Fascinating people, wondrous places and beautiful things enliven this group of coffee table books – making them the perfect choice for just about everyone on your gift list.
100 Years of Architectural Drawings, Neil Bingham, Laurence King Publishing
In a precise 1939 drawing, Mies works in elegant black charcoal, while Wright's 1923 crayon perspective, on the other hand, fairly drips with colour and movement. The work of everyone from Louis Sullivan to Louis Kahn, these beautifully-reproduced images, divided by era, are strikingly different. They will enlighten and inspire any architectural buff.
See the book on the publisher's webpages
Art and Place: Site-Specific Art of the Americas, Phaidon
Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" (familiarly referred to as "the bean") could no more be separated from its Chicago setting than could the famous skyscrapers it so intriguingly reflects. The same is true of the other 499 pieces that appear in this book. Each is more impactful, more unforgettable — more instantly iconic — because it is of such a whole with its surroundings.
Go to the Phiadon webpages for more
The Food Book: A Journey Through the Great Cuisines of the World, Lonely Planet
Organized by country — starting with France, proceeding to Italy, Spain and Portugal, and moving all the way through to Mozambique and Ghana — this squat little book examines 47 cultures through one purview only, their cuisine. But that's a big arena, covering everything from feasts to essential eats, from drinks to food prep. Yum!
View the book on the Lonely Planet pages
Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton, St. Martin's Press
What started as a hobby, then morphed into a hugely popular blog, is now a glorious book filled with the quirky and the tattooed, the elegant and the ordinary. Stanton's eye for the piercingly sweet stories that the varied faces of New York reveal (or hide) is nicely balanced by the empathetic ear that allows him to pick out a telling quote here, a whimsical observation there.
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A Life In Illustration: The Most Famous Illustrators and Their Work, edited by Robert Klanten, Hendrik Hellige, Gestalten
The 23 international illustrators profiled here have made names for themselves by enhancing, and in many cases becoming part of, our reading experiences. In crafting the maps and charts that elucidate certain news stories, bring to life fashion trends, or capture the spirits of the novels that pile up on our nightstands, they are unsung artists.
See more on the Gestalten webpages
The Monocle Guide to Better Living, Gestalten
Fans of this quirky magazine on all things urban will appreciate this opinionated compendium on the finer elements of the world's great cities. Monocle likes artisanal retail, sophisticated architecture, diverse neighbourhoods, quality and attention to detail, green (in all senses of the word) streets. This guide, observes editor Tyle Brule in the introduction is a "global chronicle of the people, places and products that aim high, deliver value, [and] challenge convention."
Visit the publisher's webpages for more
Tin Tin: The Art of Hergé, Michael Daubert, Abrams
Devotees of the Belgian reporter-cum-explorer will lap up this detailed and engrossing look at the life and inspirations of the cartoon's creator, Georges Remi (Hergé). Fans of newer comics — from Archie to action heroes to anime — will be equally fascinated at something at once foreign and delightfully familiar.
Go to the publisher's webpages