Then let's take a break "between dream and reality" with the most scenic "Glass Houses" from all over the world (beautifully photographed) and, finally, let's use the first weeks of the year for some more philosophical reading, which helps us reflect on the ultimate meaning of the designer's work. Whether it's an object or a city.
Because the ability to look forward is the best possible wish we can make for ourselves and those we love.
1. Fitopolis, the living city, by Stefano Mancuso (Laterza editions, 18 euros)
A book which, going through some of the evolutionary stages of our species - which until recently lived literally immersed in nature - photographs a complex situation: today our life in the city requires a continuous flow of resources and energy, which however are not unlimited. And climate instability creates another complication. This is why it is vitally important to bring nature back into our habitat.
2. Glass Houses by Andrew Heid (Phaidon publisher, 40 euros)
Together with steel, wrought iron and concrete, glass is the great protagonist of modernist architecture. A material that has continued to capture the imagination of architects ever since. InGlass Houses, a volume published at the end of 2023, the designer and professor of architecture at Harvard University, Andrew Heid, presents 50 of the most beautiful housesdesigned starting from this fragile and spectacular material.
There are the first modernist houses of the 1930s, such as Glass House by Philip Johnson and Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe; mid-century Los Angeles villas such as Pierre Koenig's Case Study #22, and some of the most interesting contemporary examples, with increasingly bold glass structures. A book that is also an evocative tour of the world between Europe, Australia, Brazil, Latin America, Vietnam, Japan and South Africa.
3. Before/After: Álvaro Siza, by Alvaro Siza and Duccio Malagamba (Phaidon, 89 euros)
It was the same Portuguese architect (who will turn 91 this year) who chose the 20 buildings that make up the book due out in March 2024 and can be booked now on the site from the publisher Phaidon.
A journey into the creativity of this protagonist of contemporary architecture which, in addition to the drawings of Siza, is also told by the photos of the Italian architect-photographer Duccio Malagamba, much loved by the most famous international architects for the way it manages to photograph a building.
A volume which, page after page, recounts twenty global projects, between Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Portugal, South Korea and Spain, seen as a whole and in the details that characterize them, highlighting the unique approach of Portuguese architect regarding space and volume. Always managing to achieve the elegant simplicity that is the hallmark of his work.
Who will like it Young architects who find a great source of inspiration in Siza's work: in this volume they will have the opportunity to study his drawings up close and, above all, the stability over time of the buildings that He has made.
4. Design before design, by Giancarlo Consonni (Publisher La Vita Felice, 20 euros)
Among the protagonists of Rationalism, Piero Bottoni was an architect, urban planner, interior designer and, ahead of the consumer society, the first to plan the mass production of furniture.
This book, written by the architectural historian Giancarlo Consonni, traces the intense activity of the Milanese architect born at the beginning of the twentieth century and who passed away in 1973, placing emphasis on the particular historical moment in which even in Italy it had become necessary to start the mass production of furnishing elements.
It was the fifties, those of the economic boom, and the companies created by Piero Bottoni (K.N., and even more so Ar-Ar) proved to be very active in the creation of the humus in which at least part of the history of industrial design in Italy germinated.
Who will like it Who loves looking at the present through the lenses of history. And to those who want to learn more about the glittering and rich trajectory of a character like Piero Bottoni, an interior architecture designer and a designer who has never been remembered enough.
5. Eight lessons for architects and designers, by Luigi Zanzi edited by Riccardo Brumer (Quodlibet editions, 12 euros)
In these pages Brumer thus wanted to collect his lessons on the analysis of the territory which touch on theoretical issues (time, entropy, silence) but also extremely concrete and ordinary themes or practices (the architecture of cheese, the city of Varese, the procession, the glacier). Because «Luigi was not only an expert in mountain history, a historian, a philosopher, partly a mathematician, a physicist and a chemist, but also a climber and a cyclist, he was a person of thought and action» he writes Brumer in the introduction.