Well-designed books about design.

How is it possible that so little has been published about Finn Juhl (1912–1989), the man described by the Victoria and Albert Museum of London as, “a master of sculptural, organic forms and natural materials… His furniture defined modern midcentury Danish design and was influential throughout Europe and North America.”

Pages 20-21: Juhl with his dog Bonnie in the garden of his house, which he built himself. At right, Juhl’s watercolor of the same house. Finn Juhl: Life, Work, World published by Phaidon.

Fortunately, Christian Bundegaard has filled the void with the first-ever comprehensive monograph on one of Denmark’s most influential and innovative architects and designers. Published by Phaidon, Finn Juhl: Life, Work, World combines lively, insightful text with more than 200 illustrations and photographs to trace how Juhl’s breakout success in the U.S. – he was just 38 when selected to represent his country in designing the Trusteeship Council Chamber in New York’s United Nations Headquarters designed by Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer – led to worldwide appreciation for Danish furniture design.

Pages 226-227: Finn Juhl’s house at Kratvænget 15 in Ordrup, Denmark, 1942, The house is adjacent to the art museum Ordrupgaard, and has been open to the public since it was donated to the museum in 2008. Photo by Hans Ole Madsen.
Pages 188-189: Finn Juhl, watercolour plan of the sofa designed for 188. Baker Furniture, 1951. Photo by Pernille Klemp.

In addition to new and rarely seen archival photos, the book includes several of Juhl’s exquisite watercolors and a never-before-published comprehensive inventory of his furniture, architecture and exhibition designs. Pick up Finn Juhl: Life, Work, World and learn more about this master of modern design.

“Good Design Versus Style” by Alexander Girard and “The Design Laboratory” by Gilbert Rohde are just two of the many compelling essays you’ll find in this visually rich, well-designed monograph on Herman Miller. Edited by Amy Auscherman, Sam Grawe and Leon Ransmeier, and published by Phaidon, Herman Miller: A Way of Living celebrates the Michigan-based furniture company that has been shaping how people live and work for more than a century.

Pages 236-237: Graphics from a 1948 Herman Miller Collection Catalog. Courtesy of Herman Miller: A Way of Living, edited by Amy Auscherman, Sam Grawe, & Leon Ransmeier; Phaidon.

The story begins in 1923, when D.J. De Pree bought the Michigan Star Furniture Company, founded in 1905 and his employer since 1909, and renamed it in honor of his father-in-law, Herman Miller. By the middle of the 20th century, the company name had become synonymous with innovative, designed-to-fit-a-need, modern furniture. Working with legendary designers Gilbert Rohde, George Nelson, Alexander Girard, Charles and Ray Eames, and many others, Herman Miller produced furniture collections that have become design icons, and today it’s known for fresh and innovative solutions for home and office – along with the original classics.

Page 312: Promotional poster for Environmental Enrichment Panels designed by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, 1972. Courtesy and copyright © Herman Miller Archives.
Page 187: Charles and Ray Eames: Aluminum Group; promotional photograph displaying expanded Aluminum Group seating range, c. 1971. Picture credit: courtesy and copyright © Herman Miller Archives.

Beautifully written and powerfully illustrated, Herman Miller uses photos, sketches and stories – many never before published – to illustrate the defining moments of a company that isn’t just making furniture, it’s making a way of living.

From its richly textured book jacket (yes, it feels like the grooves, or “plug and feather” lines, left behind when stone is split with metal wedges and pins), to the 170 “how’d they build that?” images, to author William Hall’s descriptive, interesting text, Stone is a fascinating global tour of one of the world’s oldest and most exceptional building materials.

Pages 14-15: Stone, edited by William Hall, essay by Penelope Curtis, Phaidon; Form (chapter opener); Church of San Giovanni Battista, Mogno, Switzerland, 1996.

Published by Phaidon, Stone showcases a spectacular selection of structures from the last 5,000 years, each of which uses this seemingly everyday building material in a unique way. The examples include works by Philip Johnson, Antoni Gaudi, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Snøhetta and other celebrated names, as well as many equally striking and memorable buildings by architects less well known.

Pages 200-201: Casa do Penedo, Fafe, Portugal, 1974. Photo by Daria Chuvaeva.

The featured projects range from luxurious to romantic and include religious spaces, ancient tombs, residences, cultural institutions and more. “It is easy to think of stone as an unwieldy, expensive, historical material for imposing temples, elegant bridges and grand civic edifices,” writes Hall. “In fact it has unexpected modern efficacy, and can be luxurious or homey at a smaller scale.”

Pick up a copy of Stone to discover how this ancient material continues to offer endless opportunity for creativity and purpose. “Stone isn’t an anachronism, it is the future,” writes Hall.

Page 89: Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Oslo, Norway, 2008, Snøhetta. Photo by Ferry Vermeer/Getty Images.

Stone follows the publication of Concrete (2012), Brick (2015), and Wood (2017), also by William Hall and published by Phaidon.