Steve Guarnaccia | Abrams 2010
Following the success of his first designer-adapted fairy tale, The Three Bears, Steven Guarnaccia takes on the classic Three Little Pigs with equal aplomb. Stephen tells me, “I realized that The Three Pigs was ready-made—the pigs are literally the architects and builders of their own homes. It was a short step from the initial idea to choosing some of my favorite architects and their houses.”
Clearly a design aficionado, Guarnaccia sets out to pay homage to some of his heroes. “My goal was to introduce children to everyday, albeit extraordinary, design. They’re taught the names of authors and fine artists from an early age, but the applied arts are often overlooked.”
The book is a retelling of the original story except the pigs are famous architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson and Frank Gehry. It’s chock-full of design references and iconic work by the pigs and others like Noguchi, Saarinen, Starck, Sottsass, and many more. Steven nails the idiosyncrasies of the 3 architects from their glasses, shoes and hats to their signature homes. He gives away his bias for Wright’s home, Fallingwater, or maybe it’s the only one that is built to withstand the blow of the wolf in leather?
Steven’s graphic watercolors serve to take us on a tongue-in-cheek design history journey. My favorite drawings are the endpapers that portray design icons in one color with hand-drawn lettering crediting the creators. Steven says, “I chose those objects with which I had the most affinity. Many of these 20th century artifacts seem to me to be illustrations in three-dimensions to begin with.”
This is a great intro to design for children and a testament to the love of the subject from one legendary designer (illustrator) himself.
Steven Guarnaccia is the Program Chair & Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design, NYC