Holiday Gift Guide 2014: For the Bibliophile
When it comes to giving books, one size (usually) fits all, there's no need to find an additional box with which to wrap it, and it lasts a lifetime. We've handpicked a few of our favorites along with extra items to create the ultimate reading nook.
Let us know your favorite design and architecture tomes in the comments section below, and don't forget to browse the full Dwell holiday gift guide for 2014.
Commune: Designed in California by Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri, and Ramin Shamshiri; $60 from abramsbooks.com "In New York you must look up that ladder and climb it to achieve success. In California, all you have to do is look out into the horizon and anything is possible," states the foreward in Commune's new monograph published by Abrams. Its pages are filled with the a decade's worth spaces, lighting, and furniture designed by the firm—all with a distinctly west coast vibe.
Recliner 74 by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin, $3,100 from dwr.com If selecting a book for the bibliophile on your list sends you into a panic (will they like the title? do they already have it? what if their shelves are only reserved for first editions?) consider furniture and accessories that will help him or her enjoy reading more. Case in point: this handsome leather recliner that's infinitely more sophisticated than a La-Z-Boy and a prime perch for settling in with a favorite pageturner.
Ettore Sottsass by Philippe Thomé, $150 from phaidon.com The 1980s movement Memphis is back in a big way. Ettore Sottsass is the founder of the group and face of the style—a wildly rambunctious, colorful, and geometric sensibility that was the complete opposite of stuffy high modernism that came before it. ""When I was young, all we ever heard about was functionalism, functionalism, functionalism. It’s not enough. Design should also be sensual and exciting," he once said. This book from Phaidon offers a chronological look at the influential designer's oeuvre. (Design curator Ambra Medda is a fan, as well.)
265 lamp by Paolo Rizzatto for Flos, $1,425 from usa.flos.com Illuminate texts with this wall-mounted steel lamp. (What good is a book if you can't see its pages clearly?)
The Infographic Designers' Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Rick Landers, $60 from chroniclebooks.com We're in the era of data visualization and infographics and this tome from Princeton Architectural Press deconstructs how designers go about making everything from leaderboards to charts that need to relay complex details at a glance. The book also shows the meticulous process behind creating the graphics—the notebook sketches, storyboard mapping, and more.
Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: California and Graphic Design, 1936-1986 by Louise Sandhaus, $55 from artbook.com "The California New Wave aesthetic drew national attention in the eighties, yet exciting and revolutionary work from prior decades has remained hidden in plain sight," states writer Louise Sandhaus in the forward to her monograph, which is published by Metropolis Books. Inside, delve into the work of John Follis, the designer of many Arts and Architecture magazine covers; John and Marilyn Neuhart, founders of Hand Press; Alvin Lustig, the animator who created the "Mister Magoo" titles; Saul Bass; and more. Pictured here are Deborah Sussman's wayfinding and sculptural letterforms for the Joseph Magnin Stores in Almaden and Costa Mesa, California.
The SSB-1 by Erik Heywood for BOOK/SHOP, $199 from book---shop.com Available in walnut or birch wood, the shelf offers an attractive way to store books. Set on the floor in a kids' nursery or on a table to keep prized items organized and in view.
Spektrum Berlin by Matthias Heiderich, $36 from editionsintervalles.com It's no secret that we're fans of the architectural photogrpahy by Matthias Heiderich. Now you can admire it in a 96-page book, published by Editions Intervalles, filled with surreal images of Berlin. Through Heiderich's lens, seemingly mundane cityscapes and skyscrapers become delightful compositions of color and texture. Each frame is akin to an abstract painting.
Mid-Century Modern Complete by Dominic Bradbury, $125 from abramsbooks.com Between penning stories for Dwell, writer Dominic Bradbury has created the definitive survey of midcentury design. Divided into sections on furniture, lighting, glass and ceramics, textiles, and more, the book covers an impressive number of practitioners ranging from the well-known to the more obscure. Essays on collecting design and the role of textiles in the midcentury home are not to be missed.
Brass Bookends by Commune, $900 from communedesign.com To keep books neatly upright, you could do no better than these striking solid-brass items. (Yes, we listed Commune twice in this list because they're so darn good.)
Life Along the Elevated, by Megan Canning, Krisanne Johnson, and Whitney Johnson, $25 from designtrust.org Published by the non-profit organization the Design Trust for Public Space, the book is the product of a photojournalism fellowship documenting life in New York City near its nearly 700 miles of elevated infrastructure, which includes bridges, highways, subway tracks, and rail lines. This title offers a glimpse the cityscape that is misunderstood, something the urbanism enthusiast or landscape designer on your list would appreciate. (Plus proceeds benefit a good cause.) “The reality is the elevated looks beautiful from afar, especially at sunset, but after spending a great deal of time photographing along it, you quickly notice the intense noise pollution, the poor lighting, and the chaotic nature of a transit hub. And these conditions are exactly what the Under the Elevated project is trying to improve,” noted photographer Krisanne Johnson.
Algedi Marble Side Table by Iacoli & McAllister, $1,895 from dwell.com Along with a light and a lounge chair, a side table completes the reading corner trifecta. We're partial to this marble-topped looker.
Thoughts on Design by Paul Rand with a new introduction by Michael Beirut, $20 from chroniclebooks.com Back in print for the first time since the 1970s thanks to publisher Chronicle Books, the paperback features art director Paul Rand's original 1947 text, which he wrote when he was just 33 years old. For aspiring designers in marketing or advertising, this is a bookshelf essential.
If you're looking for an extra thoughtful gift, consider a paperback from Black Sparrow Press, a small publishing house founded in the 1960s by John Martin who, together with his wife Barbara, thoughtfully designed nearly all of its book covers. The story behind the books is a good one and for that person on your list who already has a full library, the present will be all the more meaningful since you'll probably have to rifle through a used book store to get your hands on one of these. If you're unfamiliar with the company, Black Sparrow Press is the publisher that took put Charles Bukowski's name on the map. The Martins took chances on the design of their paperbacks, which you can read about in a Gizmodo post by Jordan Kushins, a former editor at Dwell.
For a more affordable wall-mounted reading lamp, consider the Crane Light by Cincinnati-based manufacturer Yes. $199 from yescincinnati.com