New and notable books on architecture, culture, and design

Design Research:
The Store That Brought Modern
Living to American Homes

WRITTEN BY Jane Thompson and Alexandra Lange
CHRONICLE BOOKS, 192 pp., $50

Long before Design Within Reach or Moss, there was Design Research (or “D/R,” as it was affectionately known), the legen-dary home-furnishings store founded in 1953 by the Cambridge, Massachusetts, architect Benjamin Thompson. Coauthored by his widow, Jane Thompson—an accomplished designer in her own right—and Lange, a Metropolis contributor, this thoughtfully organized and sharply written history tells the colorful story of D/R’s short but influential reign shaping midcentury American taste. Interspersing oral histories with essays and a trove of archival materials, the authors present a loving portrait of Ben Thompson and a persuasive argument for the store’s seminal role in planting the seeds of an American design revolution. -Martin C. Pedersen

Marina City:
Bertrand Goldberg’s Urban Vision

WRITTEN BY Igor Marjanovic and Katerina Rüedi Ray

In anticipation of a Goldberg retrospective next year at the Art Institute of Chicago comes this comprehensive study of Marina City, a mixed-use residential and commercial complex that jump-started the architect’s career. An abundance of glossy black-and-white photographs makes clear, in case you were wondering, how the residential towers got their nicknames. (Chicagoans often refer to them as the “corncobs.”) Newly released floor plans show the petal-arranged apartments and designs for the complex’s saddle-shaped theater, office building, and ice rink. Appearing while a local movement to landmark Marina City is under way, Marjanovi and Ray’s book helps build the case for saving Goldberg’s crowning achievement. -Marc Zinaman

Victore or, Who Died and
Made You Boss?

WRITTEN BY James Victore
ABRAMS, 224 pp., $40

Victore is a Brooklyn-based independent designer whose body of work is classic old-school graphics: posters, magazine covers, and the odd DVD. (No iPad apps here.) This is a greatest-hits compilation, combining the personal and the political, all done with the rigor of a pro who thinks of his client, the message, and the audience. There’s a bit of the bad-boy spirit of Tibor Kalman in his work—the angry scribbler who knows how to mix words with images, sometimes shocking but usually funny. Victore is the kind of designer who would get dressed up in a gorilla suit just to make a point—something he did for one of his AIGA posters. -Paul Makovsky

What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs
EDITED BY Stephen A. Goldsmith and Lynne Elizabeth
DESIGNED BY Leigh McLellan Design
NEW VILLAGE PRESS, 384 pp., $26.95

Thirty contributors from fields as varied as psychiatry, biology, anthropology, and architecture write about how the work of Jane Jacobs has taught them to see more clearly in their own fields. Since the essayists use different formats—personal essays, academic papers, even imagined conversations—it’s easy to dip into the book at any two points
and come away with different views. The tone of the essays, however, is uniformly positive. No note of caution is struck with-out being immediately balanced by a story of hope. Still, the book underscores the continued rele-vance of Jacobs through an un-usually personal portrait of her influence. -Avinash Rajagopal

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