New designers and book lists are added every Tuesday, giving visitors an important reason to check back often. Contributors include luminaries from every discipline—architecture, interiors, product, graphic, fashion, and urban design—among them Shigeru Ban, Michael Bierut, Tim Brown, Norman Foster, Milton Glaser, Jessica Helfand, Steven Holl, George Lois, Stefan Sagmeister, John Maeda, Isaac Mizrahi, Massimo Vignelli, Eva Zeisel, and more. The site also features a commentators section with essays and book lists by well-known curators and critics – from architecture critic Witold Rybczynski to fashion curator Valerie Steele.
“Designers read books, write them, design them, collect them, learn from them and are inspired by them,” said Designers & Books founder and Editor-in-Chief, Steve Kroeter, “and this creates a special relationship that deserves attention. Designers & Books is an opportunity to explore and reflect upon the books that have been personally meaningful, important and formative to esteemed designers from an array of disciplines.” In doing so, the site offers an addictive, fascinating look into creativity, innovation, and the process of thinking and making.
The site’s latest addition, an essay entitled "Books Every Architect Should Read: Seeing Things as You Have Never Seen Them Before"by noted New Yorker Architecture Critic Paul Goldberger, is both a beautiful meditation on the books that have inspired one of today’s leading voices on architecture and, together with his book list, is a master class for architects and aficionados alike.
“If architectural guidebooks as a genre can bring you closer to the reality of architecture than most other kinds of books, they nonetheless make only the barest beginning of a basic reading list,” states Goldberger. “Architecture, after all, is about everything—it is a product of culture and money and politics as well as aesthetics, and sometimes there is more insight about architecture to be found in books that are ostensibly about something else.”
This statement rings true throughout the site -- with books ranging from classic texts such as Complexity & Contradiction in Architecture (the book cited on the most lists) by Robert Venturi (whose own list appears on the site as well) and Paul Rand’s Thoughts on Design to literary works such as Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace and Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, about which Goldberger asks, “Can any work of architectural history provoke you to think about the relationship between the physical form of the city and the social life that goes on within it as powerfully?”
Inspirational, educational, and useful, the site allows visitors to make their own digital book lists, and includes a list of booksellers with a particular expertise or interest in design books. A valuable resource and an important addition to today’s design dialogue, Designers & Books also says as much about reading as it does about design.
In a specially commissioned essay by Maryanne Wolf, a professor at the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, entitled “You Are What You Read,” Wolf observes that “our continuously increasing knowledge in the cognitive neurosciences teaches us that we are the sum of what and how and why we read,” telling us that the dynamics of the human brain enable books to have an impact on us far beyond what we might imagine.
Upcoming lists will soon post by graphic designers Pierre Bernard, Erik Spiekermann, Wim Crouwel, Joshua Darden, and Chip Kidd; architects Cesar Pelli, Enrique Norten, Moshe Safdie, Sou Fujimoto, and Deborah Berke; landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh and Deborah Nevins; car designer Chris Bangle; fashion designer Stephen Burrows; interior designers Rose Tarlow and Penny Drue Baird; and in the commentators section, curators Barry Bergdoll, Ellen Lupton, and Zoe Ryan, Alberto Alessi, Anita de la Rosa de Berrizbeitia, and Sheila Danko.
Designers & Books was designed by Lisa Strausfeld at Pentagram.
Press Contact: Sarah Natkins @ Culture & Commerce, inc.
+1 212 842 1509 / firstname.lastname@example.org