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Phaidon Design Classics iPad Edition

This authoritative and meticulously researched collection charts the story of product design over the past 200 years. It was years in the making and was compiled via rigorous selection process by an international panel of design-world insiders, including architects, critics, curators, product designers, auctioneers, and historians.

The application offers, at the touch of a finger, access to an encyclopedic, illustrated history of 1,000 timeless design classics by not only renowned designers, such as Marcel Breuer, Achille Castiglioni, Le Corbusier, Jasper Morrison, Dieter Rams, Eero Saarinen, and Philippe Starck but also anonymously designed pieces, such as the clothes peg, the corkscrew, and the chopstick, that have stood the test of time.

Phaidon Design Classics, Available to download on the App Store

Phaidon Design Classic (3 Volume Set)
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams

Heavily influenced by the German Bauhaus and Ulm School of Art, Dieter Rams pioneered a design spirit which embraced modernity and placed function above all, resulting in products that were free of decoration, simple in function and its purpose self-evident. Through his more than 40 years of work at Braun, Dieter Rams designed anything from hair dryers, cigarette lighters, loudspeakers, radios and radio-phonographs to clocks and watches. Each item holds a special place in the history of industrial design and has established Dieter Rams as one of the most influential designers of the late 20th century. With the logically-placed and spatial definition of their controls, simple forms and philosophy of functionalism, Braun products remain influential to product designers today.

Less and More elucidates the design philosophy of Dieter Rams. The book contains images of hundreds of Rams’s products as well as his sketches and models – from Braun stereo systems and electric shavers to the chairs and shelving systems that he created for Vitsoe and sold by sdr+. In addition to the rich visual presentation of his designs, the book contains new texts by international design experts that explain how the work was created, describe its timeless quality, and put it into current context. In this way, the work of Dieter Rams is given a contemporary reevaluation that is especially useful in light of the rediscovery of functionalism and rationalism in today’s design. Less and More shows us the possibilities that design opens for both the manufacturer and the consumer as a means of making our lives better through attractive, functional solutions that also save resources.

Read more: Ten principles of “good design”

Less and More is edited by Professor Klaus Klemp and Keiko Ueki-Polet. One of the world’s leading experts in the field of product design, Klemp has been acquainted with Dieter Rams for many years and is an authority on his work. Ueki-Polet is one of Japan’s most renowned design curators. She is well acquainted with design developments in both Asia and the Western world and works at the Suntory Museum in Osaka.

Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams, Editors: Klaus Klemp, Keiko Ueki-Polet, German/English, 19 × 23 cm, 808 pages, full color, PVC cover, in slipcase
ISBN: 978-3-89955-277-5

Buy it here: Amazon or Gestalten

Books: Vision in Motion by László Moholy-Nagy

“As a painter, typographer, photographer, stage designer, and architect, Moholy was one of the most creative intelligences of our time.”
Herbert Read

One of the great innovators of the European avant-garde, László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) is best known for his affiliation with the famous Bauhaus school in Germany, where he taught from 1923-28. In 1937, at the invitation of Walter Paepcke, the Chairman of the Container Corporation of America, Moholy-Nagy moved to Chicago to become the director of the New Bauhaus. The philosophy of the school was basically unchanged from that of the original, and its headquarters was the Prairie Avenue mansion that architect Richard Morris Hunt designed for department store magnate Marshall Field.
Unfortunately, the school lost the financial backing of its supporters after only a single academic year and it closed in 1938. Paepcke, however, continued his own support, and in 1939, Moholy-Nagy opened the School of Design. In 1944, this became the Institute of Design, located in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s, Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

