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Books: Concrete Creations: Contemporary Buildings & Interiors

Concrete, as the Romans knew it, was in effect a new and revolutionary material. but it wasn’t until after its re-invention in the 18th century that the material combined with reinforced steel transformed the world as we know it. While concrete fell out of favor in the 70s after unpopular modernist architectural movements like Brutalism and large-scale government sponsored urban renewal projects, it is now enjoying a period of revival and innovation.

Concrete has overcome its once tarnished image – thanks to recent advances in technology, the once dull substance has been transformed into an impressive material. Thanks to its especially moldable character, concrete’s flexibility knows no rival. In liquid state, it can fill any form making its application practically boundless.
Big-name architects and newcomers alike have discovered this trend long ago, and the book presents a selection of 60 of the most memorable projects recently completed. With high-quality images, detailed plans and informative project descriptions.

Highlights include private homes by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor, Akira Sakamoto and Thomas Bendel as well as projects by Moshe Safdie, Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid and Fernando Romero.

Concrete Creations: Contemporary Buildings and Interiors, Selected by Dirk Meyhöfer, Hardcover, 23.5 x 23.5 cm, 256 pages, 410 colored illustrations, Publisher: Verlagshaus Braun ISBN 9783938780329
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

Monograph: Carlo Valsecchi Lumen

Industrial architecture, agro-industrial farmland, airports and urban landscapes are all subjects of the Italian photographer Carlo Valsecchi. He works with a extremely soft palette and nuanced chromatic scale, the images are painterly in its sensibility. By shooting long, slightly overexposed images Valsecchi manages to capture natural light bathing a subject not known for its intrinsic beauty. The compositions are considered and carefully composed, his goal is to make visible the dynamic process linking architecture, machinery and product.
Much of his work is clearly within the strong tradition of the industrial landscape developed by the German school, Bernd & Hilla Becher and Andreas Gursky, while others have noted similarities withe the Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. The book follows an exhibition of his large-format photographs at Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Carlo Valsecchi: Lumen, Edited by Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, William A. Ewing, Nathalie Herschdorfer, Publisher: Hatje Cantz English, French, Pages 192, 134 color, hardcover, 29.7 x 27.6 cm, ISBN: 9783775724104
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Never Use White Type on a Black Background

In design school you will encounter people who revel in ridiculous design rules, like the graphic design professor I had, who I still quote today: “When in doubt, use a drop shadow.” Anneloes van Gaalen has gathered some of the better known rules as they relate to the design discipline, including fashion, typography, art and advertising. The illustrated book is peppered with quotes from the famous and not-so-famous; like a condensed version of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, but for design professionals.

Design has many rules that claim to be big truths and full of wisdom. Designers all go by rules that work for them. However, their rules may not work for someone else, or for a particular piece of design work. As Tibor Kalman once said, “Rules are good. Break them.”

Here are some quotes from the book, by some of our favorite people:

“The client may be king, but he’s not the art director.”
- Von R. Glitschka

Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.”
- Charles Mingus

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”
- Oscar Wilde

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
- Samuel Beckett

Never Use White Type on a Black Background: And 50 Other Ridiculous Design Rules, Edited by Anneloes van Gaalen, BIS Publishers, Hardcover, Dimensions: 12 x 17 cm, Pages: 160 ISBN: 9789063692070

Buy it here: Amazon

Max Ernst Museum by SMO Architektur

Thirty years after Max Ernst’s death, his home town of Brühl opened a museum for their prodigal son. It has been set up in the former Brühl Pavilion, a neoclassical palais built in 1844, where Ernst went dancing as a schoolboy.

Max Ernst Museum, by Van Den Valentyn Architektur/SMO Architektur
Photos by: Rainer Mader

Max Ernst Museum: Van Den Valentyn Architektur/SMO Architektur, Hardcover, Pages 64, Illustration 27 colour, 38 b&w illustrations, 26cm x 24cm, ISBN 9783883759494
Buy the Book: Amazon

Ingrid Siliakus—Paper Architect

Paper Architecture is the art of creating an object out of a single piece of paper. Before the final design is finished, something like 20 to 30 (sometimes even more) prototypes are made by Ingrid Siliakus. Drawing paper architecture designs to Ingrid is as building: first one layer, with a single shape, will be drawn and than layer after layer are added. To design a pattern from scratch, the artist needs the skills of an architect to create a two-dimensional design, which, with the patience and precision of a surgeon, becomes an ingenious three-dimensional wonder of paper.

“A growing number of papercraft artists are enjoying the exquisite art of architectural origami, where a single sheet of paper is cut and folded into an intricate miniature structure. Here, three of the world’s leading proponents provide instructions and templates for recreating twenty of the world’s great buildings, from the Taj Mahal to the Rialto Bridge. There are basic principles to start you off, as well as galleries of the finest architectural origami from around the world.”

