New Design & Architecture books in June

This month’s picks include culturally unique interiors, furniture design, imagery from Broadway, and tiny architecture. You’ll also find the first season of the New Zealand edition of Grand Designs on DVD in our collection now. Something for everyone!

Syndetics book coverMin: The New Simplicity in Graphic Design [paperback]
“Minimalism has informed some of the greatest graphic design in the history of the art form. Today’s resurgence in minimalist graphic design — as creators move away from the ornate, decorative patterns that have saturated our visual culture for the past decade — calls for a closer look at the movement in its new, contemporary context. Min showcases 150 outstanding minimalist designers working across a wide range of formats and media — from independent magazines and album cover designs to corporate identity and branding. Essays tracing the evolution of minimalism in graphic design allow for a useful comparison of the first wave of minimalism in the 1960s to its renascent form today.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBrazil modern : the rediscovery of twentieth-century Brazilian furniture / Aric Chen ; foreword by Zueler R.M. de A. Lima ; introduction by Zesty Meyers.
“Twentieth-century Brazilian furniture design is perhaps the last great largely unknown tradition of modernism, characterized by rich and sensually textured hardwoods and an ingenuity, grace, and simplicity that exemplify the national character of brasiliadade . With well over 400 historic images and new photography, Brazil Modern surveys the history and legacy of this innovative design tradition. Brazil Modern is the first comprehensive guide to this untapped vein of modernist design.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOn Broadway : from Rent to Revolution / Drew Hodges ; edited by Garth Wingfield ; introduction by David Sedaris ; foreword by Chip Kidd.
On Broadway pulls back the curtain to reveal the creative process involved in bringing a Broadway show to the stage and into the public consciousness through the words of Broadway’s most famous personalities and the art of SpotCo. This collection of hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos, concept art, and posters, as well as personal anecdotes by and with some of Broadway’s most beloved stars, including John Leguizamo, Alison Bechdel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patrick Stewart, and more serves as the document of record of the shows and performers that have graced New York stages for the past two decades.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScript fonts / collected and designed by Geum-Hee Hong with assistance from Lydia Stockert and Julia Kromer.
“Fonts based on handwritten scripts are some of the bestselling typefaces of the font foundries. They bring personality and authenticity to graphic design – whether on business cards and flyers, or in packaging and advertising. Script Fonts is a visual encyclopedia of over 300 fonts that includes complete alphabets and numerals for each font and a piece of sample text that shows how each typeface works in the context of a paragraph. It is richly illustrated with over 100 examples of the typefaces as used in manuscripts, on posters, in advertising and other graphic design. The accompanying CD includes 122 free fonts.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Overdrive cover Lighthouses, by Victoria Charles (eBook)
“The lighthouse, an indefatigable watchman, ceaselessly guides boats to their ports.This beacon of maritime signalisation has guided sailors since antiquity. The first known lighthouse appeared on the island of Pharos, and was the remarkable Lighthouse of Alexandria. Faced with the increasing development of modern navigational aids, these lone sentinels do not hold the same functional importance today. However, this work emphasises not only their role as a major architectural development, but also the place that they hold in the cultural heritage of the world.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Korea Style, by Marcia Iwatate (eBook)
“With over 500 stunning photographs, this design book reveals the relatively unknown but unique aesthetics of Korea. Korea Style reveals the intrinsic elements of Korean design; simplicity, moderation, constraint, and a deep respect for all things natural. Korea Style is the first book devoted to the country’s architecture and interior design-featuring twenty-two exceptional homes, studios and public and heritage buildings. Ranging from vernacular to cutting-edge creations, all are a celebration of the country’s natural landscape, arts and crafts and architectural heritage juxtaposed with a drive towards invention, experimentation and individuality.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Design the Life You Love, by Ayse Birsel (eBook)
“A joyful, inspirational guide to building the life you’ve always dreamed of, using the principles and creative process of an award-winning product designer. Life, just like a design problem, is full of constraints-time, money, age, location, and circumstances. You can’t have everything, so you have to be creative to make what you want and what you need co-exist. Design the Life You Love is a joyful, inspirational guide to building the life you’ve always wanted, using the principles and creative process of an award-winning product designer. Through four steps that reveal hidden skills and wisdom, anyone can design a life they love!” (Overdrive description)

Syndetics book coverNanotecture / Rebecca Roke.
“The most wide-ranging, comprehensive and inclusive book on small-scale architecture ever published. An inspiring, surprising and fun collection of 300 works of small-scale architecture including demountable, portable, transportable and inflatable structures as well as pavilions, installations, sheds, cabins, pods, capsules and tree houses.” (Syndetics summary)

Image from Aro VideoGrand designs New Zealand. Series 1 (DVD)
Grand Designs NZ is a series about New Zealanders taking on the challenge of building their own unique and inspirational homes. From architectural designer mansions to DIY homes using archaic or new school building techniques and material. From the beach, to the mountains and the hills in between. Grand Designs charts the in-depth process of creating these unique homes, and the personal journeys of those building them.” (Syndetics summary)

Design & Architecture picks in May

An interesting and insightful collection of new design & architecture books this month focus on using design to get the biggest bang for your buck. Read about all these ideas in the books selected below!

