• Michael-marriott-big

    Bookshelf: Michaeil Marriott

Furniture Design

Bookshelf: Michael Marriott

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

A Royal College of Art graduate who has since returned there to teach, Michael Marriott is a designer who’s brilliantly functional work leans toward the enormous potential of a ready made – their uses, misuses, function and disfunction as originals and within his own designs. Covering furniture, product and curatorial design, his practice is also about the conversations that surround his discipline, and so he has written, exhibited and of course, taught the idea of making as a mode for thought. As The London Design Festival wraps up, Marriott has provided five books that go a little further in illuminating his own motivations as a designer…

Models & Constructs: margin notes to a design culture Norman Potter

I discovered Norman Potter too late in life, first through his other excellent book How to Be a Designer. Both are very handsome books published by Hyphen Press and are like guide books for working, thinking and how to combine the two within your life – principles too. On encountering these books, they made me to want to know more about the man. It turned out he had taught quite a bit, setting up a course in Bristol called The Construction School (the title alone is genius and more pertinent now than ever), he also taught at the RCA on an interior design course with Richard Hamilton and Terence Conran. What an amazing group of tutors that must have been! He also spent some time banged up for his political beliefs and died too young on a bicycle. Big respect.
www.amazon.co.uk/models-and-constructs
www.hyphenpress.co.uk

Collected Words Richard Hamilton

Following on nicely from his fellow tutor is another key thinker of the late 20th century who died just a couple of days ago. Richard Hamilton was a great artist, he was also a brilliant, concise and witty writer, which is apparent in the title alone. The content follows through nicely with a collection of different pieces of writing gathered together. Kind of all those odds and ends of thinking and note taking, but assembled into a document with the same care as was apparent in his art. Proper essays on Duchamp and others, thoughts on technology, popular culture, art-making, education, marketing, and other miscellanea like letters and lecture notes.
www.amazon.co.uk/collected-words
www.wikipedia.org/richard-hamilton

Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert M Persig

I found a battered copy of this book on my brother’s bookshelf many years ago and started reading it one Christmas morning. Great title I always thought but probably a bit too hippy for me? Anyway, I couldn’t put it down; poetic, brilliant summing up of how to live life proper and do things properly. The title again, funnily enough, does what it says on the tin – combining seemingly hum-drum practical stuff with eastern/Buddhist philosophical thinking. Like life itself, the practical and the philosophical intertwined. I read much more recently The Case for Working with Your Hands: or Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good  after hearing it reviewed on Radio 4. It acknowledges it’s debt to Zen and co. and it’s good and all, but Zen just flows so much better – like warm honey.
www.amazon.co.uk/zen-and-the-art-of…
www.wikipedia.org/zen-and-the-art-of…

A Critic Writes, Essays by Reyner Banham Reyner Banham

Another book of collected writings by a key thinking figure from the late twentieth century, Banham has been referred to as the gonzo journalist of the design and architecture world. Whatever, he was a man of fantastic sharpness and wit who really knew how to put words together, similar to the way he would collide high and low art and culture. An engineering man with very English roots and such terrific enthusiasm. So much so, while working in the USA, he almost became a California cowboy. Otherwise well known as a cyclist, and of the small wheel variety, who only leant to drive to enable him to navigate Los Angeles. Also watch his fantastic 1972 BBC documentary, “Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles”: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1524953392810656786)
www.amazon.co.uk/a-critic-writes…
www.ucpress.edu/a-critic-writes…

De Architecture – James Wines

I discovered this book as a young man working as a technician at Middlesex Poly (it was so good having library at work!) James Wines was one of the founders of SITE, an art/architecture collective famous for designing the supermarkets for American chain Best. Although these stores were really great, James Wines’ book is even better. It talks through the ideas and inspirations behind the Best projects but more importantly sets out a kind of up-beat rallying post-modernist manifesto for thinking and making. There just feels like there is so much potential in the book. It’s a shame there weren’t more Mr. Best’s on their client list. Really engaging, thoughtful and full of such a great breadth of reference points. One of the most readable academic books on architecture I’ve come across. When he was speaking at the Barbican last year, I took a book along which he signed with handwriting so flowery it’s only just readable, and a self portrait thrown in for nothing.
www.amazon.co.uk/de-architecture
www.siteenvirodesign.com

www.michaelmarriott.com

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

  1. Main-books

    Guys it’s World Book Day! One of the only “days” of the year that people should really give a shit about (yeah I’m looking at you “National Play your Ukulele Day”). People all over the world are encouraging kids and adults to get their hands on a brand new book, or just glance at the spines of your well-thumbed publications on your dusty shelf that perhaps changed your life at some stage or another. In honour of this sacred day, we book-lovers at It’s Nice That have decided to pay homage to our own favourite tomes by listing them here for you today in our very own It’s Nice That Bookshelf. So in no particular order, here are the It’s Nice That editorial team’s favourite ever books. Tweet in yours too!

  2. Just_kids_cover-list-int

    How best to describe the enduring and ubiquitous influence of COS? The brand has become almost cult-like in its appeal since it was founded a mere eight years ago, creating designs which are somehow timeless and classic and simultaneously innovative.

