Domus Summer

Discover the Domus summer special.
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10 books to read this summer

Vacation, time for reading, but which books should I bring with me? Emanuele Quinz chooses ten for Domus readers. They all relate in some way to design, understood as the ‘way we experience our environment.’ From Beka & Lemoine’s first book to Rahm’s publication on the Anthropocene, from botany to a fundamental novel by Richard Powers.

Rebellious composer John Cage once said in the 1970s, ‘Art becomes the way we experience our environment.’ And he taught us that even a walk in the woods is art (or music). In fact, according to him, art is not tied to specific objects or contexts, but it is a form of attention to things, sounds, spaces, and times, to the complex and multifaceted environment around us. There is no need to add anything, everything is already around us.

Set in a vast American forest with his quirky and wonderful son, the protagonist of Richard Powers’ book – Bewilderment – has a valuable insight, ‘Life is something we need to stop correcting. Every one of us is an experiment, and we don’t even know what the experiment is testing…’

Beirut. The Eras of Design, edited by Marco Costantini, Kaph Books, Mudac, 2023

I like to think of design as ‘a way we experience our environment’ as well – through our relationship with the things, spaces, and times that make up the horizon we see around us. A horizon that is both nature and society. And more and more, these terms overlap, thanks to the developments in design: society becomes increasingly inclusive, extending beyond the human, to coincide with nature. Is it still a utopia? Is it an insight that overwhelms us like a desire when we walk in the woods or swim in the warm waters of the sea? Or can it also become a project?

So here, as usual, is a list of 10 recommended summer readings for 2023. To take time or, even better, to take your time: summer is not only a moment of break and recharge, but also the ideal context for reading (including about design), delving deeper, traveling with the body and mind, discovering new horizons, making room for thoughts, doubts, insights, and projects.

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