April’s Design Book list is filled with new and upcoming releases on industrial, interior and landscape design. A few books on architecture can also be found in this month’s design list. In this month's Design Book List, look for “John Vassos: Industrial Design for Modern Life,” “Ruth Shellhorn,” “The Philip Johnson Glass House: An Architect in the Garden,” “Brooklyn Interiors,” “Infinite Space: Contemporary Residential Architecture and Interiors,” “Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture” and “One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building.”
“John Vassos: Industrial Design for Modern Life”
What should a television look like? How should a dial on a radio feel to the touch? These were questions John Vassos asked when the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) asked him to design the first mass-produced television receiver, the TRK-12, which had its premier at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Vassos emigrated from Greece and arrived in the United States in 1918. His career spans the evolution of central forms of mass media in the twentieth century and offers a template for understanding their success. Other industrial designers may be more celebrated, but none were more focused on making radio and television attractive and accessible to millions of Americans.
In “John Vassos: Industrial Design for Modern Life,” Danielle Shapiro is the first to examine the life and work of RCA’s key consultant designer through the rise of radio and television and into the computer era. Vassos conceived a vision for the look of new technologies still with us today. Replete with behind-the-product stories of America’s design culture in the 1930s through the 1950s, this volume also chronicles the emergence of what was to become the nation’s largest media company and provides a glimpse into its early corporate culture. In our current era of watching TV on an iPod or a smartphone, Shapiro stimulates broad discussions of the meaning of technological design for mass media in daily life.
BASIC FACTS: “John Vassos: Industrial Design for Modern Life” is written by Danielle Shapiro. Published by University Of Minnesota Press. Release Date: March 30, 2016. Paperback; 288 pages; $35.00.
“Ruth Shellhorn (Masters of Modern Landscape Design Series)”
In a career spanning nearly sixty years, Ruth Shellhorn (1909–2006) helped shape Southern California’s iconic modernist aesthetic. This is the first full-length treatment of Shellhorn, who created close to four hundred landscape designs, collaborated with some of the region’s most celebrated architects, and left her mark on a wide array of places, including college campuses and Disneyland’s Main Street.
Kelly Comras tells the story of Shellhorn’s life and career before focusing on twelve projects that explore her approach to design and aesthetic philosophy in greater detail. Shellhorn set a standard of creativity, productivity, and respect for the native landscape that defused gender stereotypes—and earned her the admiration of landscape designers then and now.
BASIC FACTS: “Ruth Shellhorn (Masters of Modern Landscape Design Series)” is written by Kelly Comras. Published by University of Georgia Press in association with the Library of American Landscape History. Release Date: April 1, 2016. Paperback; 240 pages; $26.95.
“The Philip Johnson Glass House: An Architect in the Garden”
From its completion in 1949 to the present day, Philip Johnson’s Glass House has drawn cognoscenti and the curious from around the world to New Canaan, Connecticut, to experience what might be the most photographed modernist residence in America. The property—an architectural playground on forty-seven acres with eleven Johnsonian follies dating from 1949 to 1995—is an icon of twentieth-century architectural and landscape design.
The book chronicles how Philip Johnson and David Whitney, the architect and the plantsman, lived on the property for decades and used the landscape as an ever-changing canvas for their designs—the result of a unique synthesis of influences and ideas from across history and geography. New research reveals Johnson’s and Whitney’s interaction with the landscape and the evolution of the site from a five-acre parcel to a world-renowned gentlemanly estate for modern times. “The Philip Johnson Glass House” is illustrated with vintage and commissioned photography, and will be a must-have for connoisseurs of architecture, landscape design, photography, and social history.
BASIC FACTS: “The Philip Johnson Glass House: An Architect in the Garden” is written by Maureen Cassidy-Geiger and Peter Aaron (photographer). Published by Skira Rizzoli. Release Date: April 5, 2016. Hardcover; 224 pages; $55.00.
Brooklyn today fosters creative communities as never before, and they have cultivated a renegade approach to style—one rooted in broad-minded eclecticism and independence. “Brooklyn Interiors” roams through twenty-four homes that embody this spirit—from brownstones and row houses to lofts and apartments. Each one exemplifies a knack for beautifully reconciling a respect for tradition, an embrace of modernism, and an appreciation for the handcrafted. In these spaces designed by the individuals who inhabit them, a rallying ideal comes into focus: to carve out one’s own niche within the urban environment. This is what makes the Brooklyn lifestyle so compelling for people around the world.
BASIC FACTS: “Brooklyn Interiors” is written by Kathleen Hackett and Matthew Williams (photographer). Published by Rizzoli. Release Date: April 5, 2016. Hardcover; 240 pages; $45.00.
“Infinite Space: Contemporary Residential Architecture and Interiors”
Architecture reflects the period of time in which it was created. This is true for landmark buildings and major public projects as well as residential and family properties. Yet architecture is also an expression of an individual’s personality, needs, taste, and his or her overall takes on life. Different countries, cultures, and lifestyles influence the design of structures and interiors as much as the local climate and other regional characteristics do. While the featured buildings have a contemporary clarity, lightness, and openness in common, they differ greatly in their details. The spectrum of materials used includes wood, stone, metal, and glass. Colors range from bright to subdued; furnishings from glamorously elaborate to tastefully understated. Their unique combination gives each house its character or, rather, reflects the character of its owners, builders, and residents.
This book showcases projects from all around the world captured by renowned architecture and interior photographer James Silverman on his travels. In his images of living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, working areas, children’s rooms, and gardens, Silverman explores the interplay of functional and decorative space, as well as interiors and exteriors. “Infinite Space” takes a nuanced look at how houses are constructed today.
BASIC FACTS: “Infinite Space: Contemporary Residential Architecture and Interiors” is written by James Silverman (editor and photographer) and R. Klanten (editor). Published by Gestalten. Release Date: April 18, 2016. Hardcover; 256 pages; $55.00.
“Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture”
Form precedes function in this visual archive of nearly 200 images of modern architecture by photographer Nicolas Grospierre. At once a reference work and a personal exploration of modernist architecture, this collection of Grospierre's photography covers structures built between 1920 and 1989 in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. These images range from iconic buildings to little-known structures.
Derived from his popular blog, A Subjective Atlas of Modern Architecture, and organized by architectural form, this book reveals how modernist architecture is the embodiment of political and social ideologies, especially in public institutions such as banks, churches, libraries, and government buildings. Following the series of full-page images, an index details the location, date, architect and purpose of each building. While many of the buildings in this archive often go unrecognized, their forms are prominent in the landscape of modern civilization. Grospierre's keen eye and enthusiasm for the mundane as well as the sublime will motivate readers to look at the buildings around them in new and exciting ways.
BASIC FACTS: “Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture” is written by Nicolas Grospierre. Published by Prestel. Release Date: April 15, 2016. Hardcover; 224 pages; $49.95.
“One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building”
In hundreds of photographs, drawings, and plans— most never seen by the public— Judith Dupré chronicles the rise of America's most exciting and emotionally charged new skyscraper. “One World Trade Center” showcases the building's groundbreaking design and engineering, from the initial excavation to the final placement of the spire. Capturing the hope, resiliency, and pride of those who built it, the book is rich with in-depth explorations of the innovations, including a 360 degree view from the One World Observatory.
BASIC FACTS: “One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building” is written by Judith Dupre. Published by Little, Brown and Company. Release Date: April 26, 2016. Hardcover; 304 pages; $35.00.
Hamptons Art Hub's Design Book List reveals each month new and upcoming books in the areas of architecture, landscape design, interior design and object design. Click here to view our Design Book columns.
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