16 gift ideas for lovers of art, architecture and design

Our pick of the best books in 2022 for lovers of art, architecture and design—a mixture of crowdpleasers, the idiosyncratic and overlooked (or what we think could well be future classics!).


Top architecture books 2022


FAR LEFT: The New Queensland House is a strong contender for one of the best popular books on Australian architecture and design this year. A survey with genuine substance, worth it just for the newly commissioned photo essay on Donovan Hill’s C-House (an Australian residential masterpiece, of which even old photos are very hard to come by). Some of the best architecture Australia produces in these pages...

CENTRE LEFT: This is one of Uro's own publications, so we're shamelessly self-plugging, but herein authors Guillermo Fernández-Abascal, Kate Finning, Urtzi Grau and Anna Tonkin have taken a refreshingly lateral approach to the subject of contemporary Australian architecture and how it is practiced. Better Together features the work of many superb practices, but also well informed, playful writing with a critical edge.

CENTRE RIGHT: We've been finding it hard to keep this on the shelves since it came out, and rightly so. Gunyah Goondie + Wurley: The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia is the only continental survey of Australia's First Nations' innovative architecture, built on decades of research and fieldwork by Paul Memmott. Long out of print, it has been re-released this year in this stunning, large scale, hardback format.

FAR RIGHT: 2023's edition of the popular Brutalist Calendar, which we seem to sell out of every year. 2023's highlights include Denys Lasdun's University of East Anglia, Gottfried Böhm's St Hildegardis Chapel, and many lesser-known, former Soviet Bloc gems. Start your day with unrelenting grey (in a good way). 

Landscape & urbanism

Top landscape & urbanism books 2022

FAR LEFT: The latest in Thames & Hudson's successful 'First Knowledges' series, which aims to provide a deeper understanding of the expertise and ingenuity of Indigenous Australians. Plants celebrates the deep cultural significance of plants and shows how engaging with this heritage could be the key to a healthier, more sustainable future.

CENTRE LEFT:  A refreshingly human-centred approach to a subject often mired in numbers and scales so vast they’re unimaginable. Future Cities documents photographer Yvonne Brandwijk and journalist Stephanie Bakker’s encounters in five of the fastest-growing cities in the world: Kinshasa, Lima, Yangon, Medellín and Addis Ababa. Meet the trend-setters, pioneers, visionaries and up-and-coming talent transforming the fortunes of their cities.

CENTRE RIGHT: The latest edition of one of the longest-running landscape architecture journals in the world—always a substantial read, and often ahead of the critical curve. Kerb 30 is an exploration of power in the built environment. Kerb 30 examines the discourse that provides landscape architects with a social license to practice, the business models that underpin that practice, and those practitioners working to resist and reveal the profession’s complicity with authority.

FAR RIGHT: Drawn from the Land is the first major overview of the UK’s leading garden designer, Tom Stuart-Smith. A big, splashy monograph filled with wistful images of Stuart-Smith’s immersive landscapes. If you’re buying for someone with a love of ‘wild’ meadows, mass plantings and gardens generally, there is plenty to inspire them here.


Top design books 2022

FAR LEFT: A thumper for the discerning design addict... Italian architect and designer Aldo Rossi is a giant in architecture and urban theory, but this catalogue raisonne explores his under-published design oeuvre. Contained within Aldo Rossi: Design 1960–1997 are 70 projects in which Rossi experiments with shape, colour and material, leading the reader on an imaginative journey through form and use, classicism, irony, and metaphysics.

CENTRE LEFT: Now it in its fourth printing, The Form of the Book Book brings together essential essays on the book – its history, present, and possible futures – by preeminent graphic designers and graphic design theorists/historians. Offers in-depth analyses of key moments in the history of book design in order to better imagine the many forms the book will take, and is already taking, in our digital age.

CENTRE RIGHT: If a 1-0 win for the Socceroos over Denmark wasn’t Christmas present enough, there’s this beauty. Football explores the design story behind football, diving into how design has been used to push the game to its technical and emotional limits. A rare insight into the people and processes that have made football what it is today.

FAR RIGHT: Woman Made records and illuminates the all-too-often overlooked history of women preeminent in design. Features more than 200 designers from more than 50 countries, including trailblazers past and present such as Ray Eames, Eileen Gray, Florence Knoll, Ilse Crawford...An emphatic demonstration that design is not - and never has been - a man's world.


Top art books 2022

FAR LEFT: Ready-made Ruin marks twenty years of collaboration by acclaimed Australian artists Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro. Healy and Cordeiro’s practice reflects a preoccupation with the dynamics of global mobility, the fallout of consumer society, and the contemporary notion of home, always imbued with humour and insight. Ready-made materials often feature in their work, including Lego, Ikea furniture, car and aircraft parts, dinosaur bones, and reconfigured architectural structures.

CENTRE LEFT: Plant porn of the highest order. Botanical takes readers on a historical journey through botany, the fine arts, jewelry, and photography. Includes works by the likes of Le Corbusier, Carl Linnaeus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Odilon Redon, Yves Saint Laurent, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Anna Atkins, Sarah Bernhardt, Patrick Blanc, Otto Dix, Joan Fontcuberta, Émile Gallé, Ernst Haeckel…

CENTRE RIGHT: A big, bold, shamelessly image-rich survey of ‘who's who and what's next’ in contemporary art (per Phaidon). Prime features 107 artists born since 1980, chosen by a new generation of art experts and leaders (again, per Phaidon). The featured artists (too many to list here) are sourced from across the globe and work across diverse mediums and yes, it inevitably sacrifices depth for breadth, but no one does this kind of stocking-filler better than Phaidon.

FAR RIGHT: Disturbed Home is the first comprehensive survey of Australian artist Ian Strange's architectural interventions. Strange's provocative transformations of damaged or abandoned homes unlock themes of social upheaval and geographic displacement caused by economic blight, environmental disaster and migration. They are eerily beautiful, and exquisitely presented here.