Syndetics book coverAre We There Yet?: Insights on How to Lead by Design [paperback]
“We face high costs, global competition, low productivity, and technology disruptions. We have relied on massive technology investments as our source of competitive advantage, but our growth is declining. If we want to maintain our standard of living, we need firms to grow. Firms therefore need a new approach to innovation, one that focuses on customer engagement in its business model. The concept of design thinking is often described as the mindset for firms to make this transition. But with so much being written on design thinking, why do so many firms struggle to adopt this mindset and make this transition?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Graphic Design Idea Book: Inspiration from 50 Masters [paperback]
“This book serves as an introduction to the key elements of good design. Broken into sections covering the fundamental elements of design, key works by acclaimed designers serve to illustrate technical points and encourage readers to try out new ideas. Themes covered include narrative, colour, illusion, ornament, simplicity, and wit and humour. The result is an instantly accessible and easy to understand guide to graphic design using professional techniques.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPattern: & the secrets of lasting design [hardback]
“Emma Bridgewater’s patterns are as quintessentially British as marmalade on toast – and they have made her distinctive homewares best sellers across the world. Her inspiration is often deeply personal – a plate of her mother’s, a favourite children’s book – and as she tells the stories of each pattern’s creation, she reveals the intricate processes of research and collaboration behind the familiar designs she has stamped on our kitchenware – and our hearts – for the past thirty years.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEco living Japan : sustainable ideas for living green / Deanna MacDonald ; foreword by Edward Suzuki ; preface by Geeta Mehta.
“Japan is equally as well known for its ecologically-sensitive traditional homes as it is for cutting-edge, green technology. Eco Living Japan presents 19 contemporary Japanese houses which exemplify the most recent trends in sustainable design in Japan. This is wabi-sabi for the 21st century! This book provides inspiration and practical ideas for those creating homes in North America and other 4 season climates. Anyone with an interest in Japanese design and trends in sustainable living will find fresh ideas for their own home projects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPartners in design : Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Philip Johnson / edited by David A. Hanks.
“The 1920s and 1930s saw the birth of modernism in the United States, a new aesthetic, based on the principles of the Bauhaus in Germany. Alfred H. Barr Jr., the then 27-year-old founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, and 23-year-old Philip Johnson, director of its architecture department, were the visionary young proponents of the modern approach. In the depths of the Depression, Barr and Johnson experimented with new ideas in museum ideology, extending the scope beyond painting and sculpture; with ordinary, machine-made objects elevated to art by their elegant design. Partners in Design chronicles their collaboration, placing it in the larger context of the avant-garde in New York.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlease make this look nice : the graphic design process / Peter Ahlberg.
“Equal parts design inspiration and manual, Please Make This Look Nice combines interviews, writings, case studies, and personal ephemera from celebrated designers into a solid primer for designers and design enthusiasts alike. Please Make This Look Nice is a behind-the-scenes look at the graphic design process of more than fifty graphic designers, typographers, and studios from around the world. Celebrated graphic design contributors including Maira Kalman, Milton Glaser, Michael Bierut, Experimental Jetset, Carin Goldberg, Ivan Chermayeff & Tom Geismar, Paul Sahre, and Stefan Sagmeister, as well as emerging design stars share their far-ranging insights and personal means of finding inspiration.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to read modern buildings : a crash course in the architecture of the modern era / Will Jones.
How to Read Modern Buildings is an indispensable pocket-sized guide to understanding the architecture of the modern era.It takes the reader on a guided tour of modern architecture through its most iconic and significant buildings, showing how to read the hallmarks of each architectural style and how to recognize them in the buildings all around. From Art Deco and Arts and Crafts, through the International Style and Modernism to today’s environmental architecture and the rise and fall of the icon, all the major architectural movements from the 1900s to the present day are traced through their classic buildings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSprint : how to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days / Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz.
“Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day: What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution? Designer Jake Knapp created the five-day sprint process at Google, where he joined Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky at Google Ventures, and together they have completed more than one hundred sprints with companies in mobile, e-commerce, healthcare, finance, and more. A practical guide to answering critical business questions, Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDesigning products people love : how great designers create successful products / Scott Hurff.
“How can you create products that successfully find customers? With this practical book, you’ll learn from some of the best product designers in the field, from companies like Facebook and LinkedIn to up-and-coming contenders. You’ll understand how to discover and interpret customer pain, and learn how to use this research to guide your team through each step of product creation. Written for designers, product managers, and others who want to communicate better with designers, this book is essential reading for anyone who contributes to the product creation process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Design & Architecture picks for March

This month’s picks gather an eclectic array of topics, ranging from gothic to green architecture, and Sharpie art to Scandi design. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverFifty under fifty : innovators of the 21st century / [edited] by Beverly Russell, Eva L. Maddox & Farooq Ameen.
“The architects, designers, artists and others represented in Fifty Under Fifty are innovators of our time. After a world-wide search of 50 top architecture and design firms by the editors, lead author Beverly Russell along with Eva Maddox and Farooq Ameen help bring together a unique body of work; all partners in these firms will be 50 years old or under at the time of publication, and represent a forward-thinking generation of creative people, aware of global issues that urgently need solutions through imaginative design.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGothic for the steam age : an illustrated biography of George Gilbert Scott / Gavin Stamp.
“George Gilbert Scott was the most prolific and most famous of Victorian architects. For many, however, he was the most notorious. The rehabilitation of his reputation after a century of abuse is symbolised, above all, by the magnificent restoration of one of his best-known buildings (once seriously threatened with demolition), the hotel at St Pancras Station in London. Scott ran the largest architectural office of its time and it produced designs for some seven or eight hundred buildings. The sheer scale of Scott’s work and the foundations of an architectural empire has amassed a huge portfolio. Within these pages is a celebration of his work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe greenest home : superinsulated and passive house design / Julie Torres Moskovitz.
“Passive is the new green. Passive Houses–well insulated, virtually airtight buildings–can decrease home heating consumption by an astounding 90 percent, making them not only an attractive choice for prospective homeowners, but also the right choice for a sustainable future. The Greenest Home showcases eighteen of the world’s most attractive Passive Houses by forward-thinking architects such as Bernheimer Architecture, Olson Kundig Architects, and Onion Flats, among many others. The Greenest Home is an inspiring sourcebook for architects and prospective homeowners, as well as a useful tool for students, and builders alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSharpie® art workshop : techniques & ideas for transforming your world / Timothy Goodman.
“Bold and sharp, brilliant and vivid, Sharpie markers can be found almost anywhere writing utensils are sold. Their familiarity, accessibility, and clean, bold, dense line have made Sharpie markers the go-to medium for creatives of all stripes. In Sharpie Art Workshop, designer, artist, and art director Timothy Goodman explores Sharpie writing products, the materials and supplies that can be used to enhance or modify them, and the range of creative techniques and effects that can be achieved. Through a series of examples and exercises, Goodman demonstrates how to make different kinds of marks, patterns, and images on a variety of surfaces.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJapanese art and design / edited by Gregory Irvine.
“The V&A has the UK’s largest permanent display of Japanese art, housing objects from the 6th century to the present day. Collecting Japanese objects from its founding in 1852, the Museum has played a significant role in bringing the art of Japan to the attention of designers, manufacturers and the British public. This tradition continues to the present day, and in this new book some of the world’s leading researchers in the field bring their attention to the V&A’s unparalleled collection.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaking sense of Buddhist art & architecture / Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky.
“This book is designed to equip the cultural tourist and art student with the means to interpret each painting, building, or artifact in terms of the iconography and symbolism of the Buddhist religion. With reference to 100 clearly illustrated and diverse historical works, readers will learn to identify the telling details that mean so much to Buddhist devotees. By tracing the paths between Buddhist belief and artistic intention, this book deepens understanding not only of Buddhist art and architecture but also of Buddhism itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from the dream : classic New Zealand tourism posters / Peter Alsop.
“Celebrates the remarkable range of tourism posters and other publicity that helped promote New Zealand – both locally and to the world – until the 1960s, before television and colour photography changed the publicity landscape forever. This imagery is some of the finest graphic art ever produced in New Zealand, and as arresting and impressive today as when it was first created. The art of early tourism was highly significant in New Zealand’s art history, and in the development of New Zealand’s tourism industry and sense of national identity.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Human World (The World in Infographics) [paperback]
“Welcome to the world of infographics! Marvel at the world’s most amazing man-made features, pioneering technology and engineering, world debt, and how we use resources – all visualised in beautifully designed infographics.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScandinavian home : a comprehensive guide to mid-century modern Scandinavian designers / Elizabeth Wilhide.
“This beautifully photographed compendium, which comes complete with profiles of major players, trademark designs, and house tours, depicts the global reach of Scandinavian design. Chapters are arranged by Scandinavian country, highlighting each one’s distinct contribution to the oeuvre. This solid entry point into the Scandinavian school of design has the elegance of a coffee-table book combined with the information of a reference guide.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe Floral Patterns of India [hardback]
“Following the success of Pattern and Ornament in the Arts of India, Wilson has turned for this companion volume to a single theme. But what a theme: the variety of floral motifs in the exquisitely wrought details of India’s architectural wonders is boundless, and one can only marvel at the way in which the elements have been transformed into art.” (Syndetics summary)

