Three books in review

March 13, 2013

Gillian Serisier takes a look at three recently published books in the fields of architecture, art and interior design.


Beach House: Peter Stuchbury

Outcast Editions, Apple App Store, RRP$10.49

Sharp, pragmatic and entirely aimed at industry professionals, the app’s introduction is more accurately a list of details explaining the technicalities of the house’s construction than a stroll through its philosophical aspects. The images by Richard Glover do, however, wander into this realm by very clearly presenting the mood of the beach house and thereby the aesthetic considerations of the architectural engagement with the owners and landscape. The project itself, by Peter Stutchbury Architects, sits comfortably within Stutchbury’s oeuvre of light-filled pavilion-style homes that beautifully frame interior and exterior perspectives. It is, in fact, an excellent project and using this app is an easy way to navigate the various elements via video, photography, site plans, floor plans, sections and detail drawings. As an early arrival in the world of architectural book apps, there is little to compare this with, nor should it be judged against a book of paper as it is an entirely different beast.


Build More Buy Less!

L.E. Mentzel & The Crowd, Hatje Cantz, Books@Manic, RRP$27.50

Build More Buy Less! is essentially a ‘how-to-build-furni- ture’ guide, and follows on from the social experiment of the Hartz IV Moebel website, or as Mentzel intends: DIY for amateurs with a low income but great taste. It stems from a philosophy of social responsibility that empowers people through purposeful creativity: “Living is a social issue for me, and not exclusively an issue of design.” As such, the designs, though low cost, are purposed as objects for sharing, of pride and longevity. The designs are Bauhaus in nature, derived from a functional need in the simplest and most cost-effective manner. They are also evolving, with the original website’s free instructions improved through the response of ‘the crowd’ who also supply the book’s images. Each diagram comes with cutting instructions, material costs, time and design influences, followed by the basic put-it-together drawings and instructions.



Taken by Surprise: Cutting-edge collaborations between designers, artists and brands

R. Klanten, S. Ehmann (eds), Gestalten, Books@Manic, RRP$100

An arm hanging from the back of a New York taxi cab swung nonchalantly past a bumper sticker declaring: ‘Sopranos’. Across town, a pair of shoes encased in cement appeared in a shoe store – again with the Sopranos’ label. And so began the campaign to put The Sopranos television series into our collective consciousness. It was not, however, the work of a marketing department alone, but a collaboration with visual artist Frank Anselmo. Skip forward and collaborations are striking up everywhere, from fashion house Fendi, working with bicycle manufacturer Abici, to Damien Hirst popping out ashtrays for Other Criteria. Moreover, collaboration has redefined design. No longer are designers restricted to aesthetic functionality, rather the world has opened to allow proactive and interactive design responses, imbued with the flexibility of the internet. To this new world come outfits such as Bompas & Parr, where definition is irrelevant to what they actually do. By utilising and heralding as artists, chefs, inventors, directors and so forth, the brand supersedes the title, and each project creates its own collaborations.

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