Best Sellers

Best-Selling Design Books, United States: January 2014

February 13, 2014

This list of best-selling design books indicates the #1 seller for the month for a given store and is compiled from the individual best-seller lists for January 2014 provided by our U.S. featured booksellers, which appear immediately below. (Clicking on a link takes you to a bookseller’s complete best-seller list.)

Arcana: Books on the Arts, Book SoupCollected Works, Hennessey + Ingalls Art & Architecture Bookstore, Labyrinth Books (Princeton, NJ), McNally JacksonModernism 101Peter Miller Books, Powell’s Books, Rizzoli Bookstore, Skylight Books, William Stout Architectural Books, Strand Bookstore, and Van Alen Books.

Ancient Origins of the Mexican Plaza Logan Wagner et al.
Hal Box
Susan Kline Morehead

#1 Design Best Seller at Collected Works, Santa Fe, NM (January 2014).

From the Publisher. The plaza has been a defining feature of Mexican urban architecture and culture for at least 4,000 years. Ancient Mesoamericans conducted most of their communal life in outdoor public spaces, and today the plaza is still the public living room in every Mexican neighborhood, town, and city—the place where friends meet, news is shared, and personal and communal rituals and celebrations happen. The site of a community's most important architecture—church, government buildings, and marketplace—the plaza is both sacred and secular space and thus the very heart of the community.

This extensively illustrated book traces the evolution of the Mexican plaza from Mesoamerican sacred space to modern public gathering place. The authors led teams of volunteers who measured and documented nearly one hundred traditional Mexican town centers. The resulting plans reveal the layers of Mesoamerican and European history that underlie the contemporary plaza. The authors describe how Mesoamericans designed their ceremonial centers as embodiments of creation myths—the plaza as the primordial sea from which the earth emerged. They discuss how Europeans, even though they sought to eradicate native culture, actually preserved it as they overlaid the Mesoamerican sacred plaza with the Renaissance urban concept of an orthogonal grid with a central open space. The authors also show how the plaza's historic, architectural, social, and economic qualities can contribute to mainstream urban design and architecture today.

Beyond Chic Ivan Terestchenko

#1 Design Best Seller at Arcana: Books on the Arts, Los Angeles (January 2014).

From the Publisher. Some of the most important people in fashion—Chanel, Alaïa, Yves Saint Laurent, Pucci, Kenzo, and Missoni—are known for their public image and their iconic designs. But what kind of world have they cultivated behind closed doors? From France to Italy, from England to Morocco, come along on a private visit to the remarkable homes of couturiers, stylists, muses, and fashion personalities. Photographer Ivan Terestchenko shows the décor, works of art, and the personal collections of these legendary designers. Some interiors, such as Chanel’s apartment at 31 rue Cambon, are mythic, while others like those of Giorgio Armani’s châlet or Vanessa Seward, Azzaro’s head designer, are completely unconventional. From minimal (Nicole Farhi) to exotic (Franca Sozanni), to a deceptively simple French apartment (Loulou de La Falaise), this book explores the spaces and places created by some of fashion’s biggest names.

California Homes William Hefner

# 1 Design Best Seller at Book Soup, Los Angeles (January 2014).

From the Publisher. This latest addition to Images’s Master Architect Series showcases seven exquisite residential projects by master architect William Hefner, whose Los-Angeles-based architectural firm has been designing residential, commercial, and retail properties for nearly two decades.

Although varied in style, each house featured shares the timeless elegance and attention to detail common to all of Hefner’s creations. They are each marked also by Hefner’s appreciation of the craft of building and the use of natural materials. Opulent and richly detailed, the interiors nevertheless retain a sense of intimacy, warmth, and comfort. Hefner’s houses are luxurious, but it is a personal, liveable form of luxury that embraces rather than distances.

CLOG: Sci-Fi Kyle May et al., Editors

# 1 Design Best Seller at McNally Jackson, New York (January 2014 and December 2013).

From the Publisher. Rod Serling, creator of the 1950s television series The Twilight Zone, defined science fiction as "the improbable made possible." The same might be said for the practice of architecture. After all, architects by trade conceive of spaces, places, and worlds that do not (yet) exist. Furthermore, the ability to make the improbable possible is held in especially high regard today and is oftentimes what defines an architectural practice as “innovative” in the first place.

It is therefore not surprising that a two-way artistic influence between architecture and science fiction has long existed. Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis depicted a future world in 2026 that drew heavily on contemporary art deco and Modernist building precedents. On the other hand, avant-garde 1960s design practices such as Archigram openly adopted concepts and representation techniques from postwar pulp science fiction. Most recently, a number of designs from significant international offices have exhibited a striking resemblance to science fiction icons, such as the Death Star, demonstrating the impact this genre has had on the creative imagination of a generation.