Design & Architecture picks for January

A colourful selection of new items this month, featuring architectural reinvention and repurposing, and design books on colour palettes, animation, hand-lettering, and more.

Image from FishpondThe terrace house / edited by Cameron Bruhn & Katelin Butler.
“With British precedents and working-class origins, the Australian terrace house was once the home of bohemian artists, share-housing students and urban trailblazers. Today a new generation of homeowners are reimagining the terrace house for twenty-first-century living. This book is a catalogue of twenty of these renovations. It looks at the design challenges of terrace houses in general terms and describes the individual treatment of each property based on the site, the existing structure, the requirements of the owner, and the vision of the chosen architects.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHigh Line : the inside story of New York City’s park in the sky / Joshua David and Robert Hammond.
“The High Line is among the most innovative urban reclamation projects in memory. Two young citizens with no prior experience in planning and development collaborated with their neighbors, elected officials, artists, local business owners, and leaders in horticulture and landscape architecture to create a park celebrated worldwide as a model for creatively designed, socially vibrant, ecologically sound public space. Now the High Line–a half-mile expanse of plants, paths, staircases, and framed vistas–runs through a transformed West Side and reminds us that extraordinary things are possible when creative people work together for the common good.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew eco homes / Manel Gutiérrez.
“Discover the latest in eco-friendly home architecture and design. New Eco Homes features twenty-two sustainable homes from around the globe that showcase the newest innovations in environmentally minded home design. Inside you’ll find the latest design strategies such as various ways to use natural light and ventilation to reduce energy consumption, new methods to integrate home construction into the surrounding landscape, and the numerous recycled and green construction materials that are available today. This inspiring book is the perfect resource for creating a welcoming and sustainable home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover202 outstanding modern interior designs / Marta Serrats.
202 Outstanding Modern Interior Designs is a lushly illustrated resource that will inform and inspire homeowners and designers. More than 800 full-color photographs of the world’s most beautiful interiors showcase modern design at its very best. The designs range from expansive homes to smaller homes with space limitations. 202 Outstanding Modern Interior Designs is a valuable resource for all professionals and students.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHand-lettering for everyone : a creative workbook / Cristina Vanko.
“Hand-lettering is more popular than ever. This beautiful and inviting book serves as an inspiring primer and an interactive workbook. Creative prompts encourage readers to create their own serifs, create lettering from found objects, make a type self-portrait, collage with found type, recreate a favorite book cover with hand-lettering, play with shading and perspective, and more. Featuring a lively (and hand-lettered) design and engaging exercises, the book will appeal to designers and illustrators as well as doodlers, hobbyists, and anyone who enjoys putting real pen to real paper.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEvery thing we touch : a 24-hour inventory of our lives / Paula Zuccotti.
“Can objects tell the story of our lives? Imagine how your day would look if you recorded everything that you touched. From smartphone to soap, from spice to spoon… Would they tell a bigger story? Driven by this idea, Paula Zuccotti travelled around the world to find people from an incredible array of ages, cultures, professions and backgrounds. She asked them to document every object they touched in 24 hours. From a toddler in Tokyo to a cowboy in Arizona, from a cleaner in London to a cloister nun in Madrid, Every Thing We Touch is their story told through the objects they own, consume, need, choose, treasure and can’t let go.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArtist’s & graphic designer’s market 2016 / Mary Burzlaff Bostic, editor.
“Do you want to establish or expand a career for yourself in fine art, illustration or design? Grow your art business with these resources: Complete, up-to-date contact information for more than 1,700 art market resources, including galleries, magazines, book publishers, greeting card companies, ad agencies, syndicates, art fairs, and more; Articles on the business of freelancing–from basic copyright information to tips on promoting your work; Informative articles on the art of business, online social networking, and the benefits of slowing down to create better work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) (Reference only)

Syndetics book coverThe nine old men : lessons, techniques, and inspiration from Disney’s great animators / Andreas Deja.
“Walt Disney’s team of core animators, who he affectionately call his “Nine Old Men,” were known for creating Disney’s most famous works, as well as refining the 12 basic principles of animation. Follow master animator and Disney legend Andreas Deja as he takes you through the minds and works of these notable animators. Rare sequential drawings from the Disney archives also give you unprecedented access and insight into the most creative minds that changed the course of animation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover100 Years of Colour: Beautiful images & inspirational palettes from a century of innovative art, illustration & design [hardback]
“This beautiful book features 100 carefully chosen images from the graphic arts, each representing a colour palette for every year of the 20th century. The images are taken from a variety of sources including magazines, book covers, adverts, posters, illustrations and postcards. The palettes taken from the images are displayed in a number of ratios, demonstrating the different effects achieved when altering the dominant colour. Ten palettes per decade gives an authentic overview of the colours and trends of an era, making this an ideal historical reference for anyone working in set or interior design, graphic design, illustrations or fashion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMovie posters re-imagined : alternative designs for the world’s favorite cult films / introduction, David Thomas.
“The world’s best, wittiest lowbrow designers reimagine movie posters for 150 cult films that are built into the DNA of any movie buff. Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho, Metropolis, Star Wars, and many more films are given new art by the likes of Grimb, Coop, O’Connell, Alderete, Hertz, Pullin, and more. Almost always better than the originals, these new visual takes on iconic movies will delight anyone with an interest in film.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Design & Architecture picks in December

