Natural living: New interior design books

Housing is of course a necessity, ideally providing a safe, warm and dry space that is separate from the natural world outside. But within the home, more people are coming to realise that a little bit of nature is not only a good way to add green into your home, but a vital life-affirming/improving necessity. So here are some reads that may help you make that upgrade to your living space.

Residences reimagined : successful renovation and expansion of old homes
“Renovation continues to be an important and fundamental part of modern architecture, whether it be through a desire to preserve history, or resurrect an old family home.   The decision to renovate rather than rebuild brings its own set of complications, but this book reminds us that this is not a hopeless endeavour but rather one that refreshes the architecture and provides a revamped home, perfect for the modern world”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Houseplants and design : a New Zealand guide / Carlson, Liz
“Houseplants have never been hotter. They have the power to instantly turn a house into a home and to create a feeling of peace and calm, transforming both your physical space and your headspace. Bringing nature inside is a simple way to maintain a connection to the outdoors. To nurture an indoor garden is to nurture ourselves.  Offering a comprehensive catalogue of our most beloved and rare species, along with unique ways to style houseplants and troubleshoot common issues.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Great English interiors / Mlinaric, David
“This special edition revives an acclaimed work. Exquisite photographs showcase England’s finest buildings, guiding the reader through five centuries of English architecture and interior design. Anglophiles, armchair tourists, and lovers of grand interiors will relish the photographs of these wonderful buildings, while discovering more about the designers and architects who built them, charting the evolution that has made British style so alluring, enduring, and widely imitated over the centuries.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

100 20th-century houses
“A stylish and fascinating insight into Britain’s built heritage and the diverse housing styles of the 20th century.” (Catalogue)




At home on the water / Conry, Jaci
“The idea of a retreat–a place removed from one’s daily stressors, an escape in a serene natural setting, a secluded haven to be enjoyed by family, is more appealing than it has been in decades.  At Home on the Water will offer some history on coastal living and will feature twelve homes on the water on both coasts and the gulf. The editorial would focus on both the design of the homes and the way the homeowners live in them, embellished by interviews with homeowners, designers, and/or architects”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bamboo contemporary : green houses around the globe / Richards, William
“Bamboo-one of the most sustainable building materials on the planet-is deployed in ingenious ways throughout this globetrotting tour of residential designs”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)



Beautiful houses by the water : living at the water’s edge
“We are all drawn to water, whether for relaxation or recreation. So it is little surprise that many homes are designed especially for a gorgeous waterfront location. Be Take an inspiring journey with this gorgeous edition, crammed full of evocative images, through some of the world’s best contemporary and stylish residences that truly showcase their idyllic watery settings, whether it is a river, pond, lake, ocean, or a bay. Enjoy the beauty of a home that is perfectly designed for a its location by the water”–Publisher’s description.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reflecting on it All: new photography books

As the year comes to a close we often begin to reflect on the year that’s passed, so this month’s picks focus on one of the more reflective mediums: photography. Capable of capturing moments in time; we often let photos do the remembering for us, so why not pay them a little attention while we wrap up the year.

The deep south : from the wilds of the South Island to Antarctica / Apse, Andris
“Andris Apse showcases some of the wildest and most remote spots of southern New Zealand, from the depths of the wild West Coast to the mostly inaccessible Subantarctic islands and as far south as Antarctica.  A very special inclusion is an essay that was gifted to Andris by his dear friend, the late great Keri Hulme, on the Māori perspective on Te Rua o Te Moko/Fiordland”–Publisher information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rooms : portraits of remarkable New Zealand interiors / Ussher, Jane
“The interiors photographer Jane Ussher knows a great room when she sees one. Over the years she has shot interiors ranging from Shackleton’s Antarctic huts to highly specified mansions. Shot in a range of locations across New Zealand, the result is a mix of World of Interiors and the special panache that can only be found in Aotearoa.The 300-plus images are introduced by a superb essay by well-respected architecture writer John Walsh. A glorious book which all those interested in interior design will treasure.”–Publisher’s website.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Visions of nature : how landscape photography shaped settler colonialism / Hore, Jarrod
“Visions of Nature revives the work of a cast of late nineteenth century landscape photographers who shaped the environmental attitudes of settlers in Australia, New Zealand and North America.  This book lifts the settler work of these photographers out of their provincial contexts and repositions it within a sweeping new comparative frame”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Photography : the definitive visual history / Ang, Tom
“This lavish coffee-table book traces the history of photography from the first black and white images to celebrated examples of 21st-century digital photography. Whether you’re looking for a riveting reference book to display on your coffee table or gift to a friend, or you’re a life-longer learner with a thirst for knowledge – Photography is sure to delight!”–provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Understanding street photography : an introduction to shooting compelling images on the street / Peterson, Bryan
“Discover the secrets to mastering street photography — from city streets to country roads and the alleyways in between — from an acclaimed international photographer, teacher, and best-selling author”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)


