Emanuela Frattini Magnusson

Architect; Interior Designer; Product/Industrial Designer / United States / Bloomberg LP; EFM Design

Emanuela Frattini Magnusson’s Book List

My list is extremely eclectic, but also very “loyal.” Favorites have remained as such throughout the years, and have never been replaced—they just have become part of an ever-growing list. They are selected both for content and for the love of paper and typography.

A few titles relate to my profession, but most of them don’t. As I was reflecting on this exercise and trying to be selective, the distant and recent thoughts that made it to the top emerged as a sampling of my cultural roots cross-pollinated with my interests. Nowadays my reading ambitions exceed available time. I am a mostly analog and an occasional (reluctant) e-book reader.

9 books
Giorgio Bassani

The story of an aristocratic Jewish family living in Ferrara during the time of Fascism. Reading it is full-immersion—masterful writing becomes a visual experience.

Hermann Hesse

Reading it for the first time as a teenager, Demian fascinated me by allowing me to acknowledge and accept the conflict between good and evil, and the desire to break conventional norms to find one’s true self.

Le Corbusier

In spite of being almost 100 years old, this book retains the power of its clarity of vision and purity of ideals and intent. How can you disagree with: “beauty being the overplus necessary to the human spirit.” Or with a reference to poetry—which “not only lies in the written word. Objects which signify something and which are arranged with talent and with tact create a poetic fact.” And how could these enlightened ideals have generated such failures in modern urban planning?

Jaron Lanier

A seductive and plausible picture of a future digital economy where the power and return generated by owning big data are distributed equally to all of its suppliers: us.

Thomas Mann

This novel narrates the struggle of the artist trying to be an accepted member of society. Writing about the book, Thomas Mann said that poetry is “evoking emotion by talking about everyday things”—which applies equally to architecture.

Jan Chipchase
With Simon Steinhardt

The ultimate guide to observing human behavior with an open mind. It sets the foundation through which to identify emerging issues and to build upon in order to problem-solve. An enlightened approach to understanding real human needs, and being better equipped to respond as a designer.

Bruno Munari

Both this title and Nella Notte Buia (In the Darkness of the Night) are my earliest childhood book memories. My father bought them for the family, and they were very fragile and to be treated with the greatest care. They sparked my love of paper with their printed vellum pages and perforated and cut-out cardboard inserts that progressively revealed the next layer of the story. I still own them.

Bruce Chatwin

My favorite travel book—an overlap of personal stories, historical anecdotes, geographical descriptions, and a contagious sense of adventure.

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