8 monographs, insights into the creativity of international designers

nika zupanc, deep, natuzzi, salone milano

Deep collection, design Nika Zupanc, Natuzzi 

A selection of new books that take us into the design worlds of Nika Zupanc, Jaime Hayon, Drift, Vo Trong Nghia, Pierluigi Cerri, Carlo Colombo, Gianni Pettena and Olafur Eliasson

Nika Zupanc_Breaking the Rules

Her Ribbon Chair took the design world by surprise, as well as thrusting Pantone baby pink into the eye of the furnishing world and decorating a windsurfing board with roses. Her distinctive approach turns forms, materials and functions on their heads, with precise elegance and deliberate eclecticism. This important monograph serves as a real manifesto for the Slovenian designer, who debuted at SaloneSatellite 2007, in which she sets out her creative process and her greatest inspirations. “I believe in a way of imagining, creating, and placing very different things in an unexpected order. I tend to design timeless, elegant, and evocative objects that come with an unpredictable twist, a surprising detail, a different path of understanding” she says.

Her extraordinary hallmark style shines through the four sections – Stories, which focuses on the collections, Characters, on individual projects, Statements, on the limited editions and Universes, on interior design. “The inspiration has to be found in our most ordinary everyday life experiences,” she explains. This fascinating nonconformist’s final message chimes with the title of the book: “Hoping it might become one more step towards a new way of breaking the rules”.


Title: Nika Zupanc_Breaking the Rules

Author: Agata Toromanoff

Foreword: Domitilla Dardi

Publisher: Rizzoli International

Published: 2022, September

Pages: 240, with 245 illustrations

Language: English

nika zupanc, book, salone milano


Jaime Hayon

The fabulous world of Jaime Hayon – this could be the title of the second volume of Gestalten’s book on the Spanish designer, named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential designers at international level in 2007.

A kaleidoscopic world carved by a surrealistic imagination, inhabited by mysterious ceramic figures, finely worked artisan creations and warm pastel shades, drawing on his Mediterranean origins. Conceived by Hayonstudio and produced with the German publisher, the book is a close-up introduction to materials, colours and technique. It’s an overview of his sources of inspiration and his creative process, permanently imprinted with an almost ancestral optimism, bodies composed of imaginary figures and nature. Particular attention has been given to public and interior interventions, exhibition displays, monumental installations and special projects. The monograph covers 20 years of his work, from 1992 to 2022, tracing  the designer-artist’s development, and touching on his work method, professional approach and visual research. Boasting a wealth of illustrations, interspersed with free thoughts from the designer himself, the book is beautifully authored by Marco Sammicheli and Hayon himself, and contains an anthology of items*, a small, dedicated collection of press articles. The studio archive at the end is extremely useful.


Title: Jaime Hayon

Author: Marco Sammicheli

Graphic Design:  Zaven

Publisher: Gestalten and Hayonstudio

Published: 2022, August

Pages: 304

Language: English

jaime hayon, gestalten, book, salone milano


DRIFT: Choreographing the Future

The relationship between the individual and the collective, and the impact of technology on society through dialogue with nature. This sums up what Drift, the studio set up in Amsterdam in 2007 by Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, partners in life and work, is all about. The exclusive group of contributing authors – Bjarke Ingels, who wrote the introduction; Beatrice Leanza, curator and critic and Jane Metcalfe, founder of Wired, are just some of them – explores the duo’s multidisciplinary work, through their kinetic sculptures, light installations, video projections and interactive virtual reality, finding out how this advanced technology has been specifically chosen to stimulate a greater connection with nature and its rhythms. Straddling freedom and control. A concrete block that can levitate in space  (Drifter) and dandelion seeds glued one by one to LED lights (Fragile Future), are expressions of the unifying power of Drift’s art. The final section is devoted to what goes on behind the scenes, revealing the complexity of the projects and plunging the reader into an immersive experience of poetics and meditation. In search of a sustainable civilisation, or better still, as the subtitle says: Choreographing the Future.


