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.
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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.
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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
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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)
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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.
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Other Tufte Books:
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.”
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.
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Often it takes an artist to show us that the familiar is in fact truly remarkable. Jeffrey Milstein’s elegant photographs of commercial airliners have quickly become contemporary icons, exhibited at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery in NYC and Paul Kopiekin Gallery in Los Angeles.
Buy the book: AirCraft: The Jet as Art
Edited by the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art — Spank The Monkey is an international survey of recent contemporary urban art starring twenty-two artists from the established art arena and those from the “street art” scene, who have created an art system of their own, removed from that of the museum and gallery circuit. Ranging from works by Barry McGee, Miss Van, Groovisions, Shepard Fairey, Os Gemeos, Swoon, Banksy and more, this book examines their works and places them in a broad context of urban and street art and harnesses the energy of some of the most significant artists to emerge from this new international sub-culture.
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Furnish, Furniture and Interior Design for the 21st Century
Furnish presents furniture and rooms that are redefining our current understanding of furnishings and interior design. The book documents and puts into context recent work by designers, artists and architects who are creating and using furniture in pioneering ways. The experimental objects and spaces documented in Furnish are not only a sure indicator of the trends that will be influencing interiors for the next few years, but they also serve as innovative examples of interdisciplinary design work that are inspiring for anyone working creatively.