AN Interior‘s fall reading list spans genres and centuries

Harvest Review

With fall fast approaching, we’ve rounded up a selection of new architecture and design releases to cozy up with by a warm fire (or radiator) as temperatures cool down. From the frosty fjords of Nordic country houses to the desert-baked structures of Judith Chafee’s southwestern imagination, these volumes are sure to rekindle some design inspiration.

A Judith Chafee-designed home from Powerhouse. (Courtesy Princeton Architectural Press)

Powerhouse: The Life and Work of Judith Chafee

Christopher Domin and Kathryn McGuire
Princeton Architectural Press
MSRP $50.00 Available for pre-order

A pioneering 20th century female architect, Judith Chafee and her wholehearted embrace of the variance of her Southwestern culture and climate is deserving of this survey. Both her persona and her work are depicted colorfully and three dimensionally, with stunning photographs of her evocative homes coupled with images of her in the studio and amongst her students. 

A well-loved and renowned educator and who overcame many odds, Chafee’s life and work take on a tone of contradictions, varying between softness and demand, light and shadow, as one flips through the pages of this long and narrow hardcover volume.

Henry van de Velde: Designing Modernism 

Katherine M. Kuenzli
Yale University Press
MSRP $65.00

In this prose-heavy book, the life and work of van de Velde’s category-defining career are presented with great attention to historical detail. The time and research dedicated to the unearthing of this early Modernist, who helped shape the pedagogy of the Bauhaus, is centered around questions as to why he is not more present in artistic canons. While his work spanned painting, architecture and applied arts, his contributions to all categories of his career, as well as the educational systems he imposed on design learning in Europe, are presented as formative to the era and the century. 

An early designer of our idea of Modernism, van de Velde’s philosophies regarding art, autonomy, and a belief in human scale artistry are fresh when read today, and come to represent a softer side of a Modernism that can be misread as overly mechanic or cold in pre-war Germany. 

Creative Spaces

Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung
Chronicle Books
MSRP $35.00

Creative Spaces unfolds a curated collection of inspirational spaces by husband-wife duo Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, founders of Poketo. The interiors that inspire the 23 creatives in the book — from their personal residences, to studios to kitchens — are all evocative of the individual’s creative process, and a designer’s ever-evolving mind. 

With polished photography and dialogue between both Poketo founders and their creative friends, the book reads as amicable and personal, not overly formal or unattainable. While the creatives highlighted are heavily constrained to an LA-based region, the book serves as a visual inspiration for anyone interested in designing a home or space that expresses a 21st century creativity. 

New Nordic Houses

Dominic Bradbury
Thames & Hudson
MSRP $60.00

This book reads like a photographer’s monograph, with full-page glossy images of homes nestled within some of the world’s most stunning landscapes. The Scandinavian tropes of isolation, dramatic sunsets and the Northern Lights are at the forefront of this collection of structures, from rural cabins to townhouses.

A focus on the Nordic architectural tradition from the idea of a warm fire to the works of Alvar Aalto inform this collection, as well as a cutting-edge vein of sustainability and connectedness to nature that these almost Arctic countries share. The glossy pages will transport you to a tranquil fjord overlook or a seaside retreat, taking in the mystery and fog of this northern region and its unique approach to the built environment.

FARM + LAND’S Back to the Land

Frederick Pikovsky and Nicole Caldwell
Chronicle Books
MSRP $29.95

Written by a self-professed burned out start up Manhattanite, Back to the Land offers inspiration as well as practical advice for the urban or suburban dweller itching to get back to nature. Whether it’s a weekend retreat to a cabin in the woods or a full-time lifestyle conversion, this book encourages and teaches readers how to not only survive, but thrive in the outdoors. 

Despite somewhat rudimentary graphics, this “guide to modern outdoor life” offers a fresh take on what design can mean and do outside of the confines of a bustling city grid. 

Header Image: A historical reconstruction of Joost Schmidt’s sculptural relief for the central staircase of the main building (formerly the Grand Ducal Saxon School of Fine Art), during the Bauhaus Exhibition, 1923. Photographed by Klaus Beyer, 1976, Weimar, Germany. (Constantin Beyer)