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1 See Yourself Sensing edited by Madeline Schwartzman

This fascinating book chronicles sensory-based projects that redefine the relationship between humans and inanimate objects, and the examples form an intriguing cross-section of the beautiful and bizarre. One chapter deals with prosthetics that extend bodily functions, such as Janine Antoni’s sculpture that enables women to urinate while standing, and the “Environments” chapter focuses on surrounding space, as with Philip Beesley’s motion-sensitive kinetic textile curtains. (Review by Samantha Edwards)


2 The Design Work of Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby essays by Deyan Sudjic and Zoe Ryan

This charming duo – responsible for the 2012 Olympic torch design – shows off their extraordinarily thoughtful work with this stunning portfolio of giant, lush photographs. Highlighted works include such better-known pieces as a nautical-inspired blown glass lamp for Venini; the clever Tip Ton chair for Vitra; and exterior cladding for H&M in Los Angeles, one of their first forays into architecture. Watch our interview with Barber and Osgerby here. (Review by Nina Boccia)

RIZZOLI ISBN 9780847835409

3 Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible by Sophie Lovel and Klaus Kemp

One for the critic on your list whose only guiding commandments are Rams’s Ten Principles for Good Design. It’s an exhaustive visual chronology worthy of an icon who has revolutionized our modern world – and is admired by such design titans as Naoto Fukasawa and Jonathan Ive. The book includes Rams’s guiding principles, a timeline of every product he has produced, candid portraits of him at work, and prototypes from the Braun archives. (Review by David Dick-Agnew)

PHAIDON PRESS ISBN 9780714849188

4 Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder by Ken Greenberg

The Toronto author and architect has been a leading urban designer for over three decades, rejuvenating downtowns, waterfronts, and blighted industrial sites in Toronto, New York, Amsterdam and Detroit. In this highly lauded book, Greenberg describes his childhood in Brooklyn, followed by the family’s moves out to the suburbs and back to the city – shifts that have informed his work. He discusses planners – including the late and great Jane Jacobs – and decision makers who have influenced the street networks and buildings that define neighbourhoods. (Review by Mazyar Mortazavi)


5 Hella Jongerius: Misfit by Paola Antonelli, Alice Rawsthorn, Louise Schouwenberg

A showcase of Jongerius’ prolific career thus far shares the recurring trait of embracing imperfections – the misfits. The upholstery buttons on her Polder Sofa for Vitra, for instance, don’t match the cushions; vases are wrapped with packing tape; and a bathroom sink is cast in rubbery polyurethane. (Review by Catherine Osborne)

PHAIDON PRESS ISBN 978-0714859873

6 Reveal: Studio Gang Architects edited by Jeanne Gang, foreward by Moshen Mostafavi

Chicago’s Studio Gang has become one of the world’s hottest firms, with numerous innovative local projects to its credit, including the city’s now iconic Aqua residential tower and the Maisonette residence. This book offers a look at the studio’s inner workings: scribbled notes, email correspondence with engineers, and drawings and photographs that candidly examine the day-to-day processes informing each project. (Review by Elizabeth Pagliacolo)


7 Architects Sketchbooks edited by Will Jones, foreward by Narinder Sagoo

This hefty compendium of renderings by 86 famous (and not-so-famous) builders offers an intriguing look at how architects really do adhere to the old napkin sketch cliché. Regular Azure contributor, Will Jones has rounded up hundreds of personal drawings that range from simple pen-and-inks by Shigeru Ban and cartoonish drawings by compulsive penciller Norman Foster, to full-on watercolours by Rafael Viñoly and outlandish abstracts by Will Alsop. (Review by Diane Chan)


8 Tools for Living: A Sourcebook of Iconic Designs for the Home by Charlotte and Peter Fiell

This ultimate domestic bible is packed with the most beautifully crafted products ever created for the modern Westernized home, including Enzo Mari’s perpetual wall calendar, and the all-time favourite Dyson DC25 vacuum. It’s all so seductive – it offers the kind of detail that makes you want to slap a Post-it on every other page and tag it with “want.” (Review by Nina Boccia)

FIELL ISBN 978-1906863012

9 Project Japan: Metabolism Talks by Rem Koolhaas, Hans Ulbrich Obrist

A collection of interviews with the masterminds behind the movement that radically rebuilt post-war Japan, including Arata Isozaki, Fumihiko Maki and Noritaka Tange. This hefty tome features hundreds of never-before-seen photos and architectural models depicting the Metabolists at work. (Review by Catherine Osborne)

TASCHEN 978-3836525084

Pick up Azure‘s November/December 2011 issue, currently on newsstands, for more great holiday ideas.

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