Book List of the Week

Book List of the Week: Aldo Bakker

Design interacting with content

By Steve Kroeter January 13, 2014
Aldo Bakker, Product Designer (Amsterdam)
View Aldo Bakker’s Book List

“When I love the work of an artist but do not like the way the book is designed I don’t buy it,” writes the Amsterdam-based product designer Aldo Bakker in the introduction to his book list. “I am convinced that the design of the book should always interact with the content.” The son of a famous pair of designers—his father is Gijs Bakker, co-founder of the Dutch design collective Droog and one of the first and most influential conceptual designers; his mother is the late jewelry designer Emmy van Leersum—Aldo Bakker is known for his designs for furniture and tableware in materials such as wood, porcelain, copper, and glass that also have an interactive quality. Objects, he believes, “communicate emotion through association, touch, texture, and materiality.”

Bakker sent a “selection of books that were important to me at the time I discovered them and in a way still are.” Among the highlights is Haptic by MUJI art director Kenya Hara (the author of Designing Design), about which Bakker says, “The books and projects of Kenya Hara are intensely beautiful. He gives so much attention to every single element: the photography, the paper, the graphic design. This book is so consistent and convincing that it pulls you into a completely different world.” Another choice is Tapio Wirkkala, which showcases the work of the prominent postwar Finnish industrial designer and sculptor and was edited and designed by architect and author Juhani Pallasmaa. The book presents “sublime forms,” notes Bakker.

Silver pourer designed by Aldo Bakker, 2009 (produced by Jan Matthesius) for Thomas Eyck. Photo: Erik and Petra Hesmerg, courtesy of Aldo Bakker 

Along with the titles on his list about art and art criticism—Bakker is recognized for his exhibition design and has curated several exhibitions—he also includes books on modern and contemporary architects. Yutaka Saito’s Carlo Scarpa shows the Italian architect’s “wholeness: there is no boundary between big and small, between technique, function, gesture, rhythm—they all inspire each other equally, everything is treated with the same amount of effort and complexity.” Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa, Sanaa Works 1995–2003, on the Japanese architectural team Sanaa, “is so densely filled that you keep feeling the need to dive into it again and again in the hope of discovering something new. . . Sanaa interprets and purifies the normal and the actual in such a way that it defines a new, almost floating architecture.” On these and all the selections on his list, Bakker reflects,  “As an autodidact, I have used these books over and over again to study design.”

View Aldo Bakker’s Book List.

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