Some travelers—obsessive Instagrammers and art lovers alike—place a premium on aesthetics. They might be drawn to This Is Mexico City by designer and art director Abby Clawson Low (Clarkson Potter, Oct.), which emphasizes architecture, art, and design, and is chock-full of colorful photos showcasing local attractions—the eclectic wares at a Sunday flea market, the vibrant façade of a hotel designed by Mexican modernist Ricardo Legorreta. Descriptions of landmarks such as Palacio Nacional, Casa de los Azulejos, and Catedral Metropolitana are complemented by info on under-the-radar cultural institutions and shops specializing in the work of Mexican designers.
Like Clarkson Potter, Phaidon also publishes books that cater to vacationers who choose their destinations based on local design and architecture. October’s Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: East Coast USA by Sam Lubell and photographer Darren Bradley, like the pair’s West Coast iteration from 2016, includes details on each building’s architect and construction history, as well as basic visitor info; regional maps help travelers locate each site.
The publisher’s Destination Architecture took the formula global, covering 1,000 buildings worldwide. A follow-up, Destination Art, pubs in October. Emilia Terragni, publisher at Phaidon, says the company’s editors had noticed, through its Wallpaper City Guides, that people had begun to take “shorter trips focused on specific cultural activities.” The Destination series offers those travelers a way in, guiding them to artworks that, she says, “are somehow linked to the city, becoming part of your discovery of that city.”
Owen Phillips, a veteran art director and editor who has worked at the New Yorker, Men’s Vogue, and elsewhere, underscores a diverse array of important works and not-to-miss locations in 101 Art Destinations in the U.S. (Rizzoli Electa, Oct.), including The Lightning Field in New Mexico; the Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C; and the artsy city of Marfa, Tex.
Phillips describes each spot with the immediacy of someone who’s been there. The only way to see tile mason Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers in Los Angeles, he points out, is with a guide, but visitors won’t mind: “The docents are the hard-working local minders of the Watts Tower Community Center,” he writes, “and they tell the story of Rodia so well you’ll be near tears by the end.”