  3. Dominic-wilcox-bookshelf-list-int

    There aren’t many designers out there who can count a pair of shoes with GPS tracking, a race against a 3D printer and a stained glass driverless car among their recent projects, but Dominic Wilcox isn’t just any old designer. In fact, the job title “inventor” seems to be more appropriate, given that he spends his days identifying gaps in the objects we use, and experimenting with materials to develop new and intriguing ways to fill them.

  4. 4_int_bookshelf_americasfav2-list

    Brooklyn-based graphic designer Elana Schlenker is not only the creator of “occasional pamphlet of typographic smut” Gratuituous Type, she’s also a freelancer with a magnificent array of colourful projects on her (frankly quite beautiful) website, a very good speaker, an exhibitor at exhibitions in Edinburgh and at London’s own KK Outlet. And she’s won a bunch of awards, too. Her aesthetic is pastel coloured without being sickly, innovative without feeling audacious and involves the kinds of books which just seem to make life nicer.

  5. Stevie-gee-rumble-fish-list

    Illustrator and art director Stevie Gee has a pretty solid place in our hearts; his work is a glorious collection of iconic retro elements, moustachioed men, skateboarding and surfing know-how and the occasional dollop of sleaze for good measure. His Bookshelf, however, secures him in It’s Nice That history forevermore; never before have a classic skateboard, several pairs of silken panties, such a delightful collection of textiles and a cat called Olive featured. His book collection is pretty good too, jumping from vintage erotic comic books to 70s psychedelia is one fell swoop. All hail Stevie Gee!

  6. Gourmand-list-int

    If you’ve passed an independent magazine stand or stepped into a newsagents of late then without a doubt you’ll have some idea of what The Gourmand is. The biannual journal focuses on food in all its guises, and it’s invariably too enticing not to pick up. Founded by David Lane and Marina Tweed, the magazine is something of a pulsating hub for cultural references, with every page bearing the kind of striking imagery that challenges accepted patterns of independent publishing, urging the whole industry forward. You can see why we decided to grab co-founder and creative director David Lane to run us through his five favourite inspirational books from the studio Bookshelf.

  7. Teoconnor-bookshelf-list-int

    If you’ve laid your eyes on a poster for one of Somerset House’s exhibitions recently then you’ve more than likely been looking at the work of Teo Connor’s eponymous east London design agency. Teo, who previously co-founded No Days Off, has since worked on a bunch of chic campaigns for the cultural institution, not to mention projects for Tate, Nike and the V&A. She’s also co-founder of The W Project, which champions women in the creative industries through a series of events and exhibitions, which means she basically ticks every box. Brilliant woman.

  8. Fonshickmann-bookshelf-2

    It’s not very often we have a selection of vintage porn magazines masquerading as a book about the history of cinema on It’s Nice That, and for this special occasion we have Professor Fons Hickmann, founder of Berlin studio Fons Hickmann m23, to thank – he stumbled across the rare finding at a French flea market.

  9. List

    Last week Apartamento’s co-founder and art director Omar Sosa mentioned an upcoming collaboration with artist Nathalie Du Pasquier in his Bookshelf feature, and purely by chance this week we have Nathalie herself running us through her favourite books. What a nice coincidence!

  10. New-omar-list_

    You know how, when going to the hair salon, you automatically and perhaps unfairly expect your hairdresser to be perfectly coiffed? We had a similar sense of anticipation when it came to admiring Omar Sosa’s favourite books – a kind of nervous hope that the man responsible for getting together with Nacho Alegre to co-found Apartamento, an eclectic and deftly-curated compilation of cool characters and the spaces they inhabit, has a similarly intriguing collection of books in his own home too.

  11. Lenka-list

    Artist Lenka Clayton has been a mainstay on It’s Nice That since way back in 2009, whether she’s doing very slow magic tricks, making drawings on a typewriter with friend and collaborator Michael Crowe, or making books about the 63 objects she has removed from her son’s mouth. With such a multidisciplinary practice we knew Lenka would have stacks of wonderful books tucked away, and we weren’t mistaken. “A few years ago I moved to America from England,” she explained, “so I have far fewer books at home than I used to, making this exercise quite easy. The books I chose are the ones that I sacrificed clothes space for in my suitcases.” It seems a good tactic, as these five are a wonderfully eclectic insight into Lenka’s work. Read on!

  12. Unnamed

    As co-founder of London-based studio 8vo, co-editor of Octavo, International Journal of Typography for all of its eight year-long life and now one half of typographic powerhouse MuirMcNeil, you’d imagine that Hamish Muir has built up a fairly comprehensive collection of design and typography-based publications over the 30 odd years he’s been working. Fortunately for you, we’ve done the legwork and gotten cold hard proof of it in the form of photographs of his top five, and it’s even better than we imagined.

  13. List

    Antenne Books is to independent art bookshops what cool kids are to playgrounds – generously exchanging the very best in Pokemon cards from their reserved spot on the climbing frame – except for the Pokemon cards are beautifully made books about art, photography, design and illustration, and the climbing frame is a neat website. They shared five of their favourite out-of-print publications, including some absolute bangers from Ari Marcopoulos and Ed Templeton, leaving us envious and awestruck in equal parts. For their full range, check out their website.