Vibia’s Summer Reading List: 2020 Edition

August 6, 2020

With many people staying closer to home this summer, a good reading list is more important than ever. What better way to relax during these lazy days than with a design book filled with inspiration, ideas, and imagery. We turned to a group of international designers and architects to discover their top reading picks this summer.

Vibia The Edit - Vibia’s Summer Reading List

Linh Quang Le – Architect
Founder of The Modern Touch

Linh Quang Le is the founder of The Modern Touch, an architecture and interior design firm in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, specializing in luxury private residences and mixed-use projects.

Vibia The Edit - Summer Reading List - Linh Quang Le

“This book will challenge designers to think differently about their work and to approach design issues similarly to how other disciplines research and evaluate their work,”

One of his favorite books is Tadao Ando: The Colours of Light by Richard Pare. Ando’s belief that an architect’s materials go beyond tangible substances like wood and concrete to include light and wind resonates with Quang Le, who also emphasizes lighting in his projects.

Solving Critical Design Problems: Theory and Practice by Tania Allen is another pick. “This book will challenge designers to think differently about their work and to approach design issues similarly to how other disciplines research and evaluate their work,” he says.

Quang Le also cites Daniel Smith’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, an artist who revered the use of perspective and valued it above all other forms of learning.

Nicola Tremacoldi – Architect
nicolatremacoldi.com

An Italian-born, Barcelona-based architect, Tremacoldi is known for his work on both public and private spaces.

Vibia The Edit - Vibia’s Summer Reading List

“Every time I open this book I learn something, sometimes simply by leafing through it and dipping into some of its pages,”

Vibia The Edit - Vibia’s Summer Reading List

His reading list includes George Perec’s Species of Spaces and other Pieces, a sociological and anthropological investigation into spaces—“a bestiary of spaces,” as the author calls them.

Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman also makes his list. Tremacoldi describes it as a look at the craftsman who is on a quest for the perfect piece simply to satisfy himself.

Another favorite is Design and Visual Communication by Bruno Munari. “Every time I open this book I learn something, sometimes simply by leafing through it and dipping into some of its pages,” explains Tremacoldi. “It has the capacity to unblock the creative juices when faced with a blank sheet.”

Kezia Karin – Interior Designer
keziakarin.com

Kezia Karin is the founder of her namesake studio in the city of Surabaya, one of the leading design firms in Indonesia. Her 20-person team work on a range of projects from private residences to five-star hotels.

Vibia The Edit - Vibia’s Summer Reading List -

“I think it’s important for designers and business owners to understand humanity on a deeper level,”

She names The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene as one of her favorites. It takes a deep dive into the human psyche through a historical and philosophical lens. “I think it’s important for designers and business owners to understand humanity on a deeper level,” Karin says. “To connect, but also to read people’s patterns and habits so we can better grasp who that person is to create a design that works and solves problems.”

Toward a New Interior – An Anthology of Interior Design Theory by Lois Weinthal, also makes her list. The book is a collection of essays that explore design theory and put interior design on equal footing with architecture, “bridging the interior and the exterior,” says Karin.

Staffan Tollgard – Interior Designer & Creative Director
tollgard.com

Staffan Tollgard, a Swedish designer based in London, is committed to the Nordic notion of the “red thread” or creative DNA within each project, as well as the creation of functional sculpture in his work. He runs an award-winning design practice along with two London design stores.

Vibia The Edit - Vibia’s Summer Reading List

“A fantastic read with all the ingredients you need: love, hate, drama and one of the best pieces of modern architecture the world has ever seen,”

Vibia The Edit - Vibia’s Summer Reading List

Tollgard’s list includes Broken Glass, by Alex Beam, the story of the relationship between Mies Van Der Rohe and Edith Farnsworth and the construction of Farnsworth House, a modernist masterpiece. “A fantastic read with all the ingredients you need: love, hate, drama and one of the best pieces of modern architecture the world has ever seen,” he says.

Another Tollgard favorite is The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton. “A poetic and inspiring work about how buildings can make us better people,” he explains. “And how as designers and architects we use design to change and influence the lives of those within them.”

He also includes Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch among his top choices. “I know this is a piece of fiction,” says Tollgard, “but I defy you not to learn as much about art history, period furniture, restoration, and the power of art and design as through any non-fiction book work on the subjects.”