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BOOKSHELF

By August 26, 2020 No Comments

Page Turners

By Babs Rodriguez

We’ve had a lot of time lately to ponder our home libraries. Evergreen titles include garden books that have made more than one move with us, and we’re hard-pressed to part with any volume featuring design of any sort. So, while this year’s fresh perspective on how we live in our spaces has us paring down kitchen clutter and cleaning out our closets, we continue to buy books, especially the ones that open windows onto worlds we love to explore for inspiration and beauty. — Babs Rodriguez

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

Hocker: 2005-2020 Landscapes

Dallas landscape architect David Hocker fondly remembers a childhood punctuated by visits to the Texas Panhandle and East Texas Pineywoods, where he marked the various textures of soil, layers of stone, variegations of greenery. Those adventures stayed with him, evolving into a profession when his artistic eye for detail focused on horticulture at Texas A&M and resulted in a degree in landscape architecture. Studies abroad were influential, too, and, since launching in 2005, Hocker’s eponymously named firm has gained international recognition for landscapes that reflect the dialogue among site history, natural materials and flora. This newly released book — with a foreword by Dallas architect and frequent collaborator Gary Cunningham — showcases 15 such projects including two in Fort Worth (and previously featured in 360 West): a private residence in Westover Hills by architect A. Quincy Jones and the R4 Foundation campus. Inspiration, artistry and poetry also abound in projects on Sonoma Mountain in Southern California and acreage in Lyme, New Hampshire. Chapters open with Hocker’s eloquent musings, which deftly segue into project insights captured by writer Helen Thompson. It is a celebration of a body of work that proves Cunningham’s postulation in the opening pages: Architecture and landscape become admirable equals in the most beautifully balanced of projects. $45, The Monacelli Press, rizzolibookstore.com

FLORALS

Flower: Exploring the World in Bloom

A salute to blooms by the editors at an international publisher applauded for its art books is the newest in the erudite and beautiful Explorer Series. As deftly designed as it is readable, the volume uses flowers as eye candy, luring readers across time and continents to enjoy floral motifs. From botanical illustrations to film stills, woven into textiles and shaped into sculpture, blooms of all sorts fill the beguiling showcase. Intriguing juxtapositions of eras and styles abound with unforgettable results and thoughtful explorations of gardens go a long way toward illustrating why everyone loves flowers. $59.95, Phaidon, preorder at amazon.com

DESIGN

The Design Book

Yes, Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair is here. And our favorite Chambord French Press designed by Carsten Jørgensen. Newly updated, this book offers props to perfection of the pedestrian, too: The spring-action wooden clothespin is necessary and neat, although its designer sadly remains unknown. We like the things so balanced in form and function that they feel destined for immortal status, such as the vintage classic Anglepoise 1927 desk lamp introduced in 1935 by George Carwardine — still being manufactured today in innumerable variations all capitalizing on the same poised-to-spring profile that inspired an animated Pixar character and the film company’s logo. From the paperclip to extraordinary home furnishings, the details and history of designs that have bettered and shaped the human experience over the last 500 years — including 30 new ones from the last 15 years — make for addictive reading whether you’re a Corbusier fan or a trivia buff. $19.95, Phaidon, preorder at amazon.com

INTERIORS

A Tale of Interiors

At a time when less is celebrated as more (and paring down encouraged), we ask ourselves: What if everything we own sparks joy? Now, a duo of interior-designers-to-the-stars offer a beautifully illustrated answer. Sharing insights into their signature style of restrained decadence, Louisa Pierce and Emily Ward, with text by Catherine Pierce, celebrate a blend of classical and fanciful — with no apologies for bursts of outrageousness. The book appeals to our nosey side with insider looks at the homes of movie stars and rock legends. And design that honors family treasures and collections attached to memories speaks to our dislike for sterile interiors filled with soulless objets. Whimsical, layered, chic — the thoughtful melding of personal things, all well displayed against intriguing backdrops of color and texture, make these houses one-off homes. Learning something of the evolution of the designers’ process — Ward is based in Los Angeles and Pierce in Nashville — in bright, scrapbooklike page layouts is a bonus. The pair are natural storytellers, equally at ease working with humble finds and museum-quality art. Their lessons in organized abundance are meaningful to us, too. $60, Rizzoli New York, rizzolibookstore.com