The Glass Room by Simon Mawer is a novel about a Jewish family and the house they built in Czechoslovakia prior to WWII. The house is based on the Villa Tugendhat, designed by the architect Mies van der Rohe in Brno in the late 1920s. The building was inscribed on the National List of Cultural Heritage in 1969 and after renovations is open to the public. The story in the novel details the plight of the family as they are forced to leave the country and the subsequent uses their house was put to.
In 2009, Lori Sauer bound The Glass Room for the Man Booker Prize. The binding is a dos rapporté structure and is covered in two shades of vellum. The Perspex (also known as Plexiglass) inlays have dyed Tyvek underneath to simulate onyx. Lori had wanted to use real onyx as it was a major feature in the house, but the cost of having it thinly sliced for inlays was too high. The onyx wall is located in the living room of the house and is partially translucent, changing its appearance with the evening sun. The doublures are dyed Tyvek made to look similar to veins in onyx.
The house and its design dominate the novel. It is a very modern building with large rooms and lots of glass. Built when art deco was at its peak, Lori chose to design a binding around the motifs and in the spirit of the architecture.