6 beautiful new design books that are must-reads now – Houston Chronicle

Architect Julia Morgan’s work restored the grand Fairmont Hotel, gutted by flames caused by the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. The photo is included in the new book, “Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect.”
“Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity,” by Heather Ecker, Judith Henon-Reynaud, Evelyne Posseme and Sarah Schleuning
Louis Cartier’s fascination with Islamic arts, especially Persian geometric shapes, motifs and color combinations, is celebrated in “Cartier and Islamic Art” (Thames & Hudson; $70; 320 pages), on sale April 12.
It accompanies a major exhibition that recently finished at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and will reopen May 14-Sept. 18 at the Dallas Museum of Art. The book dives into the Cartier family history, but it also shows the influence of Islamic art and decorative objects on the Cartier brothers. The pattern in a ceramic tile could become an earring or brooch, the flourish of an elaborate drawing in a wallcovering could translate to a beautifully decorated cigarette case or pen box.
“William Morris,” published by Thames & Hudson, marks the 125th anniversary of the death of one of Britain’s most extraordinary cultural figures, home and furnishings designer William Morris.
Perhaps no other designer and maker has had the profound impact on British culture as William Morris, creator of the still popular “Strawberry Thief” and other floral and botanical patterns for textiles. Morris was a pioneer of the Arts and Crafts Movement in England, designing furniture, stained glass and interior décor, democratizing art along the way.
Now, he’s the subject of a new book, “William Morris,” (Thames & Hudson; $75; 432 pages), that marks the 125th anniversary of his death while examining his creations in painstaking detail.
“The V&A Sourcebook of Pattern & Ornament,” by Amelia Calver
In the more than a century and a half it has existed, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum has cultivated one of the best collections of pattern and ornament — two themes that date to the beginning of time — in the world.
“V&A Sourcebook of Pattern and Ornament,” (Thames & Hudson; $50; 400 pages) is organized into four categories, Plants, Animals, Earth and the Universe and Abstract Patterns and looks at how they can evolve from one generation to the next, including ceramics and clothing to furniture, textiles, jewelry and art.
“Anna Spiro: A Life in Pattern,” by Australian interior designer Anna Spiro.
Australian designer Anna Spiro’s new book, “A Life in Pattern” (Thames & Hudson; $60; 256 pages), is a devotion to maximalism and creating rooms with color palettes that run both deep and wide. There are pages of gorgeous studies in calm blue and white and others with vivid combinations.
Fans of mix-and-match style will enjoy this book, and others might be inspired to try changing it up just a little. Spiro writes of her experience decorating Halcyon House, a beachside hotel in New South Wales, and her own inspirations, then lets the photos of her many finished projects prompt you to dream in color, too.
The cover of “Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect.”
Back when women could barely get into architecture schools, let alone get a job after they graduated, Californian architect Julia Morgan blazed a trail as she designed some 700 structures in her 50-year career. Morgan certainly had talent and drive; she also had a fortuitous meeting and friendship with Phoebe Apperson Hearst when Morgan was a student and Hearst was a benefactor at the University of California at Berkeley. Hearst introduced Morgan to her son, William Randolph Hearst for whom she designed several homes, including the famed Hearst Castle, which took nearly 30 years to complete. This biography (Chronicle Books; $32.50; 240 pages) shows the brilliant mark that Morgan made on the country’s architecture before her death in 1957 at the age of 85.
“Homes for Nomads”
“Homes for Nomads” (Lanoo Publishers; $55; 208 pages) combines the work of Belgian journalist Thijs Demeulemeester and photographer Jan Verlinde and visits 19 chic homes in Belgium. They’re a mix of new and old, traditional and contemporary, and every single one is filled with furniture, art and accessories that represent the planet as a whole. They might also inspire you to purchase something interesting on your next trip — and find a place for it in your own home.
The Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange is the most coveted special event venue in San Francisco. Morgan had her offices at the Merchants Exchange for 45 years and she was tapped to design new common area interiors after the great earthquake of 1906. The photo is included in the new book, “Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect.”
Diane Cowen has worked at the Houston Chronicle since 2000 and currently its architecture and home design writer. Prior to working for the Chronicle, she worked at the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune and at the Shelbyville (Ind.) News. She is a graduate of Purdue University and is the author of a cookbook, “Sunday Dinners: Food, Family and Faith from our Favorite Pastors.”
In just about every look back at Chronicle photos from 30 years ago, you can expect to find photos from a concert somewhere. This time around, there seem to be an above-average number of photos.
By J.R. Gonzales


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