Reading list

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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There’s a lot happening these days at Wert&Co.–reflected in six books we would like to share with you. We’ve been preparing for a few talks and seeking to understand ourselves and our work more deeply, finding inspiration from the self discovery of childhood to the wisdom (hopefully) gained over the years. This month we also mourned the loss of John Berger who’s seminal Ways of Seeing provided us not just with a tool to view art in a revolutionary way, but a tool to understand critically the images that surround us. Finally with data ruling the day, in both politics and our work, we’ve found ourselves recently in a deep dive on both the mechanics, design and ethics of this fascinating subject.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Happiness& Work& Business& Nature& Music& Politics& Sleep& Passion& Color& Productivity& News& Design& Art& Data& Sleep& Leadership& Trust& Conflict& Growth& Technology& Promises.

We have so many fascinating conversations with our community here at Wert, we’d like to offer you a weekend reading list that reflects just some of the topics that we touched on in the past week.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

John Derian Picture book

Plant: Exploring the Botanical World

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris

Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath

The Laws of Simplicity By John Maeda

Guest Blogger, Anna Gerber

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Anna Gerber is guest blogging for us this month covering delightful new storytelling projects that have caught her eye. Anna is a Special Projects Creative Director who knows a thing or two about making stories, be they digital, on paper or brickwork as Co-Founder of Visual Editions and Creative Director of Editions At Play. Welcome, Anna!

The Pickle Index By Anna Gerber (Part 1)

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The Pickle Index is many things.

It’s a story about pickling and exchanging recipes and there’s also something about a circus. At least I think it is. What I do know for certain is The Pickle Index is completely ridiculous and also very ambitious and lives as both physical book-as-object and also crazy-digital-book-as-experience. You’ve got to love Eli Horowitz – carpenter turned McSweeneys Editorial Director turned wood cabin living entrepreneur – and Russell Quinn – digital powerhouse Englishman also living in the woods (I feel a theme coming on) – for having the chutzpah to dream up and make this book-cum-app-cum-recipe exchange at all.

The Pickle Index comes as a boxed edition with a fancy pants trick that lets you piece the two separate books together – lush large format illustrations become even more lush and larger when you place them alongside each other. Clever. There is abundant playfulness here, but there’s also something else: you are made aware, truly made aware, that this book is a physical object. So much so that it doesn’t really matter if this larger, more lush experience adds to our reading of the story because here we get to touch, feel, handle, have a play. And (to me at least) if you’re going to make an object (it can be any object, while we’re at it, it doesn’t even have to be a book) then you might as well make it something people want to spend time with and explore, sniff around its edges. You can even shoot high for permanence and make it a very beautiful keep-able object, which The Pickle Index certainly is (its makers tag it as ‘handsome’). 

The Pickle Index By Anna Gerber (Part 2)

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There’s more.

You also get to play with The Pickle Index as a downloadable, notification-able, serialisable app. They call it an immersive, exploratory experience, an app that takes you inside their pickling world; it’s the story told as a short serialised novel (a novel in ten days) or as a pickling recipe sharing app (no time frame here). Or both. Your choice. Either way, it’s very much a digital book that stays faithful to its form. Here is a world that couldn’t live any other way, it blends film together with a novel that is delivered to you daily:  you get news of each day’s “events” and even the option to collect recipes in your own “cookbook”. Recipes about pickling. Will you actually do this? Or read this? Probably not (I haven’t). But the thing is I do like knowing that if I wanted to, I could. And anyway it’s a nice nod to the ‘every story is told by author just as much as it is by reader’ literary bedrock.

Okay, so here’s something that keeps me up at night: why do we call this kind of project “Bold! Brave! Ambitious!” when the shifting sands of what makes a book is hardly new? Israelites used the scroll before the Romans invented the book as codex. This shift was mega, giving us pages (pages!) and a new reading of narrative. Movable type came a few thousand years later and made distribution possible through printing. And meant we could spread stories beyond the church. In came the paperback. (Thank you Penguin.) And the internet. (Thank you Tim Berners-Lee). And bam here we are in 2016 asking what kind of edge we need to call a book a book. Because every shifting sand needs an edge to work with. 

