Carl Magnusson

Product/Industrial Designer / United States / CGM Design LLC

Carl Magnusson’s Book List

I chose my books for this list based on several, perhaps random, criteria:

1. Enlightening for our profession

2. Outsiders’ views on design, which tend to put our work into perspective—i.e., design is not the most important factor but a part of a larger picture

3. Divertimenti: intellectually entertaining

4. Early books written by proven historians

5. Foreign authors: their views work to complete the picture

3 books
Steen Eiler Rasmussen

I first read this in the 1950s in Swedish and the central message stuck: Architecture (and therefore design as well) must evoke an experience physically and culturally beyond its core function. Hit a ball at a wall and sense the material and sound. Notice the light change as you meander through narrow asymmetrical paths between buildings, or the opening up of vistas as one surface ends and the new view becomes apparent. That, I believe, is Rassmussen’s continuing message.

Nicholas Fox Weber

The first full-length biography of Le Corbusier. His relentless faith in the future—the best interpretation of modernism, in my view—has always been a source of inspiration. I always enjoy a new, well-researched perspective on an old favorite, including this one with its many sketches and beloved Stencil font.

Reyner Banham

This masterwork puts into perspective the implications of the industrial revolution for architecture and industrial design. The book provides evidence that modernism easily transcends the various styles of the first half of the 20th century and such historical blips as postmodernism. The modernist canons continue to be valid as we embark on the digital manifestations of our future realities.

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