Six new house and garden reads
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On The Necessity Of Gardening – An ABC Of Art, Botany And Cultivation
A is for Algae, E is for Eden, R is for rooted… this ABC of botany and cultivation tells the social, cultural and political history of the garden. It takes readers from medieval depictions of the garden as a symbol of fertility and harmony, through 18th-century notions of erotics and worldly power, to the contemporary understanding of gardens as an antidote to technology and urban life. Thanks to its essays, extensive abecedarium and abundance of archive images, botanical illustrations and contemporary photography, it playfully charts the ways in which the garden has often been cast as a metaphor for society. Idea Books, £30
Beuys & Duchamp: Artists of the Future
“Is Marcel Duchamp’s Roue de bicyclette [bicycle wheel] really a work of art?” asks Dr Markus Hilgert of the German Federal Cultural Foundation in his introduction to Beuys & Duchamp: Artists of the Future. “What about Joseph Beuysʼs Mäusestall [mouse hutch] – a wooden coop with nutshells, eggshells and grain kernels?” – the piece that, along with Beuys’ works Bathtub and Oven, represented an investigation into the language of everyday objects. Using the two artists’ work, writing and interactions with each other, this book thinks through the difference between a designed object and a work of art. Cantz, €54
Santa Fe Modern: Contemporary Design in the High Desert
It was while driving back from Colorado that Georgia O’Keeffe first encountered the terracotta-hued city of Santa Fe and the deserts of New Mexico, where she would set up her home and studio. O’Keeffe was part of a wave of creatives inspired by the plains of New Mexico, using the place to help define a modernist aesthetic. In the century since, the area has flourished as a hub for architecture and art.
In her new book, Santa Fe Modern, architecture writer Helen Thompson explores its vernacular style through 20 clean-lined residences. “To observe the evolving Santa Fe style — the way old and new, smooth and rough, indoor and outdoor, high design and junkyard, sophisticated and mundane mixed was liberating,” she writes. “I loved it all.” Monacelli, $50
Le Premier Homme
This series of documentary photographs by Swiss artist Tomasz Fall offers a semi-fictional narrative about a man who leaves metropolitan life to live alone in nature. Archive and original photographs paint portraits of his past and present lives, juxtaposing the cultivated and the wild, the supernatural and the organic. He’s shown hunting out weeds inside a polytunnel of flowers, asleep inside the crevice of a rock, or lifting up a chicken as it tries to struggle from his grip.
The images also reveal that the character – whom Fall calls Mister B – has supernatural powers, enabling him to control the elements. “Modern rationalism is the current paradigm of knowledge,” he says, “but it can’t explain everything. That’s what I’m interested in.” Skinnerboox, €38
A Modern Way to Live: 5 design principles from The Modern House by Matt Gibberd
Where Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat guided home cooks through the fundamental elements of a good meal, Matt Gibberd’s A Modern Way To Live sets out the principles for creating a beautiful home. The book is organised around what Gibberd, who co-founded the lifestyle brand and estate agent The Modern House, considers to be the five pillars of home design: space, light, materials, nature and decoration.
Through interviews, photographs and case studies of modernist homes, Gibberd offers a guide for re-thinking the aesthetics of our surroundings. Penguin, £25
More than 100 flowers feature in this cultural history of edible blooms, with lush photography by Adrianna Glaviano, flavour profiles, stories from writer and creative director Monica Nelson, plus a selection of floral recipes from chefs around the world. Loria Stern advises on how to prepare flower petal-swirled ice cream; Christina Crawford shares her bracing recipe for chamomile, hibiscus and rose vinegar; while Chula Galvez outlines her technique for making cultured butter rolled in flowers, so that the fats preserve the delicate petals. “It has the nutty flavour of butter, but with a slight tang. And with the flowers’ taste and colours, it’s perfect.” Monacelli, $35