The best books on the future of the interior

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than thirty years I have been discussing, formulating ideas, and writing about Architecture, Building Reuse, and Interiors. I lead the MA Architecture and Adaptive Reuse programme and direct graduate atelier Continuity in Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture. I am currently the Visiting Professor at the University IUAV of Venice where I am conducting research on the sustainable adaptation of existing buildings with particular emphasis on the environmental concerns within the inherently fragile city of Venice.


I wrote...

Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

By Sally Stone,

Book cover of Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

What is my book about?

Inside Information is a chatty and well-informed conversation about the theoretical ideas that inform the interior. Written as a collection of 26 conversations, from Ante to Zeitgeist, Inside Information explores the rich diversity of areas that inform the subject, and ideas that underpin it. This thesaurus of interiors transcends the boundaries and genres that often define interiors, providing a comprehensive view of the concepts and vocabulary of interior design. It is a practical introduction for the professional, a set of provocation for the scholar, a ‘good read’ filled with anecdote and speculation for the amateur, and primer for the students.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays

Sally Stone Why did I love this book?

The book introduced Interior Design as an intellectual subject with a firm theoretical grounding that went beyond style and taste to influential and foundational concepts and promoted it as a serious field of study. It is a collection of accessible essays and so is easy to dip into. My favourite essay is "Figures, Doors and Passageways," which discusses the formation of contemporary systems of circulation, the development of the corridor, and the evolution of modern ideas of personal privacy.

By Robin Evans,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A re-edition of Robin Evans’ classic essay anthology Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays, originally published by the Architectural Association (AA) in 1997. Featuring a new introduction, the book is the first in a new series of essay anthologies entitled AA Documents.

‘What makes this book so captivating is not just the individual insights, but also the intensity of Evans's vision and the coherence of his approach.’ ―Joseph Rykwert, Harvard Design Magazine

This book brings together eight of the most interesting and significant essays by the unequalled historian Robin Evans, author of The Projective Cast. Written over a…


Book cover of Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture As Mass Media

Sally Stone Why did I love this book?

Beatriz Colomina explores how Adolf Loos set the stage for the occupants of a house to live in. Through a lively discussion of the relationship between private and public areas within the homes that he designed, she discusses the relationships between the open spaces, corridors, light, dark, and view. The comparison is between the home as a place to dwell and the home as a place for performance – a theatrical set.

By Beatriz Colomina,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Privacy and Publicity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through a series of close readings of two major figures of the modern movement, Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier, Beatriz Colomina argues that architecture only becomes modern in its engagement with the mass media, and that in so doing it radically displaces the traditional sense of space and subjectivity. Privacy and Publicity boldly questions certain ideological assumptions underlying the received view of modern architecture and reconsiders the methodology of architectural criticism itself. Where conventional criticism portrays modern architecture as a high artistic practice in opposition to mass culture, Colomina sees the emerging systems of communication that have come to define…


Book cover of An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration: From Pompeii to Art Nouveau

Sally Stone Why did I love this book?

Mario Praz’s Illustrated History of Interior Decoration is a wonderful chatty collection of case studies that explores the history of the subject in a well-informed and erudite manner. Interiors are generally lost to the mists of time, remembered only as the backdrop to other activities in paintings and prints, Praz has searched out the best of these to generously illustrate the book.

By Mario Praz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a reference source for anyone with an interest in period styles of furniture and decoration, this book comprises a complete survey of domestic interiors portrayed in art from the ancient world to the late 19th century. A collection of pictures and watercolours from all over Europe, Russia and America record rooms of all periods and their contents; the furniture, fabrics, carpets, pictures and wall-coverings. This text presents a cultural history of man in relation to his domestic surroundings.


Book cover of Venice

Sally Stone Why did I love this book?

Jan Morris’s book is a fantastic discussion about the evolution of Venice. It explores why the city looks as it does, why the inhabitants behave in a particular manner, it explains how the buildings are constructed, why the boats are shaped as they are, how the navy constructed their Arsenale, what is best to eat, and when, what the climate is like and how this has informed behaviour and so much more...

By Jan Morris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Venice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Often hailed as one of the best travel books ever written, Venice is neither a guide nor a history book, but a beautifully written immersion in Venetian life and character, set against the background of the city's past. Analysing the particular temperament of Venetians, as well as its waterways, its architecture, its bridges, its tourists, its curiosities, its smells, sounds, lights and colours, there is scarcely a corner of Venice that Jan Morris has not investigated and brought vividly to life.

Jan Morris first visited the city of Venice as young James Morris, during World War II. As she writes…


Book cover of Home: A Short History of an Idea

Sally Stone Why did I love this book?

Home discusses the complex series of factors that have generated the house as we understand it today. The chapters can be read independently as discussions on, for example, the evolution of comfort or the organisation of the different spaces. However, the book also builds into a fascinating argument for revisiting some of the pre-modern ideas of communal living, shared spaces, and live-work relationships. 

By Witold Rybczynski,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Walk through five centuries of homes both great and small from the smoke-filled manor halls of the Middle Ages to today's Ralph Lauren-designed environments on a house tour like no other, one that delightfully explicates the very idea of "home."

You'll see how social and cultural changes influenced styles of decoration and furnishing, learn the connection between wall-hung religious tapestries and wall-to-wall carpeting, discover how some of our most welcome luxuries were born of architectural necessity, and much more. Most of all, Home opens a rare window into our private lives and how we really want to live.


You might also like...

Rip Current

By Sharon Ward,

Book cover of Rip Current

Sharon Ward Author Of In Deep

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Even as a kid, I was intrigued by the underwater world, so as an adult, I learned to scuba dive. I took to it like a fish to water, and my husband and I spent the next several years traveling to tropical islands to experience the local dive conditions whenever possible. I loved learning how every island had a different culture and a different undersea environment. Since I love tropical islands, scuba diving, mysteries, and adventure stories, these books really hit my sweet spot.

Sharon's book list on mysteries set on a tropical island

What is my book about?

Unsettled weather has caused life-threatening rip currents to sprout up seemingly at random in the usually tranquil sea around Grand Cayman. Despite posted warnings to stay out of the surf, several women lose their life when caught in the turbulent waters. Fin attempts some dangerous rescues, and nearly loses her own life in the process.

Meanwhile, Fin and the team at RIO are struggling to find more sources of funding for the Institute’s important research, and danger arises from an unexpected source while Fin and hot movie star Rafe Cummings are filming an upcoming documentary. When a young internet influencer…

Rip Current

By Sharon Ward,

What is this book about?

Unsettled weather has caused life-threatening rip currents to sprout up seemingly at random in the usually tranquil sea around Grand Cayman. Despite posted warnings to stay out of the surf, several women lose their life when caught in the turbulent waters. Fin attempts some dangerous rescues, and nearly loses her own life in the process.
Meanwhile, Fin and the team at RIO are struggling to find more sources of funding for the Institute’s important research, and danger arises from an unexpected source while Fin and hot movie star Rafe Cummings are filming an upcoming documentary.
Soon after a young internet…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in architecture, Venice, and Italy?

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