150 years of fabrics that have made the history of fashion and interiors; 60 years of design history through the photos of Studio Ballo&Ballo (professional and sentimental partnership) and 50 years of iconic pieces re-edited by Cassina. So far the story. But, since it's July, we can't be too serious, can we?
If the desire for a holiday also brings with it the desire for long, quiet reading, this month's column responds with three volumes to match.

The first is dedicated to the work of Aldo Ballo and his wife Mariarosa Toscani, also the subject of an ongoing exhibition in Milan; the other is an immersion in the colors of the fabrics of the Galtrucco company in Milan;the last, finally, traces the collection that Cassina has been dedicating - for 50 years - to the "iMaestri" of design.

But there is also space for urban planning and micromobility (a word that we will hear more and more often), as well as for the irony of those who, Salon after Salon, he has "all form and little substance" with designers.

1. Dance & Dance. Photography and design in Milan 1956-2005, edited by Silvia Paoli (Silvanaeditoriale, 34 euros)

232 shots dedicated to the world of design through 60 years of activity of the photographic studio Ballo & Ballo, an artistic partnership that made Aldo Ballo and his wife Mariarosa Toscani famous throughout the world. These are the numbers of a volume made up of images which, until November 3rd, can be partly seen on display at the Castello Sforzesco.

The occasion is an important one: the Studio Archive (we are talking about more than 180,000 photographs) becomes part of the already large heritage of the Civic Photographic Archive of Milan , created in 1933 and which to date, in its headquarters in the Sforzesco Castle, has collected, cataloged and exhibited in public more than a million images.

2. Echoes. Cassina, 50 years of iMaestri curated by Ivan Mietton (Rizzoli, 85 euros)

There are so many that the pieces of the iMaestri Collection tell about since 1965, when Cassina began to collect and re-edit the iconic models of the most important architects and designers of the 20th century, reworked through a long process of study, research and development achieved thanks to Cassina's experience.

Thus contributing to producing and developing timeless projects in culture and design. The collection recounts the meeting between Cassina and architects such as Franco Albini, Gio Ponti and Carlo Scarpa, and the introduction of the designs of Marco Zanuso, Ico Parisi and Vico Magistretti.

Ivan Mietton, design expert and curator of the most important sector exhibitions, tells them in this book starting from careful research and careful analysis of material archive, annotated sketches, drawings and historical images.

Who will like it Anyone who loves design, as a professional or as a user, above all the ability it has to create bridges between past, present and future. An alchemy that can only happen when you encounter the work of authentic "Masters", in fact.

3. Moving in a narrow space. Towards a new mobility by Federico Parolotto (Quodlibet Studio, 16 euros)

Ensuring the mobility of people and things has been synonymous with progress and development but has also proven to be one of the causes of the various crises that afflict the planet, from the loss of biodiversity to emissions of harmful gases.

And, in recent decades, especially due to the automobile, it has also contributed strongly to the loss of proximity relationships, leading to a progressive social atomization. Starting from these considerations, the architect and urban planner Federico Parolotto questions himself about the new ways of moving and, analyzing some examples of transformation (Moscow, Paris, Milan and Barcelona) , talks about new possible forms of mobility. He is suitable for our densely populated cities as well as low-density areas.

Who will like it To all those who care about the topic of new mobility, one of the most urgent challenges of our time. And who, abandoning the seductive pursuit of acceleration, want to try to respond to the need to move without still consuming space. To achieve this, different skills and, above all, everyone's commitment are needed.

4. I'll give you the design. Stories of avoidable madness by Marisa Fumagalli (Rubbettino Publisher, 15 euros)

This book brings a little lightness which, balanced between seriousness and irony, mocks the defects of a certain contemporary design. The one who, in the creation of simple everyday objects, rather than dealing with the function of the object itself, above all wants to amaze, focusing heavily on aesthetics.

The result? Products that are bulky, difficult to use or even not very functional. Marisa Fumagalli, a historic writer for Corriere della Sera, has brought together in these pages her observations (and experiences) and those of 18 friends, colleagues, architects and designers (c It's also Alberto Alessi who talks about “Grandpa Bialetti's moka”).

Because, even if it is rarely admitted, it has happened to everyone, at least once, to feel uncomfortable in front of certain products. Even on restaurant tables, where the designers of plates and cutlery, the author claims, think of everything except their use. Have you ever tried drinking coffee from an oval cup?

Who will like it Anyone who, journalist or "design tourist", in front of the creations exhibited during the Design Week, has asked themselves at least once: is it a lamp, a coffee table or a coat stand ? And, of course, to designers gifted with self-irony.

4. Fashion Fabrics (AA.VV., Corsiero publisher, 38 euros)

Halfway between graphics, fashion and design, we are now talking about the last volume of a trilogy dedicated to Galtrucco, a historic brand of textile production born 150 years ago and known for the quality of the fabrics, the beauty of the shop windows and the relationship with the great stylists. But also for the architecture and furnishings of the shops designed by renowned designers, such as Melchiorre Bega and Guglielmo Ulrich.

This book, released a few months ago but easy to find, tells the story of the evolution of fabrics and fashion in the twentieth century through the Galtrucco archives and the canons of Milanese elegance, from the years of tailor-made fashion to ready-to-wear to 2001, when the company ceased commercial activity to dedicate itself to the organization of events or exhibitions linked above all to fashion and design in its historic Milanese headquarters in Via San Gregorio.

Who will like it Who wants above all to grasp the behind the scenes of a business story, the secrets of a vision, in this case those of a company that -alone- wrote an important chapter of Italian fashion. Between artisanal excellence, entrepreneurial talent and design.