The allure of the niche publication

Domus 12 Volumes


Is there a better historical record than the monthly publication? Pick an industry, hobby or art form and the definitive source on the subject may not be the books associated with it, but the niche magazines that are dedicated to it. When it comes to architecture and design, perhaps there was no more influential periodical than Domus, the magazine launched by Gio Ponti in 1928. Taschen, acknowledging this, has compiled and bound 12 volumes of the seminal magazine, spanning over 70 years.

Domus has had a succession of experts – renowned architects and designers – who acted as editors over the years, including Cesare Maria Casati, Alessandro Mendini and Mario Bellini. Perhaps that’s the beauty of the niche publication: It is often written not by journalists, per se, but by those who live, work and breathe the subject matter. Deyan Sudjic, art critic and Domus editor from 2000 to 2004, summed up this distinction in an interview with the site Forum AID: “My experience editing Domus … was actually a collision between the Anglo-Saxon idea of editors running magazines, and [the Italian idea of] architects running magazines.”

Being able to reflect back on 70 years of design history, Taschen has created the chance to see the architectural and  design classics that we take for granted. Complete with some of the original advertising that ran, there may be no better way to get an accurate snapshot of the tastes, culture and aesthetic movements of the modern time period, an historical record that was created as it was actually happening.