The Friday Reading List

Books / Consumer Guide / Culture / Japan

Paperhouses recommends books to read, collect or simply look at.

This week, we look at design(ed) books from or about Japan.

Toyo Ito won the coveted Pritzker Prize this year, so it would be remiss of us not to steer you in the direction of the equally impressive writing of one of Japan's most respected architects. But don't take our word for it. Ask anyone who has worked with him and they will tell you (as they've told us) “he's our favorite architect to work for.”

Tarzans in the Media Forest  Possible Best Title of the Decade Award as well?

The extensively illustrated monograph: Toyo Ito

Makoto Azuma’s Encyclopedia of Flowers. A visceral experience in deviant flower arrangement. The book was produced courtesy of Hara Design Research. A gorgeous gift book for anyone with a green thumb or eye for spectacular photography.

There’ve been several notable experiential art exhibitions this year. In New York it was perhaps not just the Rain Room, but the hours-long line that circled around a couple city blocks of midtown. In London it was the Serpentine Gallery's Summer Pavillion by Sou Fujimoto. It’s worth checking out the architect-cum-UCLA professor's treatise on the role of architecture as a praxis. Primitive Future, because it looks like he's coming out with a thematic sequel in September, Futurospective Architecture.

(Image via Design Boom)
Rem Koolhaas introduced the concept of a tabula rasa through Singapore, but The Godfather of modern architecture also effectively introduced Japan’s Metabolism architecture.

Some other noteworthy architecture titles by Japanese studios:
Graphic Anatomy by BMW's Guggenheim Lab Atelier Bow Wow 
The simply beautiful collection of illustrations of work by Junya Ishigami, Small Images

A relatively new publication, IMA magazine, brought to you by Amana Publishing, is an exquisite photography journal everyone should check out. Amana publishes the Cities on the Move photo book series.

And finally a little cheeky humor from kawaii nation:

Pictures of People Taking Picture of the Tokyo Skytree.
The Skytree has been an especially popular beacon of opportunity in a metropolis so famously comfortable with its functional skyscrapers. See what joy it brings Japanese residents to be able to photograph it.