This month’s selections include well-known design icons, and inspiration for building your own small home. Plus, there’s a great book of infographics about architecture. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverLondon in Fifty Design Icons
“In this new series, the Design Museum looks at the fifty design icons of major cities around the world – icons that, when viewed together, inherently sum up the spirit of their city. Covering everything from buildings and monuments to a graffiti mural or an item of clothing, we are able to build up an intricate portrait of a city, layer by layer. From its long-serving Routemaster buses and world-famous tube map to the miniskirts of the swinging sixties and the imposing silhouette of Battersea Power Station, London is a tapestry of design masterpieces. Join Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum, as he unravels the visual history of one of our most complex and intriguing cities.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBond by design / The Art of the James Bond Films written by Meg Simmonds.
“Featuring the work of legendary Bond film designers such as Ken Adam, Peter Lamont, and Syd Cain, Bond by Design brings the James Bond art department’s story right up to date with behind-the-scenes artwork from the latest film, SPECTRE . With two exclusive prints and authoritative text by EON’s own archivist, Meg Simmonds, Bond by Design provides unique, spectacular, and fascinating insights into this hugely successful film franchise.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKitchen Kulture / edited by Michelle Galindo, Sven Ehmann, and Robert Klanten.
“Whether traditional, Nordic, or futuristic, the kitchen is the new living room–a place to cook, eat, and celebrate. This book showcases the latest interiors and kitchen concepts. Whether large or small, modern or rustic, the kitchen has become the center of all the action. What was once a pragmatically designed place for food preparation has now become a stage on which the act of cooking and eating is celebrated as a social event. Kitchen Kulture is an insightful survey of new, established, and unconventional ideas in contemporary kitchen design.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA history of architecture in 100 buildings / Dan Cruickshank.
“”Architecture is an all-embracing adventure without end,” declares Dan Cruickshank in the introduction to A History of Architecture in 100 Buildings. Cruickshank’s selection represents key moments in architectural history and it is truly global in scope. It includes many of the world’s best-known structures, and many less obvious ones, the unsung heroes of this great and fascinating story. Architects, historians, travelers and inquisitive readers will enjoy this beautiful, sumptuously illustrated book.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchi-graphic : an infographic look at architecture / Frank Jacobus.
“This informative and engaging book uses a variety of inventive infographics to compare the range of materials and colours used by different architects, who influenced who, and which architects are the most discussed. It also approaches architecture from more unconventional angles with spreads that show the kinds of architecture favoured by dictators, the defining facial features of famous architects and so on. Irreverent and entertaining, this book will appeal to all those with an interest in architecture or infographics.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExperimental design : visual methods and systematic play / [edited by] Armin Lindauer, Betina Müller ; texts: Armin Lindauer.
“How can experimentation and methodology be used in design processes? This book shows that even in art and design methodical experiments can result in concepts and ideas, i.e. creativity in the widest sense. The book features historically significant works by Monet, Picasso, Albers and the Bechers, as well as works of famous contemporary designers such as Uwe Loesch or Stefan Sagmeister. With its more than 3000 images, Experimental Design is a visual reference book for anyone interested in methodical approaches to ideas and concepts.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWorship : a history of New Zealand church design / text, Bill McKay ; photography, Jane Ussher.
“A striking tribute to the diversity of New Zealand church architecture, Worship brings together early country churches, grand cathedrals and modernist designs in a unique survey of some of our most compelling architectural landmarks. Architectural historian Bill McKay thoughtfully explores the history of church building in New Zealand over the past 200 years while award winning photographer Jane Ussher captures an extraordinary array of churches the length of the country.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCathedrals and churches of Europe / edited by Rolf Toman ; photography by Achim Bednorz ; text by Barbara Borngässer ; produced by Thomas Paffen.
“As the very heart and centre of most cities and villages, churches, cathedrals and basilicas have shaped the regional landscape in Europe to a great extent. Their architecture bears witness to the matchless skills of craftsmen and the mystic fervor that led to their building. Sorted by country and region, there is one chapter for every important area in Europe. This book is a must-have for people interested in Christian sacral monuments, their history, architecture and interior.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new small house / Katie Hutchison.
“The trend toward smaller family sizes, smaller building lots and smaller budgets is inspiring more and more people to build smaller, more environmentally and economically friendly homes. The New Small House presents a set of small house design strategies, as well as whole-house case studies, for homeowners eager to simplify, and remodelers, builders, architects and designers looking for inspiration.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRebuilt : inspiring recovery stories from quake-damaged Canterbury homes / text by Lucinda Diack ; photography by Juliet Nicholas.
“Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed when more than 14,000 earthquakes and aftershocks hit Canterbury during 2010 and 2011. For many homeowners the task of repairing or rebuilding their home has only just begun, or worse, is still to come. But amidst the continuing upheaval, progress has been made – as the stunning homes featured in this book attest. As well as providing their owners with renewed comfort and a sense of security, they offer a glimpse of the innovative responses that have emerged as people piece their homes back together or build afresh.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Design & Architecture Recent Picks for November

This month features books on using design to sell, explain and inspire, the history of spots and stripes, and inspirational interiors of UK ex-council homes, plus more unique topics.

