May 1, 2005
New and notable books on architecture, culture, and design.
Edited by Marcel Wanders
Designed by Roger Fawcett-Tang, Struktur Design
Abbeville Press, 240 pp., $85.00
The range of design that Wanders has chosen to highlight in this volume has a lot in common with his own body of work—some examples are spirit-lifting; others, functionally sublime. From cover to cover the selection is utterly humanistic, celebrating the act of kissing in the form of Max Factor’s long-lasting Lipfinity lipstick and suspiciously denouncing Sony’s mechanical puppy, AIBO (“It will never love you”). The pages are littered with recommendations from peers and handwritten notes to designer friends. There’s even an aspirational secret message on the book’s fore edge—a call to keep engaging with and trying to improve the world around us.
Design in Canada:
Fifty Years from Teakettles to Task Chairs
By Rachel Gotlieb and Cora Golden
Designed by Dinnick & Howells
Key Porter Books, 277 pp., $24.00
Design in Canada is a comprehensive portrait of more than 50 years of contemporary Canadian product design, showcasing everything from furniture to consumer electronics. Numerous new and historical shots of instantly recognizable products—like Kerr Keller’s Rocket pepper mill; Fred Moffat’s chrome-domed K42 kettle; or Umbra’s Garbo trash can, by Karim Rashid—are accompanied by designer biographies and essays exploring the influences and movements in Canadian design during the twentieth century. Rashid designed the book’s cover and contributed the introduction. Available from www.chapters.indigo.ca.
The Furniture Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam: 1850-2000/From Michael Thonet to Marcel Wanders
Edited by Luca Dosi Delfini, Jan van Andrichem, and Ingeborg de Roode
Designed by Beukers Scholma
NAi Publishers Rotterdam, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 456 pp.,$110.00
This is the first overview of nearly 1,000 items—dating primarily from the twentieth century—in the Stedelijk Museum’s furniture collection. The book opens with thumbnails representing the designs of icons such as Philippe Starck, Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, Arne Jacobsen, and Ron Arad. Five prominent full-color segments are printed on narrower paper—providing something akin to the thumb index of a dictionary—and pace the largely black-and-white catalog: “International Icons”; “Dutch Icons”; “Contrasts” (displaying items that contrast sharply with their contemporaries); “Designs and Designers” (investigating relationships between designers’ primary professions and furniture designs); and “Evolutions” (presenting early precursors alongside examples in the collection). Filling out the annotated catalog are essays on the origins, acquisition, and maintenance of the furniture collection, which is a major subsection of the institution’s holdings.
By Bethan Ryder
Designed by Blast
Abbeville Press, 192 pp., $65.00
The growing realization that dining out is a theatrical experience has led to a demand for increasingly original and diverse experiences. Following a brief introduction recounting the invention and evolution of restaurants, this book offers a comprehensive look at some of the most innovative and beautiful interiors to result from this creative trend. From the sleek minimalism of Tokyo’s Ginto to the lavish and whimsical Les Trois Garçons, in London, these spaces are inspired by UFOs, bedrooms, landscapes, and even places of worship. The author examines 49 restaurants, illustrating each project with color photographs, renderings, floor plans, sketches, and interviews.
Herman Miller: The Purpose of Design
By John R. Berry
Designed by Sara Stemen
Universe Publishing, 242 pp., $60.00
In his look at Herman Miller, author John Berry departs from the usual dry, tedious corporate histories by presenting 14 case studies that examine the unique symbiosis of business and design underlying the company’s ethos. You’ll learn about the collaborations that made the company famous: Gilbert Rohde’s residential furniture, the materials and processes used by Charles and Ray Eames, Robert Propst’s Action Office, Bill Stumpf’s Ergon chair, Stumpf and Don Chadwick’s Aeron chair, and Studio 7.5’s Mirra chair. The book concludes with a useful chapter on how businesses and designers can make a difference in the world.
Edited and designed by John Maeda
Thames & Hudson, 240 pp., $34.95
MIT Media Lab’s John Maeda opens his classroom doors to reveal the last seven years of his students’ work. He avoids heavy programming jargon in illustrating the digital expression that comes from mixing science lab and design studio. Each section is laid out by conceptual themes and features short essays by leaders in the field of digital design such as Casey Reas, David Small, Joshua Davis, Yugo Nakamura, and Gillian Crampton Smith.