If if had a choice between being bought a Tiffany necklace, or a lot of books published by Taschen that amounted to the same price, I genuinely would pick the books. Not even kidding. I think they're some of the most beautiful books I have ever seen. I only own a few, but am gradually building the collection up. The art, architecture and other books on aspects of popular culture are just second to none, so I was deeee-lighted to see that they've sent me a Spring/Summer 2010 catalogue. Never mind that I literally can't afford a thing in there because I am seemingly unemployable, looking through the magazine did make my day. So much so that I properly squealed at some pages and now have added about half the catalogue to my 'books I want' list. So here, I'm going to go through a few of my favourites. Not all of them because I don't have the time or the effort in me, but the ones I think are amazing.
Also! If you go on their website and click on a book, for some of them you can actually look through to see the pictures and text, which I think is a brilliant selling tool. I'm definitely one of those people that can be seduced by one picture into buying a whole book.
Okay, so the first book, is Moonfire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11. Being totally obsessed with anything science fiction, kind of makes me want the book just for visual purposes, as in I want it on my table, I want to be able to look at it and get inspiration. I'm sure the story is interesting, and the first time it was published it was sold out instantly, so I'm guessing there's a massive audience for it. But I think, purely on the basis of photography and aesthetics, this book would be marvelous. You can also buy some special edition one for 900 whole pounds! I think that's pushing it for some pretty pictures of the moon, no?
Possibly my most wanted out of every single book, is this set of Modern Architecture books. Just loooook at those pictures. The building on the front of the M-Z cover is one of my favourite buildings in the world, apart from anything Zaha Hadid does, it's a press and broadcasting center in Japan. I think it looks like a modernist castle that's been dropped out of the sky from the first book I just mentioned. Not only that, but it's nice to have 'sets' of books isn't it. I like matching ones.
This book is on the page next to the Modern Architecture series in the catalogue, so evidently was the two pages that made me squeal (in a room, alone I might add. Very idiotic.) The contrast between the two books is pretty huge, I know, but I do think they rather compliment one another, old and new. I first started to fall in love with Japanese drawings (the old kind I mean, 19th century mainly) was when I found out that David Hockney was a fan of them to provide inspiration for his drawings of plants and landscapes. I remember him saying something about the people who made drawings like that saying, 'You need three things to be able to draw ... the hand, the heart and the eye.' You can't have just two, you need all three. I loved that quote, and I love the drawings. My ink drawings are heavily inspired by them, and I think you'd be hard pushed to find more beautiful, intricate pieces, albeit of a very idealised view of the world (but I'm a fan of Utopian images anyway, so it's okay.) This book is based on someone called Hiroshige's landscapes, who I've not come across before, so it's nice to look at a new band of work.
Now thiiiiis book, this book is the one. It is one of my main ambitions to build my own house. I've already started a folder on new building techniques and Eco friendly substitutes because I am incredibly determined to build my own home. Anyway, this book is on 'prefab' homes. Inititally meant to be cheap to build and quick and easy to put up, some of the modern ones I now think are phenomenal to look at. Huf Haus is a massive jewel that portrays just how good the whole Ikea-pre-built malarky can actually work and not look disgustingly the same as everything else (orange brick, mock tudor/victorian/georgian houses anyone? Britain is full of them. I hate them.)
Above is one of the Huf Haus', there's also particular house on the cover of the book, that's an oval shape that I can't find a photo of, but that looks like some amazing otherworldly orb.
Museums, is part of the Architecture Now series. I have the one on Bars and Restaurants, which is absolutely wonderful. Trust me, if anything is going to make you want to travel. it'll be some of the places in that book. Everyone knows museums are not only meant to contain and look after beautiful collections, but also to capture the publics imagination and draw them in, and the ones in this book, are really the best in the world.
Now, being British, means I have a somewhat slight obsession (and complete lack of knowledge) of American landscapes. I can tell you about American artists, art movements, or even some buildings (though, not that many) but everytime I've watched a programme where the person documents a journey across weird places in America to see odd things, and I don't mean, well known things like Spiral JettyGormans comedy documentary things about googlewhacking.) I think the kitsch, colourful objects make for great photos, not particularly great art, even if they are calling it 'outsider art' but definitely for gawdy looking photos which add to my (flawed) view of America.
I'm no graphic designer, but my interest in type probably developed much like everyone elses ... as it became popular (though I bet most people my age vehemently deny it.) So I think this is a good book for all the illustrators/graphic designers out there. Not much to say except it's a catalogue of designs and typefaces that'll inspire anyone.
Product Design in the Sustainable Era, is up there with the favourites too. Come on, it's so relevant, and even if you're not into the whole 'green' thing like I am (you should be, I'll preach if I want to) then you'd want to buy what's in this book purely on an aesthetic level. You really would. Everything is so sleek and modern, colourful, natural and interesting that I think it's a brilliant collection of items everyone is going to want in the future, or even right now.
There's also books on Matisse that look amazing, on magic, and a hideously expensive Ellen Von Unworth one, but that's enough of my want, want, wants for one day.
Last but not least, they advertise these diaries in there. By Keels. I want one, they're not even expensive and are adorable. They cut everything short so you don't write long entries but answer short little questions. It's a brilliant, novel idea. Click here to look at the website.