Whether it's changing your habits, your point of view or the materials you work with, change full stop is the theme bringing together our newest batch of books—all published this year—available to our members in the library.

Why Materials Matter by Seetal Solanki

This visual compendium of natural and man-made materials from past and present offers a glance into the future and serves as a reminder of the need for more sustainable design and manufacturing methods. Solanki, who, over a thirteen-year career as a textiles and materials designer, observed “a general lack of understanding of a material designer’s role” and its importance “at every stage of the design process”, has broken down the book into three sections: Everyday, Sciences and Expansive. 

Within these categories she explores a huge variety of materials, from handmade to digital, following them from source, to use, to reuse. The picture that emerges is intricate and interlinked; overlaps in material properties and uses show us that the responsible, sustainable design of the future will interdisciplinary and collaborative, founded in shared techniques and a culture of repurposing and recycling. With a foreword by materials researcher and designer Liz Corbin, remarkable photography and open, contemporary design by London-based studio, Our Place, Why Materials Matter adds new layers of meaning to materials both familiar and foreign.

Design as an Attitude by Alice Rawsthorn

Alice Rawsthorn has been delighting our social media feeds for years, casting her critical eye on just about everything from architecture to toys to national borders. Now bringing together for the first time a collection of her writings from frieze magazine, Design as an Attitude is the most comprehensive overview of her work and thought to date. Taking its title from László Moholy-Nagy—“design is not a profession but an attitude”—Alice advocates a way of looking at design that goes beyond merely technical capabilities and commercial endeavour, into something more like a worldview: “a generally valid attitude of resourcefulness and inventiveness”. Despite touching on some of the biggest challenges of the day, from climate change to AI to the refugee crisis in Europe, Alice is never disheartened by the possibilities design has to create positive and meaningful change.

Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba

Otegha Uwagba’s Little Black Book is now in its third edition, since she first published it in 2016 to coincide with the launch of creative working women’s network, Women Who. She wrote it in just three months while working full-time at her job in a creative agency, and self-published with her own money, with the goal of creating “something practical, something physical in a digital age”. The latest edition, published by 4th Estate, is a pocket-sized, gold-covered guidebook, full of concise, practical advice. With chapters like “Overcoming creative blocks”, “Building your brand” and “The art of networking”, the appeal of the book lies in its content-rich, no-nonsense approach to the modern world of work, based on Uwagba’s personal experiences and her desire to connect, support and inspire women at every level, whether “just starting out or already have  years of experience”. This book is for the next generation of “fiercely ambitious and entrepreneurial women”, and it’s an audience Uwagba knows well, and one for which she has proved to be a spokesperson, leader and trailblazer.

It's all in the Library...


Find all the reading referenced in this story in the Lending Library at 72 Rivington Street. Email us to keep something safely aside for you.

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