Book List of the Week

The Books That Inspire Five Designers from Finland and Scandinavia

Craig Dykers, Jens Martin Skibsted, Jens Holm, Mikko Heikkinen, Juhani Pallasmaa

October 13, 2014

We highlight five designers from Finland and Scandinavia this week. These are: architect Craig Dykers of the Norwegian-U.S. firm Snøhetta, Finnish architect Mikko Heikkinen (Heikkinen + Komonen), architect Jens Holm (HAO, Demanrk/U.S.), Juhani Pallasmaa (former dean of the School of Architecture at Helsinki University of Technology, who sent a list of “40 Titles for New Architecture Students”), and Danish product designer Jens Martin Skibsted (KiBiSi/Biomega) whose work includes bicycle design.

Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Oslo, designed by Snøhetta, 2008, as seen in Snøhetta Works, 2009 (Lars Müller Publishers)
Craig Dykers's Book List

During my university studies I read Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s The Worst Journey in the World. In this autobiography, Robert Scott’s trek to the South Pole is described by one of the explorers who accompanied the expedition. As an architecture student I felt a kinship with this hopeless, remote struggle. This led to a number of ice-bound, life-and-death books like Elizabeth Arthur’s novel Antarctic Navigation.

Mikko Heikkinen's Book List Paul Auster, Raymond Carver, Bernard Rudofsky.
Jens Holm's Book List

After thousands of years and the recent rise of a multitude of storytelling platforms, books remain for me the single medium that manages to both inform and inspire without dictating a single visual truth or idea.

The books on my list were all written and illustrated by people who are by far smarter than me. By generously sharing their talent, insights, and thoughts there is a small chance that one day I will become that smart, too.

Juhani Pallasmaa's Book List

In my view, literature and the arts provide deep lessons on the essences of the world and life. Because architecture is fundamentally about life, I find the literary classics, or any fine novels and poems, to be essential books on architecture.

Jens Martin Skibsted's Book List

I like philosophy books that satisfy my curiosity. I’ve read very little fiction lately because there is so much I want to know. When I read fiction I am truly on holiday. I thought I would become a poet when I was young. (I did publish some poetry, but it’s all in Danish.)

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