The feedback loop between fiction and reality remains strong today, with kilometer-high towers rising in the Middle East, new building materials emerging on a seemingly daily basis, and unconventional—if not outright bizarre—shapes blanketing our cities and countrysides. As science fiction continues to both draw upon historic and contemporary architecture while simultaneously influencing future design, it is time to critically examine the improbable made possible: SCI-FI.

A Field Guide to American Houses Virginia McAlester
Lee McAlester

# 1 Design Best Seller at Hennessey + Ingalls Art & Architecture Bookstore, Los Angeles (January 2014).

# 1 Design Best Seller at Powell’s, Portland, OR (December 2013).

From the Publisher. For the house lover and the curious tourist, for the house buyer and the weekend stroller, for neighborhood preservation groups and for all who want to know more about their community—here, at last, is a book that makes it both easy and pleasurable to identify the various styles and periods of American domestic architecture.

Concentrating not on rare landmarks but on typical dwellings in ordinary neighborhoods all across the United States—houses built over the past three hundred years and lived in by Americans of every social and economic background—the book provides you with the facts (and frame of reference) that will enable you to look in a fresh way at the houses you constantly see around you. It tells you -- and shows you in more than 1,200 illustrations—what you need to know in order to be able to recognize the several distinct architectural styles and to understand their historical significance. What does that cornice mean? Or that porch? That door? When was this house built? What does its style say about the people who built it? You'll find the answers to such questions here.

This is how the book works: Each of thirty-nine chapters focuses on a particular style (and its variants). Each begins with a large schematic drawing that highlights the style's most important identifying features. Additional drawings and photographs depict the most common shapes and the principal subtypes, allowing you to see at a glance a wide range of examples of each style. Still more drawings offer close-up views of typical small details—windows, doors, cornices, etc. -- that might be difficult to see in full-house pictures. The accompanying text is rich in information about each style— describing in detail its identifying features, telling you where (and in what quantity) you're likely to find examples of it, discussing all of its notable variants, and revealing its origin and tracing its history.

In the book's introductory chapters you'll find invaluable general discussions of house-building materials and techniques ("Structure"), house shapes ("Form"), and the many traditions of architectural fashion ("Style") that have influenced American house design through the past three centuries. A pictorial key and glossary help lead you from simple, easily recognized architectural features—the presence of a tile roof, for example—to the styles in which that feature is likely to be found.

Irma Boom: The Architecture of the Book Irma Boom
Introduction by Rem Koolhaas
Text by Mathieu Lommen

— Brain Pickings founder and editor Maria Popova, called the mini edition of Irma Boom: The Architecture of the Book:

“A micro-manifesto for the printed book at its most alive.”

#1 Design Best Seller at Van Alen Books, New York (January 2014).

Light, Air and Openness Paul Overy

# 1 Design Best Seller at Strand Bookstore, New York (January 2014).

From the Publisher. The origins of the spectacular geometric forms and sparkling surfaces of modern architecture from 1918 to 1939.

In the first half of the 20th century, a new kind of architecture appeared across Europe and North America, characterized by plain, often pure white walls; wide windows; flat roofs; and prominent balconies, terraces, and roof gardens. From houses to hospitals, the new architecture featured large expanses of glass and was constructed from steel and reinforced concrete—or designed to look that way—and inspired by a desire to be functional, hygienic, universal, democratic, and economical.

Paul Overy explores the contemporary preoccupations with fresh air and sunshine, space, health, and hygiene, and how these concerns became fundamental to the development of new architectural and design practices. Individual buildings—including both little-known and more familiar examples in Europe and the United States by architects such as Adolf Loos, Walter Gropius, and Le Corbusier—are examined within the context of class and social control, luxury and austerity, race and colonialism. Many of them are considered classics, legally protected from demolition or alteration and, in recent years, restored and reconstructed.

Illustrated with many unusual photographs that capture the buildings in their early pristine state, Light, Air and Openness is an innovative reinterpretation of the modern movement in architecture and design.

Lo Studio Boggeri 1933–1973 Paolo Fossati
Roberto Sambonet
Introduction by Herbert Bayer

# 1 Most Popular Design Seller at Modernism 101, Shreveport, LA (January 2014).

The first anthology of the legendary Milan Studio Boggeri, with work from 1933 to 1974. Studio Boggeri came to the forefront of the postwar Italian design Renaissance, trading the avant-garde stylings of the prewar years for the cool calculations of the Swiss from the fifties all the way into the eighties, all the while maintaining their essential spirit of levity.

Never Built Los Angeles Sam Lubell
Greg Goldin
Foreword by Thom Mayne

#1 Design Seller from Skylight Books, Los Angeles (January 2014).

