Inspiring Coffee Table Books

COMPILED BY Robyn Alexander


Our favourite new architecture, design and art tomes include a photographic monograph that chronicles Berlin’s iconic Tegel airport, and an ideas-packed book of contemporary gardens around the world.

Inspiring New Coffee Table Books

Living in Nature: Contemporary Houses in the Natural World Edited by Phaidon

Phaidon | R678

Featuring 50 architect-designed houses that all demonstrate a special relationship with the natural world, Living In Nature’s pages showcase contemporary homes chosen for their combination of unique design and stunning location. The houses are shown in photographs of both exteriors and interiors that display the unique connection each has with its surroundings.

Inspiring New Coffee Table Books

Postcards from Home: Creativity in a Time of Crisis By the editors of Vogue

Rizzoli | R648

As the world went into lockdown in March 2020, Vogue asked some of its collaborators – including Virgil Abloh, Cindy Sherman and Tracee Ellis Ross – to create images that reflected their new reality. The intimate portraits and personal essays were shared in the June/July 2020 issue, and have now been brought together in a book – a lasting testament to the power of creativity in a time of uncertainty.

Inspiring New Coffee Table Books

Flughafen Tegel By Felix Brüggemann & Robert Rieger

Pool Publishing | R520

In the 1960s, when West Berlin needed an international airport, the top option was an airfield “in the Tegel district”, writes Sophie Lovell in her essay in Flughafen Tegel. “The airstrip was constructed mostly by hand in 1948, in just 90 days, by tens of thousands of Berliners, half of whom were women.” In 2020, Tegel was due to permanently close when lockdown hastened its end – but its sudden emptiness offered photographers Robert Rieger and Felix Brüggemann an opportunity to document its singular architecture in this visual feast of a book.

Inspiring New Coffee Table Books

Hidden Karoo By Patricia Kramer & Alain Proust

Penguin Random House | R391

The Karoo can be an acquired taste – until its off-kilter beauty and the quirky warmth of its residents take hold. This new book offers a current snapshot of the region, with glimpses of seldom-seen villages, farms and churches. Featuring evocative words and beautiful pictures, Hidden Karoo will be a favourite with all fans of this unique part of our country.

Inspiring New Coffee Table Books

How to Become a Successful Artist By Magnus Resch

Phaidon | R464

Written by a leading specialist in the global art trade, and aimed at artists of all levels, this book explores how artists can have a career in the field they love. It answers many practical questions, from “How do I find gallery representation?” to “What’s the best Instagram strategy?”, and is filled with case studies drawn from interviews with artists, dealers and curators.

Inspiring New Coffee Table Books

The Gardens of Eden Edited by Gestalten & Abbye Churchill

Gestalten | R764

Introducing its reader to 23 imaginative garden projects, The Gardens Of Eden showcases contemporary garden culture around the world. Abbye Churchill – previously the editorial director of influential gardening magazine Wilder Quarterly – skilfully offers useful information on working with native plants and ways to design greener corners in urban areas.

Looking for more local buys? Here are 12 more coffee table books to add to your collection.