This book is like having a personal shopper for home products, and when aiming for homeware that ticks both form and function boxes then you couldn't do much better than advice from Charlotte and Peter Fiell, whose various publications over the years have established them as authorities on this subject - the book is clearly meticulously researched, with great images and clear descriptions of each item. One of the main attractions for me is that every item in the book is still in production, meaning you won't experience the disappointment of spotting the perfect object for your home and then being unable to buy it - it even tells you where to get it. If you don't know much about design for the home then Tools for Living will offer you valuable advice - and if you know your stuff then this authoritative tome, jam-packed full of products to drool over, will be right up your street.
The Fiell's have written plenty of books on design and I often wondered, while looking through the few I have, how wonderful it would be if I could buy this or that design. Now it's possible because this book has an interesting editorial remit of only showing design that is available (and as Dieter Ram's Braun calculator isn't included I guess it's not made anymore) so every product has a web address, though that is not to say every thing is available worldwide.
The ten chapters: kitchenware; tableware; furniture; lighting; office, bathroom; maintenance; children; garden and one called `other' (with a selection of door handles, amazingly fourteen included, wall clocks, CD racks etcetera) show one product a page and I was pleased to see that a lot of the old favourites are still being made. Timo Sarpaneva's cooking pot (1960) and wonderful Rosenthal Suomi dinnerware (1976) Max Bill's wall clock (1956) Henning Koppel's pitcher (1952) and fish dish (1954) Egmont Aren's kitchen mixer (1937) and of course Charles Eames lounger (1956) which will always be available.
Some of the kitchenware objects, though you might consider them mundane, still retain good looks. The Sherman Kelly ice-cream scoop (1933) Rosle Design Team whisk (1978) Smart Design pastry brush (2006) and the incredibly simple and obvious cheese slicer designed by Norwegian Thor Bjorklund in 1925. Perhaps, predictably, the majority of products in the book are European and nicely many are Scandinavian. The Fiell's Scandinavian Design is a remarkable visual look at the timeless design that has come out of the four countries over the decades.
I thought 'Tools for living' (incidentally, a handsome looking book with everything in colour) the ideal guide to help you fill your home with products that work and also look good.
***LOOK INSIDE THE BOOK by ckicking 'customer images' under the cover.