other than spending time with my family I passionately enjoy collecting old books. The books i collect are mostly found in second hand bookshops. I can spend hours driving from Muizenberg to Kalkbay to Observatory to Cape Town to look for old books. Mainly on architecture however strange subjects suddenly interest me and will jump out the shelf all dusty and well scrutinised.
in my collection i have an autographed copy of R. Buckminster Fuller's - 9 chains to the moon which i really enjoy. i have also been very fortunate to inherit my grandfathers architectural books, Mello G Damstra, dating back to 1896. Mello was the son of an architect, who inturn also became an architect. he started as a journeyman draughtsman in 1890 and travelled the world gaining valuable experience, eventually to settle in Cape Town. A few of his unuasully designed homes are found in Stellenbosch, Muizenberg and Upper Orange street in Cape Town.
My grandmother Sally Niland was an English teacher and also had an extensive collection of poetry and english literature books. incidentally unbeknown to me she also loved looking for old books. my mom tells me they would drop her off at the old bookshops on a Saturday morning in the thirties and her treat was to peruse the old bookshops. like me in my field she collected books on all the greats. Their is something about finding an old well read book - the main points underlined by someone else and the pages a little worse for wear. The empire bookshop in Muizenberg is a great stop and i have been introduced to many new architects and designers in this little bookshop.
i am very excited about a book i stumbled on called, design for the real world by Victor Papanek. his ideals match my own in many respects and as I'm delving further into the book I'm amazed at his insights. the book was first published in the early seventies and from a design perspective, even for our day, has very advanced ideas.
i have also started collecting old music scripts which you find at these shops from time to time. i enjoy looking at the many hieroglyphics and hoping one day to understand the language which looks fascinating. over the last few years i have also started collecting a huge array of drawing equipment. rulers and t-squares mainly, again each ruler has the battle scars of many a draughted design. and as my office space gets smaller and i get pushed further out the door I'm really enjoying cluttering my space with these interesting, inexpensive things.