Book List of the Week

Book List of the Week: Six Italian Designers and the Books That Inspire Them

Deganello, Giovannoni, LOT-EK, Munari, Pittis, Zucchi

June 9, 2014

Inspired by the recently opened 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, today’s Book List of the Week features the books chosen by seven designers working in Italy. The contributing designers are architect and product designer Paolo Deganello, co-founder of the radical 1960s design collective Archizoom; Ada Tolla, co-founder of the architecture firm LOT-EK (with Giuseppe Lignano); architect Cino Zucchi; product designers Stefano Giovannoni and Cleto Munari; and graphic designer Massimo Pittis.

Paolo Deganello's Book List

All of my research and projects focus on trying to overcome the many injustices that afflict the most vulnerable individuals of society. Thus my ideal client almost never has the power to commission a project from me. I try to use the project opportunities presented to me to represent “the new”—bearers of radical rethinking—even if the resulting ideas contradict the reasons for those opportunities.

Stefano Giovannoni's Book List

I think that it is very important as a designer to open one’s vision to the philosophical and sociological aspects related to the evolution of our society. I don’t know that any design book is so important to read: design books should be looked at in order to understand the concepts behind the projects illustrated through the images, but I’ve never found a design book deep enough for a broad vision of our profession.

Cleto Munari's Book List

In thinking about some of my favorite books I cannot avoid dreaming about my own desires for adventure and imaginary worlds. Dumas and Salgari are part of those childhood fantasies whereas my early adulthood found me leaning toward the aristocratic world described by authors like Tomasi di Lampedusa. Other books on this list are associated with my friendships and interactions with fiction writers such as Mahfouz and Saramago, or poets met through a friend of mine who translates and works with poets, including Wole Soyinka, Mark Strand, and Manuel Alegre.

Massimo Pitis's Book List

My selection of books reflects my interests in history, sociology, design, and education. In particular what I propose here is a dive into the depths of design thinking—a sea where letters and ornaments, thoughts and words, passions and theories fluctuate constantly, producing new ideas and new words.

Ada Tolla's Book List

The founding partners of LOT-EK, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, have provided a joint list of books that have influenced their work as architects, educators, thinkers, and people of the world.  It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Tolla and Lignano that there were two distinct reactions as they were deciding on which books to include: passionate accord or sharp disagreement. There is no middle ground about what resonates with LOT-EK.  As with the work they produce, or the projects they decide to pursue, things either resonate, or they simply do not.

Cino Zucchi's Book List

Johann Heinrich Füssli, a Swiss painter friend of William Blake, said once: “In art many beautiful things are born by chance, but are conserved by choice.” The same happens in life, or in our intellectual development. Encountering knowledge is like encountering love; the books that have been meaningful to us are more often “found” than searched for, but the long-lasting impression they make on our mind or soul is caused by inner resonances.

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