A selection of unique coffee table books.

Coffee tables are the centrepieces of our living spaces, on top of which sits a carefully curated selection of objects, props, and art books. The coffee table mirrors who we are and who we want to be. Indeed, our coffee table book selection reflects our identity, is a window into our dreams, and is a treasure of what we hold close to our hearts. As we continue curating our coffee tabletop, we forge an exchange between our living spaces and our essence.

From Fashion to Architecture, we are rounding up a list of ten unique art books from different international publishers.

١. Fashion

Cinzia Says by Cinzia Ruggeri | Mousse Publishing

This is the first major survey of artist and fashion designer Cinzia Ruggeri (1942–2019), a unique figure of Italian postmodernism who moved freely across disciplines. From clothing and accessories to furniture and lighting—as well as sculptural installations often including these objects—Ruggeri created worlds that were continually imaginative, provocative, elegant and unpredictable. 

٢. Photography

Holding the Camera by Alberto Vieceli | Specter Books

“How one tilts the camera, holds it with both hands in front of the waist. How one looks through the viewfinder, gazes one-eyed into the world. How one hides it in stockings, behind the back, and how one lets it peep out from behind the corner of a building, as though it were a detective. Holding the Camera shows a pictorial genre from the now extinct era of analogue photography. Like the dinosaurs, supposedly the victims of a violent meteorite bombardement, also these images that were once distributed a million times over in instructions and advertisements, have been erased, deleted.”

– Nadine Olonetzky

٣. Art History

The Share of Sand by Ramses Younan | Zaman Books

The first official monograph project around this major figure and member of the Egyptian surrealists group, this volume gathers an exhaustive catalogue of Ramses Younan’s paintings, drawings and visual experimentations with an anthology of critical essays about and by the artist. But these also reveal to us a multi-faceted Younan as philosopher, art critic, translator and above all a catalyst for the global cultural revolution, emerging from the ruins of fascisms and former colonial empires. 

٤. Interior Design

Berlin Living Rooms by Dominique Nabokov | Apartemento Magazine

‘When I received an invitation from the American Academy in Berlin to spend a few months in the German capital, I knew it would be my last chance to at last make Berlin Living Rooms. The Berlin of 2014 was a far cry from the divided and battered Berlin of the 1960s and 1970s I had known. It was now a glorious city where all the young people of the world wanted to move and where many famous artists had chosen to work. The Berliner Luft was still contagious. I embarked on my voyeuristic journey with the gusto and curiosity of a new visitor’.

—Dominique Nabokov

٥. Design

Cover by Peter Mendelsund | PowerHouse Books

Peter Mendelsund has enjoyed years as a much-sought-after book cover designer and art director. Among the many recognizable jackets he has created are those for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; collections of the works of Joyce, Kafka, Dostoevsky, de Beauvoir, and Foucault. Cover abounds with Mendelsund’s completed book jackets along with ephemera from his previously unseen creative method, including jacket sketches, interior art and editorial illustrations, and scores of rejected drafts. These images are punctuated by Mendelsund’s reflections on his work and his process, as well as by texts from writers with whom he has worked and designed for.

٦.  Typography

Optimum Type by Wang Shaoquiang, Fabrizio Morra | Hoaki Books

We see before we read. We are attracted by the character of a word before getting its meaning. A tailor-made creative type makes use of this effect, visualising a specific brand to deliver its ideas and make the brand stand out among the crowd. To create an optimum type, designers must understand the brands’ philosophies, communicate and empathise with the clients, and reach a perfect solution with their professional skills. Readers can draw a lesson from their work processes and their solution proposals, and get inspiration on how to design a type that satisfies their clients and makes them go wow!

٧. Film

Film Stills by R.W. Fassbinder|Schirmer/ Mosel

A visual distillate of Fassbinder’s art, with key stills from each of his movies, an essay by German film historian Hans Helmut Prinzler, and a birthday message by John Waters. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, cinephile self-taught and giant of the young German film of the 1960s and 70s, left behind an oeuvre of 44 films on his untimely death in 1982, which emerged in just 17 years – from the Stadtstreicher (1966) to the posthumously published Querelle (1982).

٨. Music

Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen | DAP Artbooks

The first publication to present the holdings of the Leonard Cohen Family Trust, Everybody Knows: Inside His Archive immerses readers in the many facets of Cohen’s creative life. Images of rare concert footage and archival materials, including musical instruments, notebooks, lyrics and letters, are featured alongside photographs, drawings and digital art created by Cohen across several decades. Aware from an early age that he was destined to make a mark on this world, Cohen preserved an expansive collection of letters, journals, manuscripts, sketches and records.

٩. Nature

Garden Futures | Vitra Design Museum

Garden Futures examines what gardens and their design reveal about our relationship to nature. In exploring the history of ideas behind the genesis of the modern garden, the book takes a close look at the present, goes in search of origins in the past and builds bridges into the future. Historical photo-essays consider the garden as a political space; authors and gardeners including Gilles Clement and Jamaica Kincaid present the garden as a place of learning where abstract concepts like ecology, climate change and food insecurity are translated into things you can smell, touch and taste. 

١٠. Architecture

African Modernism: The Architecture of Independence | Park Books

African Modernism investigates the close relationship between architecture and nation-building in Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Zambia. It features one hundred buildings with brief descriptive texts, images, site plans, and selected floor plans and sections. The vast majority of images were newly taken by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster for the book’s first edition. Their photographs document the buildings in their present state. Each country is portrayed in an introductory text and a timeline of historic events.

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