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Five Art and Design Books for Your Summer Reading List

Cities unseen, a groundbreaking artist’s 60-year career, and nature as an element of design.


Photo by Toan Trinh

Out of the Woods: Architecture and Interiors Built from Wood, by Gestalten
Now that timber has been newly dubbed an eco-friendly substitute for concrete, the allure of one of nature’s oldest building materials is burgeoning today for its adaptability and universality. This hardcover reveals the fresh and creative ways wood is being applied in design, with examples ranging from plywood penthouses to Alpine chalets.

Out 11/17/20, $60, Gestalten.

The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt
Sometimes it’s easy to miss what’s right in front of you—especially when it comes to everyday design. Produced by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt of the 99% Invisible podcast, this illustrated guide reveals the elements people often overlook about cities, such as fire escapes and drinking fountains, by sharing intriguing stories behind how they’re built.

Out 10/6/20, $30, HMH Books.

Accidentally Wes Anderson, by Wally Koval
What originated as a travel bucket list to capture the distinctive worlds of filmmaker Wes Anderson has morphed into a global community of one million explorers and a book featuring more than 200 unique places rich in beauty and history. Showcasing architecture in locales around the world, the tome includes enticing photography coupled with intriguing tales behind every destination.

Out 10/20/20, $35, Voracious.

Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in the Modern Interior, by Penny Sparke
Whether it’s flora-filled Victorian houses or modern-day hotels with living walls, the globe’s most successful interiors have flourished when accentuated with flowers and plants. Nature Inside tells the story behind their history, impact, and popularity while digging deep into humanity’s perpetual need to capture the essence of the outdoors through interior design.

Out 2/23/21, $50, Yale University Press.

David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History, by Julie McGee et al.
A staunch advocate for Black artists, David Driskell is also celebrated for his own vibrant painting and printmaking, which unite his view of American landscapes with scenes of the African diaspora. This publication is the first to chronicle all of the late creator’s innovative 60-year career, complete with an essay by art historian Julie McGee and commentary from art-world luminaries.

Out 2/9/21, $50, Rizzoli.