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AAD London (Art Architecture Design) (English, French, Spanish and German Edition) Hardcover – April 15, 2011
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The first section, "Art," includes the British Museum and the Tate, of course. It goes way beyond that, though, with listings of some of the world's most illustrious galleries. (If you're new to gallery-hooping as an entertainment in itself, you're in for a treat.) This guide mentions the old masters in massive gold frames, of course, but has a strong emphasis on contemporary art and emerging artists. Next, "Architecture" goes way past Westminster Abbey and the other classics. As in the Art section, the editors emphasize modern landmarks like the Swiss Re building, the Millenium Bridge, and the London Eye. Finally, the "Design" section explores buildings again, but from the inside. It invites the curious reader to explore hotels, restaurants, stores, and more that emobody the best of today's interior design.
This doesn't stand alone as a travel guide, but never meant to. You'll need a more traditional book for maps, transit tips, housing, and all the rest. "AAD London" goes into additional detail that regular guides have neither the space nor interest to cover. Even so, no book can cover every arts venue in a city as rich as London. For example, I once lucked into the grad-school show at one the design colleges, and saw some spectacular work - give art school galleries a try if you're looking for some of the most unrestrained explorations of what what art can be. This small book gives a great beginning, though. I wish I'd had it for my last trip to this wonderful city.
The guide also comes with a small map listing the locations of all the places featured, though I would have preferred a fold-out map that is larger and easier on the eyes. The guide is written in four languages, i.e. English, French, Spanish, and German, all of which are found in the same book. There is also a brief service section at the end of the guide listing the usual tourist-related information such as accommodation, transportation, etc.
The beauty of this book, one of a series promised by teNeues, is the fact that it is in four languages - English, German, French and Spanish - and each area of discussion is accompanied by commentary that makes the survey of style and art ring. The photographic images are in brilliant color and the addresses of each of the galleries, museums, commercial buildings and design examples accompany each page. This is a perfect guide for the art tourist who wants to see the important aspects of both and old and the new London. The guide is edited by Susanne Olbrich and Christine Takengny who have added maps and complete tourist services in the back of the book. Indispensable! Grady Harp, August 11