“Design has many connotations. It is the organization of materials and processes in the most productive, economic way, in a harmonious balance of all elements necessary for a certain function. It is not a matter of façade, of mere external appearance; rather it is the essence of products and institutions, penetrating and comprehensive. Designing is a complex and intricate task. It is integration of technological, social and economic requirements, biological necessities, and the psychophysical effects of materials, shape, color, volume, and space: thinking in relationships. The designer must see the periphery as well as the core, the immediate and the ultimate, at least in the biological sense. He must anchor his special job in the complex whole. The designer must be trained not only in the use of materials and various skills, but also in appreciation of organic functions and planning. He must know that design is indivisible, that the internal and external characteristics of a dish, a chair, a table, a machine, painting, sculpture are not to be separated. The idea of design and the profession of the designer has to be transformed from the notion of a specialist function into a generally valid attitude of resourcefulness and inventiveness which allows projects to be seen not in isolation but in relationship with the need of the individual and the community. One cannot simply lift out any subject matter from the complexity of life and try to handle it as an independent unit.”
(Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion, 1947)

“There is design in organization of emotional experiences, in family life, in labor relations, in city planning, in working together as civilized human beings. Ultimately all problems of design merge into one great problem: ‘design for life’. In a healthy society this design for life will encourage every profession and vocation to play its part since the degree of relatedness in all their work gives to any civilization its quality. This implies that it is desirable that everyone should solve his special task with the wide scope of a true “designer” with the new urge to integrated relationships. It further implies that there is no hierarchy of the arts, painting photography, music, poetry, sculpture, architecture, nor of any other fields such as industrial design. They are equally valid departures toward the fusion of function and content in design.”
(Moholy-NagyVision in Motion, 1947)

An exhaustive visual compendium of the modern movement, circa 1947. Includes many examples of Bauhaus and the New Bauhaus (Institute of Design). Designers, photographers, architects and artists represented in this volume are a cross-section of the 20th-century modern movement: Alvar Aalto, Berenice Abbot, Jean Arp, Willie Baumeister, Herbert Bayer, Max Bill, Marcel Breuer, Robert Brownjohn, Le Corbusier, Theo van Doesburg, Henry Dreyfuss, Naum Gabo, Morton Goldsholl, Juan Gris, Walter Gropius, Raoul Hausmann, Kasimir Malevich, Herbert Matter, Mies van der Rohe, Piet Mondrian, Richard Neutra, Ben Nicholson, Paul Rand, Bernard Rodofsky, Ladislav Sutnar, Angelo Testa, James Prestini, Frank Lloyd Wright and many others.

Vision in Motion: László Moholy-Nagy, Hardcover, 9″ x 11″, 376 pages, 440 illustrations (11 in color). Book Design and Typography by the Author. Rare and Out of Print.

Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Chairs by Judith Miller

One of world’s most respected authorities on design and antiques, Judith Miller, presents a carefully curated selection of chairs and places them in their historical context. Nearly 400 years of chair designs are featured in chronological order, ranging from early antiques such as the 1680 Wainscot Chair and the 1740 Louis XV Chaise Longue, to modern day collectables such as Marc Newson’s 1988’s Embryo and Tom Dixon’s 2007 Wingback.
Beautifully Photographed in situ by Nick Pope, the chairs assume their iconic status; an occasional two-page spread shows incredible detail, revealing the craftsmanship and creative energy of the designer. The accompanying text for each chair gives a real insight into the thinking of the designer, historical facts, technical details, and places it in context to the manufacturing capabilities of its time, as well as identifying the period style to which the chair belongs.

“Sometimes I think you are unlikely to be a successful architect or designer unless you have designed a classic chair; and this is not just a contemporary phenomenon”.
- Terence Conran

Chairs: Judith Miller, Published by Conran Octopus, Hardback, Size: 28 x 25 cm, Pages: 336, ISBN: 9781840915235
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Fifty Chairs That Changed the World

Fifty Chairs That Changed The World lists the top 50 chairs that have made a substantial impact in the world of design today. It includes design classics from Thonet’s 1870 Side Chair to Konstantin Grcic’s Chair_One. It is possible to trace a remarkable complete history of design in the last 150 years through a sequence of chairs. The Design Museum values its collection of contemporary chairs, and this book provides an introduction into 50 of the key chairs that have shaped the story of design.

