‘The Architect and Designer Birthday Book’

Book Design

A book marks the birthdays of celebrated architects, artists and designers with brief, opinionated biographical profiles.

On New Year’s Day 2021, in the midst of the pandemic lockdown, architect and former Pentagram partner James Biber began a passion project on his Instagram account, marking the birthdays of architects, artists and graphic, fashion and industrial designers. Day after day, he filled an entire year with images and commentaries, sometimes affectionate, sometimes acerbic. These tributes are now collected in The Architect and Designer Birthday Book, published by Princeton Architectural Press.

A unique celebration of creativity, The Architect and Designer Birthday Book is also a volume of opinionated criticism cleverly disguised as a reference book. In his preface, Biber describes it as “my personal, often meandering, and highly tangential take on the personalities, the projects, and the issues that have shaped architecture and design for centuries, illustrated by the birthdays of those luminaries.”

These profiles cover everyone from photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1 January) to sculptor Selma Burke (31 December), touching on architect Paul Revere Williams (18 February), type designer Herb Lubalin (17 March), product designer George Nelson (29 May), graphic designer Carin Goldberg (12 June), fashion designer Coco Chanel (19 August), architect Le Corbusier (6 October), and 357 others.

To make the leap from digital to print, the Pentagram team helped source the images Biber shared in his original Instagram posts, and researched other photos to fill out the profiles. A few are represented with epigrammatic quotes that helped shape visual culture. (Charles Addams: “Normal is an illusion.”)

The book makes a great gift for every day of the year. Find out who you share a birthday with!

Order The Architect and Designer Birthday Book: Amazon US / Amazon UK / Princeton Architectural Press

New York
Michael Bierut
Project team
Sachi Chandiramani
Melanie Martinez
Tamara McKenna
Camila Pérez
Paul Mehnert
Claudia Mandlik
Elyssa Yim
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