howtoHow to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world / Michael Bierut.
“Protégé of design legend Massimo Vignelli and partner in the New York office of the international design firm Pentagram, Michael Bierut has had one of the most varied careers of any living graphic designer. He provides insights into the creative process, his working life, his relationship with clients, and the struggles that any design professional faces in bringing innovative ideas to the world. Inspiring, informative and authoritative, How to… is set to be the bible of graphic design ideas.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMural XXL / Claudia Walde.
“In its early days, illegal graffiti and street art were of necessity modest in scale, hastily created in hours or even minutes, and destroyed just as quickly by authorities, vandals or the elements. Now, however, graffiti writers and street artists are able to take their work to an entirely new level, creating carefully planned, permanent works that cover entire buildings and add a new visual dimension to the worlds cities. Working in dangerous conditions, often hundreds of metres above the ground, yet always keenly aware of the view from street level, these new street muralists are as fearless and technically skilled as they are creatively brilliant.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPatternalia : an unconventional history of polka dots, stripes, plaid, camouflage, & other graphic patterns / Jude Stewart.
“We wake up in the morning and put on our striped socks and our plaid shirts, sit down to breakfast at a gingham tablecloth, perhaps eyeing the wallpaper with its fleur-de-lis. Patterns are everywhere–yet they can go unnoticed. In fact, every pattern is a story, a surprisingly deep trove of historical information and cultural associations. From camouflage to keffiyeh, plaid to paisley, Patternalia plumbs the backstories of individual patterns, the surprising kinks in how each developed, the parallels between patterns natural and invented, and the curious personalities these patterns accrue over time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll about mags / [edit & publish, SendPoints Publishing Co. Ltd.]
“Magazines are an important visual communication media in the world today. All About Mags aims to introduce excellent magazines around the world. This book features four parts, namely, life, art & design, fashion and photography. Each magazine introduced in the book stands out for its eye-catching, design, layout, font system as well as its distinctive publishing philosophy. This book is a window into a kaleidoscope of the magazine world, offering a glimpse into the format and ideas of each magazine featured.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTile makes the room : good design from Heath Ceramics / Catherine Bailey & Robin Petravic.
Tile Makes the Room, by Heath’s owners Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey, winners of the National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, is about exceptional spaces and places–the kind you want to step into and examine each and every detail of–where tile is the main ingredient, though not the only star. From the dwellings of notable designers to everyday homeowners, grand installations and subtle designs all showcase tile’s role in the form and function of architecture and interiors.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew Nordic design / Dorothea Gundtoft.
“Contemporary Nordic designers are known for their serene, minimal aesthetic and innovative approach to creating pieces of simplistic elegance, from austere lighting designs meant to reflect the quality of light in the northern hemisphere to clean, modern furniture decorating the homes of the region’s most stylish residents. New Nordic Design is not only a comprehensive guide to Nordic designers practicing today but also a source of minimalist inspiration. Profiles of ten influential Nordic designers complement illustrated profiles of fifty contemporary interior and product designers alongside interviews conducted by Dorothea Gundtoft.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWaterside modern / Dominic Bradbury ; photographs by Richard Powers.
“The most luxurious homes in the world incorporate elements of the surrounding environment into their design, and waterside homes bespeak a particular kind of luxury. Waterside Modern is a dream tour through some of the most beautiful modern homes in the world, all set against spectacular views of lakes, rivers, and oceans. From California to Long Island, Sydney to Singapore, South America to Europe and the Mediterranean-some of the most beautiful countries in the world provide the backdrop for twenty-five architect-designed single-family houses that make the most of their desirable settings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew York in fifty design icons / Julie Iovine.
“Covering everything from buildings and monuments to a graffiti mural or an item of clothing, we are able to build up an intricate portrait of a city, layer by layer. From the infamous Chysler Building and the Brooklyn Bridge to the New York Yankees logo or CBGB’s, the beating heart of the 1970s punk movement, New York is a tapestry of design masterpieces. Join Julie Iovine, architectural writer at the Wall Street Journal and formerly of the New York Times , as she unravels the visual history of one of our most famous and fascinating cities.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShelter : how Australians live / photographs & words by Kara Rosenlund.
“Driving down a dirt track one day photographer, stylist and adventurer Kara Rosenlund came across a beautiful but dilapidated farmhouse. Its lonely, worn loveliness kindled a passion in Kara to photograph and celebrate Australia’s authentic, intriguing rural homes and the people who live in them. As she travelled the country, documenting raw and real interiors and landscapes, she found shelter – under the roofs of beach shacks, grand homesteads, sheep stations and shipping containers, and in the welcome of strangers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuilding art : the life and work of Frank Gehry / Paul Goldberger.
“From Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic Paul Goldberger: an engaging, nuanced exploration of the life and work of Frank Gehry, undoubtedly the most famous architect of our time. This first full-fledged critical biography presents and evaluates the work of a man who has almost single-handedly transformed contemporary architecture in his innovative use of materials, design, and form, and who is among the very few architects in history to be both respected by critics as a creative, cutting-edge force and embraced by the general public as a popular figure.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStyle council : inspirational interiors in ex-council homes / Sarah Thompson ; foreword by Wayne Hemingway, MBE.
Style Council brings together an inspirational and eclectic selection of interiors from a generation of homeowners who are redefining the status of local-authority architecture. From covetable apartments in hip Brutalist high-rises to rural cottages with roses around the door, Style Council peeks behind the curtains of the often unappreciated former council home, into the lives of the creative and resourceful people who live there. Style Council is an essential sourcebook and a goody-bag of ideas for anyone wanting to do up their home – ex-council or not – in style.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Design & Architecture recent picks for October

This month we have a great selection of both physical books and eBooks on offer on the subjects of design and architecture. Covering topics from pattern and typography to small house living and stylish cabin getaways, there’s something for all kinds of interests here!