From D.A.P. Never Built Los Angeles explores the “what if” Los Angeles, investigating the values and untapped potential of a city still in search of itself. A treasure trove of buildings, master plans, parks, follies and mass-transit proposals that only saw the drawing board, the book asks: why is Los Angeles a mecca for great architects, yet so lacking in urban innovation? Featured are more than 100 visionary works that could have transformed both the physical reality and the collective perception of the metropolis, from Olmsted Brothers and Bartholomew’s groundbreaking 1930 Plan for the Los Angeles Region, which would have increased the amount of green space in the notoriously park-poor city fivefold; to John Lautner’s Alto Capistrano, a series of spaceship-like apartments hovering above a mixed-use development; to Jean Nouvel’s 2008 Green Blade, a condominium tower clad entirely in cascading plants. Through text and more than 400 color and black-and-white illustrations drawn from archives around the U.S., authors Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin explore the visceral (and sometimes misleading) power of architectural ideas conveyed through sketches, renderings, blueprints, models and the now waning art of hand drawing. Many of these schemes--promoting a denser, more vibrant city--are still relevant today and could inspire future designs. Never Built Los Angeles will set the stage for a renewed interest in visionary projects in this, one of the world’s great cities.

Also see “Building on Never Built.”

Paradise Planned Robert A. M. Stern
David Fishman
Jacob Tilove

# 1 Design Best Seller at Rizzoli Bookstore, New York (January 2014).

From The Monacelli Press. Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City is the definitive history of the development of the garden suburb, a phenomenon that originated in England in the late 18th century, was quickly adopted in the United States and northern Europe, and gradually proliferated throughout the world. These bucolic settings offered an ideal lifestyle typically outside the city but accessible by streetcar, train, and automobile. Today, the principles of the garden city movement are once again in play, as retrofitting the suburbs has become a central issue in planning. Strategies are emerging that reflect the goals of garden suburbs in creating metropolitan communities that embrace both the intensity of the city and the tranquility of nature. Paradise Planned is the comprehensive, encyclopedic record of this movement, a vital contribution to architectural and planning history and an essential recourse for guiding the repair of the American townscape.

Port Sunlight, The Dell, England, begun 1880s. Photo: Laurence Scales. From Paradise Planned by Robert A.M. Stern, David Fishman, and Jacob Tilove (2013, The Monacelli Press)


re:Visions Michael Boyd

#1 Design Seller from William Stout Architectural Books in Berkeley/San Francisco, CA (January 2014).

New work from Michael Boyd of BoydDesign. Catalogue of Hedge Gallery exhibition December 2013–February 2014. Photography by Hans Eckhardt.

The Secret Language of Color Joann Eckstut

# 1 Design Best Seller at Labyrinth Books, Princeton, NJ (January 2014).

From the Publisher. In this beautiful and thorough investigation, The Secret Language of Color celebrates and illuminates the countless ways in which color colors our world.

Why is the sky blue, the grass green, a rose red? Most of us have no idea how to answer these questions, nor are we aware that color pervades nearly all aspects of life, from the subatomic realm and the natural world to human culture and psychology.

Organized into chapters that begin with a fascinating explanation of the physics and chemistry of color, The Secret Language of Color travels from outer space to Earth, from plants to animals to humans. In these chapters we learn about how and why we see color, the nature of rainbows, animals with color vision far superior and far inferior to our own, how our language influences the colors we see, and much more. Between these chapters, authors Joann Eckstut and Ariele Eckstut turn their attention to the individual hues of the visible spectrum—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet—presenting each in fascinating, in-depth detail.

Including hundreds of stunning photographs and dozens of informative, often entertaining graphics, every page is a breathtaking demonstration of color and its role in the world around us. Whether you see red, are a shrinking violet, or talk a blue streak, this is the perfect book for anyone interested in the history, science, culture, and beauty of color in the natural and man-made world.

The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability William McDonough
Michael Braungart

# 1 Design Best Seller at Powell’s, Portland, OR (January 2014).

From the Publisher. The Upcycle is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, one of the most consequential ecological manifestoes of our time. Now, drawing on the lessons gained from 10 years of putting the Cradle to Cradle concept into practice with businesses, governments, and ordinary people, William McDonough and Michael Braungart envision the next step in the solution to our ecological crisis: We don’t just use or reuse resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve the world as we live, create, and build.

For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity and sustainability are questions of design. They are practical-minded visionaries: They envision beneficial designs of products, buildings, and business practices—and they show us these ideas being put to use around the world as everyday objects like chairs, cars, and factories are being reimagined not just to sustain life on the planet but to grow it. It is an eye-opening, inspiring tour of our future as it unfolds in front of us.

The Upcycle is as ambitious as such classics as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring—but its mission is very different. McDonough and Braungart want to turn on its head our very understanding of the human role on earth: Instead of protecting the planet from human impact, why not redesign our activity to improve the planet? We can have a beneficial footprint. Abundance for all. The goal is within our reach.

comments powered by Disqus