Phaidon Design Classics: 001–999. Phaidon Press, 2006
This quintessential collection of 999 product designs in three thigh-numbing volumes explores product design from the late 1600s to the present. They include everything from 300-year-old scissors to modern airplanes and the work of such 20th-century stalwarts as Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, Henry Dreyfuss, Ray and Charles Eames, and a host of up-and-comers. In homage to one of the primary principles of good design—– durability—most of the products featured here are still in production.
Designing the 21st Century by Charlotte and Peter Fiell. Taschen, 2005
This new tome offers ruminations and forecasts on the future of global product design. It features interviews with contemporary designers from across the globe, each of whom is determined to push product design forward, whether it’s for a wine glass or a windmill.
Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design by Paola Antonelli. Collins Design, 2006
The curator of the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Design and Architecture offers a treatise on the extraordinary beauty of 100 ordinary things. Safety pins, condoms, and the Rubik’s Cube are just a few of the common items Antonelli vets under a microscope, explaining the origins of these simple objects and why we can’t live without them.