Syndetics book coverPatternity : a new way of seeing : the inspirational power of pattern / Anna Murray & Grace Winteringham ; contributing editor, Dal Chodha.
“Pattern is everywhere we go and in everything we do. We wear patterns, we walk over them, we even eat, drink and think them, but it’s unlikely they demand too much of our attention… Innovative creative and cultural organization Patternity exists to join the dots. From fashion and design to the natural world, look beyond the mundane forms that we see every day to find the hidden beauty in the underlying patterns that normally pass us by. A source of endless inspiration and innovation, this uniquely curated book will open your eyes anew.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGraphique de la rue : the signs of Paris / Louise Fili.
“Paris is a city of pure enchantment, and everyone who loves the City of Light has a Parisian muse, from the Tour Eiffel to crème caramel. For celebrated graphic designer Louise Fili, it’s the city’s dazzling signage. For more than four decades, Fili has strolled picturesque Parisian rues and boulevards with map and camera, cataloging the work of generations of sign craftsmen. Graphique de la Rue is Fili’s photographic diary of hundreds of Paris’s most inventive restaurant, shop, hotel, street, and advertising signs. Classic neon café signs are juxtaposed with the dramatic facades of the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergère. Colorful mosaics cheerfully announce hotel entrances, department stores, fishmongers, even public toilets. A major influence on Fili’s own work, many of these masterpieces of vernacular design, now destroyed, live on solely in this book, a typographic love letter to Paris sure to inspire designers and armchair travelers alike.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Overdrive cover The Education of a Graphic Designer, by Steven Heller (eBook)
“Revised and updated, this compelling collection of essays, interviews, and course syllabi is the ideal tool to help teachers and students keep up in the rapidly changing field of graphic design. Top designers and educators talk theory, offer proposals, discuss a wide range of educational concerns—such as theory versus practice, art versus commerce, and classicism versus postmodernism—and consider topics such as emerging markets, shifts in conventions, global impact, and social innovation. Building on the foundation of the original book, the new essays address how graphic design has changed into an information-presenting, data-visualization, and storytelling field rooted in art and technology.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Playing with Graphic Style, by Steven Heller (eBook)
Playing with Graphic Style is a lively and playful approach to discovering different design styles. This engaging guide begins with an introduction to the philosophy of learning through the process of play. This series of experimental design projects will cover the distinctions between a personal and universal style, historical and contemporary style, one-of-a kind styles and how lettering, type and typography often define style. Don’t be afraid to try something different! Playing with Graphic Style offers 50 experiments that apply the fundamental principles of graphic design in a way that is creative, fun and interactive.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Syndetics book coverHistoric churches : a guide to over 60 early New Zealand churches / Linda Burgess ; photography, Robert Burgess.
“An affectionate, entertaining and informative guide to New Zealand’s early churches, from quaint country churches and small school chapels, to grand cathedrals and curious synagogues.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRooted : creating a sense of place : contemporary studio furniture / The Furniture Society ; Steffanie Dotson & Douglas Congdon-Martin, editors.
“The movement to buy locally, which has gained momentum in the areas of produce and food, is now spreading to arts and crafts. Whether in terms of materials, inspiration, or the interaction with customers, these artists are rooted in their surroundings. What springs from these roots is usually unique, often edgy, and always beautiful furniture and accessories. Over 150 examples of their work are shown in full color, with ample detail photographs so the reader gets an intimate look at the skill and artistic instincts of these makers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmall house living / Catherine Foster.
“Smart, space-efficient houses are becoming the way of the future. Small House Living showcases an inspiring collection of homes measuring less than 90m2 from around New Zealand. Family homes, baches and apartments are included in the line-up; all of them demonstrating ingenious ways to reduce space and cut costs within a design-enriched environment. Small House Living is a book in tune with the current preoccupation with creating affordable housing solutions. Anyone interested in living well with less will find inspiration in the compact yet highly considered homes featured.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCabin porn / collected by Beaver Brook ; edited by Zach Klein ; feature stories by Steven Leckart ; feature photography by Noah Kalina.
“Created by a group of friends who preserve 55 acres of hidden forest in Upstate New York-Cabin Porn began as a scrapbook to collect inspiration for their building projects. The site features photos of the most remarkable handmade homes in the backcountry of America and all over the world. It has had over 10 million unique visitors, with 350,000 followers on Tumblr. Now Zach Klein, the creator of the site (and a co-founder of Vimeo) goes further into the most alluring images from the site and new getaways, including more interior photography and how-to advice for setting up a quiet place somewhere. 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.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGuerilla furniture design : how to build lean, modern furniture with salvaged materials / Will Holman ; photography by Kip Dawkins.
“This innovative collection features 35 simple, inexpensive projects that you can make from salvaged and upcycled materials — cardboard, metal, plastic, and wood. The projects include tables, shelving units, chairs, lamps, and more, in a variety of styles. Many are stackable and easily portable, most can be made in a weekend, and all include instructions for disassembly and disposal when you’re ready to repurpose the materials. If you’d rather make than buy, these low-budget, high-style designs are just what you’re looking for.” (Syndetics summary)

Overdrive cover Amazing Spaces, by George Clark
“George Clarke shows how amazingly unexpected small spaces can be adapted into really practical living areas. Combining the eccentric and the inspirational with down-to-earth guidelines and information, the book will appeal not only to those dreaming of a get-away but to everyone who wants to make the most of their space at home.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Architects’ Houses, by Stephen Crafti (eBook)
Architects’ Houses offers an insight into how contemporary architects live in the homes they have designed specifically for themselves and their family: from warehouses to apartments, from an entirely new build to a substantial renovation. In the absence of a ‘client’ and a formal brief, architects can be truly adventurous, exploring groundbreaking, unconventional ideas and materials in designing their own houses. Architects’ Houses also explores the things that didn’t quite go to plan. Their insights and journeys will appeal to those looking for fresh ideas that go beyond the traditional offerings by architects.” (Overdrive description)

Design and Architecture picks in September

This month’s new books are quite experimental with topics ranging from how to make the design process more playful, to unconventional libraries, and the very unconventional cardboard cathedral in Christchurch. Try something new from this month’s picks!

Syndetics book coverTiny house floor plans : over 200 interior designs for tiny houses / by Michael Janzen.
“Inside Tiny House Floor Plans you’ll find over 200 interior designs for tiny houses – 230 to be exact. A tiny house is exactly what it sounds like, a house with many of the amenities you’d expect in a home tucked neatly into a super small space. Often these homes are built on trailers giving them the added benefit of mobility. But these designs could also be built on your choice of foundation. Each chapter focuses on one size footprint to show what can be done inside each size space. If you’re considering simplifying your life, extreme downsizing, arranging your tiny apartment more efficiently, building a cabin or inlaw unit, and/or building your own mortgage-free tiny home, this book can help give you a head start on making your goals a reality.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe form of design : deciphering the language of mass-produced objects / Josiah Kahane.
“This is the first all-encompassing book about the visual language of man-made products, explaining how mass-produced objects evolve over time and what made them change. Form evolution behaves in a similar way to language evolution and, to some extent, even to natural evolution. In the book the author materializes the governing rules of form evolution by means of fourteen case studies.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEttore Sottsass and the poetry of things / Deyan Sudjic.
“Sottsass (1917-2007), originally trained as an architect and worked as a design consultant for Olivetti, where he developed the iconic Valentine typewriter, before going on to found the Memphis Group in the 1980s, ushering in an era of influential designs in furniture, ceramics and lighting. Though a native son of Italy, Sottsass cast a shadow of influence on the entire world, traveling extensively over the course of his life and interacting with some of the 20th century’s most iconic figures, including Picasso, Hemingway and Allen Ginsberg. …a unique and comprehensive portrait not only Sottsass but of the last 100 years of design in Italy and around the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover100 great children’s picturebooks / Martin Salisbury.
“This unashamed visual feast celebrates the best designed and illustrated picturebooks from around the world over the past one hundred years. Each book is a creation of genius and inventiveness, and their design and illustration represent such diverse trends as the Russian Constructivists, Italian Futurists, and Postwar Neo-romantics. They are also mirrors of their times reflecting social concerns from a child’s and family’s perspectives throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. Fearlessly confronting the frontiers between a child’s picturebook and art, this is a collection of books that anyone with an interest in design, illustration, or simply children’s literature should know about.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExperimental design : visual methods and systematic play / [edited by] Armin Lindauer, Betina Müller ; texts: Armin Lindauer.
“How can experimentation and methodology be used in design processes? In this area of specialization in particular the term “experimental” is often used rather randomly. Contrary to this approach, this book shows that even in art and design methodical experiments can result in concepts and ideas, i.e. creativity in the widest sense. The varied and often surprising results are due not least to the many different applied methods. The works were found in very diverse sectors such as advertising, product design, poster design, art, and sciences. With its more than 3000 images, Experimental Design is a visual reference book for anyone interested in methodical approaches to ideas and concepts.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dream café : lessons in the art of radical innovation / Duncan D. Bruce and Dr. Geoff Crook.
“To keep your brand innovative you need to feed your creative spirit and the office is not the place to do that. So get out, disrupt and reimagine the status quo, get into a café and dream. Recreating the convivial, collaborative, creative world of the avant-garde the guys at The Dream Café have developed a fresh, new approach which is being used by major brands and businesses to great success. They create actual Dream Café locations settings which encourage freedom of thought and collaboration. Now, for the first time, the innovation consultants at The Dream Café have made their model and methods available to us all in this exciting new book.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverImprobable libraries : a visual journey to the world’s most unusual libraries / Alex Johnson.
“Public libraries are a cornerstone of modern civilization, yet like the books in them, libraries face an uncertain future in an increasingly digital world. Improbable Libraries showcases a wide range of unforgettable, never-before-seen images and interviews with librarians who are overcoming geographic, economic, and political difficulties to bring the written word to an eager audience. Alex Johnson charts the changing face of library architecture, as temporary pop-ups rub shoulders with monumental brick-and-mortar structures, and many libraries expand their mission to function as true community centers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShigeru Ban : cardboard cathedral / Andrew Barrie ; photographs by Bridgit Anderson & Stephen Goodenough.
“In Christchurch’s inner city an innovative and symbolic structure has just taken shape: a cardboard cathedral to stand in for the historic building devastated by the earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011. Signaling the beginnings of renewal in the central business district, the cathedral is the first new civic building completed since the quakes. Shigeru Ban, its designer, is a world-class architect and expert in disaster-zone building; and the new transitional cathedral is his largest postdisaster structure to date. In essays, building plans, and specially commissioned photography, Shigeru Ban: Cardboard Cathedral tells the story of this remarkable feat. Originally conceived as a temporary building, its construction involved design challenges, structural innovations, and community involvement. This is vital reading for anyone interested in contemporary architecture and for all those looking to what the future might hold for cities after disaster.” (Syndetics summary)

