Bianca Wendt is more or less our neighbour in the close-knit design community that surrounds east London, which we consider to be a privilege and an honour as she’s one of the best designers going as far as we’re concerned. We featured her in last year’s Annual for her work on Viewpoint magazine, a publication she continues to art direct, but she’s also constantly occupied with a huge range of fashion and arts-based clients, creating the kind of publications we like to unashamedly lust over. For someone with such a prestigious background in print we thought Bianca would surely be able to provide some interesting insights into her own personal bookshelf. And we weren’t wrong.
Overpainted Photographs: Gerhard Richter
This exhibition catalogue brings together the overpainted photographs of Gerhard Richter, one of my favourite artists. Images and text are kept in separate sections printed on two different paper stocks. Other than that there are no tricks, the book design is very clear; the photographs in chronological order with very simple captions.
The overpainted photos are deceptively simple. They look quite accidental, but then you notice how carefully these have been done – certain things are deliberately revealed or concealed, or colours in the paint match those in the photos. Absorbing and addictive.
Surreal, opulent, and more than a little sinister, this book offers a glimpse into the private mind of one of the most influential architects and designers of the 20th century. The Turinese architect Carlo Mollino was a true nonconformist: teacher, inventor of skiing techniques, acrobatic aviator, racing driver and womaniser. He also made thousands of photographic studies of female nudes, many in Polaroid, and a small proportion of the more than 1200 total are reproduced in this book.
Mollino’s furniture and interior designs were influenced by the form of the female body and this book shows the erotic polaroids alongside images of his decadent villa in Turin.
Philip Roth: Portnoy’s Complaint
I hope I’m not coming across as some kind of pervert now but this has to be one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I’d never even heard of a jerk circle until I read it.
Doctor Seuss: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
I don’t think I’m the first person on Bookshelf to mention this one, but I couldn’t resist as it’s my daughter’s current favourite. To be honest I think she just likes it for the pictures but I hope what she gets from it when she’s older is that life is amazing and you can do whatever you set your mind to – but it won’t all be plain sailing. A very sensible, down to earth message really for such a weird and wonderful book.
Edward Tufte: Visual Explanations
During my studies at St. Martins, Tufte was like God and although I haven’t had much cause to open it since then, I can’t deny the major influence this book had on me. One of my main points of reference whilst labouring away at my final work – a convoluted ‘Atlas of Personal Geographies’ – this book triggered an obsession with detail that I hope is still with me today.