As we inevitably spend more time indoors, the four walls of your apartment can start to feel a little too familiar. Flipping through books can provide an alternative mind space without physically escaping the humdrums of everyday reality. Here is a selection of beautiful tomes that are not only coffee table-worthy, but will help to keep your creative juices flowing in times of restriction.
TEXT: Kate Lok
IMAGES: Courtesy of various
Future Food Today By SPACE10
This is not your typical book about architecture and interior design, but one that is rooted in Design Thinking and the notion of sustainability. This publication from the research and design leg of IKEA is one that combines the art of design, science, technology and food. In collaboration with creative agency Barkas, the laboratory worked to future-proof the kitchen with sustainable, reduced-waste cooking. Strange ingredients aside, Future Food Today aims to nourish the human body in ways that are environmentally responsible, so that the world can better prepare for an impending increase in food demand. Rather than just being another didactic title in the overflowing cookbook market, it is about building an eating habit centred around sustainability, with tangible and practical methods. What’s more its experimental take on food makes cooking a fun science project rather than a chore, be it growing superfood in your apartment, or making shortbread with disposed coffee grounds.
The Touch: Spaces Designed for the Senses By Kinfolk and Norm Architects
This stitch-bound, 288-pager is the result of a collaboration between Kinfolk’s co-founder and chief editor Nathan Williams and Copenhagen-based firm Norm Architects’ Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen. The duo looks at interior design in an egalitarian, typically Scandinavian approach—as not mere visual feats, but something that engages all of the human senses. The Touch looks at over 25 spaces—from the modernist, cathedral-like Catalan estate of Xavier Corberó, to the funky, rainbow-hued configuration of Emmanuel de Bayser’s Berlin apartment, as well as examples of spaces created by the likes of Ilse Crawford, Bijoy Jain and Arne Jacobsen. It invites readers to explore how elements of light, nature, materiality, colours and the community—the five elements of human-centric design—can impact the everyday experience of a space. Between the pages that are packed-full of stunning photography, the book discusses the tradition of design and colour theory with leading names such as John Pawson and David Thulstrup in a detailed philosophical and historical approach. It is a great one to pick up to refresh one’s perception of the idea of space and experience.
The Goddess – La DÉESSE: Investigations on the Legendary Citroën DS By Christian Sumi
The Citroën DS stirred up quite the hype when it was launched at the Paris Auto Show in 1955. Its seamless combination of technology, comfort, and form, something that was considered a rare feat in the 20th century, and went on to sell over 1.4 million units worldwide in its 20 years of production. This book is a crucial examination into the characteristics of the iconic vehicle and the defining features that set it apart from its competitors at the time. Its pivoted headlights that turn with the steering wheel, hydraulic self-levelling suspension (which allegedly saved French president Charles de Gaulle from an assassination attempt in 1962), and single-spoke steering wheel, were among designs features that were considered futuristic. Beautifully unravelled in a series of sketches and images that recorded the ideation process by Flaminio Bertoni and André Lefèbvre, as well as images advertisements, author Swiss architect Christian Sumi analyses, in both a contemporary and a philosophical context, why the Citroën DS was so well-received and how it became an icon influencing decades of car designs.
Bauhausmädels. A Tribute to Pioneering Women Artists By Patrick Rössler
Published last year to celebrate the centennial of what became the world’s most influential art and design school, this compendium puts the spotlight on some of its most underrated members. Meet the Bauhausmädels—or “Bauhaus girls”—a term coined to applaud the women who defied traditional gender roles to build a creative career. While the founding of Bauhaus provided women of the time with new opportunities in education, they were still faced with family expectations, social conventions, ambiguity from the school and faculty members, and the political repression from the impending Nazi regime, which ultimately led to the closure of the school in 1933. In a series of photographs and text, the volume visually present the creative journey of more than 87 artists and designers, including Marianne Brandt—the first woman to be admitted to the Bauhaus metalworking programme whose designs continue to be used by Italian homeware brand Alessi to this day; Gertrud Arndt, who, having been discouraged by the faculty to pursue architecture, went on to make her mark in photography and rug design; and Lucia Moholy, whose photography documented the architecture and products of the Bauhaus, but spent her life struggling to retrieve recognition for her work, which were often credited to her husband László Moholy-Nagy or to Walter Gropius. Perhaps, more relevant than ever in this day and age, this book can serve as an important reminder to fellow female creatives, of individuals, mostly overlooked, who once stood as pioneers in gender equality in the arts and steadfast in the refusal to conform to the expectations of a patriarchal society.
The History of Information Graphics By Sandra Rendgen
This publication is a historical account of the origins of infographics and how it has evolved through the years. The need to visualise knowledge has always been present, even more so in this digital age where speed and volume of information increase exponentially. For as long as humans existed we have continued to find new possibilities for the visual presentation of information for ideas to better disseminate, be understood and remembered. As the sequel to the best-selling Information Graphics and Understanding the World, this giant compendium gathers over 250 examples in systematic account of the history of infographics. Revel in the colourful pages filled eye-catching content such as kinship charts that came out of the Roman Law, recounts of the World War II D-Day battle, and the New York subway diagram. Spanning subjects of science, history, journalism and data, this enthralling graphic-heavy volume will take readers through an eye-opening journey into the teachings, research and dissecting information from past generations.
Fairy Tale Architecture By Andrew Bernheimer and Kate Bernheimer
This book is a conversation between an unlikely pair—fairy tales and architects. A culmination of an ongoing series that was published in Places Journal since 2011 by brother-sister duo of writer Kate Bernheimer and architect Andrew Bernheimer, the relationship between the domestic structure of fairy tales and the imaginative nature of architecture is explored in this compendium. A collection of architectural re-interpretations by modern day architects, including Bernheimer Architecture, Snøhetta, Rural Studio, LEVENBETTS, LTL Architects, among others. Such imaginations include an infinite library created by Rice + Lipka Architects, taking the detailed architectural cues from the Argentine lore “The Library of Babel” and transforming them into sketches that render a library of infinite hexagonal shelves. The classic tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Snow Queen, The Little Match Girl and more than 16 other titles are transformed into spinning houses, paper capes, engineered hair braids and resin bee hives. Treat it as a light-hearted read for the curious mind in what otherwise was a year void of curiosities.