This is the Ultimate coffee table book. Its full of great pictures of all sorts of curiosities from shells, to butterflies and even a chapter on snakes that anyone would learn to love. It's a big book at almost 10lbs but boy, will your friends ever be impressed!
I have to admit that this is a bit of an eclectic choice, but I love this book. It is about indigenous design and how by looking at communities that have grown organically, we can learn to see patterns that we can then apply in the way we organize our new cities and towns. It also has some of the same wisdom to apply to the way you look at the space in your own home. It is simply organized into a series of observations, so it's not a book to sit and read in one session, but enjoy it over time, perfect for beside the bed.
Well this is the part of the list that starts getting a bit personal. I remember when I lived in Australia, that I read about this building by a young architect that was going to revolutionize the way Australians look at their vernacular architecture. I had my parents drive me 6 hours to Kempsey to see this new little museum. It made me fall in love with architecture and has stayed with me ever since. Well that architect was Glenn Murcutt, and he has gone on to be justly lauded by everyone and their dog, including the Pritzker Prize. If you get this book you will never look at a barn or simple farm shed the same way again.
While on the topic of never looking at things the same way again, along comes this book on Los Angeles. The city gets a bad rap for being part of just a large urban sprawl, but this book by famed photographer Tim Street-Porter is an homage to the city he loves. It is put together in such a way that he has assembled his own street scenes, from a series of different photo's. Los Angeles has never looked so good, and it's clear to see his passion about this much maligned city, it is indeed, ready for it's close up.
I am sitting in one as I write this. The work horse of Interior Design, the chair, finally gets the star treatment. This book follows the humble piece of furniture on it's stylistic travel through time. Whether modernist or traditionalist this book is essential reading.