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    A peek inside the bookshelf of mega-blog, Cool Hunting


Bookshelf: The guys over at Cool Hunting take us on a tour of their bookshelf

Posted by Liv Siddall,

You don’t often get a personal look into the brains behind a famous online publication, but this is your lucky day. First a royal baby, and now this! Cool Hunting is a blog that’s pretty dominant in the art and design world. They seem to cover pretty much everything that’s cool, be it bikes, shops, design, illustration, art, films, food, booze…I could go on. So what better people to ask to recommend us some ultra-cool books than the people that make the website happen?! Picking one publication each (well, in Evan’s case, two) to tell you about, here are the Kings of Recommendation, The Content Excavators, the Cool Hunting staff…

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    John Pawson: A Visual Inventory. Josh Rubin’s Pick.

John Pawson: A Visual Inventory. Josh Rubin’s Pick.

A selection from the over 250,000 images Pawson has amassed through his design research, the book is a masterpiece unto itself. His attention to detail and ability to filter down to the essentials is inspiring. The fact that he has published the by-product of his work as an architect is something I can relate to as Cool Hunting was originally a by-product of my digital design work.

  • Evan

    Peggy Treadwell: Working Couple’s Cookbook. Evan Orensten’s picks.

Peggy Treadwell: Working Couple’s Cookbook. Evan Orensten’s pick.

I love this 1971 cookbook for its awesome illustrations by the now famous commercial artist Romero Britto, and for its simple but very unique premise – recipes that two people can cook together.

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    Edward Gorey: Amphigorey

Edward Gorey: Amphigorey. Evan Orensten’s pick.

This compilation includes fifteen of Edward Gorey’s illustrated works. Though I have most of the books, I love having all of them in one book that I can reference and enjoy.

  • Greg

    Danish Porn. Greg Stefano’s Pick.

Danish Porn. Greg Stefano’s Pick.

While my first inclination was to choose Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End or Rudy Rucker’s Wetware due to my lifelong sci-fi and cyberpunk obsession, Danish Porn jumped to the top of the list. Written by the same gentleman who put together Danish Tattooing, Danish Porn chronicles the rich and dynamic history of the pornography industry in Denmark from nude postcards traded in the shadows during the 1800s to more contemporary lewd acts. This book has been sitting on my desk for over a year and whenever I have some down time I flip through the pages to explore a different era of Scandinavian eroticism. Well researched and extremely comprehensive, the book provides some fascinating insight into the evolution of pornography with plenty of supporting imagery.

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    Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss? Graham Hiemstra’s pick.

Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss? Graham Hiemstra’s pick.

Above all else, I appreciate graphic designer James Victore for the sheer size of his balls. Victore is outspoken and to the point, and really good at what he does. Because of this, much, if not all of his work is influenced by personal experience and more than a bit of passion, giving his work a certain strength few others are able to achieve. Plus I dig that he signs his illustrations like an artist would.

This book takes a career-wide look at some 48 of his more renowned projects and their often emotionally charged backstories, offering a rare look inside the mind of the man himself. And even if you can’t read, his unique illustration style is more than enough entertainment in itself.

  • Karen

    Paul Fusco: RFK Funeral Train (signed edition) Karen Day’s pick.

Paul Fusco: RFK Funeral Train (signed edition) Karen Day’s pick.

When I saw one of the photos from Paul Fusco’s RFK Funeral Train series enlarged and on display at Pulse Fair in Miami a few years ago, I couldn’t stop staring at it. A visibly poor family is lined up along the tracks, and all five of the shirtless children are standing at attention and look as though, while they likely didn’t understand the politics at that age, they could understand that the passing of Robert F. Kennedy was a huge loss for the nation. There’s so much emotion present in these images, and together you not only get a genuine glimpse at the times, but you can really see that no matter the color of their skin, religious pursuits or yearly income, Kennedy’s assassination affected everyone, and they were eager to salute and show their respects as his coffin traveled from New York to Washington, DC on that hot summer day. To me, this is an extremely honest portrait of America in 1968.

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    Cool Hunting’s Bookshelf

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    Cool Hunting’s Bookshelf

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    Cool Hunting’s Bookshelf


Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

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    Having founded London-based design studio Build in 2001, creative director Michael C. Place has amassed his fair share of books in his time, with a healthy combination of design knowledge to be found tucked between the spines on the studios (admirably well-organised) shelf. We’ve been championing Build’s work on the site for some time now, so what better way to get an insight into the inspirations behind their snazzy work than by hearing from the creative director himself about his favourite reading material? Between Letraset catalogues, reflections on legend Wim Crouwel and Michael’s mate Blam (who has excellent taste in books) we were not disappointed.

