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Saturday, August 11, 2007

5 Favorite Books: Design Icons

I was reading about John Saladino yesterday, and in his bio he mentioned Van Day Truex, and it got me thinking about some of the true (no pun intended) design Icons, people who, almost single-handedly created this profession. So today my book selections honor those folk. I hope that you enjoy the list, there probably are not a lot of surprises on it, but if there are books here you don't have they will be worthwhile additions to your collections.

Truex attended Parsons School of Design just after it's founding and went on to become it's President from 1942- 1952 as well as Director for Design at Tiffany's. His Interior Design clients included some of the most well known of the east-coast elite. This figure, known as much for his design talent as his social skill, is probably one of the most influential figures in Interior Design of the 20th Century. Its a great story from small town boy to Design Arbiter, and a perfect book for anyone looking for an insight into that world.

Yes, I know that Diana Vreeland was not an Interior Designer, but in her role as columnist for Bazaar and then Editor of Vogue, this dynamo of a woman has done more to educate people about design, and the value of taste, than almost anyone else. Her story of unrelenting standards and ability to spot and create trends, I found to be inspirational.

No list of Design Icons would be complete without Albert Hadley. Student and subsequently friend of Van Day Truex, also great friend of Billy Baldwin and then partner to Sister Parish, he has seen it all. This book has some great images, including the work he did for Mrs Vincent Astor and the Kennedy White House. I love also that it includes some of his sketches as well, so you can really see his design intent.

A great book about Maison Jansen, a French Design house. Working with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, as well as the Shar of Iran, they created some of the most elegant interiors of the time. Lavishly illustrated, this book is great eye candy, and a terrific addition to any library.

I really like this book. When it first came out on Amazon, it did not get great reviews, people complained that most of the images are black and white, which is problematic since Drapers' work is all about color, but I think that misses the point. Her work captured the drama and spirit of the time, and while most of the projects are large scale homes or hotels, it makes for a terrific read especially for anyone interested in that period. I liked it.

1 comment:

Fairfax said...

You know me... BIG Carleton Varney fan! I should really get one of his books published THIS century!