Do It Yourself: 50 Projects by Designers and Artists by Thomas Bärnthaler is a new book published by Phaidon that offers DIY’ers blueprints for making lighting, furniture, and everyday objects dreamed up by leading international designers. The book is a smart take on the pervasive DIY trend in an increasingly design-conscious world that will give your self-made project a galvanizing back story.
“As a rule, designers work unseen and only make an appearance when the design is finished,” Bärnthaler, design editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, writes in the book’s introduction. “A designer who designs something that anyone can go on to make is rather like an artist who shows you how his paintings can be copied.”
But making things with your hands is “a magical moment of self-empowerment that everyone has experienced,” Bärnthaler writes, “both the designer who has a revolutionary chair in mind and the do-it-yourselfer starting to tackle his or her parquet floor.”
He suggests that it is the spirit of that shared human experience that led the world-class designers in the book to answer the invitation to offer blueprints for “not too difficult” and “not too expensive” furniture and objects that he says “hark back to the origins of design, back to the workshop and the studio, where it’s all about hands-on activity and improvisation.”
Maybe you can’t afford to buy pieces by global heavyweights like Konstantin Grcic, Hella Jongerius, or Ai Weiwei, but you can create functional pieces of their own design thanks to this step-by-step guidebook. It’s something like the equivalent of a cookbook in which Michelin-starred chefs share their recipes for home-cooked meals.
Making a homespun version of a Team Ingo Maurer lamp, a Piet Hein Eek scrapwood chair, or a pendant light by Patricia Urquiola might not scratch the itch for one of their expertly rendered, often astronomically priced designer pieces, but it’s a start.