Top tomes: 10 new books to flick through this month

Book cover photo
(Image credit: press)

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.

Published by Taschen, £34.99

Writer: Jonathan Bell

Riverside House exterior view

From the book: Riverside House, Tokyo, Japan, by Kota Mizuishi, 2010-11

(Image credit: press)

Madison Avenue (Doll)house exterior view

Madison Avenue (Doll)house, New York, USA, by Rex, 2008

(Image credit: press)

Endémico Resguardo Silvestre view

Endémico Resguardo Silvestre, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, by Jorge Gracia Garcia, 2010-11

(Image credit: press)

Hut on Sleds interior view

Hut on Sleds, Whangapoua, New Zealand, by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects, 2011

(Image credit: press)

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.

Published by Black Dog Publishing, £29.95

Writer: Prudence Ivey

Book cover photograph

(Image credit: press)

Wapping Hydraulic Power Station

From the book: Inside the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station prior to its £4m renovation, which came courtesy of architects Josh Wright and Shed54.

(Image credit: John Spinks)

'Yohji Making Waves' exhibition view

Installation view of the 2011 'Yohji Making Waves' exhibition, by Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto.

(Image credit: 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.

Published by Arc Artist Editions, £10

Writer: Ellen Himelfarb

A Dictionary Story book cover view

(Image credit: press)

three folded 'acts' view

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

(Image credit: press)

Inside the book of A Dictionary Story

The book features texts that tickle the tongue and trickle off the page, literally and metaphorically

(Image credit: press)

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

Mies book cover view

(Image credit: press)

Farnsworth House living area view

From the book: Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, 1945–51; view from porch looking into living area.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jon Miller / Hedrich)

Apartment Buildings exterior view

860–880 Lake Shore Drive Apartment Buildings, Chicago, 1948–51.

(Image credit: 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

The Duchamp Dictionary book cover view

(Image credit: press)

illustration by Heretic

From the book: An illustration by Heretic accompanies the entry for abstraction

(Image credit: Heretic)

Pseudonyms illustration

'Pseudonyms', by Heretic

(Image credit: Heretic)

Illustration by Heretic

Each of the 26 sections is preceded by a page with its own matching visual identity.

(Image credit: 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.

Published by Boydell & Brewer, £25

Writer: Prudence Ivey

The Lawn Road Flats book cover

(Image credit: TBC)

Lawn Road Flats exterior view

The completed Lawn Road Flats in Hampstead, London. © Architect and Building News.

(Image credit: Sidney Newbery)

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.

Published by Black Dog Publishing, £16.95

Writer: Jonathan Bell

Made by Hand book cover

(Image credit: press)

The Cosmeticist making Cosmetics

From the book: The Cosmeticist, Kate Fisher of Honest Skincare.

(Image credit: Carolyn Carter)

Andreas Hudelmayer portrait

Musical Instrument Maker, Andreas Hudelmayer.

(Image credit: 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.

Published by Japan Society Publications, £18.99

Writer: Jonathan Bell

The Art Lover's Guide to Japanese Museums book cover

(Image credit: press)

museum exterior view

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

(Image credit: press)

Artwork in Nagi Museum

The spiralling Sun Room inside the Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by architectural duo Arakawa Shusaku and Madeline Gins

(Image credit: Arakawa Shusaku and Madeline Gins)

the Ryukoku Museum exterior view

Opened in 2011, the Ryukoku Museum in Kyoto focuses on the history of Buddhism and its teachings.

(Image credit: © Higashide Kiyohiko)

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.

Published by The MIT Press, £24.95

Writer: Ellen Himelfarb

Synthetic Aesthetics book cover

(Image credit: press)

Carbon Monoxide Sensing Lung Tumour

From the book: 'Carbon Monoxide Sensing Lung Tumour' from the 'The Synthetic Kingdom', by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, 2009.

(Image credit: Carole Suety)

filamentous cyanobacterium oscillatoria

A colony of the filamentous cyanobacterium oscillatoria.

(Image credit: 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.

Published by Hatje Cantz, £35

Writer: Prudence Ivey

Landmarks book cover

(Image credit: press)

Middlebøe House exterior view

From the book: Middlebøe House, Holte, Copenhagen, by Jørn Utzon, 1953-55.

(Image credit: Hans Ole Madsen)

Varming House exterior view

Varming House, by Eva and Nils Koppel, 1951-53.

(Image credit: Hans Ole Madsen)

Clemmensen House interior view

Clemmensen House, by Karen and Ebbe Clemmensen, 1952-54.

(Image credit: Hans Ole Madsen)

Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms