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BOOKS: Taschen - Tree Houses
Karl Smith , January 6th, 2013 06:12

In a collection of beautiful images, Taschen present the realisation of a universal childhood dream

German art publisher Taschen has been catching our eye for 23 years, with titles under its belt that include the work of Helmut Newton, Vivienne Westwood and Hunter S. Thompson. While no stranger to architecture or design publications, and while - at first glance - it may appear as just another book in that same Taschen vein, their latest effort Tree Houses. Fairytale Castles in the Air in partnership with Philip Jodido in many ways marks a departure from the norm.

© Akihisa Masuda; Terunobu Fujimori, Teahouse Tetsu, Kiyoharu Shirakaba Museum, Nakamaru, Hokuto City, Yamanashi (Japan)

The axes on which Taschen has traditionally spun are far from all encompassing; it's safe to say that high fashion and high art aren't everyone's bag - exclusive and cynically closed off, rather than involving. While Tree Houses remains primarily an art-photography book, it reaches out to the majority in a way that the bulk of its predecessors fail to do.

© Åke E:son Lindman; Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, Mirrorcube Tree Hotel, Harads (Sweden)

Granted, however stunning and vividly reproduced, photographs of the world's most beautiful tree houses are hardly revelatory. But there's something typical of all of us in those images; in a year where natural history writing (Sarah Maitland's Gossip From The Forest and Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley's Edgelands being two of the best) has enjoyed somewhat a renaissance, Taschen have provided a visual accompaniment to that seemingly-universally innate childhood-rooted human connection to and desire to commune with nature. Or perhaps that should be colonise.

© Pete Nelson; Michael Ince, Bialsky Tree House, Bridgehampton, New York (USA)

Tree Houses. Fairy Tale Castles In the Air is out now, published my Taschen