Archive for the 'Books' Category

Book Watch | Bioshock to Nature’s Patterns

Bioshock Art Book

Bioshock Breaking the Mold: Developer’s Edition Art Book

“This 174 page, 8″x10″ limited run soft cover artbook, available only on the Take-Two Store, features never-before seen art from BioShock 1, stories about the game?s journey through its years of development, commentary from the team, an introduction by 2K Marin?s Executive Producer Alyssa Finley, several new sections, and much more.”

Editor’s Note: The art of Bioshock is among the finest in gaming history. That fans voted three other items over an art book for the Collector’s Edition was a travesty. Now rectified thanks to Bioshock Community Manager Elizabeth Tobey. Art reproduction is of a high quality, accompanied by numerous snippets of development insight from various team members. A thick perfect bound volume, it lacks the high end hardcover quality of the genre’s upper echelon art books. However this doesn’t detract, thanks to its styling, it almost come across like a relic from Rapture itself. If the $25 price tag is undesirable, the original and shorter PDF art book is available for download.

Paperback | 174 pages | Take 2 | May 2009

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Book Watch | Orientalists

During the nineteenth century, European and American artists flocked to Eastern cultures, from Morocco to India. Their works fueled the exotic and mythical perception of the Orient with cinematic depictions of islamic culture that continue to influence the arts today. These artists are commonly referred to as the Orientalists.

Last year while exploring and working in Marrakech I came across numerous books on or related to the topic. Following are some noteworthy selections.

If you’re ever in Marrakech, be sure to visit the oldest book store in Marrakech, open since 1948, it can be found within the medina’s souks. Publisher ACR also has a well stocked shop buried in Gueliz, the city’s French section.

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Book Watch | From Burma to Chicago

21st Century Masterpieces

21st-Century Masterpieces - Architecture of the New Millennium

“A concise overview of the most extraordinary landmarks built around the world since the turn of the millennium including stadia, theatres, museums, offices, government buildings, chapels and retail spaces.

Features such noteworthy projects as the Casa da Música in Portugal by OMA, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the United States by Frank Gehry, Federation Square in Australia by Bates Smart, and the National Stadium in China by Herzog & de Meuron.

Includes a descriptive text for each project, accompanied by an extensive selection of exterior and interior photographs, plans and architectural drawings.”

Editor’s Note: This inexpensive hardcover volume will hit shelves along with 21st Century Houses. Both appear derived from the hefty Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture.

Hardcover | 160 pages | Phaidon | May 2009

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Book Watch | Massive Black, Monochrome & More

Book Watch is a new periodic feature highlighting noteworthy upcoming and recent releases in architecture, design and photography. On occasion, this will include books not yet revealed to the general public and newly discovered older titles of note. A concerted effort is made to view books prior to their inclusion in Book Watch.

This series will supplement’s focus on editorials and unique stories, infusing new content with greater regularity.

Authors and publishers are welcome to submit publications for consideration in Book Watch via’s contact form.



“A global, up-to-the-minute overview of contemporary architecture selected by ten prominent members of the international architecture community. Features the work of 100 rising stars curated by Shumon Basar, Mercedes Daguerre, Luis Fernández-Galiano, Bart Goldhoorn, Joseph Grima, Carlos Jimenez, Kengo Kuma, Andrew Mackenzie, Peter Cachola Schmal and Ai Weiwei.

Selected projects include “a variety of buildings from private houses and apartments to schools, offices and stadia that redefine architecture, exploring never-before-used materials and proving that ‘green’ is the new standard in innovative design.” 1500 color illustrations and 300 line drawings.

Editor’s Note: Based on the sheer wealth of work and quality of presentation in its predecessors, this is one to watch.

Hardcover | 448 pages | Phaidon | May/June 2009

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Modernist Architecture Captured

Two giants of modernist architecture have their works captured in noteworthy books.

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The White City


En route to Marrakech I finally began turning the pages of Erik Larson’s factual based bestseller, Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America.

From Marrakech, the Pink City, to the White City… Eric Larson’s opus captures Chicago circa 1890’s during the building of an empire. An inside look at the nation’s leading architects developing the 1893 World’s Fair in record time amidst a turmoil marred process. While nearby a handsome doctor created his own fortune at the expense of others through swindling, murder and devious architecture.

The architecture of the World’s Fairs exuded grandeur and scale, eliciting awe and highlighting the march of progress whilst celebrating the accomplishments and ingenuity of humanity. The Chicago World’s Fair, a.k.a. the World’s Columbian Exposition, was no different. While spearheaded by Chicago based Burnham & Root, numerous architectural luminaries participated from Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles McKim to Richard Morris Hunt and Sophia Hayden Bennett, the first American woman to receive an architecture degree. It became known as the White City for its abundant use of white stucco and electrically lit promenades courtesy Tesla and Westinghouse.

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Design Now!


Last month art book publisher Taschen released Design Now!.

“Not only an in-depth exploration of contemporary design practice, this book is also a rallying call for a more sustainable approach to product design of every type, from lighting and furniture design to consumer electronic equipment, transportation, product architecture, and environmental design. Visually stunning and highly informative, Design Now! illustrates the latest work by 90 of the world’s leading designers and design-led manufacturing companies [Editor's Note: See appended for the complete list, an online exclusive], while also featuring in-their-own-words statements that give a unique insight into the nature of 3-dimensional design today. Additionally, the editors’ introductory essay authoritatively outlines the main issues facing designers, manufacturers and consumers, and offers a perceptive vision for a better way forward that focuses on the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

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Storefront Books


Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York has followed their announcement of the White House Redux competition, with the launch of a curated micro-bookshop this past Wednesday. A fascinating concept, “…its shelves will comprise a careful selection of books recommended by artists, architects, writers, filmmakers and other key figures who have helped shape Storefront’s unique identity over the past 25 years.

If the external facade of the gallery and store has piqued your curiosity, Archidose details the concept designed by starchitect Steven Holl and artist Vito Acconci on a mere $45,000 budget.

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Design within Reach Annual Book


Earlier this month, the modern classics furniture shop Design within Reach released their Annual Book for 2008. It’s even more compact than last year’s edition, measuring a little over 6″ x 7″. A useful and practical reference book, the sharp layout and sizeable product photos are supplemented by the occasional spread offering a behind the scenes look into the furniture production process. 228 pages conclude with a thorough index.

While other furniture stores (Ligne Roset, B&B Italia) release impressive catalogs, this compact volume genuinely passes as a book rather than a traditional catalog and is printed on recycled paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

Limited copies remain available at some DWR Studios or contact DWR online.

Casting a Shadow


Commencing January 18th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be hosting the free exhibition, Casting a Shadow: Creating the Alfred Hitchcock Film. Appended are several production design illustrations and storyboards that will be on display and are amongst the sixty plus plates featured in an accompanying book.

The book, now available in stores after the exhibition debuted at Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, features extraordinary production design art for Foreign Correspondent, Spellbound, Shadow of a Doubt, The Birds and Saboteur. Also included, studies for the Mt. Rushmore House in North by Northwest, two pages of costume design and storyboards for Vertigo, The Birds, Topaz and Family Plot. The incredible Family Plot storyboards by Thomas Wright are especially noteworthy for their non uniform panel distribution that successfully captures the dynamism of the filmed sequences.

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