Gift Guide: 10 Books to Add to the Design Lover's Library

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By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
Our unputdownable picks for this holiday season.

The tell-tale shape and heft of a wrapped book promises inspiration, excitation, and education—all of which are present in the following selections, which span the realms of design, architecture, art, photography, fashion, travel, and more. From titles that teach you how to nurture an urban garden to tomes that document the diversity of the American experience, these are books that design enthusiasts will be eager to add to their shelves.

Photo: Tobias Hochstein

Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert
Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert
Due in no small part to Donald Judd, the city of Marfa, Texas, has evolved from a railroad water stop to a destination for minimalist art and design. Written by Helen Thompson and featuring photographs by Casey Dunn, Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert (The Monacelli Press) showcases 21 homes that embody the character of the creative enclave and uniquely respond to the austere desert landscape. From a conceptual artist's reclamation of a former Texaco service station to a chef's handmade house with an outdoor tub, these residences encapsulate the resourcefulness and ingenuity of Marfa dwellers.
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Pantone on Fashion: A Century of Color in Design
Pantone on Fashion: A Century of Color in Design
Pantone on Fashion: A Century of Color in Design, by Leatrice Eiseman and E. P. Cutler (Chronicle Books, September 2014). This tome is an excursion through the colors of twentieth century couture, led by no less an authority than Pantone. Individual hues are traced as they fall in-and-out of vogue over the course of a tumultuous century in fashion.
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Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere
Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere
A lust-worthy collection of photos and stories collected over six years by  Zach Klein, the creator of the Cabin Porn website site. The book explores each cabin, showcasing both exterior and interior photography, and provides how-to advice for setting up a quiet place somewhere for yourself. "With their idyllic settings, unique architecture and cozy interiors, the Cabin Porn photographs are an invitation to slow down, take a deep breath, and feel the beauty and serenity that nature and simple construction can create." -Cabin Porn
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The Design Hotels Book: Edition 2016
The Design Hotels Book: Edition 2016
A worldwide affiliation of independent hotels, Design Hotels has collected 296 of the most groundbreaking accommodations from its portfolio in the 2016 edition of The Design Hotels Book (Gestalten). Pairing stunning photography with stories about the hoteliers who founded the establishments, the book showcases unparalleled designs in the hospitality sector. The "Influencers" series returns in this edition, spotlighting 10 outstanding forces in architecture and design.
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Freemans: Food and Drink, Interiors, Grooming, Style
Freemans: Food and Drink, Interiors, Grooming, Style
When Freemans Restaurant debuted in Manhattan's Lower East Side in 2004, it pioneered a rustic-yet-refined aesthetic in the New York dining scene. In the intervening years, the Freemans universe has expanded to include other eateries and bars, a barbershop, a menswear line, and a bespoke tailoring service. In this full-color volume featuring 225 photographs by David Prince, Freemans co-founder Taavo Somer and co-author David Coggins reveal the creative process behind the brand and the evolution of Somer as an architect, designer, and cultural tastemaker. Freemans (Harper Design) explores the interiors of Somer's ventures; the fashion, food, and drink that define his style; and the remarkable architectural projects he has undertaken. Photo: Courtesy of Harper Design
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Phaidon Design Classics: 001–999
Phaidon Design Classics: 001–999
This quintessential collection of 999 product designs in three thigh-numbing volumes explores product design from the late 1600s to the present. They include everything from 300-year-old scissors to modern airplanes and the work of such 20th-century stalwarts as Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, Henry Dreyfuss, Ray and Charles Eames, and a host of up-and-comers. In homage to one of the primary principles of good design—durability—most of the products featured here are still in production.
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National Geographic: The United States of America
National Geographic: The United States of America
Traverse all 50 states and 100 years of American history with National Geographic's two-volume tome, The United States of America (TASCHEN). Curating over 700 images from the magazine's archives, the book presents a stirring account of the country's diverse populations, cultures, landscapes, and industries—from Colorado ski slopes to Kentucky barbershops, and from the glitter of the Hollywood Hills to a river baptism in Mississippi. An introductory essay by photo editor David Walker accompanies the collection, along with prefaces to each state section and narrative captions that further bring the iconic photographs to life. Photo: Courtesy of TASCHEN
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Art House: The Collaboration of Chara Schreyer and Gary Hutton
Art House: The Collaboration of Chara Schreyer and Gary Hutton
Over the past 40 years, leading art collector and editor-in-chief of San Francisco Cottages & Gardens Chara Schreyer has collaborated with interior designer Gary Hutton to create five residences housing 600 works of art. Art House (Assouline) takes readers on a tour of these breathtaking spaces, which include masterpieces by Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Louise Nevelson, Diane Arbus, and Frank Stella. From an architectural marvel to a high-rise, live-in gallery, these dwellings inspire art and design aficionados to find new ways to inhabit their passions. Photo: Courtesy of Assouline
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The New Pavilions
The New Pavilions
That the pavilion is often built for a specific event and subsequently dismantled gives architects special license to experiment with form, construction, material, and structure, among many other variables. Whether it be a bandstand, an art gallery, or an eatery, the pavilion spans myriad locations and functions, creating a rich opportunity for interaction between the structure and the surrounding landscape and community. The New Pavilions (Thames & Hudson) features over 80 projects curated by Philip Jodido. From Zaha Hadid's Chanel pavilion to a small project constructed entirely out of farm waste, the book is a testament to the versatility and expressiveness of built forms.
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Evergreen: Living With Plants
Evergreen: Living With Plants
City living isn't always conducive to green space, but the verdant backyards, rooftop gardens, and balcony oases that sprout from the pages of Evergreen (Gestalten) are potent inspirations for both the novice urban gardener and the professional horticulturist. The projects range in scale from community-owned patches to an herb garden on a fire escape, and the profiled plant lovers are cactus farmers, florists, shop owners, and activists. Through sketched floor plans and examples, Evergreen gives you practical advice about how to transform unused space—whether indoors or outdoors—into a thriving green arena. Photo: Courtesy of Gestalten
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Do you have a favorite design book that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!