From Publishers Weekly
It takes seven days to create the flavorful, jewel-like cabochon of candy known as a Jelly Belly, seven months to fashion a worthy champagne cork, and no time at all to become enthralled by the 100 ubiquitous objects portrayed in this book. Antonelli, curator of the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Design and Architecture, imbues the text with reverence and passion befitting these revolutionary objects. Whether elaborating on modern design icons like the Post-it Note and the Chinese Take-out Box, or on designs so ancient their genesis is lost-the boomerang and chopsticks, for example-the author illustrates how each object's design fulfills its promise. The objects showcased here are significant because either their functionality has made them essential to peoples' lives (the safety pin, the condom), or because "like the Slinky or the Rubik's Cube, they have added so much delight to the history of our material culture that they deserve a prominent space in our world." Antonelli focuses on common designs that are used all over the world; consequently, the universality of good design is underscored. The author emphasizes the visceral and tactile qualities that make each object appealing, while the striking close-up photography shows how "their form efficiently describes their function." Antonelli has succeeded in showing how everyday design has both beauty and agency in this visual wonder of a book.
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“Antonelli imbues the text with reverence and passion befitting these revolutionary objects. . . . Visual wonder of a book.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A must-have compendium for the aesthetic perfectionist in you.” (City Page One)
“A heartening read.” (New York Times)
“Humble Masterpieces, like the designs it highlights, does its job smartly, eloquently, tidily.” (Cnn.com)
“Brilliantly conceived, impeccably executed, comprehensive, authoritative, chockablock with gorgeous photography and fascinating, surprising information.” (Kurt Andersen)
“Delightfully illustrated.” (Virgina Postrel)
Merit Award, Special Trade-General, New York Book Show (No Source)
“Cleverly designed.” (The Architect's Newspaper)
“Short but fascinating vignettes on each object’s creation or lifecycle. Inspirational.” (Business Week)
“One of those surprising books we never imagined we needed, but we do.” (Interior Design)