Well read: Your summer property, homes and interiors reading list
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From priced out artists to plywood surfboards, here’s all the property and interiors books you need to read this summer
Ah, the great British summer. Garden parties in the rain, mud splashed across the hem of your dress as you trudge around in wellies on the one day it rains all week when you’ve planned a barbeque; the alarming caw-caw of the seagull as it swoops to snatch your Mr Whippy, the universally used barometer of price inflation by all sensible people who don’t have access to a Freddo; and the bracing chill of the sea as the younger members of your tribe demand you swim with them rather than sit, arms folded, wrapped up in a red tartan rug behind your makeshift windshield wishing you were in Barbados rather than Brighton. Oh, and our inability to talk about anything other than the weather.
Thankfully, reading offers an indoor solution to all these British summer dilemmas; the chief attraction of the humble book being its mobility, so you can take it outside whenever, or if ever, the sun finally appears. So for sunny days on Hampstead Heath when you’re not paddling in the ponds, lazy afternoons in the pub beer garden attempting to look aloof and oh-so-intelligent, and for coffee table books that will make you look like an interior designer, we’ve put together a list of the best property reads to keep you entertained, informed, and in the know about everything from plywood to political corruption and painting.
Here is your summer holiday reading list...
Two years ago Tinsel Edwards’ artwork was selected by Banksy to be part of his ‘bemusement park’ Dismaland in Weston Super Mare. Now, the Londoner has turned her attention to the housing market in her debut book. In Priced Out, Edwards looks at the state of the capital’s housing, from its spiralling property prices to high rents, to uncover the reasons why artists and creatives are being priced out of the city.
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Edwards says: “It’s my artist’s story – of how and why I started making artwork about the crisis in London housing…I am proud to have lived here for nearly 20 years. But the London I have known and loved is changing. When I arrived, I felt that I belonged….Now when I walk the streets I feel like an outsider. Wealth and finance have taken over.”
Tinsel Edwards, Dunlin Press, £12.99
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From Highgate-based Pluto Press and the Left Book Club, The rent trap offers what it calls ‘the first critical account of what is really going on in the private rented sector and expose the powers which are conspiring to oppose regulation’. Samir Jeraj and Rosie Walker turn cast asperses on the private rental sector that they claim has ‘undermine(d) our fundamental rights’. Taking into account deregulation, unscrupulous landlords and snap evictions, the book exposes alleged parliamentary corruption and the movements fighting to end the ‘inescapable consequence of market-induced inequality.’
Rosie Walker and Samir Jeraj, Pluto Press, £12.99
Ornament is Crime celebrates the wonders of Modernism through hundreds of stunning black and white photographs that illuminate the form and structure of the controversial style. This reappraisal looks at the work of renowned architects Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius, as well as numerous local examples in Hampstead and Highgate, to argue that the Modernist movement of the last century has shaped the way we build. Read our interview with Matt Gibberd here.
Matt Gibberd and Albert Hill, Phaidon, £29.95
Delving into the depths of the housing crisis, in her follow up to Ground Control, Anna Minton explores the UK’s chronic shortage of housing and our persistent cycle of demolition and ‘regeneration’. In what she calls an ‘ideological war’, housing has become a response to the requirements of global capita, less a public right and ned. For a no holds barred, but equally jargon-free account of the housing crisis as we know it, this book is a must-read.
Anna Minton, Penguin, £8.99
To accompany the first major exhibition focussing on the versatile material Plywood: material of the modern world at the Victoria & Albert Museum, this book from Christopher Wilk takes into account the whole range of uses that plywood has been employed for. From chairs and tables to the very first surfboards and war planes, Plywood has shaped the way we live since the 18th century.
Christopher Wilk, Thames and Hudson, £29.95
Struggle to understand the complex inner workings of housing economics? Have no fear; in this guide, authors Josh Ryan-Collins, Toby Lloyd and Laurie Macfarlane take you through the minefield that is the relationship between the financial system and land. Think that land economy isn’t tied to financial instability? Think again. This guide hopes to raise debate and encourage policy-makers to rethink the relationship between land and housing and economic theory.
Josh Ryan-Collins, Toby Lloyd and Laurie Macfarlane, Zed Books, £14.99
Taking a look at some of the pioneers of the garden city movement, this new volume is an essential for anyone interested in town planning and city living. Jam packed with photos of this aspirational utopian vision of what a city could be, this book guides you through the past, present and future of the garden city movement. From its pioneers who aspired to merge sustainability with economics and social policy, this community-focussed concept continues to have relevance in the present day as the UK faces a crippling housing shortage.
Hugh Ellis, Kate Henderson and Katy Lock, RIBA Publishing, £40
And one for the wish list…
Up in Hampstead and Highgate we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to Modernism and Brutalism. Now, Mark Swenarton delves into the 1960s and 1970s housing projects build in Camden under the reign of borough architect Sydney Cook. Regarded as landmark buildings in the nation’s architectural history, Cook’s schemes included Maiden Lane, Rowley Way and Highgate New Town.
Mark Swenarton, Lund Humphries Publishers, £45
Released on 6 October