Open the cover of “Great Design: The World’s Best Design Explored Explained” (DK Publishing, $30) and prepare to get sucked into an encyclopedic vortex of elegant aesthetics and high functionality before being spun off onto the Internet to search for every item on every page. Trust me, you’ll feel an urgent need for things like the Moka Express coffeemaker and Kilta tableware.
The book’s 246 pages take you on a photographic tour of more than 100 of the world’s greatest designs as curated by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, beginning with Michael Thonet’s Model 14 bentwood chair (circa 1855) and William Morris’ fruit wallpaper (1862-66) and ending with the iPad and the Masters chair (2010) by French designer Philippe Starck.
In between, it features such iconic items as the Vespa scooter, Leica camera, Arco lamp, Tupperware, several midcentury chairs, European cars (and one Cadillac), a typeface and a poster.
Author Philip Wilkinson deciphers key points of style that make each one innovative and beautiful and tells you why and for whom it was made.