Dominic Bradbury’s Mid-century Modern Complete is, frankly, a tome. Published by Thames & Hudson, it seeks to be the definitive reference material on mid-century design across the globe – or certainly, Europe, Scandinavia and North America.
It collects its content under:
I. MEDIA AND MASTERS
– Glass And Ceramics
– Product And Industrial Design
– Graphics And Posters
II. HOUSES AND INTERIORS
III. A-Z OF DESIGNERS AND MAKERS
For me, section I is the most informative and therefore my favourite, but fans of “Pinspiration” will likely prefer section II, with its (visual) suggestions of how to incorporate several elements into one scheme.
There is a lot of supporting information – if you want a book of pretty pictures, I wouldn’t shell out fifty quid on it. But it’s a book that I find myself returning to once a month or so – and not just because it lives in my coffee table (1 – I like to show it off, 2 – I’m not sure I trust the shelves with it… so heavy!). There is plenty of reference to the existing rules that this design movement was breaking, and as every music & art teacher will probably tell you, you have to know the rules to break them.
The book on the more secure lower shelf of my £10 charity shop coffee table, an absolute find.
EDIT AT 15/05/2016: If you’re just looking for a collection of inspiring images, there is a related object you can get, instead – 100 Postcards of Iconic Designs, £15 at time of writing.