Title: DRIFT: Choreographing the Future

Authors: Bjarke Ingels, Beatrice Leanza, William Myers, Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, Coraly von Bismarck,

Jane Metcalfe

Publisher: Phaidon. Facebook / instagram / twitter 

Published: 2022, October

Pages: 240, with 200 illustrations

Language: English

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Vo Trong Nghia: Building Nature

Although still little-known in the West, Vo Trong Nghia is one of Asia’s most acclaimed architects, and set up his practice in Ho Chi Minh in 2006. His story began in 1976, in a poor village in Vietnam, which he was forced to leave in order to study architecture. He chose modern Japan as his field of interest, frequenting the Nagoya Technological Institute and the University of Tokyo, studying under the minimalist architect Hiroshi Naito, who stoked his interest in sustainability and green architecture, and bamboo as a building material, championed by the Colombian Simón Vélez. It was precisely these factors, the hallmarks of all his works, that have netted him a number of prizes, including a World Architecture Community Award and the Wallpaper* Design Award in 2021. Composed of two volumes, Green and Bamboo, the monograph brings together thirty or so projects that include private homes, schools, hotels and cultural centres, all in Vietnam apart from Bamboo Stalactite, designed for the 2018 Architecture Biennale in Venice. Nhaio’s description of his studio, part monastery, office and resort, surrounded by animals, insects and birds that generated an unusual ecosystem within a short time, helps shed light on his work: “Being in a building should be like being in a park, or even a forest,” where not a single living thing, not a fly or even a mosquito, should be killed, according to one of the  five precepts of Buddhism, a religion of which he is a faithful follower. 


Title: Vo Trong Nghia: Building Nature

Introduction: Philip Jodidio
Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Published: 2022, January

Pages: 400, 2 vols., with 393 illustrations

Language: English

vo trong nghia, bulding nature, book, salone milano


Pierluigi Cerri
Allestimenti   Idee, Forme, Intenzioni / Installation   Ideas, Forms, Intentions

The undisputed Master of “putting on exhibitions,” the architect Pierluigi Cerri, one of the founding partners of Gregotti & Associati in 1974, is discussed through 30 or so of his over 100 displays, explored, taken apart and redesigned thanks to a painstaking trawl through the archives by the architects Yuri Mastromattei and Lola Ottolini, who worked alongside him during his tenure at Milan Polytechnic University, from 2000 to 2010, as well as various exhibition installations.

Packed with exhibitions on art, architecture, photography and graphic design, not to mention furniture, objects and cars, as well as on concepts, ideals, ancient peoples, leading figures and a great deal more, this monograph takes us into a landscape of “narrative spaces” in the most varied of places – from ancient palazzi to industrial warehouses, museums, factories and art galleries – that invite the visitor to decode not just the exhibits, but also the signs and objects they reference. According to the curators: “Cerri’s architecture is always silent, it never takes away from what it is meant to demonstrate. It leaves room for interpretation. It suggests, it doesn’t impose. It does not distract.”  He is always driven by an endless curiosity, reflected in his many skills as an architect, designer and graphic artist. The displays mentioned also include some of the Salone del Mobile collateral events, such as Italian Furniture 1961/1991. Languages through the Various Ages at the Triennale di Milano in 1991 and Entrez Lentement at the  Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation in 2005.


Title: Pierluigi Cerri, Allestimenti  Idee, Forme, Intenzioni / Pierluigi Cerri, Installation  Ideas, Forms, Intentions

