By Francesco Ragazzi
Skate culture claims another monograph with Francesco Ragazzi's Palm Angels. Best known as the art director of Moncler, the Italian designer has turned his eye on West Coast skaters, the cradle of the entire scene and still a magnet for aesthetic anthropologists the world over. While the contemporary emphasis on tricks and skill - boosted by ubiquitous online videos - keeps skating at the forefront of pop culture, it's the 'effortless style' of the practitioners that's the focus here, complete with introduction by Pharrell Williams.
Published by Rizzoli, $55
Writer: Jonathan Bell
From the book: featuring large-format photographs of the skaters and skateparks in Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach, Palm Angels hones in on the culture, look and fashion of Los Angeles' skating scene. Photography: Francesco Ragazzi
Ragazzi explains, 'Watching people skating in [Venice Beach] for me means much more than what I can see through my lens. It is like admiring the frescos in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. In this masterpiece by Giotto, there is so much more than meets the eye.' Photography: Francesco Ragazzi
Inspired by the work of Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts, Ragazzi provides readers with a firsthand glimpse into contemporary skateboarding. Photography: Francesco Ragazzi
Superlight: Lightness in Contemporary Houses
By Phyllis Richardson
The next big thing in architecture is weight; just as engineers are looking to lightness to minimise energy use in all forms of transport, so architects are seeking out ways of lightening the load on our cities. Superlight features over 40 recent projects that take a slimmed down approach to the dwelling, whether through the use of high-tech or traditional materials, pre-fabrication or extreme energy-saving designs. Featured architects include Sou Fujimoto, Adamo-Faiden, SCI-Arc and Shigeru Ban.
Published by Thames & Hudson, £19.95
From the book: designed by architects Kengo Kuma and Associates as an eco-conscious residential shelter, this house was the first built for the Meme Meadows research facility in Hokkaido, Japan. Photography: Hiroyuki Oki/a21studio
Casa Garoza was designed by Herreros Arquitectos, and is easily produced, transported and assembled. The house is situated in the rural landscape of Ávila, also having the ability to function off-grid. Photography: Javier Callejas Sevilla
An interior shot of Apelle reveals the sustainably sourced Finnish pine and circular windows used throughout the home, designed by Finnish architect Marco Casagrande. Photography: AdDa Zei
Does Yellow Run Forever?
By Paul Graham
This lustrous new book from photographer Paul Graham features three disparate portfolios set amongst some of the most luminous paper stock we've ever encountered. Graham's images pair the banal with the sublime, placing a tight focus on his subject so as to force us into making juxtapositions that are both playful and poignant.
Published by MACK, £30
From the book: a photograph of a rainbow in western Ireland
Budget gold and pawn shops in New York are used as a metaphor for the supposed gold that is found at the end of a rainbow
By Katie Scott and Jenny Broom
Blending a modern illustrative sensibility with a Victorian sense of anthropological richness, Animalium is billed as a 'virtual museum', and there's something implicitly more interesting about the book as a vessel for knowledge rather than a website or app. Illustrated by Katie Scott, with text by Jenny Broom, this is a picture book for all ages.
Published by Big Picture Press, £20
Animalium features over 160 diverse colourful illustrations by Katie Scott, offering detailed imagery of the different species in the animal kingdom. This spread shows an interpretation of the 'Tree of Animal Life'
A spread from the book shows flamingos, storks, ibises and herons from the chapter on birds
By Charles Saatchi
Transcending his usual role as behind-the-scenes maker or breaker of young artistic careers, Charles Saatchi's Known Unknowns is a book about modern ephemera, the juxtapositions of time, space and culture that have caught his eye and the odd snippets of trivia that have snagged in the mind. Any other author might have parlayed these nuggets into a blog, but Saatchi has instead bound them up in a hefty and handsome hardback.
Published by Booth Clibborn Editions, £25
From the book: Feline hopefuls line the streets for their big break in Roger Corman’s Tales of Terror in 1961, a cinematic adaptation of three Edgar Allan Poe stories
A trainee bodyguard in China gets a bottle smashed over her head in a routine trial
Bill Gates was arrested for running a stop sign without a license in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1977
Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas
By Hiroshi Sugimoto
This classic series of photographs by the Japanese master Hiroshi Sugimoto is gathered together in a major monograph for the first time. The Dioramas series began 40 years ago in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, when Sugimoto transformed the institution's well-worn and probably rather moth-eaten nature dioramas into fantastic scenes simply by eliminating perspective, flattening the image and conjuring up an epic quality the human eye is unable to see.
Published by Damiani and Matsumoto Editions, €50
From the book: 'Cambrian Period', 1992. Photography: Hiroshi Sugimoto
'Golden Eagle', 1994. Photography: Hiroshi Sugimoto
The Untold Stories Behind 19 Classic Logos
By Mark Sinclair
There's nothing like a bit of design-led detective agency fun to get us all hot and flustered. Sinclair, deputy editor at Creative Review, has come up with a greatest hits of corporate design, delving into the napkin-back sketches and slow evolution that led to the creation of 29 of the world's most instantly recognisable identities. All the big hitters are here, showing if nothing else how hard it is to stand out in the dense thicket of today's digital economy.
