Friday, August 30, 2013

Great Design - a triple giveaway

I felt it would be wonderful to start the new season with a great giveaway! I had the chance to review the Smithsonian's GREAT DESIGN book, written by Philip Wilkinson and published by the British DK publishing house.
Wilkinson takes the reader through an awe inspiring and thoroughly collection of the world's best design. 


I am quoting from the front flap since I could not sum it up any better:

"The book is an extraordinary photographic tour of more then 100 of the world's greatest designs. From the Red Blue chair to the Ekco Bakelite radio, the Vespa scooter to the Verdana typeface, the book tells the story of this modern art form from its birth during the industrial revolution to its high - profile status today. It explains the unique blend of aesthetics and engineering involved in the designing of a product that is both completely fit for purpose and unrivaled in appearance.

GREAT DESIGN takes you on a personal guided tour of each artifact, highlighting the main features and elements. By deciphering key points of style, it helps you to understand what design is and how it works."

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I had felt  almost a little wary of yet another design book, but to my great surprise I was captivated and pulled into it immediately. This book collects and displays a wide range of designs, from patterns to pitchers and cars to clocks, all in the most pleasing and easy to understand way.
A book, as well designed as its context. 

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GREAT DESIGN captures not only the world's most notable design of today, but gives a wonderful introduction to the development of design over the last 140 years.
One of the early designers is one we still remember well today: Michael Thonet. The German cabinet maker became famous for his revolutionary bentwood chair, still produced today. The simplicity and beauty of form and function captures all what great design entails. 

Some other examples are less known today, but well worth remembering. 

Other design objects were new to me, like the Kilta tableware by Kaj Franck (1952) or Konstantin Grcic's Miura stackable stool (2003) for the Italian design firm Plank.

But most of the objects were old acquaintances of mine, some of which I can find in my own household.... 
And of course, as always with beautiful objects, I get inspired....

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The book is categorized by decades rather then similar items or grouped by materials. This is a great feature since the time period brings many different design objects together and the reader gets a feeling for the trends in design in general and in particular. Design in all periods had far reaching impacts. Clearly, there are many more examples of great design and the author had to restrict himself, I missed a few things, like Ingo Maurer's light fixtures or any of the Mercedes automobiles or some Liberty of London fabrics.... but this is just me. I am fully aware of the difficulties to pull out just the most important objects in design over such a long period. And, like all books,  dedicated to time sensitive materials, it will need a new edition in the future....
The book is equally perfect for the design novice or the connoisseur, students of design and homeowners with a distinguished taste, in short, it's a great treat for all interested
in great design. 

The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 and is today the world's largest museum and research complex.
It includes 19 museums and galleries as well as the National Zoological Park.
The total number of artifacts, works of art, and specimens in the Smithsonian's collections is estimated at 137 million, much of which is contained in the National Museum of Natural History, which holds more then 126 million specimens and objects. The Smithsonian is a renowned research center, dedicated to public education, national service and scholarship in the arts, sciences and

The Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt, national Design Museum is the only museum in the nation, devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Many of the objects in this book can be found in the museum's collection.
And befitting a museum dedicated to great design, it is housed in the landmark Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Only a few steps away from the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan, it is a delightful place to visit.

The book will be available in September 2013.

This giveaway is open to all residents in the United States.
Three books will be given at random to lucky readers.
If you are not already a follower, please follow this blog, leave a comment and make sure I can contact you back.

The winners will be announced in two weeks time. (09/14/2013)
The winners will get the book directly shipped from the US marketing firm responsible for the distribution of GREAT DESIGN.

Good luck, dear readers!



All images through EMG promotions.


  1. Hello Victoria

    This book sounds fascinating and the type to sit on a coffee table and glance through. Good design brings great joy

    You are most generous


  2. Victoria,
    Wonderful. Thank-you for such a great give-away. Love to have this book.
    Hope you are well.

  3. Victoria,

    I love your blog! What a wonderful give away!

    Thank you,

  4. Dear Victoria,

    I am hopping over from Helen's site. What a lovely book to gift someone. I love your quote up top about beauty...I have to print it out. Wishing you a lovely weekend!


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