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

We lead the vast majority of our lives in the hollows of buildings, and yet most writing about interior design fails to address the customs, emotions, inventions and social connections shaped by these spaces. Shashi Caan, an architect, educator, and current president of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IDI), digs into anthropology, psychology, and philosophy to elucidate principles governing the successful design of interiors from Paleolithic times to the present. Underpinning this thoughtful volume is her belief that “the interior is not, as widely thought, the simple outfitting of a room, but, rather, the manifestation of all qualities concerning the human occupation of space.”

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