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Monograph: Mies by Detlef Mertins

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the twentieth century’s most influential architects. His most well-known projects include the Barcelona Pavilion in Spain (1929); the Seagram Building in New York (1954-56); the Farnsworth House (1945-50), 860 and 880 Lakeshore Drive (1945-51) and the IIT Campus (1939-58), all in and around Chicago, and the New National Gallery in Berlin (1962-68). These are only a few of Mies’s pavilions, houses, skyscrapers and campuses, which all epitomized a radically new structural and spatial clarity.

The purity of his Mies’s architecture is almost surprising in light the diversity of his interests. An auto-didact, Mies studied philosophy and science as well as design. Author Detlef Mertins, spent over ten years researching and writing this comprehensive monograph. In addition to traveling to see the buildings and reading nearly everything written by and about Mies, Mertins also conducted a detailed study of the architectural, philosophical and scientific literature in Mies’s own library. The result is a lucid text that not only gives the reader detailed insight into all of Mies’s work, but which also explores the variety of ideas that influenced this exceptional figure. The scholarship is rigorous, but the accessible writing and the highly visual, project-by-project presentation also invites those readers who possess an interest in the topic, but who lack detailed knowledge in it.

Arranged in chronological order, the book’s five sections and its conclusion offer a synthetic portrait of Mies’s career and reception, spanning sixty years, two continents and two world wars. The text tells a continuous story, however, most chapters focus on a significant work (the Seagram building or the IIT campus), allowing for an in-depth presentation of photographs and drawings; other chapters focus on a specific event in Mies’s life (such Mies’s time as the head of the Bauhaus).

All the important buildings are presented through photographs, drawings and diagrams, showing the innovative structures, fine details and material richness that distinguish Mies’s work. In addition, many pieces of art and architecture that influenced Mies are also illustrated as well as being discussed in the text.

Mies, by Detlef Mertins, Published by Phaidon, Hardback, 305 x 208 mm (12 x 9 3/8 in), 560 pp, 750 illustrations ISBN: 9780714839622 | 0714839620
Buy it here: Mies

Books: Coyote v. Acme by Pentagram

In his never-ending quest to capture the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote has been a faithful customer of the Acme Company, whose products-Spherical Bombs, Rocket Skates, Spring-Powered Shoes-invariably fail him at the worst possible time. Pentagram’s Daniel Weil has reimagined designs for five of these gadgets, rendered as a series of highly detailed technical diagrams. The drawings were inspired by Ian Frazier’s classic humor essay Coyote v. Acme and accompany a republishing of the article for Pentagram’s annual holiday card.

Originally published in The New Yorker, Coyote v. Acme presents the opening statements of an imaginary lawsuit by Coyote against Acme for his personal injuries caused by the faulty devices, citing 85 occasions in which they “did cause him bodily injury due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labeling.” Our holiday greeting reprints Frazier’s essay as a mini legal brief with Weil’s drawings presented as supporting evidence. Weil carefully considered the design of each cartoon product, making sure the contraptions would functionally work.

So who is at fault, Coyote or Acme? Even when pressing his case, Coyote can’t seem to cut a break. Weil’s designs for the gadgets undermine Coyote’s legal claims with special safety features like “screw-in detonator” for the Spherical Bomb and a “weighted armor jacket” to be worn with the Rocket Skates. The look of the diagrams is inspired by the photo-realistic illustrations of the McMaster-Carr hardware catalog. But Wile E. skims over the fine print. As Weil tells Wired Design in a post about the project, “The Coyote, like most males, never reads the instructions.”

Pentagram Project Team, Product design: Daniel Weil, partner-in-charge and designer. Illustrations by Simon Denzel. Book design: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Jesse Reed, designer. Coyote v. Acme © Ian Frazier. First published in The New Yorker, February 26, 1990.

Coyote v. Acme, by Pentagram

Books: René Redzepi: A Work in Progress

How do you achieve greater creativity at the world’s best restaurant?

