Julie Lasky

Critic; Writer; Editor / United States / Design Observer

Julie Lasky’s Notable Books of 2011

The design books that interest me most these days play havoc with disciplinary boundaries.

Among my recommended sextet, one pretends to be about industrial design but is an environmentally motivated critique of consumerism. Another purports to be about interior design while appealing to enlightenment values that are too often neglected (along with illustrations from Diderot’s Encyclopedia) in other contemporary books on the subject. A third features the work of a rock star fashion designer who is equally persuasive as a sculptor. A fourth reveals designs for informal communities that are grounded in engineering and technology. A fifth argues for uniting architecture and landscape, disciplines that may abut one another in space but are weirdly disjointed in approach. And the sixth isn’t really about design, it’s about photography. You can draw your own connections.

1 book
Andrew Bolton

Like a relic from a saint, this book companion to the astonishing 2011 Metropolitan Museum exhibition is a fragment of a much greater entity. It’s worth having anyway. McQueen’s jagged silhouettes and maniacal feather- or crustacean-encrusted pieces are inexhaustible in their visual interest, and the catalogue lets you study them at leisure, focusing on details like locks of hair sewn into dresses inspired by Jack the Ripper’s victims. Most important, you can read about the doomed enfant terrible who produced them without crowds of gawping museum-goers pressing you to hurry up.

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