Top tomes: 10 new books to flick through this month
Top tomes: 10 new books to flick through this month
Small Architecture Now
By Philip Jodidio
The latest opus from one-man publishing phenomenon Philip Jodidio, Small Architecture Now hints strongly at the ongoing desire to downsize without dismissing design quality. These are buildings at the intersection of architecture, furniture and art, referencing the modern passion for pop-up, craft, technology and, in some cases, portability. There's something soothing and accommodating about compact living, despite the eclectic selection on show - a dollhouse for Calvin Klein is hardly comparable to emergency housing in Asia.
Hut on Sleds, Whangapoua, New Zealand, by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects, 2011
The Wapping Project on Paper
By Imogen Eveson
Plundering the archives stored under the water tanks for material, this book is a visual record of the Victorian hydraulic power station that became the Wapping Project, a cultural venue that ultimately closed its doors last year. The Wapping Project on Paper recounts the building's history, from its early years powering West End stages to its launch as a contemporary arts and performance space in 2000, accompanied by evocative recollections from some of the artists who displayed their site-specific works there.
From the book: Inside the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station prior to its £4m renovation, which came courtesy of architects Josh Wright and Shed54. Photography: John Spinks
Installation view of the 2011 'Yohji Making Waves' exhibition, by Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto. Photography: Rei Moon
A Dictionary Story
By Sam Winston
Whether you consider Sam Winston an artist or a wordsmith, he is undoubtedly a maverick. The author of A Dictionary Story - and Wallpaper* Handmade cover artist - plays with synonyms and homonyms and breeches the confines of structure to produce texts that tickle the tongue and trickle off the page, literally and metaphorically, with a cover designed by A Practice for Everyday Life. Big, audacious textual works are reaching a zenith in popularity, but Winston's most recent one is less a bold statement and more an audio-visual poetry of the subconscious - 'a typographical romance', as the novelist Marina Warner called it. Winston was initially inspired by his own dyslexia, and it can be rewarding to read from this perspective.
Artist Sam Winston was initially inspired by his own dyslexia to create his dictionary story, which slips out of its plastic cover to reveal three folded 'acts' to the tale
The book features texts that tickle the tongue and trickle off the page, literally and metaphorically
By Detlef Mertins
Next to the micro-industry that has grown up around books on the Corbusian oeuvre, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is comparatively underrepresented on architecture-lovers' bookshelves. Spotting the gap, Phaidon has weighed in with an appropriately slab-like tome chronicling the master's life and work. Detlef Mertins' combined monograph/biography of the architectural titan was 10 years in the making. His subject was a physically commanding presence whose experience as both Bauhaus director and corporate design supremo lent him an unmatched authority in 20th-century architecture. In the years since his death in 1969, Mies van der Rohe's legacy and reputation have ridden high and low, but a new generation is discovering that his avocation of craft and quality are key to the architecture of simplicity. Stuffed full of photographs, plans and archival material, this is the new benchmark.
Published by Phaidon, £100
Writer: Jonathan Bell
From the book: Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, 1945–51; view from porch looking into living area. Courtesy of Jon Miller / Hedrich
860–880 Lake Shore Drive Apartment Buildings, Chicago, 1948–51. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum
The Duchamp Dictionary
By Thomas Girst
Alongside his day job stewarding BMW's considerable cultural activities around the world, Thomas Girst is also one of the foremost contemporary authorities on Marcel Duchamp, leading light of the surrealists and ongoing influence on all forms of visual communication. Girst's new book, The Duchamp Dictionary, charts an alphabetised course through Duchamp's artistic sensibilities. It not only offers an insight into the artist's life and work but exists as a piece of art in its own right, conjuring up the juxtapositions and contradictions that continue to keep the work relevant.
Published by Thames & Hudson, £16.95
Writer: Jonathan Bell
From the book: An illustration by Heretic accompanies the entry for abstraction
'Pseudonyms', by Heretic
Each of the 26 sections is preceded by a page with its own matching visual identity. Illustration: Heretic
The Lawn Road Flats: Spies, Writers and Artists
By David Burke
Built in 1934, the Lawn Road Flats was the first domestic building in Britain to be constructed from reinforced concrete. This book focuses less on the revolutionary Modernist architecture, however, and more on the intriguing mix of people who lived there in the 1930s and 1940s. The flats housed a veritable Who’s Who of the period, with Henry Moore, Agatha Christie, Bauhaus exiles and Soviet agents among the notable residents.
Made by Hand: Contemporary Makers, Traditional Practices
The quest for contemporary authenticity continues with this overview of the ongoing return to craft manufacturing. Of course, traditional methods have never gone away. But the twin prongs of high-end consumption - demanding exclusive and exquisite craftsmanship - and global distribution and marketing via the web have created something of a golden age for small-scale makers, who have an audience and visibility like never before. Made by Hand surveys some of the best, including instrument makers, stationers and shoemakers.
From the book: The Cosmeticist, Kate Fisher of Honest Skincare. Photography: Carolyn Carter
Musical Instrument Maker, Andreas Hudelmayer. Photography: Nick Warner
The Art Lover's Guide to Japanese Museums
By Sophie Richard
This beautiful volume is designed to steer you around some of the world's most esoteric and often obscure cultural venues. The past decade has seen a flurry of cultural construction in Japan, whether it's the impressive roster of architectural projects on the island of Inujima or more conventional museums devoted to traditional art and design. Richard's book will act as an invaluable guide to the cultural tourist, especially given that this is allegedly the first English-language guide to the country's cultural scene in three decades.
From the book: Nestled in a verdant mountainous region in Hokuto, the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection, designed by Kitagawara Atsushi, is the only museum in the world dedicated to the oeuvre of American artist Keith Haring
The spiralling Sun Room inside the Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by architectural duo Arakawa Shusaku and Madeline Gins
Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology's Designs on Nature
By Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Jane Calvert, Pablo Schyfter, Alistair Elfick and Drew Endy
Far from an ivory tower text, Synthetic Aesthetics is a true collaboration between scientists, designers and thinkers who cross borders and disciplines to test the limits of biology in the digital world. Can bacteria be programmed to alert you when you're ill? Will we one day devise a synthetic organism that can suck up pollution in the wild? Is it possible to decentralise the petrochemical industry and distribute production and power? How long until machines take on lives of their own? Sooner than most of us imagine, it seems. By joining forces, the authors are able to bring disparate theories into the world, closer to life and into language even the laymen can understand.
From the book: 'Carbon Monoxide Sensing Lung Tumour' from the 'The Synthetic Kingdom', by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, 2009. Photography: Carole Suety
A colony of the filamentous cyanobacterium oscillatoria. Photography: Hideo Iwasaki
Landmarks: The Modern House in Denmark
By Michael Sheridan
In the 1950s and 1960s, the reputation of Danish architects far exceeded the economic and political influence of their mother country. These men and women became renowned at home and internationally for groundbreaking Modernist public buildings, designed with a unique concern for craftsmanship and truth to materials. This book explores the more intimate side to the movement, looking closely at 14 landmark homes constructed in the mid 20th century. New colour photography gives intimate interior and exterior views of each featured house, many of which are still in use today.