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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Favorite Design Books of 2013: The Bold

Becky

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Last week we showed you some of our favorite design books released in 2013, a group of five that focused on the beautiful – European antiques, flowers, gardens, marble floors, homes in the Hamptons, idyllic lakeside spots. Now we’d like to share some that feature the bold – international style, modern and contemporary, minimal and downright sublime  … here are five of our favorites from the past year. Note, these make great gifts for the architecture fans in your life; I’ve included the Amazon links for each book in case you’re interested in ordering.

Building Seagram by Phyllis Lambert. I’m not going to lie, ever since I took Richard Guy Wilson’s architectural history course, this has remained one of my top five favorite buildings. Lambert was there every step of the way, spearheaded the search for an architect that resulted in finding Mies, and her amazing tale will surprise you.

Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscape, published by MoMA. This is an absolute MUST HAVE for any architectural library, you cannot begin to understand the roots of International Style without understanding Corb, and this may just be the most comprehensive tome on the market. Plus, more shallowly, it’s got a really cool spine that will pop on your shelves.

The Houses of Louis Kahn by George H. Marcus and William Whitaker. You may know all about the library at Exeter or the Salk Institute, but this book is a collection of Kahn’s lesser-known work, his residential homes. Again, I must declare this an architecture library must-have.

Tadao Ando: Houses by Philip Jodidio. Ando took concrete, known primarily for heavy brutalist architecture, and created thoughtful and ethereal buildings with it. A master of proportion and light, these qualities can best be seen (IMHO) in his residential designs, which are the focus of this beautiful book.

Nelson Byrd Woltz: Garden, Park, Community, Farm by Warren T. Bird Jr., Thomas Woltz and Elizabeth Meyer. Full disclosure: I used to know all of these people ten years ago. Warren made us chase him on four hour plant walks with his long fast stride, while we furiously scribbled down Latin names for plants and tried to sketch them at the same time (sometimes while climbing up the Blue Ridge Mountains; the class was a better workout than Barry’s Boot Camp), I knew Thomas Woltz socially and Beth Meyer was a horrible person to have to turn in a paper to, because she’s probably the best at writing about landscape architecture and landscape theory (she doesn’t get mired down in all that nonsensical archi-speak that plagues so many academic design writers). Anyway, now that that’s out of the way — the work of this firm is wide-ranging and puts into practice all the elements you dream about putting into practice back when you’re a wide-eyed idealistic student.

Any books you’d recommend for 2013? Please share any that caught your attention in the comments section.

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Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

On My Coffee Table: Design Books for Spring and Summer

Becky

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I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the weather this spring; while I dread the hot and sticky and brutal Atlanta summers, I do look forward to watching my herbs sprout from seeds and eating farm-fresh veggies. One now-classic favorite of mine is Edible Estates, which will have you looking at your yard with loads of new ideas.

I also look forward to fleeing north and hitting the New England coast as an escape. Even if you don’t have a dreamy beach house to decorate, it’s time to switch out that dark heavy quilt and throw pillows for some lighter textures and colors. Take some California seaside inspiration from Interior designer Tim Clarke’s recent release, Coastal Modern, is one of my favorite new books on the market. He presents a spare and uncluttered aesthetic that’s still warm and inviting.

Going across to the opposite coast, one of my new favorite coffee table books is Yankee Modern: The Houses of Estes/Twombly. These architects have such a great way of capturing the spirit of the vernacular architecture in a contemporary way when they are designing these beautiful homes.

Well, Sal may have been unjustly fired from Sterling Cooper (I wish he’d some back!), but the actor who played him, Bryan Batt, is not only running his chic New Orleans home boutique, but also wrote this fabulous book, Big Easy Style. It’s full of great style and wit, as Batt has a discerning eye and a killer sense of humor.

What’s on your coffee table at the moment? Please share your favorite design tomes in the comments section.

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