The year time stopped : the global pandemic in photos
“In 2020, the world experienced massive change. Millions of lives were upended by the Covid-19 pandemic. The shocking police killings of Black men and women gave rise to powerful social movements and widespread collective action to rectify centuries of injustice and racism. Together, these colossal events tested the resilience of the social fabric bringing us all together.  The 200 images in this striking collection are indelible, impassioned, and unforgettable. Taken together, they are a singular testament to this unprecedented time”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Building into the future

This month’s picks focus on architecture; highlighting some future-focused practises while also reflecting on the industry’s past tragedies and some key contributors to the structures that fill our lives.

Eco-cities : new healthy architecture
“The creation of pleasant living environments that avoid the simple container of human beings and build spaces of coexistence receptive to the needs of users has been one of the objectives of architectural practice for decades. All of them transmit a great sensitivity towards issues such as sustainability, eco efficiency, or the integration and conservation of historical and industrial heritage, using construction methods ranging from traditional techniques to the most modern parametric design systems.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Eco-houses : sustainability & quality of life
“Sustainable design integrates consideration of resource and energy efficiency, healthy buildings and materials, ecologically and socially sensitive land-use, and an aesthetic sensitivity that inspires, affirms, and ennobles…” The construction process affects the environment and surrounding ecosystem.  In order to face these challenges, innovative and varied building strategies have been developed to contribute to the achievement of environmentally friendly homes that are alive and “breathe.” (Adapted Catalogue)

Bold ventures : thirteen tales of architectural tragedy / Broeck, Charlotte Van den
“A prize-winning Belgian poet explores the nature of creative endeavor-the godlike ambition, the crushing defeat of failure-through the stories of thirteen tragic architects. Drawing on a vast range of material, Van den Broeck brings patterns into focus as she asks, What is that strange, life-or-death connection between a creation and its creator? The result is a profoundly idiosyncratic book, breaking ground in literary nonfiction, as well as providing solace and consolation to anyone who has ever attempted a creative act”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Making space : a history of new zealand women in architecture
“Brilliant, hardworking and creative, women architects have made many significant contributions to the built environment, creativity and community of Aotearoa New Zealand.  It canvasses those using architecture to benefit whānau and communities, the careers of women in associated industries, and the determined strategies many have adopted to make the architecture profession a better place for themselves and those who follow them”–Back cover note.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

If walls could speak : my life in architecture / Safdie, Moshe
“Over more than five decades, legendary architect Moshe Safdie has built some of the world’s most influential and memorable structures-from the 1967 modular housing scheme in Montreal known as “Habitat” and the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel, to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas and the Marina Bay Sands development and extraordinary Jewel Changi airport interior garden and waterfall in Singapore. A book like no other, If Walls Could Speak will forever change the way you look at and appreciate any built structure”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Stalin’s architect : power and survival in Moscow / Sudjic, Deyan
“What would an architect do for the chance to build the tallest building in the world? What would he sacrifice to stay alive in the midst of Stalin’s murderous purges? This is the first major publication on the remarkable life and career of Boris Iofan (1891–1976), state architect to Joseph Stalin. Iofan’s story is an insight into the troubled relationship of all successful architects with power. It is an insight into the key moments of 20th-century politics and culture from a unique perspective, and the personal story of a remarkable individual who witnessed many of the most dramatic turning points of modern history. (Adapted from Catalogue)

How we make: New design books

This month, peek behind the veil of the work of artists and designers, analysing the cogs and wheels in order to better understand the work itself. Sometimes you have to pull something apart and look at the pieces to understand the whole.

