10 Inspiring Coffee Table Books On Art, Design, Food And Travel
Additional Reporting: Hong Xinying and Annabel Middleton
1/10 Living on Vacation
Glean design ideas from this inspiring read, which features holiday homes unique to various regions. Conceived and produced by editors from the art-book publisher Phaidon, this delightful design tome chronicles architecturally outstanding holiday homes from around the world. Admire beautiful lakeside retreats, tranquil island villas, rugged coastal havens, chalets up in the mountains and even abodes situated in the middle of a desert.
The selection is both diverse and intriguing, and will trigger pangs of wanderlust and house-envy. Highlights include a project by Yucatán-based architects Salvador Reyes Ríos and Josefina Larraín Lagos of Reyes Ríos + Larraín Arquitectos, which was built around the ruins of an abandoned plantation estate in the Seyé municipality of Yucatán, Mexico. The architects left the decrepit walls intact, surrounding these historic remnants with a modern residential complex and calming water gardens.
2/10 Liaigre : Creation 2016-2020
By Francoise-Claire Prodhon
Featuring exceptional images from specially commissioned photoshoots and an engaging essay by French art historian Francoise-Claire Prodhon, this spectacular volume published by Rizzoli not only takes you inside the phenomenal villas and breathtaking mansions created by illustrious French design house Liaigre, but also offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their creative know-how.
From East to West, Liaigre has injected their signature aesthetic and luxurious simplicity around the globe—from a Japanese house overlooking hot thermal springs, to a modernist palace in New Delhi to a modern interpretation of a Bavarian-style mansion in Munich. Holding history in their hands, they have also undertaken the delicate renovation of a traditional local villa in St. Moritz and updated a glamorous Parisian villa from the early 20th century. In this carefully curated collection, marvel at Liaigre’s excellent craftsmanship and elegant designs that have been exquisitely captured within these pages.
(Related: The French Luxury Furniture Brand That's Found In The Homes Of Designers And Celebrities)
3/10 André Fu: Crossing Cultures With Design
By Catherine Shaw
Thames & Hudson
Highlighting a collection of 18 recent projects by acclaimed Hong Kong-based architect and designer André Fu, this fully illustrated monograph published by Thames and Hudson is written by Catherine Shaw. It not only features 300 colour illustrations, but also includes Fu’s hand-drawn sketches and mood boards that provide a peek into his personal creative process.
A trained architect who studied architecture at Cambridge, Fu’s projects span scales and typologies while bridging the gap between cultures, as he marries European principles of beauty with Oriental traditions and elements. Included in this impressive showcase is an original furniture creation for Louis Vuitton’s exclusive Objets Nomades collection; contemporary art galleries in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai for international gallerists, including Emmanuel Perrotin; as well as major hotels and restaurants such as Villa La Coste in Provence, The Berkeley London, and Hong Kong’s St Regis Hotel and The Upper House Hotel.
(Related: First Look: The Louise Restaurant And Other New Projects Designed By André Fu In Hong Kong)
4/10 Architizer: The World’s Best Architecture
Architizer is a New York-based organisation that runs an online platform for architects and manufacturers to network and share best practice, and its latest book features the winners of its 2019 Architizer A+Awards. The winners were picked based on votes from the public and a group of 400-plus professionals from various fields ranging from fashion to real estate, and the result is a stunning, diverse collection of architectural masterpieces from around the world—whether it is a pavilion titled “Boolean Operator” in Suzhou, or the sharp angles and slanted walls of V&A’s striking museum in Dundee.
5/10 Cooking in Marfa: Welcome, We’ve Been Expecting You
By Virginia Lebermann and Rocky Bernette
Photography by Douglas Friedman
The town of Marfa in Texas may only have a population of 2,000 people but it is a sought-after destination for art lovers and, since The Capri restaurant opened in 2016, foodies have started to add this little city in the Western part of the state on their bucket list as well. Virginia Lebermann and chef Rocky Bernette is the husband and wife team behind The Capri and Cooking in Marfa showcases the rustic chic interiors of the restaurant and Bernette’s style of New American cuisine—an intriguing mix of ancient Mexican culinary traditions and modern Texan favourites, with recipes such as hisbiscus margaritas, seven-layer yucca dip, masa pasta ravioli with cured egg yolk and gulf bottarga, mesquite bean ice cream, and even a Texas caviar recipe that pairs the delicacy with Fritos and sour cream.
6/10 Uzbekistan: The Road to Samarkand
By Yaffa Assouline
Photography by Laziz Hamani
Uzbekistan’s location in Central Asia made it a sponge for a wide range of cultural influences, and the towns and cities all across the country are testament to it—a prime example being Samarkand, one of the cities along the Silk Road. Yaffa Assouline, managing director of the luxury book publisher, travelled across the country with photographer Laziz Hamani to capture the exotic architecture and beautiful scenery of a country that remains off the beaten track as a tourist destination.
7/10 David Hockey: My Window
By David Hockney and Hans Werner Holzwarth
British artist David Hockney first started using an iPhone in 2009, followed by an iPad in 2010, and have come to see them as another medium for his art—the fact that he can flex his creative muscle before he even got out of bed in the morning was an added bonus. Hockney used both to capture the view outside his window at home, at different times of the day and at different seasons throughout the years, creating a picture diary of sorts. The art that was created on his iPhone feature broader lines and brighter colours, providing a contrast to the art created through his iPad, where there are more delicate lines and a sophisticated mix of shades. David Hockney: My Window contains 120 drawings from 2009 to 2012, arranged in chronological order by Hockney. The artist also signed each book— a collector’s edition that is numbered from 1,001 to 2,000.
8/10 Cabinet of Curiosities
By Massimo Listri, with Giulia ML Carciotto and Antonio Paolucci as authors
Cabinets of curiosities, also known as a Wunderkammer, houses a dazzling array of objects based on the collector’s interests—an opulent version of a catalogue for items from the fields of architecture, interior design, geology, botany and more. Aristocrats such as Francesco I de’ Medici, who was the grand duke of Tuscany, and Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg have indulged in the hobby, with the cabinet of curiosities seen as the precursor to the modern museum. Photographer Massimo Listri travelled to seven European countries to capture 19 chambers with their own treasure trove of curiosities, highlighting the most impressive finds from each collection.
9/10 Tom Kundig: Working Title
By Tom Kundig
Princeton Architectural Press
Celebrated Seattle-based architect Tom Kundig has released his fourth book, a large-format edition that features 29 outstanding projects. From single-family residences to hospitality and cultural structures from around the world, this anthology published by Princeton Architectural Press is a showcase of Kundig’s architectural and design prowess over the years.
Presented through stunning full-colour photographs, plans and sketches paired with insightful narratives, take a peek inside magnificent mansions in the US, Australia, Costa Rica, Brazil and Switzerland while facilities like the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, the Tillamook Creamery Visitor Center in Oregon and the high-performance 15-storey tower for South Korean luxury clothier Shingsegae International will take your breath away.
10/10 Studio Gang: Architecture
By Studio Gang
Chicago-headquartered firm Studio Gang believes in creating buildings that connect to ecological and social concerns—get insights into its creative approach in its new monograph, published by Phaidon. This monograph features 25 key projects such as the Writers Theatre and Aqua Tower, which are chronicled in themed sections that offer in-depth insights into the firm’s creative process.
“We don’t just want to go into a neighborhood and drop a building. We want to create architecture that’s adopted by people and becomes part of community life—places where people want to be, not just buildings,” says Jeanne Gang, founder of the firm.