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Books: The Complete Works of Richard Neutra

Originally from Vienna, Richard Neutra came to America early in his career, settling in California. His influence on post-war architecture is undisputed, the sunny climate and rich landscape being particularly suited to his cool, sleek modern style.
Neutra had a keen appreciation for the relationship between people and nature; his trademark plate glass walls and ceilings which turn into deep overhangs have the effect of connecting the indoors with the outdoors. Neutra’s ability to incorporate technology, aesthetic, science, and nature into his designs brought him to the forefront of Modernist architecture.

Neutra. Complete works, Edited by Peter Gössel, 464 pages.
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Tadao Ando Complete Works

“In architecture, there is a part that is the result of logical reasoning and a part that is created through the senses. There is always a point where they clash. I don’t think architecture can be created without that collision.” -Tadao Ando

Philippe Starck describes him as a “mystic in a country which is no longer mystic.” Philip Drew calls his buildings “land art” that “struggle to emerge from the earth.” He is the only architect to have won the discipline’s four most prestigious prizes: the Pritzker, Carlsberg, Praemium Imperiale, and Kyoto Prize. His name is Tadao Ando, and he is the world’s greatest living architect. Combining influences from Japanese tradition with the best of Modernism, Ando has developed a completely unique building aesthetic that makes use of concrete, wood, water, light, space, and nature in a way that has never been witnessed in architecture.

Ando: Complete Works, Edited by Philip Jodidio, 500 pages.
Buy it here: Amazon

Related post: Model: Tadao Ando

Books: Projekt Vitra. 1957-2007

Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of the family company Vitra, describes the aim of this book in the following way: “We talk about this as a project, because for all those involved it is much more important than simply business. …The Vitra Design Museum with its collections, archives and miniatures is just as much part of the project as the classics of the twentieth century and the interior collages which we have developed in recent years. …we also simultaneously move forwards and backwards in time. We preserve the heritage of our classics in new editions, exhibitions and publications, but we are also actively involved in contemporary design. And we are no less interested in ergonomics, ecology, logistics and quality assurance than we are in the anthropology of everyday living.”

Projekt Vitra. 1957-2007, Edited by Cornel Windlin, Rolf Fehlbaum.

Buy it Here: Amazon

Books: Case Study Houses

The Case Study House program (1945-66) was an exceptional, innovative event in the history of American architecture and remains to this day unique. The program, which concentrated on the Los Angeles area and oversaw the design of 36 prototype homes, sought to make available plans for modern residences that could be easily and cheaply constructed during the postwar building boom.

The program’s chief motivating force was Arts & Architecture editor John Entenza, a champion of modernism who had all the right connections to attract some of architecture’s greatest talents, such as Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen. Highly experimental, the program generated houses that were designed to re-define the modern home, and thus had a pronounced influence on architecture – American and international – both during the program’s existence and even to this day.

“It’s a huge coffee-table (make that a banqueting-table) book, which analyses each of the houses in chronological order, with plans, sketches and glorious photographs.”
The Observer Life Magazine, United Kingdom

Case Study Houses, Hardcover, 440 pages, Edited by Peter Gössel, Elizabeth Smith.

Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Shop America: Mid-Century Storefront Design

Window shopping
In postwar America, everything pointed to a bright, shiny future. Sheer optimism and opulence informed everything from automobile design to architecture, infusing design with larger-than-life planes and curves. Storefront design of the era is particularly indicative of this phenomenon, incarnated here in an extensive collection of hand-illustrated shop window designs from 1938 to 1950. These spectacular, often grandiose plans for grocery stores, shoe shops, beauty salons, bakeries, and more are reminders of a time when stores were sacred shrines for the congregation of American shoppers—impressive and even slightly intimidating, just like the future itself. In addition to an extensive selection of drawings are historical black and white photographs of actual shops built in a similar style.

