Todd Oldham

Architect; Graphic Designer; Fashion Designer; Interior Designer; Product/Industrial Designer; Lighting Designer / United States / Todd Oldham Studio

Todd Oldham’s Book List

It was a pleasure to make a list of my favorite books—the only challenge was stopping. I live in rooms filled with stalagmite towers of books and this is just a start.

The list consist of top-drawer efforts that are all treasures to me. I have visited them often, and my pleasure and fascination is never diminished. I hope you enjoy them, too.

In addition, some not-exactly-books have served as impeccable design resources for me: the Sears, J. C. Penney, and Montgomery Ward catalogues of 1940–85. These middle-of-the-road retailers featured hybrid designs based on authentic examples, and the end resulting catalogues are anthropological bibles. It is perhaps ill advised to seek inspiration in homogenized efforts, but I feel like Margaret Mead every time I look inside one and I always come out a little puzzled—concerned for the world, and inspired.

Finally, I should mention visionary Joe Holtzman’s award-winning magazine Nest, which ran from 1997 to 2004—one of the most singular celebrations of design ever. Free from pretention and with photography by fine artists and writings from literary luminaries, this art piece between covers shape-shifted with each issue. Each one was golden.

I hope Designers & Books asks me for another list someday.

2 books
Sidney Lumet

A gift from Sidney Lumet—which he never had to give but did. Perfectly written and explained, Lumet shares set stories and film procedure with abundance and charm. Whether you are interested in making films or just watching them, this book is a game changer.

Hutton Wilkinson
Foreword by Dominick Dunne

This smart, elegant survey of the artist-magician Tony Duquette is a testament to unbridled thinking and design derring-do. Duquette clearly could reimagine anything, with his entire oeuvre being made from something else. His own design language is informed by a classical motif and structure, which, if you squint, you can see at once in all of his designs. The second you focus you realize that everything is not what you think. His years of working in Hollywood influenced his scale and vision of possibility mixed with access to loads of stuff to rescue out of movie-set dumpsters. The world Tony Duquette created was like visiting another planet that was influenced by Earth and didn’t get it quite right but made it better.

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