“Gesamtkunstwerk” — Living Life in a Total Work of Art

Is there a separation between art and craft? For many of the most celebrated artists, architects, philosophers, and designers of the past 200 years, art and craft exist on a continuum, so every space and object deserves to be a masterpiece in its own right.

The term for this is Gesamtkunstwerk—a loanword of German origin that roughly translates to “a total work of art”. A residence, too, can be a total work of art by holistically synthesizing all of its designed components and, in the words of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, becoming “more poetry than a home.” It’s one thing to conceive of a Gesamtkunstwerk in theory, but these four homes show how it comes to life.

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