(Below is a paragraph that ended up on the cutting room floor of “The Anarchist’s Design Book.”)
When describing the furniture of necessity, I avoid negative sentence constructions such as: It’s not ornate. That sentence tells you what the furniture is not; it doesn’t tell you what it is.
To put it a different way, my best friend in high school once described my girlfriend as “not horse-faced.”
It’s a struggle to find a good word that doesn’t make the furniture sound like stuff at a craft fair (“They are simple things”) or something dreamed up by an intellectual jackass (“It is the intersection between the laconic and the cardinal”).
The best description I can muster is the Italian word puro as it was used to describe paintings and literature in the classical and Renaissance periods. The literal translation is “pure,” but when used in criticism it means something more like “plain and clear.”
I’ll buy that.
— Christopher Schwarz