Things we create / Brechensbauer, Axel
“We all live in a world of objects, yet we rarely stop to think about how and why they came to exist, why they look and feel the way they do, what shapes our preferences, or why we own and use the things we do. Told with visual verve, wit, humor, and above all, clarity, Things We Create is both a history of and a metaphysical study of physical objects — all the stuff we buy, we collect, we need, we want” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Deviant design : the ad hoc, the illicit, the controversial / Martin, Craig
“Craig Martin addresses the transgressive or deviant aspects of design: design that straddles the divide between the licit and illicit, the legal and illegal in a variety of ways. Deviant Design contends that these amateur and illicit practices challenge the normative idea of the professional designer or maker” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Design for how people think : using brain science to build better products / Whalen, John
“User experience doesn’t happen on a screen; it happens in the mind, and the experience is multidimensional and multisensory. This practical book will help you uncover critical insights about how your customers think so you can create products or services with an exceptional experience.  Learn how to immediately apply what you’ve learned to improve your products and services Explore practical examples of how the Fortune 100 used this system to build highly successful experiences” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The art museum in modern times / Saumarez Smith, Charles
“The National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy all saw either radical architectural interventions or rethinks of their mission under Charles Saumarez Smith’s leadership, making him uniquely qualified to explore the ways in which art museums have changed over the past century and examine where they might be headed in the future.  While museums used to be invariably in city centres, they may now be in remote locations, destinations of cultural pilgrimage.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From the sculptor’s studio : conversations with twenty seminal artists / Cole, Ina
“20 of the most influential contemporary sculptors talk candidly about their work.  From the Sculptor’s Studio is a unique collection of personal conversations with 20 seminal artists, each of whom have created iconic work, exhibited worldwide, and pushed past the boundaries of sculpting in their own way.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover A Modern Way to Live, Matt Gibberd (ebook) In this lavishly illustrated book, Matt tells the stories of these remarkable living spaces and their equally remarkable owners, and demonstrates how the five principles can be applied to your own space in ways both large and small. Revolutionary in its simplicity, and full of elegance, humour and joy, this book will inspire you to find happiness in the place you call home.
(Adapted from Overdrive description)

Drawn to it: new art books

Here we have all you need to develop your existing drawing practise or get started with some basics.  Sketching scenes, animals and anatomy is the bread and butter of most artists; we’ve made these picks to offer a little bit for anyone planning on picking up a pencil or paintbrush.

Archetypes / Halstead, Diana
“In the 1990s Diana Halstead broke with the formal abstract paintings she had been exhibiting in the preceding years, and in a rush of work created a remarkable series of drawings, a selection of which are contained in this book. Halstead used an unusual technique in the works. Looking at them, we seem to see an artist entering a trance state, becoming fused, confused, with animals. Men and women have beaks. Heads crumble and regrow.  Mullet leap from fleshy hips. The distinctions between the human and the non-human dissolve. Nature reclaims us.”–Introduction by Scott Hamilton.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Anatomy for the artist : a complete guide to drawing the human body / Crouch, Jennifer
“An understanding of anatomy is essential to being able to draw the human body, whether at rest or in movement. With more than 200 beautiful illustrations, Anatomy for the Artist is a comprehensive guide to drawing the human body with skill and sensitivity. Fully annotated with step-by-step explanations that will help you to create accurate images with ease, it is the perfect reference for the beginner or the more experienced artist looking to improve their technique.” — From back cover.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

I paint what I want to see / Guston, Philip
“How does a painter see the world? Philip Guston, one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century, spoke about art with unparalleled candour and commitment. Touching on work from across his career as well as that of his fellow artists and Renaissance heroes, this selection of his writings, talks and interviews draws together some of his most incisive reflections on iconography and abstraction, metaphysics and mysticism, and, above all, the nature of painting and drawing.” — Publisher’s website.” (Catalogue)