Fifty Chairs That Changed the World – The Design Museum, Hardback, 202 x 152 mm,
112 Pages, Published by Conran Octopus Ltd,
ISBN: 9781840915402

Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Every Thing Design

This unusual “book as object” designed by Dutch book designer Irma Boom is a hefty brick of a book, which features 700 prints, posters and other objects from the collection of Zurich’s Gestaltung Museum. Founded in 1875, the museum is renowned worldwide for its unsurpassed holdings of design masterpieces including, Ettore Sottsass’s design classic, Valentine Typewriter for Olivetti, Paul Rand’s 1950 poster for the film No Way Out, works by El Lissitzky and Harry Bertoia, as well as works by important designers, textile artists and sculptors. The book is organized according to various criteria, and almost every page is a full sized image, that gives the impression of experiencing the entire collection in a manageable format.

Every Thing Design, The Collections of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Edited by Christian Brändle, Verena Formanek. Text by Christian Brändle, Glenn Adamson, Published by Hatje Cantz, Hardcover, 864 pp., 700 Color Illustrations, 12.8 x 15.7 cm,
ISBN 9783775723312
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

Books: Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon

We are experiencing a renaissance in furniture design with new forms, new directions, a focus on social responsibility and a blurring of the boundaries between art and design; strangely this movement resembles the values of the Bauhaus school, founded over 90 years ago. Once Upon a Chair is a survey of contemporary trends in design that are influenced by craft, folklore, nature, and technology, especially as it relates to new ways of designing and manufacturing. The book is full of examples and illustrations by well-known and up-and-coming designers, many of which are featured on Daily Icon and many that will surprise and delight you.

Once Upon a Chair examines several key trends indicating a recognisable shift towards progressive design that makes a social impact – designers are collaborating with artisans to revive the tradition of craft, elevating it to new levels of luxury. A conscious effort to produce sustainable and ethical design is also evident where designers are not only working with environmentally friendly material and production methods but also creating furnishings that are made to be durable and retain their value over a long period of time.

The book further explores how designers are focusing more on process-driven and storytelling concepts to create furniture systems that are flexible, crafted in a collage-like manner or even decorative objects that serve as interior installations. A continuing flirtation with organic forms can also be seen with pioneering examples of material and technological experimentation, many of which are characterised by an unrestrained, playful attitude with an ironic exuberance.

Once Upon a Chair: Design Beyond the Icon Published by Gestalten, Foreword by Andrej Kupetz, Managing Director of the German Design Council, Edited by, R. Klanten,
S. Ehmann, A. Kupetz, S. Moreno, Hardback: 22.7 x 28.1 cm, 272 pages, Full Colour,
ISBN: 9783899552560
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design

When Ray and Charles Eames arrived in Los Angeles in 1941, they turned a spare room in their apartment into a workshop to experiment with molded plywood forms with the goal of mass producing furniture. During the war, they began making molded plywood splints for the U.S. Navy. This combination of experience and experimentation led to the design many well-known chairs, including the DCM Chair and the LCW Chair (Low Chair Wood). Sometime in the early 1950s Charles and Ray decided to go ahead with developing an upholstered super-comfortable lounge chair, like those found in men’s clubs. Charles Eames says that “the motivation behind most of the things we’ve done was either that we wanted them ourselves, or we wanted to give them to someone else, and the way to make that practical is to have that gift manufactured… the lounge chair for example, was really done as a present for a friend, Billy Wilder, and has since been reproduced.”

The Lounge Chair has since been in continuous production by Herman Miller and Vitra. Its rosewood veneer and black leather upholstery became a status symbol ”…and during the last decade or so, newspapers and magazine stories have depicted the Eames Chair as the throne of choice for movie moguls and other powerful businessmen who seek to project and air of informal, but total control.” The chair evolved to become the height of luxury and comfort and one of the most important design icons of the 20th century.

The book examines the designs of Ray and Charles Eames and with lavish photographs and illustrations, documents the evolution of the Lounge Chair and places it in its cultural, historical and social context. It also includes insightful interviews of people involved in making the Lounge Chair and observations on its transformation into a Modernist icon.

Charles Eames was often asked to “explain” the Chair. One of his most quoted lines was that he wanted it to have “the warm receptive look of a well-worn first baseman’s mitt. Anyone who has owned the Lounge Chair will tell you — it gets better with age.

