By Ann Ferebee and Jeff Byles
Norton & Company, $50.00, 208 pages
Modern design in the 21st century is a global style. As technology has improved, the use of new forms, materials and colors open a new chapter in the story of design. Authors Ann Ferabee and Jeff Byles, in their book A History of Design from the Victorian Era to the Present, take readers on a trip to London, New York, Mexico City, Tokyo and Mumbai. The text begins with London’s Crystal Palace (featured in the 1851 Great Exhibition where millions came to see a showcase of glass and iron) and ends with a survey of late modern photography influenced by the introduction of the Polaroid 5X-70 camera in 1972. This cross-disciplinary overview of design is divided into four sections (Victorian Design, Art Nouveau, Early Modern Design and Late Modern Design) that each cover architecture, interior design, industrial design, graphic design and photography. The $50 price tag is steep considering the fact that for the same amount you could get a huge coffee table book on your favorite artist, designer, or architect. But if you are looking for more of a textbook-like approach to design history, it is worth the money.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin