For our mid-summer book edit, we present a superlative selection of visually-driven titles. This month’s selection includes an exploration of the architecture and design of the Moscow metro, as well as a look at the objects behind Giorgio Morandi’s still lifes, through the lens of Joel Meyerowitz.
For a heftier read, follow Rowan Moore as he explores London through its architecture, or discover the history and impact of the one of the fashion world’s most ubiquitous forms: the suit. Whether you’re looking to stretch your mind or out by the pool, we’ve got you covered.Writer: Elana Wong. Photography: Michael Ainscough
Hidden Urbanism: Architecture and Design of the Moscow Metro 1935–2015
By Sergey Kuznetsov, Alexander Zmeul, Erken Kagarov
Moscow’s Metro is one of the great wonders of 20th century engineering and design. Palatial in scale and unequalled in terms of the richness of the architectural and decorative detail used, to use it is to descend into a subterranean wonderland – one of Communism’s crowning achievements. Opened in four stages from 1935 onwards, it was the deepest, fastest and eventually one of the longest underground systems in the world. Hidden Urbanism brings together a survey of the architecture itself, the engineering involved and the signage and print material that accompanied the decades-long roll-out of the 320km network (with more stations and track on the way).
Published by DOM Publishers, €98Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Michael Ainscough
From the book: the arcades in Komsomolskaya Station on the Koltsevaya line consist of two rows of columns linked by elegant arches; they carry entablatures (with cornices) stretching along the entire length of the station. Photography: Alexander Popov
The entrance halls of two different Moscow metro stations, one new and one old. Pictured left: entrance hall of the competition-winning design project for Solntsevo Station on the Kalininsko-Solntsevskaya line, scheduled for completion in 2017. Courtesy Nefa Architects. Right: entrance hall of Arbatskaya Station on the Filevskaya line that was formed in 1935 by LS Teplitsky architects. Photography Philipp Meuser
The interior decoration of the station is realised in an individual style, and in accordance with a unique, specially developed design concept. Pictured left: the ceiling of the new entrance hall of Mayakovskaya Station. Photography: Philipp Meuser. Right: the new map of the Moscow Metro on the wall of Kuznetsky Most Station. Photography: Yevgeniya Filatova
On the axis of the central hall in Belorusskaya Station are twelve mosaic panels depicting the life of the Belorusian people, using the Florentine mosaic technique. Photography: Philipp Meuser
Pictured: glass mosaics at Trubnaya Station on the Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya line. Photography: Philipp Meuser
By Joel Meyerowitz
Joel Meyerowitz is best known for his street photography, but a lifelong obsession with Giorgio Morandi has led to this intensely personal and meticulous chronicle of the Italian painter’s monastic and reverent artistic approach. Morandi used and re-used a group of around 270 objects – bottles, cups, vases, blocks, shells – arranging them into a legendary series of reductivist still lifes, with light, tone and form given the subtlest of treatments. Brought to life in all their faded, scuffed glory, these venerated ’objects’ were the subject of intense scrutiny, transformed by the artist’s minimal palette and mastery of form into some of the most beautiful paintings ever created.
Published by Damani,€45Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Michael Ainscough
From the book: in her essay ’The Patina of Time’, Maggie Barrett explains of the mystery of the artist: ’the infinite number of individual paths that eventually lead to the space place.’ Pictured left: Split Head, 2015. Right: Guitar, 2015. Photography: Joel Meyerowitz
’However pure they once were, the battering of daily life graced them with scars and bruises which gave them the character that was lacking when they were new,’ explains Joel Meyerowitz. Pictured left: Shell, 2015. Right: Glass Decanter, 2015. Photography: Joel Meyerowitz
’What to the outsider appears to be dust, to the artist is the patina of time,’ Barrett states. Pictured left: Blue Urn, 2015. Right: Nine Grid, Pigments, 2015. Photography: Joel Meyerowitz
Slow Burn City
By Rowan Moore
Rowan Moore’s epic history of modern London could be due for an updated edition rather sooner than he expected. Slow Burn City is part history, part manifesto, using London’s permeable, shape-shifting system of governance and relationship with its citizens and the wider population as a way of exploring the role of cities in the 21st century. London is both exemplar and warning, a place where global capital accumulates and multiplies, where opportunity allegedly shines but is increasingly hard to find, and where heritage and history are frequently at loggerheads with the demands of development. London’s bubble hasn’t burst yet, but as this book lays bare, despite the many pleasures it offers, its detachment from the wider world can be both a blessing and a curse.
Published by Picador, £20Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Michael Ainscough
From the book: The combination of green-glazed and blue brick makes the industrial materials and setting of this area of Bethnal Green delightful. Pictured: Mint Street housing, Bethnal Green, by Pitman Tozer, 2014
Designed by young members of the London Borough of Southwark’s architecture department in 1974, the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle was included in Moore’s analysis of social troubles surrounding the once popular development of large estates that eventually fell into disrepair. Pictured: Heygate Estate, Elephant and Castle, London Borough of Southwark, 1974. Courtesy London Borough of Southwark
The Square Mile is a game reserve of nicknamed shapes, all designed to differentiate the area from Canary Wharf. Included is Foster + Partners’ Gherkin, described by Moore as striking and memorable, given a stylish wrap by the architects. Photography: Foster + Partners, 2002
The Suit: Form, Function and StyleBy Christopher Breward
Whether it’s for function, fashion, political status or national identity, the suit has formed the cornerstone of male dress codes for centuries. Christopher Breward’s new book, part of Reaktion’s ongoing series of single-subject monographs, isn’t just a history of style, but a dissection of meaning. The myriad codes of status – sometimes subtle, often defiantly not – are still enshrined in this complex item of clothing. Throughout its history, the suit has changed shape and style as it was adapted by different groups to represent different things. Fully illustrated throughout, The Suit reveals how it’s an integral part of a thousand different subcultures, from the salarymen of Japan, to the Sapeurs of the Republic of Congo, the Teddy Boys of Brighton or the wolves of Wall Street.
Published by Reaktion Books, £18Writer: Jonathan Bell. Photography: Michael Ainscough
From the book: in the introduction – ’The Tailor’s Art’ – Breward provides a detailed historical look at the development of suit construction and design as tailors created new styles, detailing and cuts to cater to changing social class structures and trends. Pictured left: lapel construction. Photography: Anderson & Sheppard 2010. Right: Captain Thomas Drummond, by Henry William Pickersgill, 1834. Courtesy University of Edinburgh Fine Art Collection
London’s 1770s macaroni craze featured caricatures of specific political circles and questioned the legitimacy of an aristocratic political system. Similarly, eponymous threads donned by Alec Guinness in The Man in the White Suit (1951) provided a social critique of communism and unconstrained capitalism at the time of its release. Pictured left: The Shuffling Macaroni, by Matthew Darly, 1772. Courtesy Purchase, Friends of the Costume Institute Gifts. Right: poster for Ealing Studio’s The Man in the White Suit (1951). Courtesy Ealing Studios, J.Arthur Rank.Org
Manuals like these promised that the anthropometric craft of the suit could enhance all body shapes. Pictured: The Tailor’s Guide: A Complete System of Cutting Every Kind of Garment (c.1850). Copyright Woolmark Archive and London College of Fashion
The book also details adaptations and appropriations of the suit that reflected social movements and events throughout history, such as female empowerment and the influx of new professions during the Industrial Revolution. Pictured left: woman’s suit by Hardy Amies. Courtesy Woolmark Archive and London College of Fashion. Right: the black morning coat and top hat of the mid-Victorian gentleman (c.1875). Courtesy Miss Jane Devereaux, 1951
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