Hand-lettering and houseboats – August Design & Architecture picks

This month’s picks feature a variety of graphic design best-of compilations, plus Drawing Type, a great guide to getting started with drawing your own lettering. On the architecture side, Open Source Architecture reconsiders architecture as a collaborative process. We also explore alternative architecture, from opera houses to the Parthenon, and there’s even a resource on houseboats!

Syndetics book coverCollector’s edition : innovative packaging and graphics / Stuart Tolley ; photography by Ivan Jones.
“This global survey of graphic design innovation brings together over 170 examples from the worlds of music, book publishing, and magazines that have been released as collector’s, limited, or deluxe editions. It includes a broad spectrum of work, formats, and genres, ranging from editions of albums by international recording artists including Coldplay and Radiohead, to ultra-rare and expensive publications such as ‘The Vatican Secret Archives’, handbound in the Vatican studio and produced in an edition of just thirty-three copies (three of which were reserved for the Pope). Each section also includes interviews with designers such as Stefan Sagmeister and Stanley Donwood to gain their views and insights on why the materiality and tactility of printed packaging are more important than ever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLogo design / ed. Julius Widedmann.
“A good logo can glamorize just about anything. This sweeping compendium gathers diverse brand markers from around the world to explore the irrepressible power of graphic representation. The catalog explores how text, image, and ideas distil into a logo across events, fashion, media, music, and retailers. Featuring work from both star names and lesser-known mavericks, this is an excellent reference for students and professionals in design and marketing, as well as for anyone interested in the visuals and philosophy behind brand identity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrawing type : an introduction to illustrating letterforms / Alex Fowkes.
“Part inspiration and part workbook, these hand-drawn type of images will inspire and excite any designer to draw and explore type. Drawing Type features real-world projects and sketchbooks of well-known type designers, including interviews about their processes. Playful, hand-drawn type can easily be used in a range of disciplines within design and illustration such; the hand-made aesthetic is more prevalent now than ever. Alex Fowkes will help you to create custom lettering and typographic layouts. Drawing Type is perfect for learning and developing your skills at home or in a classroom–an invaluable resource that you can refer to again and again!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe pattern base : over 550 contemporary textile and surface designs / Kristi O’ Meara ; edited by Audrey Victoria Keiffer.
“With new technology allowing for more precise manipulation and larger variation of materials and patterns, textile designers have found new ways to create ambitiously, experiment, and be inspired. At the same time, the rise of digital processes has led to a renewed appreciation of traditional craftsmanship and the handmade. In The Pattern Base, Kristi O’Meara and Audrey Victoria Keiffer showcase more than 550 textile, surface, fashion, and print designs from over 150 designers working around the world. Part One is a sourcebook of these designs, while Part Two presents profiles of fifteen artists, constituting the hottest up-and-comers in the field.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCommune : designed in California / Roman Alonso [et. al]. ; [edited by Andrea Danese]
“Commune was established in Los Angeles in 2004 by four like-minded souls–Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri, and Ramin Shamshiri– with a common mission: to enhance life through design and to blur the lines between disciplines, eras, and styles. California is for those who refuse to conform and who live for freedom of expression, indoor/outdoor living, and that golden sunshine glinting off the waves of the Pacific. Commune perfectly captures this spirit and embodies a new California style that freely mixes old and new in its layered, highly personal interiors that embrace color, pattern, and texture.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy cool houseboat : an inspirational guide to stylish houseboats / Jane Field-Lewis ; photography by Richard Maxted.
“People fall in love with boats and own them for a variety of reasons: out of affordability and necessity; a love of the water; closeness to nature and the environment; or just because they yearn for a different and more relaxed style of living/working space. Repurposed and rescued boats covered here range from ones on dry land to a mariner’s restaurant; urban boats include city canal living and “village” life, from Paris to London and Amsterdam; and lastly, there is a chapter on get-away-from-it-all boats and retreats.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOpen source architecture / Carlo Rotti with Matthew Claudel.
Open Source Architecture is a visionary manifesto for the architecture of tomorrow that argues for a paradigm shift from architecture as a means of supporting the ego-fueled grand visions of “starchitects” to a collaborative, inclusive, network-driven process inspired by twenty-first-century trends such as crowd-sourcing, open access, and mass customization. The question is how collaborative design can avoid becoming design-by-committee. Authors Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel navigate this topic nimbly, considering the applications of open-source architecture not only conceptually but also in practice. Open Source Architecture is an important new work on the frontlines of architectural thought and practice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDavid Leventi : opera / foreword by Plácido Domingo ; texts by Marvin Heiferman and Thomas Mellins.
“In his series “Opera,” photographer David Leventi (born 1978)–whose work has been widely published in “Time,” “The New York Times Magazine,” “Condé Nast Traveler” and “American Photography”–captures the interiors of more than 40 opera houses spanning four centuries and four continents. Shot meticulously over five years, Opera presents… these temples of music in their wealth of architectural detail and acoustic design. With its unique concept–the opera house as a lens for cultural survey, a unifying force and tradition across continents–the collection serves as a beautiful tribute to opera.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Parthenon enigma / Joan Breton Connelly.
“Since the Enlightenment, the Parthenon–the greatest example of Athenian architecture–has been venerated as the definitive symbol of Western democratic values. Here, Joan Breton Connelly challenges this conventional wisdom, drawing on previously undiscovered sources to present a revolutionary new view of this peerless building. Reaching back across time to trace the Parthenon’s story from the laying of its foundation, Connelly finds its true meaning not in the rationalist ideals we typically associate with Athens but in a vast web of ceaseless cultic observances and a unique mythic identity, in which democracy in our sense of the word would have been inconceivable.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

