Our favourite books of 2017

Dec 21, 2017

Marlow Moss: A Forgotten Maverick
Published by Hatje Cantz
ISBN 9783775743006

What: Exhibition catalogue on the work of this little-known British female artist who was an influential early Constructivist.

Why: Beautiful book design with a range of different paper inserts. This is also a fascinating story about an influential artist who has until now been overlooked: Mondrian owes the double black line to Moss.

Joan Miro: I Work Like a Gardener
Published by Princeton Architectural Press
ISBN 9781616896287

What: Reprint of a 1958 conversation between the Spanish artist Joan Miro and art critic Yvon Tailandier. Originally a limited edition of just 145—now reprinted in a handy little hardback.

Why: Because Miro says so many interesting things about the work of making art.

The New Age of Ceramics
Published by Gingko Press
ISBN 9781584236245

What: A survey of contemporary ceramic art, crossing over between craft and sculpture.

Why: A book full of amazing, interesting and lovely ceramic objects. It has been around for more than a year, but still worthwhile.

Juan Grimm
Published by Hatje Cantz
ISBN 9783775743891

What: An extensive survey of the work of this Chilean landscape architect. Grimm's work spans 30 years and stretched across South America, from Peru to Uruguay.

Why: Grimm’s work is extraordinary—stunning landscape design, surprisingly green and lush, not super manicured but beautifully wild. Stunning photography and production. If you’re nor already a fan of Juan Grimm, you will be once you see this book.

The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog
Published by Gingko Press
ISBN 9781584236559

What: Eugene O’Neill’s prose poem about the love and loss of a long-time companion, written from the point of view of his Dalmatian, Blemie.

Why: Lovely hardbound edition with mark Andresen’s retro pen and ink illustrations of various breeds of dog.

Makers Ware: Ceramic, Wood and Glass for the Tabletop
Published by Gingko Press
ISBN 9781584236672

What: Showcases a range of beautiful tableware from makers all over the world, from Maine to Norway, China and Japan.

Why: Because food and drink taste better in beautiful vessels—even in your imagination. With interviews, studio shots and photos of the beautiful objects.

Other Cultures
Published by Edizioni Corraini
ISBN 9788875706609

What: Ugo La Pietra's 1978 investigation of wooden beach villas at Poetto beach in Sardegna is typical of the quirky approach to architecture and design of the small Italian publisher Corraini Edizioni. Photos and drawings of the beach huts, ranged like a tiny seaside holiday suburb, accompany text in Italian and English.

Why: One look at these strange little huts and you will want to live in one yourself.

Published by Radius Books/Mingei International Museum (from D.A.P.)
ISBN 9781942185192

What: A collection of valuable textiles from the late 19th to early 20th centuries that showcases Bangladesh’s ‘kantha’ tradition of embroidery.

Why: The Ganges delta in Bangladesh has been the source of the finest cotton – Kantha brings the beautiful products of this threatened tradition to a wide audience.

Richard Hollis Designs for the Whitechapel
Published by Hyphen Press
ISBN 9780907259497

What: A survey of the work of British graphic designer Richard Hollis, which includes the various printed materials that Hollis designed for London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery from 1969-73 and 1978-85.

Why: Hyphen Press has published fine books on graphic design and typography for a quarter of a century. This is Hyphen’s last book, and it is a beautiful example of publisher Robin Kinross’s exacting approach to making books. It is also uncovers the fascinating design, art and social history of London from the 1960s to the 1980s.

The Art of Decadence
Published by Pie Books
ISBN 9784756248411

What: Historically important art works spanning from the 19th century to Surrealism, including notable European illustrators such as Odilon Redon, Gustav Klimt, Gustave Moreau, Aubrey Vincent Beardsley and much more.

Why: From the foil-stamped cover to the reversible images printed onto the page edges and the mix of paper stocks inside, this is an amazing example of why we still love the book as an object.

Published by Radius Books (from D.A.P.)
ISBN 9781942185345

What: Eight photographers were asked to submit an image on the theme of minimalism. And eight writers were enlisted to respond to those submissions, each paired with a specific image.

Why: A thoughtful exploration of minimalism with some excellent written pieces. Also, the production of the book is beautiful.

The Print Shop
Published by Design for Today
ISBN 9781912066681

What: Illustrated by Alice Pattullo, this concertina of 14 double-sided panels reveals how a book is produced from design to the finished product.

Why: Another cool print object from Design For Today and a primer on printing for budding book makers.

Contemporary Korean Photography
Published by Hatje Cantz
ISBN 9783775740401

What: Seventy-five of South Korea's leading photographers present an extensive collection of images that observe and interpret social and cultural change in Korea.

Why: For a comprehensive survey of photography in Korea and a fascinating insight into Korean culture now.

Concrete Tokyo
Published by Blue Crow Media
ISBN 9781912018680

What: A fold-out map and guide to Tokyo’s most remarkable examples of concrete architecture.

Why: Because you want to see Tokyo, but not Tokyo Disneyland.

Monocle Travel Guides: Kyoto
Published by Gestalten
ISBN 9783899559248

What: A travel guide to Kyoto produced by the team behind Monocle magazine.

Why: Finally – a Monocle guide to one of our favourite cities.

Richard Hamilton & Sigfried Giedion: Reaper
Published by JRP|Ringier (from D.A.P.)
ISBN 9783037645048

What: A reproduction of English artist Richard Hamilton's complete 'Reaper' print series from 1949.

Why: A quirky artist’s study of the early mechanisation of agriculture in England, which was the first type of mechanisation of anything.

Chris Drange: Relics
Published by Hatje Cantz
ISBN 9783775743624

What: German photographer Chris Drange draws a precise picture of the dynamic between celebrities and their admirers through contrasting selfies from some of Instagram's most successful users, such as Kim Kardashian and Selena Gomez, with selected comments from their followers.

Why: Relics investigates a world where Instagram is shrine to celebrity worship and devout followers offer comments as veneration, raising challenging questions about construction of the self in the digital milieu.

Now You See It
Published by Princeton Architectural Press
ISBN 9781616896249

What: The follow-up to Michael Bierut's acclaimed 'Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design' brings together 50-plus insightful and thought-provoking short pieces he has written over the past decade.

Why: Michael Bierut is one of the most insightful and entertaining writers on design. And for a graphic designer, his definition of design stretches pretty far.

Wolfgang Tillmans
Published by Hatje Cantz
ISBN 9783775743297

What: A monograph on the work of celebrated German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. It takes a new look at Tillmans’ art from a narrative, rather than a chronological, perspective.

Why: Tillmans’s work is sometimes painterly, sometimes pictorial, and his portraits of ordinary people have a real and sometimes raw edge. This beautiful volume presents the full range of this photographer’s art.