Wall Street Journal What to Give: Books on Design
The best books to give the design lover in your life.
By Ann Landi
Nov. 15, 2017 6:08 p.m. ET
We don’t think much about public seating: We spy an empty bench in a park or a vacant chair in a town square and we deposit ourselves on its accommodating surface. Renowned landscape architect Laurie Olin, however, has spent a lifetime reflecting on how and where we sit, especially outside. The delightful volume “Be Seated” (Applied Research + Design, 213 pages, $34.95) contains his ruminations on the nature and design of public places for hanging out, the ideas behind his commissions for such spaces as Bryant Park and Columbus Circle in New York City, and a brief history of public seating (until the emergence of the Piazza Signoria in Florence in the 1400s, people mostly plunked themselves on the ground). The book is generously supplemented with Mr. Olin’s charming sketches and disarming observations: “An individual approaching a chair will often move it slightly, even if barely an inch or two, as an act of taking possession before sitting on it.”