Book club: engaging reads selected by Wallpaper* editors

Peruse the virtual stacks of the Wallpaper* library

House plants
(Image credit: Daniel Gordon and Simon Arizpe)

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Selected by Bridget Downing, Executive Editor

Bridget Downing

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No turn at the Wallpaper* book club be complete without a nod to ourselves. A Wallpaper* subscription comes with collectable, artist-designed, limited-edition covers. Past subscriber covers have been designed by the likes of Jony IveYayoi Kusama, Virgil Abloh and Barbara Kruger. Plus you – or your favourite friend – will enjoy the latest and greatest in architecture, design, art, entertaining, beauty & grooming, transport, technology, fashion and watches & jewellery, delivered every month. Subscribe here.

Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval

Selected by Anne Soward, Production Editor

Anne Soward

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Visual feast

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Kickstarted by an Instagram account, this visual feast is an essential own for Wes Anderson fans. It can be hard to define what makes the American film director’s style so distinctive, but when you see an Anderson-esque location, you know it. The Instagram account began as a collection of such dreamy sites, all faded grandeur, quirky quaintness and pop pastel palettes, before being released as a sumptuous book featuring an edit of around 200 of the best posts, with a story behind each location and a foreword by the great man himself.

Published by Orion, £25

Rimowa: An Archive, Since 1898 by Rimowa

Selected by Laura Hawkins, Fashion Features Editor

An Archive

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Cologne-based luggage

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There’s little promise of winter sun getaway this year, but luckily Cologne-based luggage label Rimowa has the at-home escapist answer. It’s latest Rizzoli-published monograph Rimowa: An Archive, Since 1898, provides a decades-and-destination spanning history of the brand, and includes a page-turning exploration of its most imaginative designs, including cases for bar carts, vinyl record holders, computer discs and model aeroplanes. Your suitcase may be gathering dust, but your sense of adventure doesn’t have to.

Published by Rizzoli, $95

Houseplants by Daniel Gordon and Simon Arizpe

Selected by TF Chan, Commissioning Editor

House plants

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Green thumb

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For loved ones who lack a green thumb, but are still eager to jump on the houseplant bandwagon, this new pop-up volume makes for the perfect gift. Inspired by a surge in online discussions of indoor gardening, photographer Daniel Gordon has cut up found imagery of houseplants to create sculptural collages, mixing realistic and fantastical colours for a playful effect. These have been transformed into six intricate pop-ups by the award-winning paper engineer Simon Arizpe. The results are joyful, spectacular and sturdier than the hardiest perennial.

Published by Aperture, $150

Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary 

Selected by Ellie Stathaki, Architecture Editor

Architecture Diary

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Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary

(Image credit: Jean-Pierre Gabriel)

Among the rich selection of enticing architecture titles on offer in 2020, there’s one book that is closest to my heart; not least because it includes some words by yours truly. Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary is a expansive monograph of the acclaimed Belgian architect, spanning two decades of work and over 40 built projects – several of which have graced the pages of Wallpaper* in the past. Sestig’s sophisticated, yet gentle and unassuming architecture is impressive and highly covetable; just the thing to help us dream during the crisp, dark winter evenings.’

Published by Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers, $75. Photography: Jean-Pierre Gabriel

Alma Allen by Glenn Adamson and Douglas Fogle

Selected by Tilly Macalister-Smith, Contributing Editor

Alma Allen

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Sea urchins

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There is something intensely soothing about Alma Allen’s work that seems to resonate now more than ever. His organic forms seem as much carved by the wind as sprouted from the earth, or fallen from a giant bough overhead. His sometimes anthropomorphic works recall shimmering bronze ‘sea urchins’, earthy ‘gourds’, smooth marble ‘snail shells’, and are compellingly elemental; carved in bronze, stone, wood, amber, white desert stone. This fabric covered tome is the first dedicated solely to the work of the self-taught sculptor who was once a furniture designer, featuring new photography from his studios in Joshua Tree, California, and Tepoztlán, Mexico.

Published by Rizzoli, $65

‘The Harrods Edition’ book collection by Oliver Jeffers

Selected by Sarah-Jane Molony, Bespoke Director

The Harrods Edition’ book

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The dreamy illustrations

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The dreamy illustrations of Brooklyn-based artist and author Oliver Jeffers have won over children and adults the world over. It comes as no surprise that he’s unveiling major commissions on both sides of the Atlantic, using his imaginative spark to lift that lockdown gloom and spread festive cheer. At Rockefeller Center he’s presenting a series of holiday murals, while for Harrods, he’s created an immersive experience, called Wonder of Stories, that promises to bring families ‘on a journey over land, sea and above the stars’, alongside launching a box set of his most celebrated Christmas stories. Exactly what we need to end the year in high spirits.

Published by HarperCollins, available at Harrods, £65

Materialising Colour, Journeys with Giulio Ridolfo by Jane Withers and Howard Sooley

Selected by Rosa Bertoli, Design Editor

Materialising Colour

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Chromatic palettes

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Giulio Ridolfo is the man behind some of the most impressive chromatic palettes in contemporary design and textiles. Alongside botanical photographer Howard Sooley, the Italian colourist traveled to his native Friuli in Northern Italy, to the Danish coastline, and to Gujarat, western India, then back to Denmark to visit Kvadrat’s manufacturing facilities where his textiles come to life through colour. The journey is narrated by curator Jane Withers (with a further historical essay by Anniina Koivu), and punctuated with travel photography as well as compositions of the found objects that inspire Ridolfo in his work.

Published by Phaidon, £59.95

Abbatt Toys: Modern Toys for Modern Children by Alan Powers

Selected by Jonathan Bell, Transport & Technology Editor

Abbatt Toys

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British modernism

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Paul and Marjorie Abbatt were a power couple of British modernism, albeit in a low-key way. Their company was set up in 1932 and soon occupied a magnificent toyshop on Wimpole Street, designed by none other than Ernö Goldfinger with a style and ethos that still looks utterly contemporary. The Abbatts believed in dovetailing play with learning, studying the emerging field of educational psychology and choosing their stock from the best and brightest European designers. Their catalogue was full of puzzles and construction toys, sturdily built to last. Powers’ book chronicles their hugely collectible oeuvre and the modernist circles they moved in.

Published by Design for Today, £25

The Architect’s Studio: Anupama Kundoo by Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Selected by Léa Teuscher, Sub Editor

The Architect’s Studio

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Museum of Modern Art

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For most of us, this year has been a bit of a time warp, with life grinding down to a halt, and yet months passing far too quickly. So it’s surely the perfect moment to dive into this book on the Indian architect Anupama Kundoo, whose mantra is ‘To take time is to be alive’. Her approach focuses on learning from, and working with, craftspeople to rethink building traditions. The fourth in a series by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, the book features projects spanning a simple farmhouse built for herself as a young architect, to her future Line of Goodwill for Auroville.

Published by Lars Mueller, €45

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.