Selected Writings of J.B. Jackson

In these essays, Jackson's intelligence is equaled by his warmth and by the reverence he had for everyday places. I grew up on a farm, and my parents had a great love for the land—for the way the rational, farmed fields intersected with the equally important wild forest and meadows. They didn't go to college, but they are the wisest people I know in how they think about landscapes as both pragmatic and emblematic. All landscapes do some kind of work for us, even if that work is to make us happy. It was reading Jackson that made me realize that my parents had taught me more than anyone else.
— Michael Van Valkenburgh, landscape architect, New York City

Learning from Las Vegas
By Robert Venturi, Steven Izenour, and Denise Scott Brown

I studied this book at Parsons in the 1970s, and it was a shocking breath of fresh air. Venturi's famous dis of Mies van der Rohe—"less is a bore"—struck a chord in my heart.
— Jamie Drake, interior designer, New York City

Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century
By Mark Hampton

This book covers the work of the design industry's pioneers—minus my father, who wrote it—not only the popular designers, but the giants of design who, for whatever reason, are less well known, such as Elsie Cobb Wilson, Ruby Ross Wood, and George Stacey.
— Alexa Hampton, interior designer, New York City

Neoclassicism in the North: Swedish Furniture and Interiors 1770–1850
By Hakan Groth

I learned about this book from my friend Bill Blass, who called it his bible for interiors. I always loved the decorative arts of 18th-century France; in this book, I discovered that the Swedes took many elements of decoration from France and simplified them. I like the freshness of the painted furniture and the soft, but not sweet, mix of pastel colors.
— Carolyne Roehm, interior designer, New York City

Other Voices, Other Rooms
By Truman Capote
Capote's incredible descriptions in this novel give a real sense of rooms in three dimensions, of color and space and light.
— Michael S. Smith, interior designer, Los Angeles


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