The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design, by Pat Kirkham, Thomas Hine, David Hanks, Martin Eidelberg, Hardcover, Dimensions: 25 x 25 cm, Pages: 192
Published by, BIS Publishers
ISBN: 9789063691356
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Cars: Freedom Style Sex Power Motion Colour Everything

Sources are eclectic, results mixed, but one thing is certain: car design is being forced up an ever tightening spiral of creativity. These machines are memorials of our tastes, yearnings and capabilities. They have layers of meaning and can, as Henry Ford knew, be read like a book…if only you know how. The story of the car is the story of how the objects of industry became a medium of artistic expression. This book tells that story in a series of case studies which reveal national characteristics: American flair, German technical suprematism, French vernacular chic, gorgeous Italian sculpture, English antiquarianism, Japanese ingenuity, Swedish responsibility. Cars featured appear in chronological date order from the 1908 Ford Model T to 2003 BMW 5 Series. The chosen cars will be specially photographed in a uniform style and reproduced in very textured, 4 colour b/w so as to distance this book from the cliches and conventions of specialist automotive publishing and to highlight form and shape. Each picture will be accompanied by a short critical essay including essential historical material together with colourful anecdotage and quotations as well as a persuasive aesthetic appraisal of each vehicle. This lavish and beautifully designed book is the gift book for all car enthusiasts and design aficionados.

Cars: Freedom, Style, Sex, Power, Motion, Colour, Everything, by Stephen Bayley, Hardcover, 384 Pages.
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: The Interior World of Tom Dixon

Interior design is rapidly becoming a subject of general interest as manufacturers, retailers and marketers race to promote and define themselves and their brands through design. Paradoxically, as everything becomes ‘designed’ it gets more and more difficult to define what the word actually means. This book describes a personal approach from Tom Dixon, who through 20 years of practising, has defined his own rules for categorising and describing different aspects of the subject. Divided into six chapters, the book delves into materials, processes and styles throughout history to the present, and gives an impression of what the future may look like. This is both a personal vision and a valuable resource of ideas.

The Interior World of Tom Dixon, 320pp, Hardcover, Full Colour.
Buy it here: Amazon

Editor's Picks

Studioilse w084t Task Lamp
A dimmable table lamp constructed of iron for its feelings of stability, reliability, trust; wood with its warmth and life, and porcelain for its intimate glow. [more...]

Suggested Reading

The Story of Eames Furniture
Brimming with images and insightful text, this unique book is the benchmark reference on what is arguably the most influential and important furniture brand of our time. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum
First-ever book to explore the process behind one of the greatest modern buildings in America. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11
A unique tribute to the defining scientific mission of our time, the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

Cars Freedom Style Sex Power Motion Colour Everything

Cars
Freedom Style Sex Power Motion Colour Everything. This lavish and beautifully designed book is the gift book for all car enthusiasts and design aficionados. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

Design Icons

Diz Armchair by Sergio Rodrigues
Handcrafted from solid eucalyptus this Brazilian classic is designed with soothing smooth edges, making it one of the most comfortable and laid-back lounge chairs around. [more...]

Resources

More Books

Case Study Houses
“It’s a huge coffee-table book, which analyses each of the houses in chronological order, with plans, sketches and glorious photographs.” [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

The Eames Lounge Chair
The book examines the evolution of a design icon and places it in its cultural, historical and social context. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

The U.N. Building
Symbol of world humanitarianism, a beacon of unity after the Second World War. More than 50 years on, the 39-story building is regarded as one of the pinnacles of mid-century modernism. [more...]
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Loblolly House
Including a DVD of the film "A House in the Trees", a real-time documentary of the design, fabrication, and assembly of this amazing house. [more...]
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Desire
The Shape of Things to Come. An up-to-date comprehensive survey on furniture and object design today, showcasing the crème de la crème of designers. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

Marcel Wanders
Behind the Ceiling is the first monograph on one of the most influential, prolific and celebrated international designers today. [more...]
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How to Wrap Five Eggs
A mid-60s classic of Japanese design. Stunningly laid-out paean to traditional Japanese packaging is rife with sumptuous black and white photos of all manner of boxes, wrappers and containers that appear at once homely and sophisticated, ingeniously utilitarian yet fine and rare. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

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