As we emerge from lockdown, we’ll still need books to guide us. Here’s a diverse, illuminating selection for both daily life and daydreaming.
Words Catherine Coyle
One thing I’ve noticed over the past year is the sheer number of new dog owners. A symptom of lockdown (guaranteed companionship, unconditional love, reason to exercise)? Probably, but a welcome one because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a dog? Sally Muir certainly does. The artist’s latest book celebrates our faithful canine companions, but rather than focusing on the new breeds, pedigrees or cute Covid puppies, she has chosen to concentrate on old dogs. The idea gathered pace after she started posting a dog portrait each day, which led to her first best-selling book. Now, Old Dogs pays homage to the not-so-pretty, not-so-trendy but still very much loved dogs whose owners wanted portraits that captured the beauty of their cherished pets.
Juan Montoya’s designs are the stuff of dreams. Born in Colombia, he studied architecture in Bogotá and worked in Paris and Milan before setting up his eponymous interior design practice in 1978. His style has since become synonymous with modernist luxury, and the well-named Designing Paradise is testament to that. The book shows off tropical homes (including some never-seen-before projects) that respond to their natural environment and acknowledge the needs of their inhabitants, all without compromising on style. These chic abodes – glistening terraces, waterside pavilions, ocean-front idylls – are a reminder of why Montoya is regarded as the finest in his field.
Published to celebrate Marimekko’s 70th anniversary, this book offers a welcome insight into the label’s crucial contribution to contemporary design. Laird Borrelli-Persson, editor at Vogue.com, stitches together a compelling history of the design house that will appeal both to fans of the brand (it has a cult following that stretches well beyond its native Finland) and anyone interested in modern textiles, taking in its philosophy and its factory roots where the fabrics are created, and showcasing the incredible sourcebook of patterns and designs it has produced over the course of the last seven decades. There’s also a look to the future, with a focus on sustainability which, if its past is an indicator, should see Marimekko outlive us all.
£50, Thames & Hudson
SCOTLAND’S RURAL HOMES
Tempted to quit the city for a new
life in the country? This new title shows what is possible. It highlights nine stories of modern domestic architecture in Scotland: all take a unique approach but share a commitment to their natural surroundings. The author, John Brennan, knows his subject well – he’s an award-winning architect who has specialised in sustainable design. The homes he
focuses on here are as diverse as their individual rural settings. Alongside a wealth of photographs, drawings and plans, he reflects on the economic, historic and social contexts
encapsulated in each project, giving a fascinating insight into our desires as modern-day homeowners.
£45, Lund Humphries
One for the hardcore collector (whether that’s fashionista, design aficionado or bookworm), this limited-edition run of just 120 copies comes in a clamshell case with a vintage Pucci scarf. More than that, it tells a riveting tale that plays out like a Hollywood blockbuster. Born to one of the noblest dynasties in Italy, Emilio Pucci was a decorated war hero, Olympic sports star, politician and icon of the fashion world. His first foray into fashion was designing skiwear for his college team, and he went on to dress the world’s biggest stars, from Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy to Madonna. Vanessa Freidman’s text, alongside photos and archive drawings, frames the incredible achievements of this 20th-century designer. A £200 edition (minus case and scarf) is also available.
KELLY HOPPEN’S ESSENTIAL DESIGN SOLUTIONS FOR EVERY HOME
This is a practical book and one that will prove indispensable to anyone who’s caught the DIY bug and is looking for advice on how to create stylish but functional interiors. Kelly Hoppen has a reputation for glamorous, luxurious design but her ideas are applicable to all homes. Readers can see tried-and-tested schemes (there are more than 200 images), learn how to use colour, how to budget and how to accessorise for maximum impact. Hoppen also shares really useful tips on where costs can be cut and where it’s worth splashing out. It’s invaluable expert knowledge regardless of whether you are a first-time buyer or simply looking to refresh a tired space.
£14.99, Frances Lincoln
Looking for more? Check out these 6 books for the eco-conscious