Pine Cone (From Villa Müller, Prague, to Kettle's Yard, Cambridge)
Pine cone installed in the house of Kettle's Yard, Cambridge

The Villa Müller in Prague was designed by Adolf Loos for Milada and Frantisek Müller, and is now considered one of the foremost examples of domestic Modernist architecture. The villa uses Loos’ original spatial conception, the Raumplan, to create a spiraling of rooms, from the public to the private, drawing upon both modern Functionalism and a more classical English style.

For all their obvious differences, the buildings that make up Kettle’s Yard share with Villa Müller certain characteristics: the visual joining of different levels; a separation of gendered spaces; perhaps, more than anything else, an attempt to create a domesticated Modernism. Both houses are exceptional examples of such an endeavor.

In an attempt to bring to light the affinities between these two places, a female cone of a Pinus nigra was taken from the garden of the Villa Müller in the spring of 2012, to be placed in the house of Kettle’s Yard. The pine-cone’s placement was suggested by the year of the Villa Müller’s completion — 1930 — and so it can now be found beneath an appropriate nature morte painting, Christopher Wood’s Flowers, painted the same year.