René Redzepi committed to writing a journal for an entire year to reflect on this question and the result is A Work in Progress: Journal, Recipes and Snapshots. Three books in one, a journal, recipe book and flick book, A Work in Progress recounts the day-to-day life at Noma – from the trials of developing new dishes to the successes that come with winning the 50 Best Restaurant award. While the journal is the book’s heart, it is supported by the recipe book containing 100 brand new recipes and the flick book of 200 candid images which provide a stunning, and often humorous, insight into the inner workings of the restaurant and its talented team of chefs. Reflective, insightful and compelling, René interweaves observations on creativity, collaboration and ambition making A Work in Progress of interest to food lovers and general readers alike.

René Redzepi: A Work in Progress, Journal, Recipes and Snapshots, Hardback & Paperback, 220 x 267 mm (11 x 9 1/8 in), 648 pp, 300 colour illustrations ISBN: 9780714866918, Published by Phaidon
Buy it here: Amazon

Monograph: Nendo

Oki Sato founded nendo in Tokyo in 2002. Since then, it has become one of the most sought-after design studios worldwide. The name nendo is Japanese for modeling clay. It is indicative of the studio’s playful, yet rational approach. Nendo: 10/10 is a comprehensive monograph of the studio’s work. Each of the book’s ten chapters showcases one of nendo’s design principles. Chapters explore, for example, nendo’s compelling approach to multiplying, linking, concealing, balancing, magnifying, and folding. Featured projects include vibrant store concepts and mystically inspired exhibition spaces as well as sculptural furniture pieces, home accessories, and design objects. Nendo’s impressively clear, yet intriguingly sophisticated work not only represents the epitome of contemporary design from Japan, but also sets the tone for design’s future on the global scene.

Nendo, Format: 24,5 x 33 cm, 320 pages, full color, hardcover, English, ISBN: 978-3-89955-470-0, Published by Gestalten

Buy it here: Amazon

Monograph: Shiro Kuramata by Deyan Sudjic

Shiro Kuramata (1934-91) was a truly exceptional designer of furniture and interiors. Many of his poetic, precise and unique pieces, like the expanded-metal-mesh How High the Moon Armchair and the acrylic, aluminium and paper-flower Miss Blanche Chair, are still highly prized, collected by museums like MoMA and the V&A and sold at auction. Sadly, however, most of the hundreds of interiors he designed no longer exist, and can only be glimpsed in photographs or described by those who saw them.

This combination of the precious and the disappeared is appropriate for a designer like Kuramata, whose work was neither modern nor nostalgic, neither western nor Asian, but which has a remarkable creative power as well as a sense of endless invention. This compelling and highly influential work is documented here in this beautiful monograph.

Author Deyan Sudjic, the director of the design museum in London and the author of many highly-acclaimed books on design and architecture, tells the story of Kuramata’s life against the backdrop of Japan’s turbulent history from the 1930s to the 1990s. It was a period in which the collapse of the repressive conformism of Japan’s traditionally authoritarian social order released a creative explosion that propelled Japan into the creative forefront in cinema, literature, fashion, architecture and design, and Kuramata’s work occupies a special place in this period.

Designed by Jonathan Hares, and presented in two volumes with a beautiful acrylic slipcase, the book includes all of Kuramata’s work, depicted in never-before-published photographs and drawings from the Kuramata archives. Many projects are represented with images of the design and manufacturing process, appropriate for this very technically inventive work that continues to be of interest to a wide range of designers. Shiro Kuramata is a major figure who richly deserves the wider audience he is just beginning to attract, and this first-ever monograph will be of a quality and beauty to match the work he produced.

Shiro Kuramata, by Deyan Sudjic, 2 volume hardback ediiton in acrylic slipcase, 305 x 238 mm (9 3/8 x 12 in), 416 pp, 600 colour illustrations, ISBN: 9780714845005, Published by Phaidon

Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Pastoe: 100 Years of Design Innovation

The Utrecht furniture manufacturer Pastoe has been a leader in unique, timeless furniture of great craftsmanship and quality for 100 years. The roll-front Amsterdammer cabinet, for example, has been a design classic for years and is featured along with the work of Pastoe designer Cees Braakman in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Pastoe’s centenary is the occasion for this richly illustrated book, produced in collaboration with designers, architects, artists and photographers in the Netherlands and abroad.

