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book review
Winter’s crop of design books debuts on shelves
Dec 29, 2015

Belated-holiday-gift givers, fret no longer: This season’s selection of design books is ideal for presents and housewarming gifts. EAL’s book roundup is stocked with history-buff-approved tomes, warm-weather inspiration and all-around design savvy. Scroll on for more on the best reads:


Sustainability and style converge in Bali: Sustainable Visions (Abbeville Press), by Isabella Ginanneschi, which showcases the usage of natural materials and tropical architecture. The work also includes interviews with Bali’s ecological leaders. 

 


Fabric is more than just home decor—it has historically represented power, wealth and status. Symbols of Power: Luxury Textiles From Islamic Lands, 7th–21st Century, by Louise W. Mackie, curator of textiles and Islamic art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, explores the meaning of fabric throughout the ages, relying on illustrated examples from Spain, the Middle East, Central Asia and India, culled from the CMA’s fine collection and from museums on four continents. The book is available in the museum’s online store.

 


Michael Smith’s latest tome, The Curated House: Creating Style, Beauty and Balance (Rizzoli New York), traces the designer’s own projects, including his four homes: a house in Holmby Hills, an apartment in Manhattan, a retreat in Coachella Valley, and the United States Embassy Residence in Madrid, all of which he shares with his partner, James Costos, the U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. The book also profiles 12 of Smith’s recent projects, including a Manhattan pied-à-terre, a London town house, a Montana mountain retreat and a Malibu beach house. 

 


Organized into chapters on the main methods of construction (masonry, concrete, steel and wood), Construction Matters delves into the technologies that underwent major transformations in the last century, or were newly invented, such as innovative materials, a jointing technique or a fabrication procedure. Artist-journalist Lisa Larson Walker, mathematician-architect Will Shapiro, and artist-architect Sean Gaffney co-edit architect-educator Georg Windeck's book, which explores both the physical and metaphysical aspects of building.

 


The working relationship between Alfred H. Barr Jr., founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, and Philip Johnson, director of its architecture department, takes center stage in Partners in Design (The Monacelli Press). The book also provides historical background and context of the time of their work, the 1920s and 1930s, revealing the pair’s relationships with luminaries like gallerist Julien Levy, who is credited with bringing surrealism to the U.S. It also features modernist illustrations, MoMA installation images and unpublished images of their apartments. 

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