BLOG | Bare Conductive’s Bookshelf

Some of you may not have celebrated it since school, but the Bare team have been talking about World Book Day here in the studio. We’ve collected up the books that just keep getting pulled off the shelf, whether the topic’s art and design, electronics and manufacturing, or the career story of an epic individual.

These reads represent a selection of stuff that rocks our boat, so consider picking one of them up and tweeting us @bareconductive.


The Art of Electronics | Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill

This book has been my electronics Bible since I was at university and it’s where I turn for inspiration and guidance when I’m stuck. The book covers fundamental physics and sophisticated design techniques along with containing a cookbook of clever ideas and real world examples. All of this is conveyed in a casual and unassuming style, almost making you feel like the author is there with you helping you along the way. I’m also super excited that this book is finally getting its first new edition in 26 years. I would feel lost without it!

Thinking, Fast and Slow | Daniel Kahneman

This book is currently by my bed (or sometimes in my bag) getting read slowly and carefully. It’s a brilliant introduction to thinking differently about the way that our brains process information and make decisions on how to respond to challenges. Although quite didactic, I find this helpful as Kahneman makes no excuse for the fact that he wants to introduce a way of talking about our thinking to inspire more insightful comment on the subject between colleagues, friends and family. I’m learning a lot about why I sometimes make rash decisions and developing strategies to help me control this!


Design as Art  Bruno Munari

Design as Art is an illustrated guide to design process and objects in everyday life. Munari insists that every piece of design should be beautiful, functional and accessible. Although written in the 60s, the concepts and descriptions in this book are so pure that they can be easily applied to our contemporary reality. This book has always been a constant fixture in my studio, I re-read it occasionally, always discovering new depths and realigning my design process. Munari’s writing as well as all of his other wonderfully versatile works have been a great source of inspiration for me. 

The Language of Things | by Deyan Sudjic

In the Language of Things, Deyan Sudjic discusses the concepts of luxury, design and its archetypes in relation to iconic products, fashion and art. The book focuses on and people’s relationships, as well as the cultural and economical relevance of objects around them. The language spoken by the objects is filtered through the lenses of consumer perception, personal attachment, manufacturing advances and processes and historical relevance of the materials used to make them. This beautiful book as a hardback simply did not fit the way I consume reading materials. I usually choose my book editions to be pocket size, they live in my bag and I dip into them while on the bus, plane or in an airport queue, so my beautiful hardcover book was getting destroyed. I opted to get a second copy, the Penguin Classic softback edition which travels with me, while the other sits on my bookshelf at home.


Moveable Feasts | Sarah Murray

I chose this book because I find it fascinating how complicated and interrelated the design and logistics around food production are. The delivery of a ripe banana for example would not be possible without the invention of refrigerated freight transport. Most of us are blissfully unaware when on a flight from holiday that just below our feet are fresh fruit and vegetables coming back with us from Spain to meet the demand for that summers ripe strawberries. Reading this book gave me a greater appreciation for having constant access to a wide array of ripe food all year.


The Material of Invention | Ezio Manzini

In The Material of Invention, Manzini looks at how designers use new materials as a platform for ideas. Though some of the examples are dated, Manzini’s core proposal that materials (and not form) are at the centre of future design work coincided with my instincts here at Bare. This should be required reading for anyone about to start a design course, but it might be even more thought provoking for budding engineers. 

Towards a Philosophy of Photography by Vilém Flusser

I love reading Flusser’s work. It’s prescient and thought provoking. I especially love Towards a Philosophy of Photography because it opened my mind to the idea that the way in which we create and consume media can change the way we understand history (thereby changing the way we view ourselves). Flusser’s work is as challenging as it is rewarding.

Materials Selection in Mechanical Design Michael F. Ashby

Though it might look like a standard textbook (read: boring), Materials Selection in Mechanical Design hides some profound and elegant ideas. Ashby’s method of classifying and describing materials changed the way that I looked at the underlying structure of the objects and spaces around me. A material science background is not required to gain deep insights from this piece.


Process and Ideas | Tadao Ando

This isn’t a wordy book really, but its does include an introduction by Ando himself which presents a snippet of his attitude towards architecture and nature. I visited quite a few of his buildings is Japan and they were so spectacular. Looking at his sketches starting in the 1970s, and images of his studio piled high with books and papers, you get a sense of Ando’s character through his work and even more admiration for this self-taught boxer-come-architect.

Stuff Matters | Mark Miodownik

From knife blades and razors to glass and jelly, Miodownik writes passionately about suff that makes up our everyday experiences. If you’re looking for a light introduction to our material world, this book is a great way to get stuck as it covers manufacturing processes and techniques from ancient times to the modern day.  A really entertaining accompaniment to any train journey and will make you think about the tracks you’re travelling on very differently.