Book List of the Week

Five Theorist-Designers and the Books That Inspire Them

September 15, 2014

Almost all designers are in effect theorists, but here are five spanning different generations who are as much known for their theoretical reseach and experimentation as for their physical products. The designers are: architects Peter Eisenman (IAUS founder) and Jürgen Mayer H. (Metropol Parasol), graphic designers Sheila Levrant de Bretteville (Women’s Graphic Center) and Prem Krishnamurthy (Project Projects), and product designer Jonathan Olivares (A Taxonomy of Office Chairs).

Images from Wirrwarr by Jürgen Mayer H, 2011 (Hatje Cantz)
Peter Eisenman's Book List

Herman Melville, Thomas Pyncheon, Walter Benjamin.

Prem Krishnamurthy's Book List

I encountered most of the books on this list while conducting background research for a six-month cycle of exhibitions on copying at P!, my exhibition space. Some, like artist Gareth Long’s Don Quixote remake, are new discoveries. Others, like Orhan Pamuk’s The Black Book, are old favorites.

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville's Book List

W. G. Sebald, Herbert Gans, Ruari McLean.

Jürgen Mayer H.'s Book List

Over the years there are some books that seem to continually resurface on my pile of things to read. Each is part of a chapter of my past, inspires me in the present, and will certainly guide me in the future—to be continued.

Jonathan Olivares's Book List

Each of these five books have altered my position on design and design research—they are staples in my library. In an interview, the filmmaker Harmony Korine once stated that two people can see the same movie, and one will walk out thinking about popcorn while the other walks out thinking about fascism. I have no idea what these books might prompt from another reader, but I’ve given my popcorn here.

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