The Best Art & Design Books of 2014

Here are our top ten art and design books of the year, as chosen by our art & design specialist Margaret Snowdon. Displayed in no particular order.

Superlight: Lightness in Contemporary Houses by Phyllis Richardson

Superlight houses combine two strands of thinking: that lightweight buildings have less impact on their environments, and that this lightness (visually, materially, ecologically) can lead to more open living and greater communion with the surroundings. These beautiful, high-tech, hyper-intelligent houses take many forms – residences that appear to float, inflatable spaces – and appear world-wide.

100 Painters of Tomorrow by Kurt Beers

This intriguing collection of artists is the result of a major project to find the 100 most exciting, up-and-coming painters at work today. The artists were selected from over 4,000 entrants, from over 30 countries, by an international panel and the result is this fascinating collection of new painting.

WA: The Essence of Japanese Design by various

Through some 250 objects, this book explores contemporary Japanese design: from everyday objects and packaging to interior design and lighting elements. Ultimately, the book aims to explore the way in which Japanese design manages to harness its materials – whether natural or synthetic – and at the same time combines respect for tradition with forward thinking and experimentation.

Print: Fashion, Interiors, Art by Simon Clarke

Printed textiles are a dynamic design area with new mechanical and digital technologies opening up a wealth of creative possibilities. Witty, hyperreal and luxurious prints are being used by fashion and interior designers alike, while artists are harnessing the technology in their work to stunning effect. This is an inspiring showcase of the best use of this versatile medium from around the world.

Photography Today: A History of Contemporary Photography by Mark Durden

This major new survey of contemporary photography considers the work of 80–100 photographers. It traces the development of photography as an art form in each of these genres individually and also looks at the ties and links between them. Durden’s narrative reveals a complex story with numerous tangents – richly illustrated with 500 images, clearly and accessibly presented.

Mid-Century Modern Complete by Dominic Bradbury

Following the excellent Art Deco Complete and preceding Vintage Fashion Complete, is this delicious survey of one of the most popular, collectable and dynamic periods of international design. Offering a rich overview of all aspects of the subject, it covers furniture, lighting, glass, ceramics, textiles, product design, industrial design, graphics and posters, as well as architecture and interior design.

Kazimir Malevich by Achim Borchardt-Hume

A key figure in the early 20th Century, Kazimir Malevich was Russia’s most influential avantgarde artist. Looking at his paintings again brings home just how influential (along with Mondrian and Kandinsky) he has been. This expansive volume offers new insights and a detailed exploration of many of his drawings, teaching activities and revolutionary ideas.

Why You Can Go Out Dressed Like That: Modern Fashion Explained by Marnie Fogg

Many people throw their hands up in horror or disbelief at the more inventive end of hautecouture. In an informed defence of innovative fashion, Marnie Fogg champions the improbable, the provocative, the uncomfortable and the seemingly ridiculous. Inspired by diverse theories, concepts and sources – from Carmen Miranda to zoot suits – this book explores the groundbreaking work of designers who strive to extend the boundaries of their creativity.

The Monocle Guide to Good Business by Monocle

Design is often thought of in tangible terms such as fashion, interiors or how something like a magazine looks. However, the best intentions of design can influence all aspects of our lives, culminating in better, happier people. Monocle’s new book applies good design to the world of business – from how you run the show to the pens you buy.

Mies van der Rohe: The Built Work by Carsten Krohn

This comprehensive Mies monograph focuses its analysis on Mies’s design intentions: it reconstructs the buildings in their original state, examines them from the present day perspective and rediscovers the inspiring architecture of a great modern master. The book presents 80 of Mies’s works in chronological order.

Cover image for Why You Can Go Out Dressed Like That: Modern Fashion Explained

Why You Can Go Out Dressed Like That: Modern Fashion Explained

Marnie Fogg

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