Monday, October 5, 2015

New Essential Books

This week, I’ve discovered a superb new design and style book series.

Published this fall, the set of four is an essential and provocative reference for designers and artists and students, for insatiable knowledge addicts, and for an architect’s or creator’s library.

The new Visionaries series by Laurence King Publishing (London) includes four very special reference/idea/inspiration books on visionaries in the fields of architecture, fashion, graphic design and photography.

Fresh and juicy and frisky and totally authoritative, these books are pure discovery.

New and packed with biographies, time-lines, fine examples, images, insight, details and with an insider point of view, these four volumes are inspired and dedicated reading. Come and discover—and add them to your library for a lifetime of ideas.

The Four Volumes

The visionaries (starting early 20th century) are arranged chronologically, and range the world and creative centers, presenting a global sense of ideas and intelligence.

Each exceptional talent (think Chanel or Irma Boom or Scarpa or Wall or Salgardo or Yamamoto or Karan or Atget or McQueen) is presented in a biography with an overview of the most important work.

All four books offer little shocks. Choices of the ‘who’s who’ in these fields include unknowns, the stars, and the forgotten, the tasteful, the bold, the brave, the obscure, the admired, the annoying, and the famous.

The rigorous editing of all four volumes gives a provocative and iconoclastic edge to each specialized book.

I admire also that the books are soft-covered—meant to be read in bed, passed around the office, thrown in a briefcase, kept on a desk, bought in multiples, and read forever, the essential record, and always a bit tattered, bashed, scribbled on, and Post-it decorated. Essential.

Texts are by global specialists in each field with enlightening captions, and a memorable direct quote from each architect. Texts also offer insight, describing the influences, styles, and creations.

Architecture Visionaries
By Richard Weston
“To provide meaningful architecture is not to parody history but to articulate it.” –Daniel Liebeskind 

Architecture Visionaries profiles 75 of the world’s most influential architects whose significant works have shaped the field.

Arranged chronologically by the birth date of each architect, Architecture Visioinaries is an overview but is not a thematic or historic examination.

The book celebrates the extraordinary obsessions and diversity of modern architecture and the visionary zeal of 75 noteworthy architects. 

Time-lines accompany each profile, featuring key dates of each architect’s career. These provide readers with context and an historical sense of the impact these individuals have had on the development of architecture and the built environment.

The book includes 400 photographs of iconic and less-known work, the architects, and some personal residences. 

Architecture Visionaries is a beautifully designed guide to the architects whose visions have created buildings that are important today.

Author Richard Weston is a Professor at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. In addition to being an author and lecturer, he is an architect and landscape designer. 

Fashion Visionaries

By Linda Watson

Fashion Visionaries by Linda Watson takes a chronological look at 75 of the worlds most legendary, influential and creative fashion designers. The craft and lasting heritage of each visionary are shown, from initial designs to complete collections, and their individual impact on the industry.

The story of fashion is presented through the fascinating personal lives and innovative collections that have shaped the field over the past century. 

Timelines for each international designer display key dates in their careers and the text—written by an expert fashion journalist and historian—delves into the visions behind their most creative and inspirational work. Styles are diverse.

Combining visuals of rare designs with insight­ful text, this is an inspiring guide and an opportunity to glance back over decades of fashion.


Featuring: Thomas Burberry, Jeanne Lanvin, Guccio Gucci, Coco Cha­nel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Madame Grès, Christian Dior, Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, Hubert de Givenchy, Sonia Rykiel, Oscar De La Renta, Valentino Garavani, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Barbara Hulanicki, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Gianni Versace, Donna Karan, Miuccia Prada, Franco Moschino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dolce and Gabbana, Hedi Slimane, McQueen, Pugh and many more.

Linda Watson has worked with three of the fashion visionaries featured in this book—Vivienne Westwood, Celia Birtwell and the late Jean Muir. A former fashion writer for British Vogue and contributor to The Independent, she is the author of Vogue Twentieth Century Fashion and Vogue on Vivienne Westwood. 

Photography Visionaries
By Mary Warner Marien

Photography Visionaries by Mary Warner Marien is an anthology of the most influential photographers whose work came to define the medium, from the nineteenth-century to the present day.

“The camera is my tool. Through it I try to give a reason to everything that happens around me.” — André Kertész

Photography Visionaries offers provocative insight into an ever-evolving artistic medium. The diversity is reflected in the variety of the artists profiled in this book. This includes fashion photographers, experimenters, collagists, photojournalists, war reporters, solo artists, fine art and commercial photographers, as well as those whose work was used to create political propaganda and advertising. Author Mary Warner Marien defines a visionary as “a dedicated experimenter, whose ideas and pictures enlarge the medium while expanding the scope and range of human understanding.” 

Some of the photographers profiled are renowned for creating iconic visual masterpieces. Others pushed the boundaries of photography through their bold experimentations with style.

Many lived lives attuned to the historical events and cultural values of their time, and their work is an invaluable part of our cultural heritage—a snapshot of a particular piece of the world at a particular time. It’s not always glamorous—and the book has a fearless, rigorous approach. It’s not all pretty pictures. Pages offer provocation with some ‘outsider’ work, obscure projects, and photojournalism. Bracing—and inspiring.

Insightful biographical mini-essays, timelines and examples of acclaimed works give readers an overview of photography visionaries, including Brassaï, Henri Cartier- Bresson, Ropert Capa, Man Ray, Cindy Sherman, and Annie Leibovitz.

Mary Warner Marien is professor emerita in the Department of Fine Arts at Syracuse University, New York. She continues to lecture in the United States and Europe and in 2008 won an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writer award. She is the author of Photography: A Cultural History as well as numerous articles on photography. 

Graphic Design Visionaries
By Caroline Roberts

“Design is form....It is always abstract; but like a gesture or a tone of voice it has the power to command and hold attention, to create symbols, to clarify ideas.” – Leo Lionni, Netherlands

This book surveys 75 graphic design visionaries. A visionary is defined as “a person with original ideas about what the future will or could be like.” That is an apt definition of the designers profiled here, an impressive group that includes luminaries such as Jan Tschichold, Paul Rand, Alan Fletcher, Saul Bass, Paula Scher, Tibor Kalman, Milton Glaser, and Cipe Pineles, the first female designer to become a member of the Art Directors Club of New York in 1943. Illustrated with 340 images, examples, graphics.

Graphic Design Visionaries presents the personal stories and significant works that have shaped the field. The development of design is portrayed, from very early innovators to key figures of mid-century Swiss design and corporate American branding, t the business of commercial art and the expression of visual communication.

Graphic designers also function as art director, layout artist, typographer, and brand guardian. Their reach is wide and vast, and the power of their influence is immeasurable. Big ideas.

From masters of type, such as Wim Crouwel and Neville Brody, to designers who brought innovations to the world of film, such as Saul Bass and Robert Brownjohn, and to the creators of iconic poster work, such as Armin Hoffmann and Yusaku Kamekura,

For those in related design fields, this volume combines juicy text with rich visuals. Pages and graphics offer an homage to the innovative individuals whose vision defined the world of graphic design.

Author Caroline Roberts is a journalist, author, and founder of the highly regarded magazine, Grafik. She also co-authored Cut & Paste: 21st Century Collage and 50 Years of Illustration, published by Laurence King.

Images from the Visionaries series copyright Laurence King Publishing (London, UK). Published here strictly with permission.

Books in my library photographed by Diane Dorrans Saeks.

1 comment:

Karena Albert said...

Diane this looks like an excellent series for anyone's library!! I was not familiar with these publications, so thank you!

The Arts by Karena
Parish-Hadley Tree of Life