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on 1 July 2015
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on 12 August 2011
This is a brilliant source book of 20th century design for the home. It covers every period with clear introductions, and then hones in on the key designers for that time.

I love the clarity of the layout. Not only are the pages easy to navigate and 'dip into', the images of the objects are beautifully presented. They stand alone which make them easy to see the detail (and to find things easily when you flick through).
The clean images are also a great reference for me (as a designer and illustrator) to redraw the objects.

Other useful and interesting features are timelines at the bottom of the page in each new section to help you see how things developed at a glance (together with imagery of course) and if you're interested in collecting or just curious how much each item is worth, there's estimated values attached to each one.

A great reference book and an interesting read.
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on 20 August 2010
Precise and concise explanations, not wordy.
Very thorough coverage of household things, not just furniture and art objects, but also clothes, kitchenware, graphics etc.
Illustrated objects have very good pointers to highlight design features.
Illustrations are big.

Not so Good:
Book does not show how objects & furniture were placed in rooms during the different periods; how objects' design was influenced by their proximity to others.
For a book on design, hardly any picture on interior design, nor the design of homes.
How related were the designs of such household items related to the homes they were placed in, i.e. architecture? Book focussed on objects, isolated treatment.
Feels like a catalogue, still not enough of the underlying philosophy behind the design, the uniqueness of individual designers, the wider social context.

I recommend a more holistic approach to design in Penny Sparke's "A Century of Design: Design Pioneers of the 20th Century".
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on 11 January 2010
Appropriately for a book about design, this is a beautifully presented substantial work covering the complete spectrum of twentieth century decorative arts. The author has carried off the difficult task of providing enough to interest someone new to this field with a breadth of academic expertise to attract the experienced collector. Many of the carefully selected illustrations are stunning.
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on 9 June 2010
With nice big pictures and informative text it makes a very good introduction to the world of 20th century design. Its ideal for those with a passing interest in the subject or as a starting point for those who wish to carry out more in depth research.
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