Author and design critic Gert Staal relates the most significant moments in Pastoe’s history. Pastoe’s current focus is also discussed extensively. Along with fascinating archival pictures and documentation of every significant Pastoe design, considerable attention is devoted to today’s home environment and the current design domain. Pastoe’s new visions of contemporary living are highlighted in an inspiring way through innovative propositions specially developed for this anniversary by innovators like Naoto Fukasawa, Claudio Silvistrin, Scheltens & Abbenes and Konstantin Grcic.

Exhibition: Like Pastoe: 100 years of design innovation

Pastoe: 100 Years of Design Innovation, Author:Gert Staal, Anne van der Zwaag, Publisher: nai010 Uitgevers, ISBN: 9789462080683

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Monograph: Álvaro Siza: Complete Works 1952-2013

When Álvaro Siza, one of the great figures of contemporary architecture, won the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 1992, the Jury described his forms as “molded by light, [with] a deceptive simplicity about them; they are honest. They solve design problems directly…. That simplicity, upon closer examination however, is revealed as great complexity. There is a subtle mastery underlying what appears to be natural creations.”

Born in Matosinhos, Portugal, in 1933, Siza created his own practice in Porto in 1954, and he has been a Professor of Construction at the University of Porto since 1976. The architect can fill shelf afer shelf with his awards and prizes to-date: He received the European Community’s Mies van der Rohe Prize in 1988 and the Praemium Imperiale in Japan in 1997, the 2009 RIBA Gold Medal, and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.

He has built a large number of projects in Portugal, and worked on the restructuring of the Chiado area of Lisbon following a devastating fire in 1988. Siza designed both the Portuguese Pavilion for the 1998 Lisbon World’s Fair and the 2005 Serpentine Pavilion in London in collaboration with Eduardo Souto de Moura. He completed the Serralves Foundation in Porto, 1998, and the Museum for the Iberê Camargo Foundation in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2008.

Álvaro Siza. Complete Works 1952-2013, Edited by Philip Jodidio, Hardcover, 30,8 x 39 cm, 500 pages,
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German

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Books: The Architect’s Home

The greatest challenge in designing homes is negotiating the delicate balance between aesthetics and the personal desires of the occupants. While it’s important for the structure to reflect the vision and style of the architect, the client must ultimately feel at home beneath the roof. It is particularly interesting, therefore, to examine the homes that architects create for themselves. If houses reflect their owners’ personalities, then architects’ own homes are like autobiographies. Location, layout, style, lighting, artwork, furnishings-every detail adds color to the story. Each of these dwellings, presented A-Z by architect, speaks more about its designer than any other building possibly could.

The Architect’s Home, by Gennaro Postiglione, Hardcover, 20.8 x 27.4 cm, 480 pages, published by Taschen, Buy it here: Amazon

Cut-out Prints from OKOLO

Something between artwork, poster and illustration, this series of Cut-out prints documents some of the mid-century coffee and low tables designed by Gio Ponti, Gabriella Crespi, George Nakashima, Paul Kjaerholm and many others in very simple 2D shapes. It is our graphic homage to the formal mastery of the modernist design in a fresh contemporary graphic way.

Cut-out Prints, by Matěj Činčera, Jaroslav Moravec and Ondřej Přibyl, for OKOLO

Books: Rock the Shack: The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs

Rock the Shack takes us to the places we long for. For the first time in the history of humankind, more people live in cities than in the country. Yet, at the same time, more and more city dwellers are yearning for rural farms, mountain cabins, or seaside homes. These kinds of refuges offer modern men and women a promise of what urban centers usually cannot provide: quiet, relaxation, being out of reach, getting back to basics, feeling human again.

Rock the Shack is a survey of such contemporary refuges from around the world–from basic to luxury. The book features a compelling range of sparingly to intricately furnished cabins, cottages, second homes, tree houses, transformations, shelters, and cocoons. The look of the included structures from the outside is just as important as the view from inside. What these diverse projects have in common is an exceptional spirit that melds the uniqueness of a geographic location with the individual character of the building’s owner and architect.

Rock the Shack: The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs, Editors: S. Ehmann, S. Borges, 24 x 30 cm, 240 pages, full color, hardcover, English, ISBN: 978-3-89955-466-3, Published by gestalten
Buy it here: Amazon

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