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Books: The U.N. Building

When it was completed in 1952 along New York’s East River, The United Nations Building stood as a 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. Its magnificent public spaces and assembly halls, as well as its impressive collection of art by Chagall, Henry Moore and many others make it one of the most visited sites in New York.
On the celebration of the United Nations’ 60th anniversary, and before a long period of renovation, this book presents a portrait of this fascinating building. Specially commissioned photography and an illuminating text bring alive the the spaces which have played host to the historic aspirations, speeches, debates and gatherings that have been central to the world’s development since 1945.

“Considered and well-produced … an intelligently observed photo-essay of a working environment”
– The Architects’ Journal

“No one had ever conceived of building a mirror on this scale before, and perhaps no one could guess what an endless series of pictures that mirror would reveal.”
– Lewis Mumford

The U.N. Building, with an essay by Aaron Betsky, Photographs by Ben Murphy, Foreword by Kofi A. Annan
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Design Hotels Book: Edition 2009

The Design Hotels Book: Edition 2009 is the most comprehensive encyclopedia to date featuring the most attractive international design hotels the world over. The book presents 170 luxurious, original and distinctive properties that are setting new standards in high-end hospitality.
This rich compendium contains portraits of each member hotel through stunning photographs of its architecture and interior design in addition to detailed information about its distinguished concept. The book also features extensive profiles of visionary individuals – designers and hoteliers who are the driving creative forces behind the hotels.
The Design Hotels Book is not only an inspiring reference for architects and designers, but is also an indispensable directory of impressive hotels and destinations for those who like to travel in style.

Design Hotels Book: Edition 2009, Edited by Design Hotels, 488 pages, full colour, hardcover. View the clip: Gestalten

Buy it here: Amazon

Bunkers: Ruins of War in a New American Landscape

Built in apprehension of the enemy that never came, Alex Fradkin has photographed the architecture of war along the coastal landscape of the San Francisco Bay area. The earliest bunkers date from the Mexican–American War all the way up to the Cold War. A personal photographic project which took Fradkin eight years to complete will be published by Chronicle Books in the Fall of 2009.

Bunkers: Ruins of War in a New American Landscape, by Alex Fradkin

Books: The Design Encyclopedia

The Design Encyclopedia aims to provide an account of the still largely unknown story of design. The book covers design throughout the world, from Japan to Finland. Manufacturers and key designers since the late 19th century are covered alphabetically, with biographical accounts of careers, listings of major works and exhibitions, and bibliographies for further reading.

The Design Encyclopedia, Edited by Mel Byars, 832 pages
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Key Houses of the Twentieth Century Series

For the first time, a student can now find all the key plans in one place. Featuring more than 100 of the most significant and influential buildings of the 20th century, this book includes both classic works by such seminal architects as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Alvar Aalto, as well as those by more recent masters, such as Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas. For each of the buildings included there are numerous, accurate scale plans showing each floor, together with elevations, sections and site plans where appropriate. All of these have been specially commissioned for the book and are based on the most up-to-date information and sources. There is also a concise text explaining the significant architectural features of the building and the influences it shows or generated, together with full-colour images. Cross-references to other buildings in the book highlight the various connections between these key structures.

Buy it here:
Key Contemporary Buildings: Plans, Sections and Elevations
Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century: Plans, Sections, Elevations
Key Houses of the Twentieth Century: Plans, Sections, and Elevations

Books: Martin Parr Parrworld

Parrworld is the title of the exhibition about Martin Parr’s collections, curated by Thomas Weski and first shown at Munich’s Haus der Knust in May 2008, and his combined two-volume accounts of Parr collected objects and postcards.
Postcards is both a serious consideration of the history of the form and a visual entertainment. Its themed chapters include World War I, Smog and Shopping, with sequences of cards on subjects as varied as the suffragettes, coronation bonfires and motorway service stations.
Objects presents Parr collection of eccentric ephemera-from Saddam Hussein watches to Spice Girls chocolate bars.
Both books are personal, hilarious and often poignant reflections upon the history of the 20th century…welcome to Parrworld!

Martin Parr Parrworld, Curated by Thomas Weski, Hardback in a slip case.
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Beachlife: Architecture and Interior Design on the Seaside

Beachlife presents a selection of the best concepts in architecture, interiors and product design that deliver new and unusual insights into how the beach can be presented and utilised creatively. The book features structures such as beach clubs, hotels and vacation homes that can be found on ocean coasts and riverbanks. But, more than that, Beachlife also includes furniture and products made for the seaside, as well as original products by creatives from around the world who have discovered the beach as a location for experimental art, temporary installations and events.

