Christmas design books: from informative, to imaginative and coffee-table

Modernist Design Complete

Design used to be subject preserved for the elite, and books dedicated to it were few and far between. Now that design is everywhere, there are publications that cater for almost everyone – from pretty coffee-table books to complement the interior, to academic studies for true enthusiasts, and handy reference manuals for the creative professional. Here is a selection of newly-published books on architecture and design to keep you inspired during the festive period.

Arrived at our office recently is ‘Modernist Design Complete’, a truly comprehensive study of the progressive movement. Published by Thames & Hudson, this impressive hardback brings together most facets and scales of design under a single volume to present the vast breadth of towering and lesser-known figures within modernism. It is a lavishly-illustrated book that reveals unexpected connections and helps form new insights.

The Iconic House , Thames & Hudson

Also by the same publisher is ‘The Iconic House’, a smaller publication that makes an excellent coffee table addition. It features over 100 of the world’s most important and influential residential homes designed and built since 1900. International in scope and wide-ranging in style, each has a unique approach that makes it radical for its time.

Le Corbusier, The Buildings

Then a trio of architectural books by T&H takes on a more academic approach. The first of the three ‘Le Corbusier: The Buildings’ is a thorough look at the work of the Swiss architect and one of the pioneers of modernism. Photographer Richard Pare documents Le Corbusier’s incredible body of work – from his first villas in Switzerland to his mid-career designs in Argentina and Russia, and his later pieces including the only US project he completed at Harvard University as well as the civic plan of Chadigarh in India.

Santiago Calatrava, Thames & Hudson

Next is ‘Santiago Calatrava: Drawing, Building, Reflecting’, an intimate account of the celebrated Spanish architect. Through his words and sketches, we get to understand the nature of his work’s imagination and the breadth of his influences. The text is extensively illustrated with photographs of his buildings and drawings from his private sketchbooks – rarely seen outside his studio.

Kengo Kuma, Thames & Hudson

‘Kengo Kuma, Complete Works’ records the work of the globally acclaimed Japanese architect. It features Kuma’s thirty projects, including the brilliant V&A Dundee, his first UK commission. There are personal and architectural reflections on each project alongside specially-commissioned photography and detailed drawings.

Social Design, Lars Muller

Elsewhere, ‘Social Design’ examines the work of architects and designers who are positively impacting on society. Published by Lars Müller, the 27 projects featured here touch on the areas of cityscape and countryside, housing, education and work, production, migration, networks, and the environment. They are framed by three research studies that trace the historical roots and foundations of social design and look at today’s theoretical discourse as well as future trends.

Lastly is another timely design book that celebrates the new age of sustainable mobility. ‘The Current – New Wheels for the Post-Petrol Age’ by Gestalten takes a closer look at some of the pioneers of the eco-evolution. It includes cars and bikes – all things performing on two, three, or four wheels – for an intriguing glimpse into what to expect in the next decade or so.

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The Current, Gestalten
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