The Pickle Index has a lot of these edges. We have sentences. We have words. We have a story. Tick. We have an appreciation for craft and design and the book as object. Tick. We have fun and play, we even have a spoof Kinfolk YouTube video. Tick. And we have a digitally native experience, something you couldn’t have in the physical world. Tick. The only thing missing is a great story. But hey, maybe that’s okay. Nobody’s perfect.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Holidays can bring such a recharging of the spirit, especially if one gets to journey to far away places. And while books can illuminate and enrich our experiences, (like Italofile designer Louise Fili who takes us along with her on eight walks through Florence) Fall grounds us, and our reading list becomes crowded with tomes to bring far away lands here. These new releases are a great inspiration, armchair travel to tide us over until we hit the road again. 

A contemporary portrait of Paris from Les Deux Magots to a Bastille Day parade is offered by shutterbug Nicolas Guilbert. Considered the Axel Vervoordt of Asia for his masterful use of ancient elements and materials renowned Thai architect Ong-Ard Satrabhandhu’s residential Lanna architecture is characterized by the concept “discovery, not invention.” Instead of visiting the souk, we might be consoled by some new tea cups while co-authors Andreas von Einsiedel and Julia Leeb take us inside some of Morocco’s most beautiful and stylish homes. And acclaimed Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson brings us 700 historic recipes to feed our soul from Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Deciding on one’s summer reading can be overwhelming when faced with so many incredible options. We narrowed down our cultural list from recent visits to some of our favorite museums in New York.

While there are lines down the block to enter the new Whitney  — it’s new shop is accessible to all. This tome gives an inside look on Renzo Piano’s design of the structure. And while weren’t invited to the Met Ball, there are two options for remembering the lovely exhibit China: Thru the Looking Glass, including a limited edition work.

Over at the MOMA newly awarded AIGA medalist Paola Antonelli has edited a volume with Jamer Hunt on the provocative relationship between Design & Violence. And for pride of place on our coffee table – On Kawara – Silence – to remember the powerful recent show at the Guggenheim which comes in three colors to color coordinate.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring’s new book Decorate with Flowers offers practical advice on how to best select floral arrangements that compliment your home decor. Sharing tricks and fun ways to experiment with flowers, the book is a go-to source for the style-minded home entertainer. Our Time, a lovely thick monograph by Cat Garcia, chronicles creatives going about their daily lives — each image cloaking famed creators like Giles Deacon and Bella Freud in zen-like calm. In Golden Meaning: 55 Graphic Experiments, founders of GraphicDesign& Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright share the responses of 55 creatives who they challenged to a mathematical design problem: Euclid’s golden ratio.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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New book Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential synthesizes six years of research on Nobel Prize winners, CEOs, politicians, and media personalities to get to the essence of what makes a winning personality: the combination of strength and warmth. Available for pre-order, an excellent design resource, Manuals 1 Design & Identity Guidelines, compiles the corporate identity manuals from the 1960s to early 1980s of household names like NASA, Lufthansa, and ABC. Extraordinary: From Everyday Objects to Art details the work of artists who delight in transforming household products like eggs, pencils or plastic cups into inspired art that transcend mere function.

Image by Nick Hollot

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Generation Press releases a limited-edition rainbow hued catalog to accompany Barber Osgerby’s exhibition In the Making. The authors of Design Transitions: Inspiring Stories. Global Viewpoints. How Design is Changing traveled the world searching and speaking to design practitioners in hopes of answering the question “How are design practices changing?” Lidewij Edelkoort’s The Pop-Up Generation ruminates on the generation born behind a screen and looks at how their ability to fluidly move between digital and analog has created a whole new kind of hybrid art.

Image by jab5

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Attention book lovers! Inspired by words? Classics reimagined through poetry and tattoos! @litographs

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