Monthly Design Review - September 2021

This month we contemplate the summer that's coming to an end, and how the liberating spirit of vacation can influence art and design. Some holiday design inspiration is always a good thing!


POOLSIDE WITH SLIM AARONS (Slim Aarons, 2007)

Slim Aarons was one of the most influential magazine photographers of his generation, concentrating on jet-setters and the wealthy, and beautiful, glittering people living the glamorous life. In this book the main character is the pool and everything that goes with it - magnificent suntanned bodies, well-oiled skin, bikini-clad women, yachts, summer cocktails, sumptuous buffets, and, above all, fun.


Buy the book here.


LIVING ON VACATION: Contemporary Houses for Tranquil Living (Phaidon, 2020)

The book explores the architectural possibilities of leisure architecture in a varied survey of spaces used exclusively for retreat and rejuvenation. The buildings featured run from sun-drenched private islands and peaceful lakeside cottages, to intimate mountain hideaways and secluded desert villas.

Buy the book here.


CAPE LIGHT (Joel Meyerowitz, 1978)

Joel Meyerowitz's series of serene and contemplative color photographs taken on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, quickly became one of the most influential and popular photobooks after its publication in 1978, breaking new ground both for color photography and for the medium's acceptance in the art world.


Though Meyerowitz had begun shooting in color on the streets of New York a decade earlier, it was this collection of photographs that brought his sensitive color photography to wider notice. Meyerowitz is a contemporary master of color photography, and this powerful, captivating photobook is a classic of the genre.

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Buy the book here.

LIFE'S A BEACH (Martin Parr, 2013)

Martin Parr has been photographing the topic of the beach for many decades, documenting sunbathers, rambunctious swimmers caught mid-plunge and the eternal sandy picnic. This compilation presents photos of beachgoers on far-flung shores, including Argentina, Brazil, China, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Japan, the United States, Mexico, Thailand, and of course, the U.K.


The compilation brings to the forefront Parr's engagement with a cherished subject matter—that rare public space in which general absurdities and local quirks seamlessly fuse together. This book shows Parr at his best, startling us with moments of captured absurdity and immersing us in rituals and traditions associated with beach life the world over.


Buy the book here.

CONEY ISLAND: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008 (Robin Jaffee Frank, 2015)

Called “America’s playground,” Coney Island is a world-famous resort and national cultural symbol that has inspired music, literature, and films. This book accompanied a nation-wide exhibition exploring the site’s enduring status as inspiration for artists throughout the ages.


This catalogue highlights more images from Coney Island’s history, including paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, posters, film stills, architectural artifacts, and carousel animals. Essays by prominent scholars analyze Coney Island through its imagery and ephemera as both a place and an idea—one that reflected the collective soul of the nation.



Buy the book here.


FRENCH RIVIERA AND ITS ARTISTS: Art, Literature, Love, and Life on the Côte d'Azur (John Baxter, 2015)



Author and filmmaker John Baxter takes readers on a whirlwind tour through the star-studded cultural history of the Côte d’Azur that’s sure to delight travelers, Francophiles, and culture lovers alike. Readers will discover the dramatic lives of the legendary artists, writers, actors, and politicians who frequented the world’s most luxurious resort during its golden age. These luminaries celebrated life and created art amid paradise and this book is the ultimate guide to the Riviera’s golden age.

Buy the book here.

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