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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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Friday, December 7th, 2012

Design Books on My Coffee Table’s List

Becky

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I love to make an Amazon wishlist before the holidays, and it’s my coffee table likes to chime in with the picks it wants to sit atop it. Right now, my Scandinavian mid-century modern slat table has been surfing the internet a lot, and I think he’s made some great picks. If you have a design nut on your list or just want soem inspiration for yourself, check out these titles.

Doris Duke’s Shangri-La. The fabulous estate of Duke’s in Honolulu was modern yet full of intricate Islamic details, rich colors and was truly a paradise. Most of us wont’ ever get to stay at a property like this, but at least we can take a virtual visit with this book.

Speaking of places I’ve never been to, I am hankering to see the amazing interiors of Havana via author Hermes Mallea’s Great Houses of Havana.

American Beauty by Thom Filicia. Here Thom takes you through a renovation process of his lake house in upstate New York. The results are stunning, and the only quibble I have with the book is that it makes me wish I were a houseguest.

Steven Gambrel: Time and Place. I’ve been ripping out Gambrel’s images from magazines for years; it would be so wonderful to have this collection of ten of his major designs all together, happily hanging out on my coffee table. Incidentally, both Thom Filicia and Steven Gambrel’s books were photographed by the talented Eric Piasecki.

Which books are you hankering for right now? Please share the titles you and/or your coffee table are hankering for in the comments section.

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Monday, July 12th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Thom Filicia

Becky

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I am cheap thrifty. This is why I just purchased my Thom Filicia book a few weeks ago, even though it’s been out for awhile. You can pick it up used for a song, and it’s worth every penny. That’s not to say it’s not worth full price, it’s just to say that girlfriend is broke. This was on my wishlist for quite some time, and let me tell you, I’m so glad I have it. This is one of those rare design tomes I actually READ, joining the ranks of very few designer-slash-authors whose prose compels me to read it. The group includes, but is not limited to, Billy Baldwin, Jonathan Adler and Celerie Kemble. Welcome to the club Thom – your sparkling personality shines through in your writing. Reading this book made me miss Queer Eye so much. Here’s a teaser:Love the touching tribute to his mom

He had me at “Flock of Seagulls meets The Preppy Handbook

Love these layouts and explanations – some of it reads like a Domino spread

Other parts are scrumptious, dynamic interior shots

What are you waiting for? Thom Filicia Style will bring a smile to your face and inspire you to start rearranging and revitalizing your home.

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Kelly Wearstler’s Hue

Becky

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It’s here, it’s here! I love it when UPS, a.k.a. The Amazon Fairy*, brings me pre-ordered treats. Today it was Hue by Kelly Wearstler. This book is stunning. I think half of the designs are the exact opposite of ANYTHING I would ever have in my house, but here’s what. Remember when Domino featured Wearstler’s Bravura Modern poolhouse and everyone was all “what in the hell is this?!?!?!?” I was like that too – I wrote about it in an incoherent fashion here. However, take a look around.

Look at the boxes bedecked with clunky stones. Then look at the clunky rocky Rachel Zoe-y jewelry that is in fashion today. Look at the crazy blobby furniture and then check out what Calvin Klein Home, Fendi Casa and Armani Casa are offering right now. Look at the Keith Haring-esque custom wallpapers Basquiat paintings and think of how graffiti and the culture of the streets has infiltrated so many aspects of the avant garde and mainstream culture. Hear the theme from “Miami Vice” start to go through your head as you look at Kelly’s main residence, and then look at the eightiss leggings and shoulder pads that are ruling the runways right now (personally, this girl sported both of those in the eighties and will not be repeating herself. For the record, I never went near neon or parachute pants). I digress: Wearstler sets the trends.

As for the book, the photography is beautiful. The names of the hues themselves (i.e. “camellia,” “wisteria,” “vermillion”) and the coordinating colored pencils, sketches, and idea-scapes** that go with them are inspiring. Think about all those chic steakhouses with white-painted exposed brick walls, statement light fixtures (perhaps a series of oversized drum shades in black), and spare decoration, then check out how Wearstler’s bars, restaurants and lobbies celebrate being ornate and stimulate your eyeballs and your conversations. It’s fun to look around a space in awe and feel your jaw drop whether you like the decor or not.

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So, to sum up ever so briefly:

LIKE: Fashion as inspiration (I’m such a Kelly geek I recognized half her featured clothes from Top Design and magazine spreads).

DISLIKE: Cheesy styling of shoes in the photos – in between chairs, next to the bed – when will people stop doing the thing where they throw the Manolos or the Loubies into a room shot like it’s icing on the cake?

LIKE: The fact that she goes all out, no compromises, when designing her own homes

DISLIKE: The thought of having to live in one of her houses. I could not sleep with a crazy huge head vase full of flowers looking at me. It can’t be very feng shui.

LIKE: The way the crazy sculptures remind me of Duran Duran album covers

DISLIKE: The crazy sculptures

LIKE: The gorgeous photography, the lack of useless drivel that no one is going to read, the self-awareness that this tome’s purpose is enrapturing eye candy.

DISLIKE: That half of the photos were revealed in magazines already.

LIKE: The wallpapered ceilings, the gorgeous linens for Sferra

DISLIKE: Oh, who cares, enough negativity. I am totally in love with this book. Perhaps it’s because that first Domino poolhouse feature gave me ample time to get used to it.

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To check out some potential Wearstler precedents, read this post.

*My Fine Garden, I totally swiped that from the tweet you sent me!

**I hate to add “-scapes” to words, especially “bedscape,” but I have no vocabulary today. These were basically assemblages.

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Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Design Book: Mid-Century Modern

Becky

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One of the most inspiring books on my shelf is Mid-Century Modern by Bradley Quinn. Though I picked it up a few years ago (2004, about the time this blog began to come together), I pull it down again and again to admire the textiles, furniture, accessories and even the wood paneling. It’s just a perfect tome – this is one every modern library should have. Here is just a little schmear of proof:

Sultry Panton S-Chairs-OOHLALA!

A Killer Sputnick Light Fixture Adds a KAPOW!

This is such a great mix: The wide pine boards on the floor are so 1800’s New England, the room seems to have Georgian/Deco traditional detailing, the Persian rug is straight out of some Yale professor’s office, the light fixture and chairs are totally mid-c-modern and the biomorphic Paul Frankltable is totally stepping out into bravura modern – YOWZAH!

all photographs from Mid-Century Modern. Top photo by Verne Fotografie, second by unknown , third by Ray Main/Mainstream

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