srilankanhouseThe new Sri Lankan house / Robert Powell ; photography by Sebastian Posingis ; essays by David Robson.
The New Sri Lankan House charts the development of private houses in the 21st century in a variety of locations around the island. Most are the work of ‘home-grown’ architects, many of whom are indebted to the influence of the island’s most famous son, Geoffrey Bawa. Through the inclusion of plans, sections and elevations, full-colour photographs and interviews with owners and architects, Powell traces the evolution of residence styles in both urban and rural areas. Of paramount importance are sustainability and suitability to site and climate, topics that Powell investigates in depth.” (Adapted from

Design & Architecture picks in July

Some exciting new design picks this month, with some great new volumes on improving your design craft. This month’s design picks focus on developing your skills, as well as taking new skills into consideration, such as incorporation of humour and green design. On the architecture side there are interviews with some of the greatest living artists, as well as visual explorations of the work of successful interior designers. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverThis is not a photo opportunity : the street art of Banksy / Martin Bull.
This Is Not a Photo Opportunity is a street-level, full-color showcase of some of Banksy’s most innovative pieces ever. Banksy, Britain’s now-legendary “guerilla” street artist, has painted the walls, streets, and bridges of towns and cities throughout the world. Once viewed as vandalism, Banksy’s work is now venerated, collected, and preserved. Over the course of a decade, Martin Bull has documented dozens of the most important and impressive works by the legendary political artist, most of which are no longer in existence.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLives of the artists, lives of the architects / Hans-Ulrich Obrist.
“Hans Ulrich Obrist has been having ongoing conversations with the world’s greatest living artists since the first interview he conducted in Switzerland, aged seventeen, with Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Here he chooses nineteen of the most influential contemporary artists and architects and presents the conversations they’ve had over the years, in cafes and studios, on aeroplanes and trains, walking or sitting at home. Inspired by Vasari’s Renaissance work, Lives of the Artists, Lives of the Architects offers the reader a rare insight into the creative process as well as a unique exploration of the meaning of art today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe graphic design exercise book : creative briefs to enhance your skills and develop your portfolio / Jessica Glaser.
“Whatever their age or experience, graphic designers like to be creatively challenged, and may also want to broaden their skill-base in order to break into new and lucrative areas of the design industry. A range of industry insiders share their specialist knowledge by way of briefs that stretch the imagination and encourage the development of new skills across a range of genres, including logos, packaging, branding, identity, promotion, publication design, music graphics, and web design. Organized much like a recipe book, each brief lists the required materials and equipment so that designers can pick and choose.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe big book of green design / introduction by Eric Benson ; edited by Suzanna M.W. Stephens, Anthony B. Stephens.
The Big Book of Green Design explores the specific techniques and methods that graphic designers are employing worldwide to make their business a more earth-friendly one. Mainly focusing on printed materials, but also showcasing examples of trade show environments, repurposed designs, and the new “anti-packaging” trend, the book showcases over 450 examples of marketing and collateral materials produced using environmentally favorable methods. With a foreword by Eric Benson, The Big Book of Green Design is an idea-sharing, inspiration-generating compilation for agencies, freelance designers, printers, and other creative professionals.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInterior spaces / by PH Collection.
“Belgian design company PH Collection specializes in the creation, manufacture and distribution of home furniture. In this new book, they show their recent interior creations in Belgium, Switzerland and on the island of Ibiza. The spirit of PH Collection is to create space and atmosphere in search of essence and timeless emotion. Text in English, Dutch and French.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDesign funny : a graphic designer’s guide to humor / written and illustrated by Heather Bradley.
“It’s time to stop taking graphic design so seriously! Design Funny: A Graphic Designer’s Guide to Humor is an entertaining yet practical guide to the lighter side of the design profession. Inside you’ll find inspiration, advice and visual gags from comedy juggernauts The Onion, Comedy Central, Funny Or Die, MAD magazine, JibJab, Cheezburger , as well as dozens of top creative agencies, talented freelance designers and professional comedians. Whether you’re an aspiring designer, design expert or just like funny pictures, you’ll get a kick out of seeing the method behind the madness of designing funny.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDreamhouse / Penny Drue Baird.
“Architectural Digest Top 100 interior designer Penny Drue Baird’s rooms are universally admired for their seamless weaving of past and present. Baird’s work is the result of deep client relationships that have lasted for decades. Baird incorporates bold architectural gestures–tufted niches, gold-leaf and turquoise coffered ceilings, classical moldings and other made-from-scratch details–with fabrics from taffeta to practical corduroy, and unexpected finishes like mother of pearl and strié painted walls, trompe l’oeil limestone, classic bead board, or end-grain wood wallpaper. Au courant but never trendy, with elements both classical and contemporary, each Dreamhouse is infused with Penny Drue Baird’s irresistible sense of romance, charm, and joie de vivre.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnimation sketchbooks / Laura Heit.
Animation Sketchbooks presents the private notebooks, sketches and doodles of over 50 of the worlds most inventive contemporary animators. From left-field satire to hit childrens TV series, from short animations to internationally distributed films, a wide array of creative work is represented in depth.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe best American infographics 2014 / with an introduction by Nate Silver ; Gareth Cook, series editor.
“The rise of infographics across virtually all print and electronic media reveals patterns in our lives and worlds in fresh and surprising ways. As we find ourselves in the era of big data, where information moves faster than ever, infographics provide us with quick, often influential bursts of art and knowledge — to digest, tweet, share, go viral. Best American Infographics 2014 captures the finest examples, from the past year, of this mesmerizing new way of seeing and understanding our world. Guest introducer Nate Silver brings his unparalleled expertise and lively analysis to this visually compelling new volume.” (Syndetics summary)