indeed, and at first glance could easily have been post-1918. Koch's son (also Alexander) continued the publishing interests after his father's death.

From A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Architecture.


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