Coffee table book is not just any ordinary read but a declaration of its owner’s level of sophistication and interests. It is a conversation starter, a statement, a contradiction.
For anyone who is passionate about interior décor, a coffee table is not just another countertop but a centerpiece of your living area. It can hold multiple knick-knacks, candles, flowers but what really draws the attention is a well-chosen coffee table book. Over the years I have collected a mix of fashion, lifestyle and decor books that I adore. I hope that my list of suggested books will help you start a collection of your own. Remember that every item in your home is a reflection of your taste and personality and your book collection should bring you joy and draw your curiosity. Here are my top 10 books for an easy and sophisticated addition to your home:
Chris Ware, Building Stories
Who needs a book when you can have a box? A box of 14 differently sized, formatted, and bound pieces (books, pamphlets, broadsheets, scraps) that tell a narrative of a three-story brownstone in Chicago occupied by an elderly landlady, a married couple, and a lonely amputee. There is great interconnectivity among characters in this graphic novel and every detail is important in understanding the full story. In creating Building Stories Chris Ware was inspired by Marcel Duchamp which is extraordinary in itself!
Helmut Newton, Sumo
Sumo by Helmut Newton is a collection of burlesque nudes and a tribute to one of the 20th century’s most influential, intriguing and controversial photographers. It is not a book but an art form. The original collectible edition of 10,000 signed and numbered copies weighs 66 pounds and stands at 20″ x 27.5″. Since Helmut Newton’s death in 2012, the price of limited edition has skyrocketed and the copy can now only be found in private auctions and rarely on Ebay. If you can get your hands on one, more power to you. For now, however we can all enjoy the regular edition.
Uwe Ommer, Transit: Around the World in 1424 Days
A mesmerizing collection of images, organized in style of a travel journal and scrapbook, Around the world in 1424 days traces Uwe Ommer’s journey around 130 countries interviewing 1000 families. From quirky anecdotes to personal family portraits, the book lets you glance into the cultures dramatically different than yours yet leave you feeling more connected than ever.
Kate Spade New York, Things We Love
Pop of color, whimsy and plenty of charm! Obsession with the perfect red color, cute bows and the power of a handwritten note make just a few pages in this treasure of curiosities that define the brand aesthetic. If you enjoy Kate Spade, you will love browsing over all the details that make this fashion house a destination for all things lovely and glam!
David LaChapelle, Hotel Lachapelle
Known for his outrageous photography and digital manipulations, LaChapelle has built an army of loyal fans around the world. Part social critique and part kinky fantasy, Hotel LaChapelle boasts Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio and Naomi Campbell as part of its visionary compilation. Gender roles are bent and taboos revealed to create a mashup of surrealist daytripping and photographic satire.
Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Modern Century
Honed as the “man of the world” Henri Cartier-Bresson was a photojournalist for most of his career starting in 1930s. Compulsively on the move, he covered the better part of five continents with his hand-held Leica that defined his unassuming style. Part social commentary and part journalistic diary he captured moments big (aftermath of WWII in Germany, Soviet Union in 1950’s and 1970’s, the end of British Raj) and small (kid riding a bike, a young couple kissing) without discrimination or obsession with creating art. The honest, practical photography is what gave his style such distinctively individualist effect – focus on the “here and now” and his subjects. The man is a genius and an influential figure in the foundation of modern photography.
But enough of art. Sometimes a girl just needs a drink. Better if it’s a fancy cool drink made with love. This coffee table treasure will make your basic vodka gimlet look like a struggling amateur. Enjoy the pages of Vintage Cocktails to feast your eyes upon alcohol concoctions in their true artistic form. You might remember my post about decorating your very own bar cart… now your collection can be complete with this gem of a book 🙂
Tom Ford, Tom Ford
A striking, large format book showcasing Tom Ford’s transformation of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent brands and a complete catalogue of his design work from 1994 to 2004. Featuring over 200 photographs by prominent fashion photographers (think Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel and Helmut Newton) the book does not focus solely on clothing but also explores Ford’s innovative vision for the complete redesign of the brand, from advertising to store architecture and visual merchandising.
David Downton, Masters of Fashion Illustration
If you love illustration, this book will dazzle you with stunning images! The collection, picked by David Downton, looks at the work and life of prominent illustrators from lesser known names to art giants such as David Hockney and Andy Warhol. The book is a feast for the eyes but also an expert glimpse into the history of fashion illustration.
Albertus Seba, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities
Seba’s collection of scenic illustrations was one of the 18th century’s greatest natural history achievements. Though many scientists of the era collected natural specimens for research purposes, Albertus Seba’s collection of animals, plants and insects gained international fame during his lifetime. What made Seba different than his contemporaries is that over the decades of collecting, Seba commissioned illustrations for every specimen resulting in stunning images of anything from exotic plants and corals to butterflies, snakes and crocodiles. The images are stunning and have that vintage feel that is just exquisite!