The Paper Architect, Marivi Garrido (Spain), Joyce Aysta (America) and Ingrid Siliakus (Netherlands), Hardcover, 110 pages (70pp plus 40pp templates), 23cm X 28cm,
ISBN: 9780307451477

Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Le Corbusier And The Maisons Jaoul

In his article published in the Architectural Review in 1955 James Stirling observed that, “frequently accused of being an ‘internationalist’ Le Corbusier was, in fact, the most regional of architects”. With the construction of the vaulted Maisons Jaoul, built for André Jaoul and his son—and their wives—made entirely of brick, concrete, stone, and timber, the house is the antithesis of everything commonly referred to as “Corbusian.”

The book is the first detailed examination of a lesser-known, yet architecturally significant house. Filled with detailed drawings, plans, rare photographs, and indeed even a glimse of the contents of the house and the type of furnishings installed. The book ends with the critical reception by the houses, mainly in the British and American press during the 1950s and ’60s.

Le Corbusier himself never explained this radical change in direction, leaving this design a mystery for future generations to decipher. The book is a welcome addition to the study of this well-known architect but will certainly pose the question: Perhaps Le Corbusier is not a modernist after all?

Le Corbusier and the Maisons Jaoul, by Caroline Maniaque Benton, 19cm x 25cm, Hardcover, 176 pages, (122 color illustrations; 100 b/w),
Published by Princeton Architectural Press ISBN 9781568988009
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Edgar Martins: Topologies

With artful composition and controlled framing—but no digital manipulation—Edgar Martins creates sublimely beautiful views of often un-beautiful sites. Minimalist nighttime beaches, forests ravaged by fires, and Iceland’s stark terrain have all served as subjects for his large-scale color photographs. He also explores the unexpected impact of modernism on the landscape, including startlingly graphic airport runways and colorful highway barriers that, at first glance, read like abstract murals.

Certain themes recur throughout Martins’s work. A sense of place and alienation from it. A sense of mystery—vividly embodied in scenes such as a woman with a bouquet of balloons on a deserted shore. And a sense that something unsettling has just happened or is about to happen—a fire, an accident, a close encounter with some unspecified danger. As John Beardsley notes, “Some images are what we habitually expect photography to be—evidence of the world as we think we know it—while others obscure their subjects through an illusionism that borders on magic.”

Edgar Martins: Topologies, Photography by Edgar Martins, Hardcover with jacket,
11″ x 9.25″, 136 pages

Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Architecture Now! Houses

Some of the best houses built in the last few years, many of them featured on Daily Icon, can be found in a condensed format in the series Architecture Now!

Beyond the fundamental notion of shelter, what defines a house? What are its elements and limitations? This broad-ranging selection of extraordinary dwellings shows the concept to be infinitely malleable: one house seems to hover above the ground, another is embedded in it; some have stark minimal lines, others have tropical gardens; some are palatial, others monastic. From postmodern castles to hi-tech cabins, here is a connoisseur’s choice of the world’s most remarkable new houses, from deepest Patagonia to the Sydney suburbs, via the USA, Europe, Scandinavia and Asia.

Featured architects/firms/artists include:
3LHD Architects, Ábalos & Herreros, Ricardo Bak Gordon, Shigeru Ban, Blank Studio, Gianni Botsford, Nancy Copley, Correia/Ragazzi Arquitectos, Durbach Block, Eastern Design Office, Fuhrimann & Hächler, Terunobu Fujimori, Sou Fujimoto Architects, Kotaro Ide, Carlos Jiménez, Jouin Manku, Kamayachi + Harigai, Mathias Klotz, Kengo Kuma, Leven Betts Studio, MOS, Mount Fuji Architects Studio, Plasma Studio, Antoine Predock, Laurent Savioz, Shim + Sutcliffe, Álvaro Siza Vieira, Philippe Stuebi, Zhang Lei, René van Zuuk

Architecture Now! Houses, Edited by Philip Jodidio, 20 x 25 cm, 416 pages
ISBN: 9783836503747
Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Case Study Houses

The Case Study House program (1945–1966) 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. Highly experimental, the program generated houses that were designed to redefine 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. This compact guide includes all projects featured in the XL version, with over 150 photos and plans and a map of where all houses are (or were) located.

Case Study Houses, Edited by Peter Gössel, Hardcover, 96 pages ISBN: 9783836513012

Buy it here: Amazon

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Studioilse w084t Task Lamp
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Buy it here: Amazon

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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...]
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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...]
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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...]
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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