(Books that are new to the store even if they are old in age)
American Signs: Form and Meaning on Rte. 66
The roadside sign has become an American icon: a glowing neon symbol of the golden age of the open road. Yet signs are complex pieces of design, serving not only as physical markers but also as cultural, political, and economic ones. In American Signs, Lisa Mahar traces the evolution of motel signs on Route 66 in a distinctive visual approach that combines text, images, and graphics.
American Signs reveals the rich vernacular traditions of motel sign-making in five eras, spanning from the late 1930s through the 1970s. The motel signs of the early 1940s, for instance, reflect vernacular traditions dating back at least a century, while examples from the later years of the decade reveal a culture newly obsessed with themes. America's fascination with newness and technological progress is manifested in 1950s motel signs. Finally, in the 1960s, a turn toward simplicity and the use of new, modular technologies allowed motel signs to address the needs of a mass society and the beginnings of a national, rather than regional, aesthetic for motel signs.
Super Potato Design: The Complete Works of Takashi Sugimoto: Japan's Leading Interior Designer
Mira Locher, Yoshio Shiratori
Super Potato Design is the first full-length book to present the work and conceptual ideas of the internationally renowned Japanese design firm Super Potato, founded by Takashi Sugimoto.
Super Potato's powerful designs for the interiors of restaurants, shops and hotels, as well as Takashi Sugimoto's designs for tea ceremony spaces and utensils, are richly complex compositions of materials which create simple, strong spaces.
Super Potato Design is generously illustrated with 320 full-color photographs by the respected Japanese photographer Yoshio Shiratori, who has recorded Super Potatos projects since the firm's conception in 1973. Architect and Japan scholar Mira Locher introduces the ideas and influences of Takashi Sugimoto, the founder and principal designer of Super Potato, and provides a thorough explanation of each project. Architectural drawings further describe the projects. A forward by Tadao Anso, interviews between Takashi Sugimoto and architect Kiyoshi Sey Takeyama, and also graphic designer Kenya Hara, explore the ideas relevant to Japanese designers today. A list of the Complete Works of Super Potato rounds off the book.
Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Using more than fifty interviews, award-winning writer Danny Danziger creates a fascinating mosaic of the people behind New York's magnificent Metropolitan Museum of Art. From the aristocratic, acerbic director of the museum, Philippe de Montebello, to the curators who have a deep knowledge and passionate appreciation of their collections, from the security guards to the philanthropists who keep the museum's financial life blood flowing, Danziger brings to life this extraordinary world through the words of those who are devoted to making the Met the American institution it surely is.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Renée, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television. Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Renée is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence she scrutinizes the lives of the building's tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence.
Then there's Paloma, a twelve-year-old genius. She is the daughter of a tedious parliamentarian, a talented and startlingly lucid child who has decided to end her life on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue behaving as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter.
Paloma and Renée hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma's trust and to see through Renée's timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.
A New Kind of Science
Physics and computer science genius Stephen Wolfram, whose Mathematica computer language launched a multimillion-dollar company based in Champaign, now sets his sights on a more daunting goal: understanding the universe. Wolfram lets the world see his work in A New Kind of Science, a gorgeous, 1,280-page tome more than a decade in the making. With patience, insight, and self-confidence to spare, Wolfram outlines a fundamental new way of modeling complex systems.
On the frontier of complexity science since he was a boy, Wolfram is a champion of cellular automata -- 256 "programs" governed by simple nonmathematical rules. He points out that even the most complex equations fail to accurately model biological systems, but the simplest cellular automata can produce results straight out of nature -- tree branches, stream eddies, and leopard spots, for instance. The graphics in A New Kind of Science show striking resemblance to the patterns we see in nature every day.
Wolfram wrote the book in a distinct style meant to make it easy to read, even for nontechies; a basic familiarity with logic is helpful but not essential. Readers will find themselves swept away by the elegant simplicity of Wolfram's ideas and the accidental artistry of the cellular automaton models. Whether or not Wolfram's revolution ultimately gives us the keys to the universe, his new science is absolutely awe-inspiring.