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Phaidon Design Classics (3 Volume Set) (Pts. 1, 2 & 3) Hardcover – April 13, 2006


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Phaidon Design Classics (3 Volume Set) (Pts. 1, 2 & 3) + The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design
Price for both: $172.73

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 3300 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press (April 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714843997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714843995
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 10.5 x 22 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 24 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'a mine of information about those little everyday things we never think about - impressive in its scale and ambition - as a reference book Phaidon Design Classics is invaluable and will not need replacing as nearly as soon as that 'timeless' iPod.' Icon 'an intriguing journey not only through the history of design, but also through a history of taste and culture.' Design Week '999 of the best-designed things ever ... What the Oxford dictionary is to words, this is to man-made objects. ... You won't want to put it down' The Guardian 'The ultimate reference tool...' Home Accents Today 'Smartly written and lavishly illustrated, Design Classics is an extraordinarily ambitious attempt to catalogue items of "aesthetic value and timeless quality."' Art + Auction 'Creative cross-fertilization is a recurring theme in these volumes, which are so engagingly written they would be great bedside reading.' The Philadelphia Inquirer

Customer Reviews

Ironic, given the books' subject matter.
TCB IN A FLASH
Outstanding 3-volume set that will soon become a cornerstone of any creative library.
Jonathan B. Skaines
This is a must have for anyone interested in design.
Sulema Ebrahim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James M. Laffey on June 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
On the next rainy day, make yourself a nice cup of tea, curl up and savor every page of this magnificent design compendium. It's endlessly enlightening to learn the backstories of so many of the ubiquitous everyday objects we now take for granted, from paperclips to Mies seating to Fiestawear. This clearly deserved 5 stars but the carrying case was so annoying and poorly designed (picture prying the books out with a screwdriver!) that I subtracted a star. In a collection of this scope and stature, such ineffective packaging is unforgiveable.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sean Brocklebank on December 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
(To get one thing out of the way: yes the packaging is unwieldly, but not so bad as some reviewers make it out to be. If you use a pair of bolt cutters or a hedge clipper to cut the cross-bars, then the whole thing comes apart painlessly)

These books are excellent, but suffer from two flaws. The first is that there are too few very old items. Only the first dozen items are drawn from man's long history before the mid-ninteenth century, none of these are before the seventeenth century, and nowhere to be seen are such icons as the katana, the ordinary pin, the wheel, or the telescope. Perhaps I have misunderstood the scope of the books by listing these items, but considering the dubious nature of some of the later inclusions, I think they would have been justified.

Which brings me to the second flaw: the large number of questionable entries. This problem gets particularly bad in the last volume which deals with the most recent designs, and to some measure it's unavoidable when trying to sift out any sort of 'recent classic'. But there are also more systematic troubles; as one reviewer already pointed out, something like 200 of the entries are dedicated to sofas, chairs, and stools. Surely this is excessive. One gets the feeling that they had set themselves a target nuber of entries, and were determined to collect that number no matter what. Perhaps 999 was too many.

Still, in spite of the set's coverage not living up to my ideal (who could agree perfectly on such a thing anyway?), and in spite of the oft-mentioned awkward packaging, this is an outstanding triad of books. In its pages you will glean the fascinating history of a huge number of familiar objects along with wonderful illustrations (photos, patents, and adverts).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Samuel D. Duncan on February 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful books and production value, but the plastic carrying case--being especially vulnerable--didn't survive two shipping attempts. On both occasions, the books arrived with their carrying case shattered and the books damaged. You might do better getting these some other way. You'll take your chances if you decide to have them shipped via Amazon (or any other online shipper). Beware.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tanatip Arunanondchai on May 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The content are so comprehensive not much really needed to sell this book. Unfortunately the casing (designed by one of my favorite designer Konstantin Grcic) was so hard to open during the process of trying to crack the plastic case open in the modelshop I torn part of the second book cover...bummer :( Phaidon please don't ever...ever...ever overly design your book and the case ever ever ever again...it really hurts to have your brand new $175 book torn by it's overly design cover...else fantastic book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DR PHIBES on February 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Superlative book; goes well with the Domus 12 volume set for enough design related material to keep even an avid reader occupied for years to come...

The packaging understandably gets more comment than the books themselves. I suspect it is deliberately ironic - coverage of 999 objects blending form and function, coupled with a piece of something else.

I'm surprised at the complaints regarding the packaging being broken in shipment - I would have appreciated someone saving me the trouble, as mine went straight in the recycling bin. I'd rather liberate my books than imprison them.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephan L. Marsh on November 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Please beware, This package will reach you with the case for the books broken. Yes, this book set comes with a plastic case, when they send it to you it breaks in transit. I should know they sent it to me twice. When i asked to have the case sent alone, I received an automated reply that had nothing to do with my question. Maybe you will have better luck!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By some guy on May 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An outstanding design resource which will no doubt soon become a ubiquitous electric-yellow prop on the bookshelves in style magazines, modern furniture catalogs, and lofts of urban trendoids everywhere. It should look nice next to Rem Koolhaas's "S, M, L, XL". All kidding aside, it's well worth the (Amazon) price. Although I must agree with the previous reviewer who pointed out the poorly designed and tacky plastic "carrying case". Ironic that a design encyclopedia would make such a design mistake. Also, I question whether enough time has passed to justify the "design classic" title bestowed upon many of the more recent entries.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By TCB IN A FLASH on June 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I first saw this set at the Borders near my home here in Chicago. The store had a display copy opened but none on the shelf for sale. I thumbed-through the first volume of this set and was immediately sold. When I asked the salesman for a copy, he went in the back and came out with the monstrosity that is this set when in its original packaging. What a train wreck of design! I lugged the set around the store for 20 minutes while browsing but eventually just set it down and resolved to buy it another time.

I eventually bought the set online and had it delivered to my home. I don't know what word best describes the packaging. The word "gross" comes to mind. Other contenders would be "pointless" and/or "graceless". Ironic, given the books' subject matter.

Buy the set. You'll love it. Recycle the case as soon as you get it pried off (WARNING: it'll take 10 to 15 minutes with a screwdriver).
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