This is the time of year I find myself rereading some of my favourite books filled with cosy fireside scenes, turning leaves and cold, wintry evenings. As the festive period takes hold, this kind of nostalgia-inducing exercise feels like a pleasure no less guilty than an extra mince pie or mug of mulled wine. There are so many new releases on my to-be-read pile, and in my efforts to read outside of my AW setlist, I have turned to works of non-fiction. Soaking up new information about much-admired public figures or the nuances of new topics brings a sense of passive productivity to an evening spent reading non-fiction. As a fiction junkie, this pleasure is new to me. I’m enjoying learning not just about well-drawn characters who occasionally stay with me beyond the final page of a novel, but about the intricacies of lives lived to their fullest or the careers of some of the most prolific creative minds.
Of course, I have turned to books on design. Not only has my reading list so far been extraordinarily enlightening when it comes to the very hows and whys of decorating the home, but each of the books I’ll touch on today make for excellent conversation starters when positioned just so on the coffee table.
The best-known and most-collected series of design books in publication, the Andrew Martin Interior Design Reviews complement the annual event that awards one designer the “Oscar of the interior design world”, so it was dubbed by The Sunday Times. This year, the 25th edition has been published, featuring as usual the top 100 working designers across the world and celebrating this year’s winner, New York-based Thomas Jayne of Jayne Design Studio. Martin Waller, the founder of global design company Andrew Martin, established the award as one of the community’s greatest accolades in 1996, and past winners include Kelly Hoppen, Kit Kemp, Nicky Haslam, Rose Uniacke, Axel Vervoordt, and Tara Bernard, amongst many others.
The book contains over 1,000 colour photographs across 500 pages of the latest interior styles and trends, and to celebrate the milestone anniversary of the award and corresponding review book, is available with a limited-edition acrylic case.
The 25th Volume of the Andrew Martin Interior Design Review is published by TeNeues, £65 from www.andrewmartin.co.uk
Terence: The Man Who Invented Design is a close reading of one of the most influential men in design history by two of his closest allies and collaborators, Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity. There is a brutal honesty about the way in which they have painted their late colleague and friend, the man who founded the Design Museum, conceptualised the ever-coveted Conran Shop, established Habitat as a London design destination, turned Michelin House into the iconic Bibendum restaurant amongst creating many other restaurants in the capital, and who wrote over 50 books on design, published by Conran Octopus, which was also founded by the Knight Bachelor. However, the pair’s insights are often less than flattering and prove to lay bare the contradictory, complex essence of the designer-writer-restaurateur.
Terence: The Man Who Invented Design is published by Constable, £25 from www.waterstones.com
With photography by the legendary French photographer, François Halard and a thoughtful foreword from British design critic, Alice Rawsthorn, Rose Uniacke at Home is a dedication to the raw elegance of Uniacke’s work as an architectural interior designer, epitomised in her own home. The 19th-century house, which Uniacke has described as “monastery meets Venetian palazzo,” was first inhabited by Scottish portraitist, James Rannie Swinton, acting also as a gallery, and was eventually established as an art school before it suffered damage in the Second World War and decades of deterioration. In 2006, Uniacke and her husband purchased the building in its state of eerie abandonment to restore it to the quiet grandeur of the home you can see in the exquisite pictures in this very tome.
Rose Uniacke At Home is published by Rizzoli to a limited run of 2,500 copies, each £150 from www.roseuniacke.com
In electric blue and millennial pink, Making Living Lovely is the coffee table essential you’ve been waiting for. From the creators of 2LG Studio, a design firm founded by the creative duo, Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe, the book makes for delightfully (and relievingly) prescriptive reading, equipping readers with the confidence and the mental tools to rediscover the potential of their homes. With a surprising focus on how we, as unique individuals, need our homes to support us in different ways, Whitehead and Cluroe cover everything from working within period architecture, choosing materials, and even cohabiting and design compromises. The overarching message is one that prioritises interior design as a personal, intimate journey over and above the following of fleeting trends.
Making Living Lovely: Free your home with creative design is published by Thames Hudson, £19.95 from www.2lgstudio.com