Published by Laurence King, £28
In this spread from the book, design historian Catherine de Smet describes the Centre Pompidou identity by Jean Widmer as 'one of the most successful logos and most striking examples of graphic design in France in the second half of the twentieth century'
Designer Saul Bass with Bell staff members in the midst of what was, at that time, one of the most extensive corporate identity programmes ever undertaken
Lothar Götz's 'Vision of a Roundel', 2008, commissioned by Art on the Underground as part of the '100 Years, 100 Artists, 100 Works of Art' project celebrating the centenary of the London Underground
Looking at A Most Wanted Man
By Anton Corbijn
Anton Corbijn's critically acclaimed new film, A Most Wanted Man, is all the more poignant for being one of the last screen performances of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Based on a John Le Carré novel, the film is set in Hamburg and Berlin and crackles with brooding, malevolent paranoia. Corbijn's own shooting diary chronicles the slow process of film making, capturing the atmosphere of the story and some of the last images of a talented actor in his prime.
Published by Schirmer/ Mosel Verlag, £45
From the book: Martin Wuttke and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman star in Anton Corbijn's new film, A Wanted Man. © Anton Corbijn. Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel Munich
Freedom bar in St Pauli, Hamburg, served as a location for the film. © Anton Corbijn. Courtesy of Schirmer/ Mosel Munich
Ways of Looking
By Ossian Ward
Ossian Ward's Ways of Looking is an instruction manual for the modern aesthete. Cutting through the bombast of artistic presentation and the overwhelming plethora of visual imagery that shapes and dictates our reaction to every form of art, Ward's book offers up seven ways of approaching modern art, using specific pieces as examples. Ultimately, whether or not art is intended as entertainment, confrontation, event, message, joke, spectacle or meditation is up to you, but at least you'll be well informed by a bright mind and a trained eye.
Published by Laurence King Publishing, £9.95
A spread from the book shows an installation shot from Daniel Buren's 2012 'Excentrique(s)', on show in Paris' Grand Palais
An installation at the Palazzo Pisani by Scottish artist Karla Black during the 2011 Venice Biennale
Soviet Space Dogs
By Olesya Turkina
Long may we mine the rich seam of nostalgia provided by the Soviet Union's mix of industrial and technological might and kitsch national self image. The Soviet space dogs of the title were designated four-footed heroes of the Revolution, celebrated in everything from toys to stamps. Olesya Turkina of St Petersburg's State Russian Museum, tracks the trails blazed by Laika, Belka, Strelka and the other canine cosmonauts in a small format book presented in Fuel's traditionally beautiful style.
Published by Fuel Design, £19.95
From the book: The French and Dutch text on the reverse of Jacques Chocolate Card's 'Assault on the Stars' explains how dog astronauts helped man explore the physical effects of space flight
The text of this matchbox label, celebrating the first living being in space, reads: 'The first Sputnik passenger - the dog "Laika"'
Fashion Photography Next
By Magdalene Keaney
We can claim a certain amount of experience with the subject in hand, but perhaps not quite as much as Keaney - a photographer, curator and writer with a wealth of gallery and publishing experience. Her monograph is a snapshot of the current state of the industry, featuring work by Jamie Hawkesworth, Immo Klink, Daniel Jackson, Clare Shilland and many more, with a special focus on fashion photography's role in driving broader trends.
Published by Thames & Hudson, £24.95
From the book: ‘Double’, from Air France Madame, 2012. Photography: Laetitia Hotte
‘Untitled’, from Dazed & Confused, 2012. Photography: Julia Hetta
'Untitled', from Pop magazine, 2013. Photography: Mel Bies
By Peter Mendelsund
Books about book covers might seem unbearably meta, but there's something reassuring about this ultimate expression of graphic arts. Peter Mendelsund is one of the best contemporary exponents of cover art in the business, overseeing a premium stable of authors at Alfred A Knopf. Mendelsund's portfolio spans classic reprints to modern literary fiction, and his mix of archive imagery, bold type and layered structures give his covers a sense of depth and place that draws the reader in.
Published by PowerHouse Books, $60
From the book: released alongside Cover, Peter Mendelsund's What We See When We Read is an exploration into understanding of the act of reading. Photography: George Baier IV
For the cover of Franz Kaftka's Letters to Felice, Mendelsund used a bold graphic eye on an orange backdrop, debateably suggesting the author's paranoid nature. Photography: George Baier IV
In an effort to show a protangonist's Slothropian relationship to technology, Mendelsund masked parts of A Novel by Tom Mccarthy in black codes and golden symbols. Photography: George Baier IV