Beauty, love, lust, sex, death, ‘The Age of Combustion’ is an ode and a farewell to the motor car

James Dean in his Porsche 550, Vine Street, 1955 © Bettmann via Getty Images In 1920 F Scott Fitzgerald took what turned out to be a rather rocky road trip from Connecticut to Alabama in a used Marmon so Zelda could rekindle with her childhood in the south. His upbeat account of the eight day adventure were later published in book form as The Cruise of the Rolling Junk. Zelda was less generous with the journey writing simply: ‘the joys... Read More

Design Books: Ultimate Collector Cars by Taschen

‘Ultimate Collector Cars‘ is a lavish double-volume book by Charlotte and Peter Fiell documenting history’s one-hundred most collectable cars. It features the landmark 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 40-horsepower, the evocative 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC, iconic Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa of 1957, Bertone’s supremely glorious 1973 Lamborghini Countach and the present-day McLaren Speedtail and Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercars. Expertly... Read More

Design Book: Mok Wei Wei: Works by W Architects

Mok Wei Wei has shaped a unique identity for his Singapore boutique practice W Architects. During a career spanning over three decades, the award-winning designer and one of Asia’s leading architects has built domestic and commercial projects that offer a unique hybrid of contemporary design needs and urban sensibilities, infused with Chinese traditions and grounded within a local context. Be it designing private homes, apartment complexes,... Read More

Book review: Takenobu Igarashi A-Z explores 3D graphics of cult designer

Takenobu Igarashi’s bold and brilliant three-dimensional letters introduced new ways of expressing symbols. The cult Japanese graphic artist created new forms of visual communication – design that has conceptually altered how we view the medium. A new book celebrates the work of this visionary creative. Takenobu Igarashi: A-Z is an exhaustive guide to his life’s work, his experiments with typography and his methodology. It features... Read More

Sustainable lessons from ‘The Art of Earth Architecture’

The city of Yazd is nestled deep in the desert in Iran’s central plain. This world heritage site is home to a mighty collection of domes – structures made entirely from local raw earth bricks and covered in kah-gel, a protective layering of earth and straw. They are intersected with ingenious wind towers too – early air-cons sending cool air into homes. Then, a clever network of wells and underground water channels, known as quanat,... Read More

‘Women In Design’ – the alternative design history

Women have made an immense contribution to design history. And it isn’t a huge surprise that historically it hasn’t always been an easy ride for female creatives battling in a male-dominated world. This is, of course, true of most professional fields, be it the arts or science. Many icons of design, typically attributed to leading male figures at the time, were, in fact, the work of women. Margaret Calvert ‘children crossing’ signage... Read More

Best new books on architecture and design for 2018

Once-upon-a-time design theory was considered art history’s inferior sibling – a bit of a side-subject. When in 1989 Terence Conran and Stephen Bayley opened the doors to the cubic white Design Museum at Shad Thames, it was such a revelation. Finally, the applied arts were given a platform to talk. Some years later I recall my excitement at discovering a university course in Design History that promised to dissect and analyse the subject in... Read More

New books: The Current by Gestalten

Against the noise and pollution of modern industrial cities, a group of creatives, inventors, idealists are pioneering a new age of mobility. ‘The Current‘ by Gestalten takes a closer look at the conceptual studies and production cars, motorbikes, scooters, bicycles and progressive movements leading the way. It is a lively episode in transport design. Take a closer look Design Talks | The Textile Building | 29a Chatham Place | London | E9... Read More

Modernist Design Complete, a book review

Modernism impacts on every aspect of our lives. This progressive aesthetic and philosophical movement, which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century in the midst of modern industrial societies and rapid urbanisation, and the horrors of the world wars, continues to shape our lives. Modernism has set a powerful framework for how we think and create, how are homes are built and interiors decorated, and the way our cities are imagined. Modernism,... Read More

Radical Essex: A complex county of raw beauty and modernism

‘Essex is neither part of East Anglia, nor one of the Home Counties; it contains both radical and conservative elements, and is therefore open to all possibilities,’ writes architectural critic Ken Worpole in Radical Essex. Sitting on the edge of east London, a rural refuge for much of the cockney diaspora, it certainly gets its fair share of crude stereotyping, and mockery – think The Only Way is Essex, spray tans and excessive... Read More

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