3 Coffee Table Books That'll Spark Conversations
Cuba: The Cookbook by Madelaine Vázquez Gálvez and Imogene Tondre
Dancing and flirting. Cold beers and strong cigars. Crumbling dusty-pink houses and picture-perfect beaches.
There is a sensuality and headiness to Cuba that draws people from around the globe, but while a trip to the island has always been a feast for the eyes, it is fast becoming an actual feast, too. This brightly coloured cookbook feels like sunshine on a page, and it explores why island mentality doesn’t exist in Cuba, at least when it comes to cooking.
With a national cuisine that is influenced by Spain, Ghana, China, France and Russia, this small Caribbean nation puts the inner-city streets of London and New York to shame when it comes to gastronomy with a global twist. And with recipes including fresh lobster cooked with yams and plantains, and grilled dorade made with sweet vegetables, this is your ideal summer companion.
Mother and Child by Claiborne Swanson Frank
Photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank, a former assistant to Anna Wintour, recently had her second child. In this beautiful, thought-provoking book, she explores the meaning of modern motherhood in a collection of portraits spanning 70 famous mother-and-child relationships.
And matriarch is certainly not the only role these women play. Within these pages are first ladies, fashion tycoons, business leaders and bestselling authors.
There’s Aerin Lauder and her mother, Jo Carole; Carolina Herrera and her four daughters; a poolside Lauren Santo Domingo with her children, Beatrice and Nicolas; and Yaya DaCosta and son Sankara. Most notably, Swanson Frank photographs and interviews the four generations of Bush women at their home in Kennebunkport, Maine, months before Barbara Bush passed away.
Chair: 500 Designs That Matter by Phaidon Editors
At first glance, the humble chair feels like an odd choice of subject for a coffee table book—why read about an object you’re most likely already sitting on? But furniture designers worth their salt would immediately shake their heads in disagreement. This is because few forms excite a carpenter’s mind more than a chair.
Some architects even say a chair is as difficult an undertaking as an entire building. In this sumptuous book, Phaidon has brought together a hit collection of these complex works of sedentary art—such as the Eames moulded plastic RAR chair, the woven metal Bertoia chair from Knoll, and a hard-edged chair by Donald Judd—as well as some lesser-known experimental designs, like a plastic blow-up armchair and ones made from ghostly Lucite.
You’ll never look at your armchair in the same way again.
This article first appeared on hk.asiatatler.com.