Book Review – ‘Do It Yourself’ by Thomas Barnthaler

50 Projects by Designers and Artists

067 TIH Yourself

‘Design objects that you can make yourself? Actually it’s a contradiction in terms.’ Says Thomas Barnthaler in this inspirational book that started life as an experiment. International star designers were invited to create something that readers could make for themselves. It had to be a piece of furniture, an everyday object or something decorative. Not too difficult and not too expensive was the only requirement.

The idea of DIY was born in the twentieth century as an escape for those with a hankering for manual work, a hobby for amateurs and it also found supporters among designers. There’s a feel good factor about making things yourself, it creates meaning and gives you a sense of pride. As early as 1930’s Gerrit Rietveld, a carpenter by trade, tried to sell wooden furniture in prefabricated pieces. Perhaps this was a precursor to Ikea flat packs.

090 CB Cart Chair

The projects in the book hark back to the origins of design, back to the workshop and the studio, where it’s all about hands-on activity and improvisation. They celebrate simple but effective ideas. Most of them can be modified, personalized and changed as desired. So the ‘maker’, becomes a designer or innovator in his or her own right. Each project opens with a small biography of its designer, a description of the object and a full colour photo. There are step-by-step instructions, illustrations and even images of the tools and materials needed to make the item.

There are way too many designers and projects to pick out just one or two examples, however these two are my favourites. Check out the book and find yours, if you are a maker you will certainly find something that you want to make in this book.

163 Jackstraws

Do it yourself by Thomas Barnthaler published by Phaidon £19.95

http://uk.phaidon.com

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