Carlo Mollino: Maniera Moderna by Chris Dercon, ed. (312 pp., Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, $58)

Carlo Mollino is one of those designers whose work elicits strong reactions from those familiar with him. Heralded as a visionary by some, dismissed as a baroque anomaly in the mainstream history of Italian design by others, Carlo Mollino: Maniera Moderna attempts a critical re-appraisal of his oeuvre. This cleanly designed catalogue to a new exhibition at Munich’s Haus der Kunst seeks to “present Carlo Mollino not only as an extravagant ‘multi-talent,’ but first and foremost as a figurehead of divergent modernity both in Italy and Europe,” as editor Chris Dercon notes. Still, Mollino was indeed a multi-talent, engaging in architecture, furniture and graphic design, and photography. He was an automotive and aviation enthusiast as well as a ski instructor. He also produced an extensive series of Polaroids featuring scantily clad women posing in his interiors and with his furniture. By presenting photographs and drawings from Mollino’s archives alongside contributions from contemporary writers, artists and curators, this book offers an excellent survey of his wide-ranging body of work, for both long-time admirers and those previously unaware.