How to draw 100 animals : from basic shapes to amazing drawings in super-easy steps / Hodge, Susie
“Discover 100 wonderful and majestic creatures to draw! There are no written instructions to follow – just basic shapes and pencil strokes. Even if you’ve never drawn anything before, you will be amazed at how quickly you will achieve incredibly impressive drawings. Every project also shows two finished examples of the animal – one shaded with pencil and the other with colour. This is the perfect book for budding artists yearning to draw their favourite animals.  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cats : draw over 50 fabulous felines in 10 easy steps / Lecouffe, Justine
“If you want to draw cats but don’t know where to start, this is the book for you! 10 Step Drawing: Cats will help you turn simple shapes into beautiful cat drawings in just ten steps. Each drawing starts with easy, geometric shapes and simple guide lines, and the cats are drawn in a variety of poses that typify the particular breed. Each drawing includes a helpful colour palette so readers can easily find the right colours to finish their drawing. There are even instructions for adding simple details to give each creature its own personality.” (Catalogue)

Dogs : draw over 50 delightful dogs in 10 easy steps / Lecouffe, Justine
“If you want to draw dogs but don’t know where to start, this is the book for you! 10 Step Drawing: Dogs will help you turn simple shapes into beautiful dog drawings in just ten steps. Each drawing starts with easy, geometric shapes and simple guide lines, and the dogs are drawn in a variety of poses that typify the particular breed. Each drawing includes a helpful colour palette so readers can easily find the right colours to finish their drawing. There are even instructions for adding simple details to give each creature its own personality.” (Catalogue)

Sketching for the absolute beginner / Cronin, Peter
“Sketching is more than just drawing quickly. It is training your eye and hand to work together, to respond immediately and naturally to the scene before you. If you have ever wanted to sketch, but lacked the confidence to start, this is the book for you. Artist Peter Cronin teaches you how to sketch through simple step-by-step exercises and larger projects, all in a friendly and relaxed manner. Learn to sketch with a range of media, from graphite pencil to charcoal, pen and wash and more, all the while building the skills you need to tackle more complex and rewarding artworks.” (Catalogue)

New ways of seeing and doing

This month’s recent design picks offer new insight into the old and innovative new approaches that are sure to help you look at things differently, and perhaps will even have you trying something you’d never of thought of.

A new way of seeing : the history of art in 57 works / Grovier, Kelly
“A New Way of Seeing casts fresh light on some of the most famous works in the history of art by daring to isolate in each a single, often overlooked detail that is key to the work’s greatness. Kelly Grovier, one of the most exicting new voices in cultural criticism, offers illuminating analysis of enduring masterpieces, frequently presenting them alongside comparative works. He encourages us to look deeply in order to perceive the richness and strangeness of the “eye-hook” that offers a clue to a work’s truest meaning.” — Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Make ink / Logan, Jason
“The Toronto Ink Company was founded in 2014 by designer and artist Jason Logan as a citizen science experiment to make eco-friendly, urban ink from street-harvested pigments. Organized by color, and featuring lovely minimalist photography throughout,  Make Ink  combines science, art, and craft to instill the basics of ink making and demonstrate the beauty and necessity of engaging with one of mankind’s oldest tools of communication.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Seasonal flower embroidery : a year of stitching wild blooms and botanicals / Aoki, Kazuko
“Small embroidered gifts for every season. Give the gift of embroidery! Inspired by flowers in every season, theses small projects make the perfect gift. From small purses and pins to stunning artwork, these embroidery projects are small but stunning and make a big impact with just thread, needle, and fabric”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)


Dungeness : coastal architecture / Bradbury, Dominic
“The Kent coastal strip of Dungeness is a unique environment. Harshly vulnerable to the elements yet protected from inland development.  Dungeness is a crucible for exciting architecture; the local vernacular includes fishermen’s cottages, lighthouses, and ex-industrial structures. The book includes sixteen stunning case studies of homes both converted from non-domestic buildings and exciting new builds”–Publisher’s description.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Designing modern Japan / Teasley, Sarah
“From cars to cameras, design from Japan is ubiquitous. So are perceptions of Japanese design, from calming, carefully crafted minimalism to avant-garde fashion and street subcultures. But these portrayals overlook the creativity, generosity and sheer hard work that have gone into creating and maintaining design industries in Japan.  Deeply researched and superbly illustrated, Designing Modern Japan will appeal to the wide audience for Japanese design, history and culture.”– Supplied by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Understanding street photography : an introduction to shooting compelling images on the street / Peterson, Bryan
“Discover the secrets to mastering street photography — from city streets to country roads and the alleyways in between — from an acclaimed international photographer, teacher, and best-selling author”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)