Vibia’s Summer Reading List: The Best Design Books

Summer is the season for relaxing pursuits, and what better way to enjoy the long, lazy days than perusing a design book. We polled a group of international architects and designers to see what the professionals turn to for inspiration and perspective. Read on for their top picks.  



Diego Cacciamani, an architect based in Perugia, Italy, is the founder of A25design Studio. From private residences to boutique hotels in Italy, Paris, London, NYC, and San Francisco, Cacciamani’s projects explore the interplay of light and volume. Among his favorite design books are:


Architecture of the Absurd by John Silber, which casts a critical eye on some the most celebrated architects of all time.


Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe. It explores what Cacciamani calls the “loss of quality of life” that resulted from the glass-box architecture of the last 50 years.


Spoken Into the Void by Adolf Loos argues that eliminating ornamentation is the way to create truly modern works, free from unnecessary frills.


Vibia - Stories - Summer Reading List -  Jesus Color


Jesús Diaz Osuna studied architecture in Seville, Spain, before beginning his professional career with firms in The Netherlands and Brazil. He later returned to Spain and opened his own architecture and design branding company in Madrid, Febrero Studio, with Mercedes Gonzalez Ballestreros. Osuna’s recommendations include:


Modern Architecture: A Critical History by Kenneth Frampton. This acclaimed volume, says Osuna, is a “classic for architecture students and fundamental to understand modern architecture.”


Dream of Living by Blanca Lleo recounts the “fascinating evolution of the modern home and the important changes it underwent in the 20thcentury.”


Studio KO by Tom Delavan and Julien Guieucelebrates the renowned French architectural firm in a visually compelling journey through the residences and museums it designed over the last decade.


Vibia - Stories - Summer Reading List -  Mercolor


Like her Febrero Studio co-founder Jesús Diaz Osuna, Mercedes Gonzalez Ballesteros graduated from the Seville School of Architecture. After moving to London, she worked on the Norman Foster team that designed Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2A in addition to several residential projects. She co-founded Febrero Studio with Osuna in 2016. Ballesteros’ list of best design books include:


The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton. It examines iconic buildings with a fresh and innovative eye, exploring the psychology behind the architecture.


Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino is, says Ballesteros, “a classic work of historical fiction featuring fascinating descriptions of imagined cities. An inspiration for architects and those in other creative disciplines.”


Thinking Architecture by Peter Zumthor features personal reflections on his body of work by the controversial, Pritzker Prize-winning architect.


Vibia - Stories - Summer Reading List -  Mariola Arteche


Mariola Arteche is an interior designer based in Santiago de Chile. After studying journalism at university she became increasingly interested in art and design and opened a décor shop. She later founded her eponymous interior design business in 2008, with projects ranging from private residences to real estate companies and office buildings. Among her favorite design books are:


A History of Interior Design by John F. Pile, a richly photographed book that explores the history of interior design up to the present day. “My bible for everything to do with decoration,” she says. “A book to consult, not to leave on the coffee table.”


Liaigre 12 Projects by Christian Liaigre showcases the designer’s work around the world. “It’s the book for good taste,” explains Artheche. “It has to be read, studied, and lived.”


Vibia - Stories - Summer Reading List -  TBD


Founded in 2011 by Selin Semaan and Josh Weiselberg, TBD is an award-winning, New York City-based architecture and design firm. Specializing in high-end residential and commercial projects in Manhattan, Long Island, Pennsylvania, and Florida, TBD has been featured in such publications as Dwell, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Interior Design. TBD’s top picks include:


Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas


The Architectural Uncanny by Anthony Vidler


Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino


The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard


All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Marshall Berman


The Storm of Creativity by Kyna Leski