12 Coffee Table Books

WORDS Robyn Alexander

Whether you’re searching for culinary inspiration or comfort food, seeking interiors insights or looking for the definitive take on cocktails, here are the books in which to find them.

We think 2021 is going to be all about taking the time to enjoy quiet, simple pleasures, including spending quality time paging slowly through an inspirational book. Here are 12 to add to your coffee table.

Life Meets Art: Inside the Homes of the World’s Most Creative People by Sam Lubell

Phaidon | R975

This remarkable coffee-table book rounds up the private spaces of no less than 250 of the world’s most creative people – past and present – providing an unparalleled behind-the-scenes tour of some of the most fascinating, inspirational and unique interiors ever. With the homes of painters, sculptors, novelists, poets, fashion designers, composers, musicians, architects and more represented here, Life Meets Art is decor inspiration second to none.

Radical Architecture of the Future by Beatrice Galilee

Phaidon | R880

Architecture isn’t about mere buildings any more, as this compilation of boundary-breaking projects amply demonstrates. From the surprising to the outrageous and even the slightly scary, this is 1 a great overview of contemporary spatial design at its most radical and intriguing. An essential read for everyone interested in the 3 avant-garde.

Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval

Trapeze, R655

Ever wondered whether acclaimed director Wes Anderson’s stylish sets had counterparts in real life? Author Wally Koval has discovered just such locations around the world, and collected Anderson-style photographs of them – as well as telling the story behind each one – in this delightful and diverting book. Authorised by the director himself, Accidentally Wes Anderson is sure to appeal to all fans of his distinctive aesthetic.

Everything: A Maximalist Style Guide by Abigail Ahern

Pavilion | R486

If you think of yourself as forever a Scandi-inspired minimalist, this book might just change your mind. Abigail Ahern’s moody, layered, “more is more” aesthetic has brought her huge success as an interior designer and retailer, and her use of bold colour palettes, luxurious textiles, patterns and embellishment is shown off here to brilliant effect.

Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes and Stories by Nigella Lawson

Chatto & Windus | R449

Nigella Lawson needs no introduction, and her more serious fans will no doubt have snapped up this, her 13th cookbook, already. But as its subtitle suggests, there’s more to Cook, Eat, Repeat than recipes: Nigella is a marvellous writer, and this is one of those rare cooking titles that’s just as engaging and interesting when read in bed, novel-style, as it is useful propped open on the kitchen counter with a delectable meal in the offing.

Polaroid Now: The History and Future of Polaroid Photography by Steve Crist

Chronicle Chroma | R537

My goddaughter just turned 12, and what did she request for her birthday? You guessed it: a Polaroid camera. This inspiring book – which celebrates new work created by contemporary artists working with Polaroid today, and discusses the history of the brand’s provision of instant gratification in photographic form – will make the perfect companion gift.

Tashas Inspired: A Celebration of Food & Art by Natasha Sideris

Quivertree | R971

Lavishly produced and exquisitely photographed, Tashas Inspired is the second cookbook by the founder of Tashas restaurants Natasha Sideris. Each of the seven chapters recreates a place that has had a lasting impact on her cooking: the New York deli, the Spanish tapas bar, the Parisian bistro, the Greek taverna, the Levant kitchen, the English country home and the classic international café.

Designing Hollywood Homes by Stephen Shadley

Rizzoli | R943

Interior designer Stephen Shadley has created homes for Hollywood stars such as Diane Keaton and Jennifer Aniston, and this is the first book-length showcase of his work. Originally a set designer, Shadley has a fine-tuned sense of scale, and his interiors combine understated beauty with refined materials to create warm, inviting, serene spaces.

How to Be Yourself: Life-changing Advice from a Reckless Contrarian by Simon Doonan

Phaidon | R218

Appropriately subtitled, this book of advice and inspiration by Simon Doonan – who spent almost three decades creating iconic store displays at Barneys in New York – is witty, irreverent and loads of fun. And if you’re looking to find (and flaunt) your very own creative style and vision in every aspect of life, from fashion to family, then this is the self-help tome you need.

Travel By Design by Design Leadership Network

Assouline | R1 723

With travel restrictions keeping so many of us at home, this book is a reminder of the beauty and importance of travel. It features more than 350 inspirational photographs that will take you on
a global journey through cityscapes, ancient civilisations, luxurious resorts and natural wonders, all seen through the discerning eyes of today’s leading creative talents

Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World by Adrienne Stillman

Phaidon | R787

Spirited documents, describes and provides home recipes for hundreds of cocktails from around the world, ranging from iconic classics to cutting- edge contemporary creations. The drinks featured are photographed in distinctive style, and the text shows how they perfectly reflect the era, location or bar that inspired them, making Spirited a must-have reference for every serious cocktail aficionado.

How We Live Now: Making Your Space Work Hard for You by Rebecca Winward

Ryland, Peters & Small | R357

Interiors journalist Rebecca Winward brings her insider knowledge to this very practical book, which demonstrates how to make the most of every room
– even every corner – of your house. Whether you’re trying to accommodate a growing family or wondering where you can squeeze in a home office, this has a smart idea that will help make your home work harder for you.