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    “In February 2013, 18 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.” That’s the opening statement on the website of graphic novelist Matilda Tristram, who channeled this painful chapter of her life into a bestselling comic entitled Probably Nothing. We interviewed Matilda a while back on the site and were so intrigued by her story, we had to know more. In this revealing, insightful Bookshelf, Matilda shows us the fantastic books that have inspired her to be one of the most important and engaging graphic novelists working today. Here she is…

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    Yay! Hato Press! We love them. A lot. Neighbours of ours, Hato have spent the last five years collaborating with some of the coolest young creatives and oldest institutions to create impeccably beautiful printed matter and design solutions. A number of the publications these guys have produced are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding/smelling, and it seems that every single thing they do or work on is covered in a glimmering magic dust that is exclusive to only them. Before you go and wet your pants over their multi-disciplinary work on their very nice websites (here and here) check out the books that have inspired them over the years below. Enjoy!

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    Satirical artist and very funny woman Miriam Elia is something of a pro when it comes to books; last year she self-published We Go to the Gallery, a satirical reinterpretation of a 1960s Ladybird book which seeks to help parents explain sex, death and contemporary art to their young ones, complete with a handy glossary of new words to learn. She’s since co-curated an exhibition about Pastiche, Parody and Piracy at London’s Cob Gallery, while other past works include I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… and It Was TOTALLY MEANINGLESS about her relationship with Martin Creed. Hilarious? Yes. Yes it is. Miriam’s Bookshelf includes lovingly weathered books about typography, photography, flesh-eating plants and Butlins holiday camps, giving a neat insight into her brain.

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    John Tebbs is an English gardener who, frustrated by the fact that “many of his working days are held hostage to the weather” founded The Garden Edit in the winter of 2013. His idea was to spend his downtime as productively as possible, creating an online store of beautiful objects which he sourced and sold himself. The resulting curated collection reflects John’s faultless aesthetic, selling “minimal, well-designed products from craftspeople, artists, publishing houses and family-run businesses” alongside a Journal which features short articles by some of his favourite figures about their own horticultural escapades, from rooftop gardens to illustrations of plants.

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    With 25 years experience in magazine design, not to mention eight years of covering the extensive subject under the title magCulture, it’s a wonder we haven’t already metaphorically burst into Jeremy Leslie’s house and insisted he share his five favourite examples of printed matter right then and there. Instead, we caught him in the build up to The Modern Magazine 2014, the conference which takes place annually in the midst of London Design Festival to shine a torch on the current state of editorial creativity, as well as new directions for the industry.

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    Danielle Pender is the brain at the helm of Riposte magazine, one of the most exciting new publications created to champion the women doing exciting work in the creative industries today, as well as working at KK Outlet, the London outpost of communications agency KesselsKramer, so can you blame us for wanting to have a poke about her bookshelf? Her selection gives a generous insight into the process behind putting together a magazine, from the issue of National Geographic which led her and Riposte’s creative director Shaz Madani to consider a text-based front cover for the magazine (“I’m really happy we had the balls to go with it”) and the all-time hero she dreams of interviewing, with a few other gems thrown in for good measure. She technically stretched her five books to seven, but we let her off because they’re all so damn interesting.

  9. Main

    I always had a hunch that Bruno Bayley was the kind of guy with a great bookshelf – you can just tell that he’s a hoarder of the weird, the kind of person who would rather stumble upon someone’s diary in a forest than, say, a suitcase full of cash. London-based Bruno is the European managing editor of Vice, which allows him to take his curiosity for the dark corners of the world and pump them out to those who want to know but perhaps can’t be bothered to look. His articles are some of the best on Vice at the moment, so go and check them out after you’ve read his deeply interesting, peculiar top five books. Excuse us while we go and subscribe to the Fortean Times

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    London-based photographer Catherine Losing is exactly our cup of tea; working with the crème de la crème of collaborators from set designers to food stylists, she takes photographs which are colourful, dynamic, bold and immediately recognisable. Unsurprisingly then, her bookshelf is among the very best-stocked of them all, complete with Martin Creed, Barbara Hepworth and Toilet Paper magazine, and most importantly they’re all seriously well-thumbed and chockablock with Post-its.

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    When you ask a couple of creatives who work in a former kindergarten in east Berlin (as we learned in an interview many moons ago) to show you their book collection, you hope to see some pretty cool and quirky publications. Doris and Daniel of Golden Cosmos have not let us down.

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    Design and animation are maybe a bit overlooked when it comes to selecting people whose bookshelves we’d like to share with you. With that in mind this week’s collection comes from the very lovely folks at interactive design and animation studio Animade. They recently incorporated Hover Studio into their midst too, making them collectively one of our favourite groups of creative brains in a five mile radius. Their bookshelf has a serious digital and animation lean, so budding animators and interactive designers, gather round to find out the tomes that’ll yield the secrets of your trade.

  13. List

    When we received a copy of illustrated sine Steak Night through the door a couple of weeks ago (check it out in Things here) we were pleasantly surprised to find that Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke is not only a musician, but a keen writer too. Intrigued, we hunted him down and grilled him about his Bookshelf, which turns out to be an incredibly well-stocked selection of graphic novels and comic books, with a little photography thrown in too. He’s multi-talented and he’s got great taste! Here’s Kele telling us about his choices.