Artisan Design: Collectible Furniture in the Digital Age

Thames & Hudson. Nov. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780500022443. $85. DEC ARTS
This exploration of the contemporary studio craft movement, by the late design historian Gura (1935–2020; Design After Modernism), begins by discussing the craft movement’s roots and its post–World War II pioneers. Next, Gura looks at the careers and oeuvres of more than 120 international designers, who work with an extraordinary range of materials, styles, and visions, often aided by technology. The succinct, well-illustrated entries for each artist encapsulate their design practice and contextualize them in the history of 21st-century design; they’re a delight to read. The designers’ influences span the history of art; their finishes range from raw to highly polished; their forms, from fluid to geometric; their conceptual interests, from intellectual to whimsical; and many are concerned with sustainability. Gura’s book boasts 680 captioned photos, crisply reproduced on glossy pages; a final chapter, “Interiors,” lets readers peek at a few strikingly original creations in situ.
VERDICT A comprehensive overview, unlikely to be supplanted anytime soon.
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