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Every item we feature is objectively selected by our editorial team. If you purchase an item through our links, we may earn commission. Departures and American Express do not provide, endorse, or guarantee any of the items, and the sale of such items is governed by the third-party seller’s policies, terms, and conditions.

Coffee Table Books for Lovers of Art, Design, and Fast Cars

From Formula One racing to cuisine and midcentury design, these books are certain to elevate your space and enlighten your mind.

A photograph of Yoshihiro Narisawa: Satoyama Cuisine Shop at Taschen

I LOVE GIFTS, both receiving them and giving them. And there are few things I love gifting more than a beautiful book. Pairing the right one with my recipient’s personality always feels like a deeply satisfying puzzle, and I take the challenge very seriously. An elegantly designed book, particularly of the large, coffee-table variety, is both brain stimulus and a piece of art. Ideally, it’s also an investment — something you’ll want to return to for inspiration and hang on to forever. For those looking to add to their libraries or jazz up their tablescapes, here are some art books certain to elevate your space.

Shop at Taschen

Yoshihiro Narisawa: Satoyama Cuisine

For the ultimate in aspirational eating, “Yoshihiro Narisawa: Satoyama Cuisine” (Taschen) is a glorious visual journey through famed Japanese chef Yoshihiro Narisawa’s edible innovations, showcasing traditional ingredients alongside wild flowers, soil, and shaved tree bark. This elaborately packaged book is as beautiful as the food it depicts — sublime, ornate, and almost too perfect to be believed. As a collector’s edition of only 1,000, each is signed by Narisawa and photographer Sergio Coimbra. SHOP NOW

Shop at Rizzoli

City Parks

For city dwellers craving their own slice of the outdoors, Christopher Beanland’s “City Parks” (Batsford) is a whimsical celebration of some of the world’s greatest urban green spaces. From New York City to Sydney to the Philippines, this illustrated tome showcases 50 remarkable parks. SHOP NOW

Shop at Assouline

New York by New York

Speaking of cities, “New York by New York” (Assouline) is a sprawling examination of what is in my opinion the world’s greatest city, as seen through the eyes of writers and visual artists such as Edward Steichen, Peter Lindbergh, and Edith Wharton. It covers varied histories across all boroughs from Prohibition to Studio 54. SHOP NOW

Shop at Phaidon

Herman Miller: A Way of Living

A book as chic as its subject, “Herman Miller: A Way of Living” (Phaidon) is a deep dive into the history and heritage of one of the twentieth century’s most enduring furniture companies. Featuring tons of archival images and input from the likes of George Nelson and Ray and Charles Eames, this book tells the complete story of Herman Miller. SHOP NOW

Shop at Assouline

Formula 1: The Impossible Collection

Speed demons and design aesthetes alike will appreciate “Formula 1: The Impossible Collection” (Assouline), a lavishly packaged volume that provides a panoramic view of the wildly popular sport of F1 car racing. A visual history loaded with incredible images, the book comes in a luxury clamshell case and is scented with a rubber-infused essence for a true sensory experience. SHOP NOW

Shop at Phaidon

Louise Bourgeois Made Giant Spiders and Wasn’t Sorry

For the little art lovers in your life, “Louise Bourgeois Made Giant Spiders and Wasn’t Sorry” (Phaidon) is an eccentric picture-book biography of one of contemporary art’s most important creators, the first female sculptor to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. SHOP NOW

Shop at powerHouse

Castro to Christopher: Gay Streets of America 1979–1986

Nicholas Blair’s collection of photographs, “Castro to Christopher: Gay Streets of America 1979–1986” (powerHouse), provides an intimate look at gay life in America just before the onset of the AIDS crisis. His bracing images feel particularly important — both as celebration of gay culture and as potent documents of a lost time. SHOP NOW

Shop at powerHouse

Simen Johan

The line between fantasy and the natural world is gloriously blurred in “Simen Johan” (powerHouse), a visual feast in which artist and photographer Simen Johan’s hypnotic, digitally manipulated images invite us to consider an alternate, animal-dominated reality. His flocks of angelic birds, platoons of orange monkeys, a bison in repose — are equal parts arresting and unnerving. SHOP NOW

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Our Contributors

T. Cole Rachel Editor-at-Large

T. Cole Rachel is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and teacher with over 20 years of experience working in print and digital media. He is currently an editor-at-large at Departures.

Departures and American Express do not provide, endorse, or guarantee any of the items, and the sale of such items is governed by the third-party seller’s policies, terms, and conditions.

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