Making, creating, crafting – all these processes have been with us since man has existed. But design is a whole different animal. As the former director of London’s Design Museum, Deyan Sudjic notes: “Making is to do with skill but design is, or ought to be, about ideas.”
A beautifully bound, carefully crafted book is in its own way also a piece of design. The designer coffee table book is almost its own genre. And if design is not only to do with making but about the idea behind that making, then the following six design books are perfect examples that prove Sudjic right.
Spanning limited edition works on some of today’s greatest designers and studios to comprehensive introductions on the most important eras in the history of design, the following design books are more than just talking points for your coffee table – they’re also great reads.
Marc Newson. Works
Australian designer Marc Newson gets the star treatment from the preeminent art and design publisher Taschen. Billed as a complete encyclopaedia of the artist’s superstar career, the Collector’s Edition hardcover book is limited to 1,000 copies and each is numbered and signed by Newson himself.
Alongside a photographic index and detailed chronology on the back, the book is structured in chronological order, spanning the various categories of his work while landmark projects like the Aquariva boat and Qantas Airways’ Airbus A380 interior are featured as detailed case studies.Shop now
Decorative Arts 60s
The 60s were perhaps the most transformative decade of the twentieth century, a time where social, sexual and political change lead to long-lasting effects we still feel to this day.
This change can be seen in the visual arts and the design world too, chronicled here by Taschen in an accessible hardcover inspired by the much-acclaimed The Studio Yearbook of decorative art. Across 500 pages, the most memorable designs in interiors, lighting, textiles, furniture and much more are explored and profiled.Shop now
Farfetch Curates: Design
As part of its Curates series in cooperation with luxury book publisher Assouline, Farfetch Curates: Design is the latest publication from the luxury fashion retailer Farfetch. The book introduces another field that is synergistic to the world of fashion.
Written as an edited, global perspective on the latest developments and innovations in the design world, the book’s gaze takes in the work of emerging international design scenes in places like Taipei, Jakarta, and Prague as well as profiling the latest works from studios and designers in more established hubs such as London, Milan, and Chicago.Shop now
The Best of Nest: Celebrating the Extraordinary Interiors from Nest Magazine
Nest was a quarterly magazine that was published from 1997 to 2004. Even over its relatively short run, the publication and its editor, Joe Holtzman, established the “interiors magazine” as a home for design that was bold, unusual, exceptional and unexpected. Nest was a lot of things, but never predictable.
Noted architect Rem Koolhaas called Nest “an anti-materialistic, idealistic magazine about the hyperspecific in a world that is undergoing radical levelling, an ‘interior design' magazine hostile to the cosmetic.” Put together by Todd Oldham, this compilation from Phaidon presents 26 portfolios featuring the work of writers and photographers such as Michael Cunningham, Patti Smith, Nan Goldin, and Derry Moore.Shop now
Design of the 20th Century
With mass industrialisation and the rise of the importance of the designer (in place of the artist and craftsman of the centuries before), the twentieth century saw some of the most revolutionary and important moments in the modern age of design.
Arguably, it was the first age of design, and this Bibliotheca Universalis edition from Taschen which features the 20th century’s key movements, moments and trends is the essential compendium for design aficionados and casual browsers alike. The book features key works from De Stijl, Charles and Ray Eames, Philippe Stark, and Dieter Rams.Shop now
Anni & Josef Albers: Equal and Unequal
Anni and Josef Albers were two of the most important artists and designers of the 20th century. Bridging the disciplines of art, craft, and design, the duo spent their early careers at the Bauhaus before fleeing Nazi Germany and teaching at the legendary Black Mountain College in the US during World War II.
Phaidon has collected and documented their key works across 500 pages in a rich and comprehensive hardcover compendium that showcase the duo’s contributions to painting, textile art and printmaking still present today.Shop now