A stupefying collection of design from the patchwork of Northern European nation states vaguely known as “Scandinavia,” Scandinavian Design is both eye candy and an education.
Through 700+ biography-driven illustrated pages we’re led from the decorative to the industrial, from the design we live with every day and rarely consider, to the pieces we covet, and to the innovations that never made it past their prototype.
When we think of Scandinavian Design we tend to think mid-century – the sexy bent wood furniture of Alvar Aalto, the smooth forms of Dansk, the irresistibly groovy world of Verner Panton – and while the book does give ample space to the iconic, we’re reminded that Scandinavian design doesn’t begin and end mid-twentieth century. The authors cover every significant Northern European design influence over the past 100+ years, from the arcane to the ordinary, from slippers to Saabs, while providing an important and intriguing contextual relationship that allows for a more meaningful understanding of the influences and evolution that informs one design development to another. And because there are never more than two or three pages devoted to any one designer or design house, you can jump in anywhere and get a design fix on the fly.
Highlighting the modern while encouraging us to contemplate the simple, functional, everyday beauty that is Fiskars scissors, Electrolux vacuums, Legos, or a set of stacking spouted melamine mixing bowls by Rosti, there are surprises here of all stripes – like the design of early mobile phones and Hasselblad cameras, to ambitious efforts like Timo Salli’s Jack-in-the-Box television.
Warning: May induce design fatigue even among die-hards, but every time you pick up this volume you’ll discover something new.
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Matt Ruff is one of science fiction and fantasy's most consistently brilliant and innovative authors, whose recent work includes The Mirage (an incredible alternate history in which the Global War on Terror is kicked off when Christian crusaders from the blighted, tribal USA fly a plane into the United States of Arabia's Twin Towers in Dubai, giving the hawkish CIA chief Osama bin Laden the chance to launch the all-out war he's been champing for), and Lovecraft Country (an anti-racist reimagining of Cthulhu set in Jim Crow America where the real horror is white supremacy -- now being adapted for TV by Jordan Peele). In his new novel, 88 Names, Ruff adds to the canon of MMORPG heist novels (Charlie Stross's Rule 34, Neal Stephenson's Reamde, and my For the Win, to name three) with a unique take that he dubbed "Snow Crash meets The King and I."
Sarah Gailey is one of science fiction's great new talents and their 2019 debut novel Magic for Liars was incredibly strong; now they're back with Upright Women Wanted, a feminist, genderqueer science fiction western novel about gun-toting roving librarians who are secretly the heart of an antifascist resistance.
Osamu Sato is a talented polymath artist from Japan, known for his psychedelic video game scores and his pioneering work on computer graphics.
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