5 titles for design and architecture lovers selected for you (and explained): like in a readers' club

As soon as the Milanese appointment with the Salone del Mobile and the Fuorisalone is over, we return to the bookstore in search of news regarding Design and Architecture.

May 2023 is the month of the Architecture Biennale in Venice and we start right from there. But there are other interesting news, as you will see below…

1. “The Laboratory of the Future”, AA.VV. (La Biennale di Venezia publisher, 80 euros, 2 volumes).

Even if – of course - at the moment everything is still to be discovered (you have to wait for May 15 to be able to buy it in the Biennale bookshops, bookshops or online) we could not open the May column without talking about the two volumes which make up the catalog of the 2023 Architecture Biennale.

Read the Interni special on the 2023 Architecture Biennale

Also because The Laboratory of the Future - the 18th edition of the Architecture Biennale in Venice open to the public from Saturday 20 May until 26 November- promises to be very interesting.

Curated by Lesley Lokko architect and writer born in Ghana and raised between the United States and England, it will address topics such as migration, the concept of borders and cultural identity, globalization and the links between migrants, with the objective of proposing solutions that contribute to imagining (and -then- building) a more equitable and positive common future.

The catalogue, divided into two volumes, will collect the entire itinerary of the exhibition spaces of the Giardini and the Arsenale up to the two sections of the International Exhibition curated by Lesley Lokko: Force Majeure and Dangerous Liasons.

Who will like it: enthusiasts, the curious, professionals, students of architecture and creatives from all disciplines. In other words, to all those who look with curiosity and attention at the innovation of materials and languages as an opportunity to overcome a contradictory and difficult present.

2. “Charlotte. How to inhabit the world”, by Ángela León (Topipittori, 18 euros)

The new book by Ángela León (Spanish illustrator of children's books with a passion for architecture) published by strong>Mice painters.

Let's talk about Charlotte Perriand, free spirit and creative mind, born in Paris in 1903, student of architecture and later collaborator of Le Corbusier for the interiors of many famous buildings and designers of furniture and chairs for Jean Prouvè. But also, fruit of her love for the mountains, author of the project for the ski resort of Les Arcs.

A book that lightly, page after page, tells young readers about the passions, intuitions, travels and curiosities of a woman who lived in the heart of a historical period full of great changes.

Who will like it: the book, designed for young readers aged 7 and up, also conquers adults for the beauty of the watercolor illustrations and above all for the story of the protagonist, an architect and designer today still not enough known.

3. “Designing Coffee. New coffee places and branding” by Lani Kingston (Gestalten, 45 euros).

If you, like me, love coffee and - above all - the atmosphere of certain cafes, then don't miss Designing Coffee: the latest book by the famous Australian food writer Lani Kingston literally makes readers sit in the most innovative and interesting cafés around the world.

From minimalist teahouse-like coffeeshops in Japan to communist-themed venues in Vietnam, from the most elegant solutions to the most colorful and decorative ones up to romantic outdoor cafés. The volume composes a journey through images across the five continents and touches, at the same time, all the design aspects that lead to the creation and construction of a coffee shop: from interior design to architecture, from brand identity to packaging and merchandising. Without neglecting issues related to sustainability.

Who will like it: designers and architects attracted by a sector that is currently in great turmoil: cafes, roasteries and cafes all over the world are experimenting with new ways to provide spaces and products that stand out from the crowd.

4. “At Work”, Piet Oudolf (Phaidon, 95 euros)

The New York publisher Phaidon dedicates this monograph to one of the most famous Garden Designers of our time, the Dutch Piet Oudolf, author of innovative and recognized projects such as the High Line in New York, the garden of the Noma restaurant in Copenhagen or those of the Vitra Campus in Germany and Hauser & Wirth in Menorca.

To create this book, Piet Oudolf has gathered here the heart of his last 20 years of work and, in addition to the images of his gardens, he has also chosen to include 70 of his sketches and drawings, many entirely unpublished works, offering readers -literally- an overview of his design process, starting from the inspirations he draws on up to his rigorous working method.

Ultimately, a book that makes us understand why, entering a garden by Piet Oudolf, one has the feeling of being transported into a dream world, colorful and full of flowers at any time of the year.

Who will like it: lovers of greenery and garden designers interested in the New Perennial movement, a gardening school of thought that mainly uses perennial plants. And to those who - like Piet Oudolf - are convinced that designing a garden is not just about the choice of plants but has to do with emotion, atmosphere and contemplation.

5. On design, Anni Albers (Johan & Levi, 18 euros)

Here is the definitive collection of writings, with a preface by the director of the Jones and Anni Albers Foundation Nicholas Fox Weber, which traces 50 years of activity - from the period at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau up to the 1980s in the United States – by the German designer Anni Albers.

Textile designer and graphic artist among the most influential of the twentieth century, Anni Albers was forced to leave Germany in 1933, after the closure of the Bauhaus where she taught in the weaving workshop, together with her husband, the painter Josef Albers.

So she moved to the United States where, after teaching at an experimental school, Black Mountain College, she decided to stay permanently.

This book allows you to immerse yourself in the writings of Anni Albers, an artist deeply convinced of the superiority of an anonymous and timeless design, functional and not self-referential, as well as of the value of audacity and the act of creation.

Who will like it: who knows how to recognize in the thought of this pioneer of Textile Design a reference and an important source of inspiration for contemporary design. Whether it's fabrics or not.

Cover photo: © Vitra,  ph. Dejan Jovanovic.