Gift Guide: Five books on mid-century modern

Gift Guide: Five books on mid-century modern

For Eames lovers, Schindler devotees and admirers of all things mid-century, these five books celebrate the era’s best architecture and design, as well as the photographers who immortalized it. 

Mid-century modern design may be perennially popular, but we’ve recently received an unusually vast  array of books on the subject. These new tomes are filled with photographs of iconic designs of the post-war period, which gave us Alvar Aalto’s Paimio chair, Philip Johnson’s Glass House and Alexander Girard’s bold textiles.

Schindler, Kings Road, and Southern California Modernism by Robert Sweeney and Judith Sheine.

This 116-page hardcover focuses on Rudolph Schindler’s Kings Road house in West Hollywood. With its exposed concrete shell and sliding glass panel walls, the house is considered one of his masterworks. Featuring photographs by Timothy Sakamoto, the book recounts the story of the house’s construction and inhabitants, and places its completion within the context of Schindler’s career.

Mid-Century Modern: Living with Mid-Century Modern Design by Judith Miller

Judith Miller is a renowned antiques expert and go-to source for design appraisers. In Mid-Century Modern, the spotlight is on the furniture, ceramics and glassware, textiles and lighting from the fertile 40s, 50s and 60s, with special attention given to Scandinavian and Italian objects. Both icons and lesser-known products by Alvar Aalto, the Eameses, Warren Platner, Eero Saarinen, and others pack this colourful 256-page volume.

Selwyn Pullan: Photographing Mid-Century West Coast Modernism by Kiriko Watanabe, Adele Weder, Donald Luxton and Barry Downs

One of a number of books that honour the ace photographers who captured early modernism, this monograph focuses on Vancouver’s Selwyn Pullan. The book supplies ample evidence of his love for the geometry of the West Coast’s post-and-beam homes. Along with black-and-white and colour photos, the book includes essays, including one by Azure contributor Adele Weder, that illuminate Pullan’s career, methods and his effect on the popular impression of modernist architecture.

Ezra Stoller: Photographer edited by Nina Rappaport and Erica Stoller

Along with essays by architectural critics and photography experts, this book includes hundreds of photos Ezra Stoller took during a prolific career. Alongside icons such as Fallingwater and Philip Johnson’s Glass House are more public spaces, including department store interiors, Miami parking structures and architectural models by SOM.

Maynard L. Parker: Modern Photography and the American Dream edited by Jennifer A. Watts

Maynard L. Parker was one of the postwar period’s most prolific architectural photographers and an expert at staging residential spaces to give them broad popular appeal. This book includes highlights of his work drawn from shelter magazines from the 30s through the 60s. In background notes for every house Parker shot, the optimism of the postwar era shines through.

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