What should designers read in the times of social distancing — V

Last of the five part series on essential reads for a designer

Last of the five part series in which we recommended books for designers to read during the Coronavirus pandemic. Stay home, read.

A Place In The Shade: The New Landscape And Other Essays by Charles Correa
Charles Correa is perhaps modern India’s greatest architects. He is the architect of some of the best designed cities of modern India, like Navi Mumbai. A Place In The Shade is a collection of essays, a brilliant literary work from the genius of this architect. Correa keen observations of Indian design, architecture and society are evident in his work, and will interest a designer. In his own words — “The essays in this book cover a great many topics—because you cannot look at cities without wandering into architecture on the one hand and politics on the other. And you certainly can’t look at architecture without also encountering other areas as diverse as music and landscape and films and toy trains. And so these essays of necessity cover a considerable range, from the 19th century engineer Isambard Brunel to reflections on the ideal city, to Mahatma Gandhi and Ayodhya.”


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This is a novel, a work of fiction, but a must read for all designers. The protagonist of the novel Clay Jannon is a web designer out job because of recession (umm… yes too real) after the start-up he was working at shut down. Out of work, and opportunities, Jannon lands a job at Mr Penumbra’s bookstore that is open 24-hours. The book is full of Jannon’s observations as a designer, hilarious commentary on the tech giants and quirky characters. This book is one of the few thoughtful yet fun works on the IT industry and its possibilities. No more spoilers, because it is a book a designer will love to read. (If you get the same edition as ours, your book will also glow in the dark!)


Dekho: Conversations on Design in India by Codesign
Dekho was published by Delhi-based studio Codesign founded by Mohor and Rajesh Dahiya. The studio conducted several conversations with stalwarts from Professor RK Joshi, MP Ranjan, Orijit Sen, Amardeep Behl to Wolfgang Weingart and Stefan Sagmeister, which are included in the book. Dekho is a rare and rich repository of perspectives on design with respect to India. We have lost many a great Indian designers without trying to understand their work, ideas and ways of working. Dekho is an earnest attempt to lessen that loss. It’s a book that every Indian designer needs to read.


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