London-based designer and art director Shaz Madani is the woman responsible for Riposte magazine’s fresh aesthetic. The mag is now on its seventh issue, and Shaz also manages to balance a plethora of other design projects while creating the mag. Most recently these include Giles Duley’s photobook One Second of Light, the MoMA-published tome Design and Violence and an album design for Rival Consoles.
We were keen to find out what books have helped shaped Shaz’s career along the way and her selections reflect her minimalist sensibilities. From an introduction to typography given to Shaz during her uni days to a copy of Vanity Fair in its first incarnation, the designer’s bookshelf is a dream to peruse.
Victor Vasarely: Vasarely IV (Plastic arts of the twentieth century)
I just love this cover; graphic, memorable and monumental, it sums up the genius of Victor Vasarely. Known as the grandfather of Op art, this book is a showcase of his environmental and architectural works. As the book describes, these works do not just “decorate the walls”, they “compose them”.
They melt into the architecture and make for true integration and immersion of the viewer into his canvas. What strikes me most is his ability to create such wonderfully emotive and colourful arrangements of forms and patterns through a very mathematical and logical approach, and mostly just using the basic circle, square, and hexagon.
Cal Swann: Techniques of Typography
I was given this by a friend while I was at uni. It’s a simple and concise introduction and explanation to typography and its reproduction. Although some elements might seem out of date now, most of its teachings are timeless and essential to understanding the basic principals of the handling of type.
Beatrice Gross, Lucy R. Lippard and Rosalind E. Krauss: Sol LeWitt
I’ve always been a fan of Sol LeWitt. This is just a great collection of his work and includes some interesting interviews and essays in the back. The book itself is a beautiful, minimal and solid object, in dense yellow and with flush trimmed edges – it sure does pack a punch!
Sanyo Wada: A dictionary of colour Combinations
This is a compact, but perfectly formed, book of colour combinations by Sanzo Wada, a Japanese artist, teacher and costume designer. It catalogues over 300 colour combinations in pairs and groups, with a beauty and balance that can only be expected from a Japanese sensibility. I turn to this book almost every time I need to work with colour.
Lastly, a facsimile edition of Vanity Fair from 1914-1936. I’m not quite sure how I came to own this but I recall as a child this was a highly precious item to me. Growing up in Iran it was a rare glimpse into the other side… Of course I couldn’t read it but would pour over this for hours, meticulously examining the handsome pictures and the fanciful lettering and illustrations.
It’s mostly filled with ads for perfumes, toothpaste, fashion, cars, cigars, boats, and some funny articles intended for the aspirational high society types. Looking at it now I get a very strange sense of nostalgia.
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