The 10 best design, architecture and furniture books of 2019

Manual of design history

The title already tells a lot, if not all: a manual (easy to read) that takes into consideration many areas of design with all their implications in our real life and our customs. In between, the story of the many weaves between human genius and design. As in the cases of the invention (at the beginning of the industrial era) of the steam engine and the prototype of a plastic bottle capable of making drinking water.
Link to “Manual of design history“.

Arnaldo Pomodoro’s Labyrinth

A book for children able to make even adults discover the works and genius of Arnaldo Pomodoro, probably the most important Italian sculptor of the second half of the 20th century. This book-project by Cariplo Foundation makes Pomodoro’s work understandable thanks to technical details such as die-cut pages and metallised Pantone prints: a sensory journey that literally allows one to touch the works of the great artist from Pesar.

Link to “Arnaldo Pomodoro’s Labyrinth”.

The masters of architecture (Collector’s edition)

A series of dedicated monographs that expose the ideas and styles behind the projects of the best arch-roofs of the latest generations. Inside, full-page color photographs, illustrations, sketches, technical drawings, historical framing of each work and interviews. Among the great names in architecture: Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid, Massimiliano Fuksas, Norman Foster, Stefano Boeri, Mario Botta, Aires Mateus.

Link to “The masters of architecture”.


Unlike the other books in this selection, this is not an essay but a novel. Written by Theresia Ezensberger (daughter of the writer, poet and intellectual Hans Magnus Enzensberger), she tells the story of Luise who, in 1921, arrives at the Bauhaus school of the masters Gropius, Klee and Kandinsky with the hope of a brilliant career ahead of her. But she will soon discover that even in the environment of the most famous German design school in history, a male chavinist culture predominates. A fresco on a period of Germany rich in cultural ferment and a different look at the Bauhaus school from which some of the greatest minds of contemporary design and art came out.

Link to “Blueprint”.

Habitat 5.0. – Architecture in the Long Present

In the last decades fashion have forced us to reconsider many objects of everyday use: shoes, clothes … But, on the contrary, we still consider many old houses, buildings, neighborhoods to be actual, with a relevant and beautiful design. Why then the way of living, design and architecture do not seem to have changed? A book that raises the question of whether new paradigms of architecture and new life cycles of living spaces can exploit and adapt to new technological and ecological infrastructures.

Link to “Habitat 5.0”.

Maledetto design / Damn design. The pop obsession of icons. Illustrated edition

Often the design is perceived or experienced as excessive, superficial, overrated – especially in its pop version. In the eyes of most, it seems to live in a media bubble suspended between unbelief and innovation. Here is a book that investigates how some cult and design objects have actually become part of our daily lives and can be found at affordable prices. Inside: in-depth studies, entertaining interviews with scholars, experts and big names in design.

Link to “Maledetto design / Damn Design“.


Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

What is the psychological impact of an environment on our mood? A study between the history of design and new sciences that investigates how our lives are continually influencing the spaces we pass through: a nice bar or a tree-lined street can make us happy or serene; the large rooms put us at ease; bright colors give us vigor … And just the slightest changes in shapes or colors of objects and spaces can give us a welcome or even unexpected joy.

Link to “Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness”.


Topics for a design dictionary

A dictionary with a hundred writings and thirty entries that explore thirty different themes of design, applied arts, architecture. Accompanied by images full of irony, illustrative indications, metadesign allusions. In the words of its author, Ugo La Pietra: “When, through time, the evolution of language passed from a few words to an ever-increasing number of expressions, it became necessary to use a dictionary capable of listing the various terms and give everyone the right interpretation. It is possible, in a sense, to compare this evolution to the route taken by design”.

Link to “Topics for a design dictionary”.

Treehouses, Towers, and Tea Rooms: The Architecture of Terunobu Fujimori.

A book that explores the life of the famous architect Terunobu Fujimori: a profession that only blossomed for him in 1991, after years of being an architectural historian. Since then Fujimori has designed everything: homes, museums, corporate headquarters, commercial spaces. But the sign of his art is found in all his work: his are ecologically sustainable buildings that seem to float in the air, structures climbing on trees built with simple and primitive materials. In this book, the entirety of his opus is documented through sketches, drawings, study models and an extraordinary photographic selection by Akihisa Masuda.

Link to “Treehouses, Towers, and Tea Rooms: The Architecture of Terunobu Fujimori”.


Garden Style

The interior stylist Selina Lake reveals how to get the best out of any outdoor space: starting from her floral inspirations, she illustrates step by step which garden furniture is best to adopt. Not limited, however, exclusively to outsiders but by demonstrating how to find ways to move plants and flowers inside the home. Extremely practical, “Garden Style” is rich in ideas and style suggestions for the garden (on how to select the easiest plants for the garden and cultivate them) but also for ideas for frivolous furnishings to devote to during leisure time (little houses for birds, printed napkins, lights and pompons)..

Link to “Garden Style”.

Target Point, Italian Ideas