Sunday, 28 August 2011

the old and the new

Another new book release I'm looking forward to..."The World of Muriel Brandolini". It's hard to not be envious of Brandolini: an exotic family and upbringing; an Italian banker for a husband who also happens to be a Count; and a few fabulous family homes around the world. Credit where credit is due though, Brandolini is not just another wealthy house wife who suffers from delusions of being a designer. Brandolini is a one of a kind and has created some of the most refreshingly new and achingly stylish interiors. Ever. If the front cover is anything to go by, this book will be a treat. I can't wait.

Out of the books I've recently finished, "The Architecture of Happiness" is definitely the best. In fact, it may even be one of the best books I've ever read. Alain de Botton, author of several non-fiction books, is also the founder of The School of Life and the Living Architecture foundation. In this particular book de Botton talks about the significance of architecture in a way that my writing skills will not do justice to describe. His words are poetic, moving and meaningful. Everyone should read this book, from critics to lovers of the built environment. If you didn't already understand the profound effect our man-made surroundings have on us on a daily basis, you soon will. The best passage from this book has stuck in mind, and probably always will - "An ugly room can coagulate any loose suspicions as to the incompleteness of life...."

Another fantastic read - "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs. Or anything by Jane Jacobs really. Jacobs seminal work on the planning and development of cities was incredibly influential at the time it was written, in the 1960's. Even reading this today so many of Jacobs thoughts and ideas are incredibly current, relevant and just as important today as they were then. The issues she raises do not just pertain to American cities, or even just New York where she was living at the time of writing. These are issues of city planning and urban development that are important to all cities in all countries of the world. Only now, there is more of a sense of urgency. We are still building cities for cars instead of people...

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