Beachlife, Architecture and Interior Design on the Seaside, Edited by Clara Lowther, Sarah Schultz, 280 pages.
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Desire: The Shape of Things to Come

Design in the 21st Century has liberated itself from industrial conditions and the associated physical demands. The clean and simplified designs of Minimalism, where less is more and form follows function, is widely practiced today but with new vigor and context. There is also an explosion of vibrant design today that breaks free from the minimal style of approach, prevailing in current design trends. With new technology, expanded choice of materials and a return to luxurious craftsmanship, designers are embracing design with scintillating attitude, challenging aesthetic boundaries and speculating new expressions in visual codes.

Desire is an up-to-date comprehensive survey on furniture and object design today, showcasing the crème de la crème of designers culled from around worldwide. It presents celebrated designers who represent the Modernists, creating sophisticated designs that are redefining the formal language of Modernism, blending the restraint of form with the refined use of materials. They are featured along with the inventors; visionary designers who continue to challenge our perception of design with futuristic shapes, and the experimental, innovative and often unprecedented use of materials.

Featured designers include:
5.5 Designers, Ron Arad, Autoban, Maarten Baas, BarberOsgerby, Joost van Bleiswijk, BLESS, Jörg Boner, Bram Boo, Tord Boontje, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Stephen Burks, Fernando & Humberto Campana, Committee, Christophe Delcourt, Stefan Diez, Tom Dixon, DRIFT, Kiki van Eijk, Olafur Eliasson, Thomas Feichtner, Folkform, FRONT, Martino Gamper, Konstantin Grcic, Anna Ter Haar, Ineke Hans, Jaime Hayon, Studio Job, Hella Jongerius, Max Lamb, Kwangho Lee, Mathieu Lehanneur, Leif.designpark, Doshi Levien, Studio Libertiny, Julia Lohmann, Malin Lundmark, Peter Marigold, Haldane Martin, Jason Miller, Jasper Morrison, Nendo, Ernesto Neto, Marc Newson, Patrick Norguet, o-d-a, od-v, Robert Stadler, Steven Holl Architects, Studio Makkink & Bey, STUDIOILSE, Tjep., Ünal & Böler Studio, Patricia Urquiola, Marcel Wanders, Hannes Wettstein, Dirk Winkel, WOK Media, Michael Young, Oskar Zieta and many more.

Desire: The Shape of Things to Come, Edited by R. Klanten, S. Ehmann, A. Kupetz, S. Moreno, A. Mollard. 280 pages.
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Julius Shulman, Modernism Rediscovered

The buildings burned in our memories, which to us represent the spirit of fifties and sixties architectural design, were those whose pictures were widely published in magazines and books; but what about those that got lost in the process, hardly or never appearing in publication?

The exchange of visual information is crucial to the development, evolution, and promotion of architectural movements. If a building is not widely seen, its photograph rarely or never published, it simply does not enter into architectural discourse. Many buildings photographed by Julius Shulman suffered this fate, their images falling into oblivion.
The abandoned files of Julius Shulman show us another side of Modernism that has stayed quiet for so many years. Bringing together nearly 250 forgotten masterpieces, Modernism Rediscovered pays tribute to these lesser known yet outstanding contributions to the modern architectural movement. It’s like sneaking into a private history, into homes that have rarely been seen and hardly appreciated as of yet.

A resident of Los Angeles since 1920, Julius Shulman has been documenting modernist architecture in Southern California and across the globe for nearly eight decades. His images of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No. 22 (1960) in Los Angeles and Richard J. Neutra’s Kaufmann House (1947) in Palm Springs are among the most recognizable and iconic architectural photographs of the 20th century.

Julius Shulman, Modernism Rediscovered, 416 pages, Edited by Peter Gössel.
Buy it Here: Amazon

Papercraft 1:1 Assault Rifle AK-47 by Martin Postler

The AK-47, also called the Kalashnikov after its inventor, is one of the most successful industrial products of all time. Since its introduction in 1947, an estimated 80 million AK-47s have been built. Its success is based not only on its resourceful construction, but also its affordable production, dependability, functionality and high demand. The AK-47 is one of the icons of the twentieth century, but it is also a deadly weapon.

For a new art project, the designer Martin Postler has investigated the history, the aesthetics and the lethal seductiveness of the Kalashnikov. He has freed the AK-47 from its terrible capacity to injure and kill by deconstructing it into a paper model construction set. When putting the detailed model together, the builder is automatically confronted with the Kalashnikov and its significance – both historical and personal. At the end of the construction process each person can decide if they would like to hang their own AK-47 on the wall, paint it, customize it with stickers or simply burn it. Then ultimately this AK-47 thankfully remains a piece of paper.

AK47, Paper Gun Model Kit, by Martin Postler
Available here: Van Stockum

Editor's Picks

Brick Flip Clock
The classic vintage flip clock, reinvented and redesigned, made from a stainless steel case and a precision machine. Mount it on the wall or simply place it on a desk. [more...]

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Design Icons

Fjordfiesta Scandia Senior
by Hans Brattrud

A Norwegian furniture design classic from 1957, Scandia Senior is a comfortable high-back easy chair with a leather head cushion, on a satin swivel base. [more...]


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

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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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