Authors: Yuri Mastromattei and Lola Ottolini

Publisher: Skira Editore

Published: 2022, July

Pages: 180, with 190 illustrations

Language: Italian

cerri allestimenti, book cover, salone milano


Carlo Colombo. Industrial Design

“The concept of memory, irony and function are crucial ingredients in the success of a project. I have always tried to bear these ‘rules’ in mind, which for me are a matter of reflection and growth.” This is how the monograph devoted this architect opens. He was a pupil of Castiglioni, who picked up and ran with the baton of Italian design at its purest. With studios in Lugano, Zurich, New York, Miami and Dubai, he’s been working on interiors and large-scale architectural projects all over the world for 30 years.  Reflecting this cosmopolitanism, the works are deliberately split into continents, interpreting the spirit of each geographical area – from Asian spirituality in the service of technology and bold graphics to North American pragmatism as rational elegance. “Every continent has its own value and its own influence,” says Colombo, constantly searching  for formal purity, sober elegance and with a marked interest in material. The projects include those for leading Made in Italy companies such as Antoniolupi, Artemide, Bentley Home, Bugatti Home, Cappellini, Faber, Flexform, Flou, Giorgetti, Trussardi Casa, Elie Saab Maison, Olivari, Sahrai, Penta Light and Poliform. The final section is devoted to the world straddling art and design with the series of limited-edition pieces, informed by his passion for art and motoring.


Title: Carlo Colombo. Industrial Design

Edited by: Maria Vittoria Capitanucci

Forewords by Vittorio Sgarbi and Flavio Manzoni

Publisher: Rizzoli

Published: 2022

Pages: 304

Language: Italian

colombo, industrial design, book, salone milano


Tutto, tutto, tutto… o quasi / Absolutely Everything… or Almost

He styled himself “the anarchitect” of the Italian scene, choosing the name for the first of his many books, in 1973. The architect-artist and critic Gianni Pettena, born in Bolzano in 1940, was one of the founders of radical Florentine architecture during the Sixties and Seventies, along with Archizoom, Remo Buti, 9999, Superstudio, UFO and Zziggurat, while also maintaining a clearly-defined autonomous position.

This extremely hefty volume, comprising over 500 pages, documents his formidable career, marked by his youthful experience in America and the thinking of Buckminster Fuller and James Wines, who early on paid attention to ecology, the suburbs and “to making insignificant places significant.” An anthology of his writings, produced between 1970 and 2020, highlights his critical thinking, especially his opposition to modernist functionalism, the customary codes and canons of design, and his own modus operandi, consisting of temporary interventions and a constant search for links between conceptual art, radical Austrian design, land art and experimental music.


Title: Tutto, tutto, tutto… o quasi / Absolutely Everything… or Almost

Edited by Pino Brugellis, Alberto Salvadori and Elisabetta Trincherini

Publisher: Quodlibet

Published: 2022, July

Pages: 528

Language: Italian and English

pettena, book, salone milano


Olafur Eliasson. Experience

The most complete monograph on the famous Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, an updated re-edition of the book published in 2018, now fleshed out with 18 new projects, carried out between 2018 and 2022. These include a number of works designed to raise awareness of the global climate situation, such as The Glacier Melt 1999/2019 series, in which images of the same glacier are compared twenty years on; Earth Speakr, an app in 25 languages to help children, and others, to share their thoughts on the wellbeing of the planet; Wunderkammer, another app, created in the midst of Covid to bring nature into our homes by means of augmented realityOur glacial perspectives, an art work on top of a Tyrolean mountain. These new works also include his exploration of colour, which he also previously pursued, including Colour Experiment no. 108, in which he employs melted ice and pigments, and Bosporus Boogie Woogie, a kaleidoscopic array of glass panels. The book also covers major exhibitions, from In Real Life at London’s Tate Modern to Life at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel.

Paintings, sculptures, photographs, works on paper and in glass, architectural projects and interventions in urban spaces – Eliasson's credo emerges loud and clear from his opera omnia: “Art isn’t bossy, it doesn’t tell us what to think or do,’ he says. “It offers a space, free of external interests, that you can claim as your own.”


Title: Olafur Eliasson. Experience

Author: Olafur Eliasson

Introduction by Michelle Kuo

Publisher: Phaidon. Facebook / instagram / twitter 

Published: 2022, September

Pages: 488, with over 500 illustrations

Language: English

eliasson, experience, salone milano, book
7 October 2022