Sam Hecht

Product/Industrial Designer / United Kingdom / Industrial Facility

Sam Hecht’s Book List

I like books. In fact, I make a book for every project I do. I like the designers of books, too, because when they are successful, they make the book worth far more than the material it is on. Books that resonate with me most are ones that have little or no imagery. These are few and far between, because there seems to be too much imagery these days. I like to imagine what the writer is describing. Here are some of these books I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy.

5 books
Peter Zumthor

This book I have read about four times. It is very clever, very personal, and short. Zumthor’s description of his process is inspirational not because it is so revolutionary but rather because it is uncompromising. You can tell he is on a continuous journey of understanding himself in the context of the world around us, and he has a mission that must be delivered. I have great respect for that, and for this book.

Otl Aicher

I have read this book about four times—and at different times of my life. In my opinion it should be read by every design student. While I was a professor at Karlsruhe University I was surprised that few of my students had heard of it, let alone the writer and designer, Otl Aicher. Why is it so important? I believe that too many designers have lost the ability to realize that projects are ultimately for people—not the company. Aicher explains this very clearly, and as his rationale is very cutting, it would be hard to argue with.

Enzo Mari
Interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist

I have read this book twice. It is a very difficult book—very theoretical and dry—but you need to give it time. I feel that Mari is one of the most multi-dimensional designers there has ever been. He comes across as very hard and uncompromising, but I believe that he is very playful in his mind. His countless toys and books show this. In the end he is mysterious, and in this mystery he at least introduces ideas and history that are hardly discussed in current design.

Kiroshi Ogawa

If you have the time and patience, this is a fantastic book—full of secrets. I was introduced to it by a friend and was so impressed by its presentation and simplicity. The book itself was designed by Ikko Tanaka, who was the creator of Muji.

R. T. Fishall

I was given this book as a child by my mother when she first opened a bank account for me. I have kept it ever since, and I look back at it quite regularly. It is a book that says a lot about what makes a designer. A designer is someone who must understand how systems work. He must then acknowledge that all systems are artificial, and then adopt them and alter them for his own means. I am not suggesting anarchy, and neither does this book—rather, it is a small and legal subversion. For instance, when we receive a form from a company or government department, our instinct is to fill it out and return it. But maybe next time you find yourself having to write to a company, why not create your own official form—designed, of course, with all of those details like “please leave blank for official use”—and make the company fill it out and return it. Oh, and the book was actually written by Sir Patrick Moore (R. T. Fishall was his pen name), the astronomer who spent his life making sense of the universe.

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