Shop America: Mid-Century Storefront Design, 1938-1950.
Buy it Now: Amazon

Books: The A-Z of Modern Architecture

Unlike most architecture encyclopedias, which tend to concentrate more on buildings and floor plans than their designers, this tome puts the architects in the spotlight, profiling individuals so that readers can get a clear overview of their bodies of work. Each architect’s entry features a portrait, quote, and short biography as well as a description of important works, historical context, and general approach; illustrations include numerous drawings, photographs, and floor plans. The book’s A to Z entries cover not only architects but also groups, movements, and styles from the 18th to the 21st centuries. With 600 entries and 5,200 illustrations, The A–Z of Modern Architecture is a comprehensive resource that no architecture professional, fan, or student should be without.

The A-Z of Modern Architecture, Hardcover, 2 Vol. in Box, 1072 pages, Edited by Peter Gössel

Buy it Here: Amazon

Books: Phaidon Design Classics

It is the first definitive illustrated sourcebook on the evolution of design to include such a wide scope of objects in detail. From cars to furniture, from tableware to cameras, from everyday objects to airplanes, this breadth of design has never before been collected in such a way before.

“A guide to better living through design.” - Aaron Betsky, Designer.

“The ultimate tool kit to decode the modern world. Hugely thorough, and just the right side of quirky.” - Deyan Sudjic, Curator and Critic

“…very big, very yellow and very heavy.” - Terrance Conran, Designer

Phaidon Design Classics (3 Volume Set) (Design Classics)
Buy it now: Amazon

Beautiful Evidence by Edward Tufte

In Beautiful Evidence, Edward Tufte explores how to best display evidence looking at: mapped pictures; sparklines; links and causal arrows; words, numbers and pictures together; the fundamental principles of analytical design; corruption of evidence; and more. 

Buy it here: Amazon

Other Tufte Books:

  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition by Edward R. Tufte, 1983. The source for learning about displaying information. An excellent book for anyone who must use data to make decisions, convince others and educate others.
  • Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative by Edward R. Tufte, 1997. Visual Explanations centers on dynamic data – information that changes over time. It is Tufte’s 3rd book. Another excellent book.
  • Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte, 1990. “The most design-oriented of Edward Tufte’s books, Envisioning Information shows maps, charts, scientific presentations, diagrams, computer interfaces, statistical graphics and tables, stereo photographs, guidebooks, courtroom exhibits, timetables…”

Books: Night Vision – Photographs by Troy Paiva

Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration.
“A booming subculture is on the rise: dubbed Urban Exploration, it involves sneaking into abandoned or off-limits factories, aviation “boneyards,” decommissioned bases, and other derelict features of the military/industrial landscape. Troy Paiva is a foremost photographer of the UrbEx (as it’s known to its devotees) phenomenon, and his distinctive blend of atmospheric night photos and lighting effects are the visual hallmarks of a scene that has drawn the increasing attention of the media and the public—as seen in recent programs on both the Discovery Channel (“Urban Explorers”) and MTV (“Fear”). Illuminated by histories of the sites documented, Night Vision reveals the remarkable discoveries of a new generation of explorers.”

Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration. by Troy Paiva
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: In Plane View

In Plane View: Abstractions of Flight

The many types of aircraft held at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC no doubt attract their fair share of aerophiles. But now even those with just a passing interest in aviation can marvel at the beauty of flight as depicted in the pages of In Plane View: Abstractions of Flight, a new collection of imagery from Carolyn Russo, the Smithsonian’s photographer. Russo’s work focuses on the details of a range of different aircraft and it’s from her re-examining of their various forms and structures that this collection of striking shapes, patterns and abstractions has been brought together.

Buy it here: Amazon

Editor's Picks

Bell Side Table
Hand-blown in the traditional manner using a wooden mould, the transparent tinted glass base asserts a sculptural presence in space, contrasting intriguingly with the solid brass frame on top while also forming with it a harmonious unit recalling the elegant curving silhouette of a bell. [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

Karuselli Lounge Chair
“Without question my favourite piece of interior design, and undoubtedly the most comfortable chair I’ve ever sat in. I like to retire to one with a cigar and a stiff drink as frequently as possible." - Sir Terence Conran. [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...]
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...]
Buy it here: Amazon

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...]
Buy it here: Amazon

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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