Permaculture, A Designers' Manual, by Bill Mollison. Okay, I haven't read the entire book start to finish -- the thing is a tome -- but it feels like we need to rethink what a sustainable future looks like now more than ever. "Design" is most interesting to me when it focuses on how a functional object or system operates most efficiently, while extending beyond its intrinsic function in order to relate to its surroundings. Bill gives the wonderful example of how a window needs to do more than just let light in. Any old window filters light, but a well-designed window addresses its environment as a participant striving to produce more positive energy than it loses during its lifetime. We as humans need to start being more like well-designed windows.
Alexandre Noll armchair, circa 1947 — There is something wonderful and dreamlike about a furniture object carved out of a single piece of material. By using the direct-carving method, Noll exhibits his reverence for mahogany by accentuating its inherent characteristics as opposed to imposing a form onto the wood. We might ask, Is this sculpture, furniture or both simultaneously? The chair performs as a playful byproduct of the harmonious dance between Noll and the natural world. The undercurrent of risk involved in using a reductive technique, where one can't undo or re-fabricate a component of the finished object, makes the chair feel even more alive.