Asian Lives: A Closer Look
(Talisman Publishing, 2016)

In 2011, adhering to his mentor Henri Cartier-Bresson's mantra to 'photograph the truth', animation filmmaker Ishu Patel embarked on a photographic journey in South East Asia. My job included advice on selection of photos, and help with writing the introductory essays and texts about the 10 countries featured. Never political or judgmental, this book pays homage to the unsung lives of ordinary Asians, many of whom are increasingly overlooked in today's fast-changing world.

Singapore Good Class Bungalow
1819-2015
(Talisman Publishing, 2016)

An illustrated history of the country's landed properties, this book contains an account of the establishment of the Good Class Bungalow areas in Singapore, as well as a partial history of the architectural profession there. It ends with an assessment of 12 recent new builds and six award-winning restoration projects. My job as editor included planning chapters; advice on presentation; research into architectural history; and overall project management.

In Search of Bawa
(Talisman Publishing, 2016)

Written by Bawa scholar, David Robson, and photographed by Sebastian Posingis, this book answers some important questions about Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka's pre-eminent architect, and his legacy. As managing editor, I oversaw planning, texts, layouts, and time scheduling. Insightful texts, contemporary and archive photographs, and a plethora of drawings illustrate the individual buildings; for those interested in Sri Lanka and its built heritage, this is a must-read.

Cambridge - The Watercolour Sketchbook
(Talisman Publishing, 2015)

A perfect introduction to the city's architectural heritage, this book gives visitors and residents insight into a wealth of sights. I worked closely with artist Graham Byfield to present the city's colleges, its broad streets and narrow alleyways and great ceremonial buildings, as well as its smaller medieval pubs and cottages that are full of character. Knowledgeable texts by architectural historian Marcus Binney were carefully edited and added.

The Architectural Heritage of Sri Lanka
(Talisman Publishing, 2015)

Sri Lankan Master Architect C Anjalendran, aided by an army of assistants and students, has been recording Sri Lanka's architectural heritage for more than 30 years. He wanted to publish his collection of exquisite measured drawings, all made with ink and pencil on tracing paper, to document the many significant - and often neglected - buildings in Sri Lanka. My job was to liaise between him, his assistants, the photographer, the writer and the Publisher's design studio to present his life's work in a meaningful manner. The result is an heirloom publication in every sense of the word - a fitting testament to the beauty of Sri Lanka's and Anjalendran's past.

THE ROMANCE OF THE GRAND TOUR
100 Years of Travel in South East Asia

Some two years in the making, this title (Talisman, 2015) was a labour of love. The publisher and I were approached by first-time author, Kennie Ting, who had the idea for a book on 12 South East Asian ports. We loved the premise, but to bring the book to fruition meant a lot of re-organisation and re-writing, as well as a total re-vamp of the visuals. The end result was well worth it: a rollicking read, plenty of archival and contemporary images, great vintage maps, and coverage of a superb "Grand Hotel" in each of the port cities featured.

THE NEW SRI LANKAN HOUSE
Design & Architecture

With the end of the war and the beginnings of a new era in Sri Lanka came a resurgence of art, architecture, tourism and more. To this end, Sri Lankan architecture expert, David Robson, and author Robert Powell decided that the time was ripe for an update on contemporary residences in the fabled isle. I edited the text; Sebastian Posingis photographed; and Talisman published in 2015. The result is an intriguing insight into the island's wealth of home-grown architectural talent that has, until now, been little exposed.

CONTEMPORARY HOUSES IN THE PHILIPPINES
Design & Architecture

This book gave me the opportunity to work with Robert Powell, distinguished author and academic and an expert on architecture in Southeast Asia, with whom I worked many years ago on a monograph of architect Chan Soo Khian. In this book (Talisman, 2015), Powell explored the post noughties' architectural scene in the Philippines. My job was to liaise with him, editing his text and fact-checking copy, and work with the design team to come up with a handsome layout for the book.

PHILIPPINE STYLE
Design & Architecture

When photographer Luca Invernizzi Tettoni asked me to come on board as editor of his latest photo quest into Filipino architectural styles, I didn’t realize he meant an encyclopaedic tome. But, never one to hold back, he has succeeded in unearthing just about every bit of expertise and knowledge out there through talented writers, retiring home-owners, museum curators and more, all of whom share their wisdom with readers. The challenge was to try to organize the whole into a readable and informative whole. As one reviewer describes it, the book “not only provides a treasure trove of information, but is also a visual delight”. Sounds good enough to me.

Books I've edited have ranged from guidebooks to travelogues, coffee-table books on art, architecture and design, to books on spas and even one book on sustainable tourism. What they have in common is a commitment to quality. As editor I've worked closely with authors, photographers, designers and publishers to produce books that read well and look great. Click on the titles above to find out more about each book.

New Asian Style
Contemporary Tropical Living in Singapore

NEW ASIAN STYLE (Periplus Editions, 2002) is an assessment of Singapore's residential scene at the beginning of a new millennium. As editor, I worked closely with author Jane Doughty to produce a lively, informative book, aimed at designers, architects and home owners worldwide.

 
The Japanese Foie Gras Project

Matching foie gras, that apogee of French ingredients with Japanese cooking traditions and foodstuffs is a highly particular topic for a foodie book. Packed with recipes from NOBU head chef Scott Hallsworth, as well as insightful essays on Japanese cooking, French styles, fresh ingredients, life as a NOBU chef, top tips in the kitchen, the concept of umami and more, this is a fascinating journey into the heart of the cross-cultural kitchen. I worked closely with Scott (who after all is a cook not a writer) to present the recipes and essays in an easy-to-understand manner; and liaised with the photographer and design team to ensure the gloss is as stunning as the content. Formulating Nobyuuki Matsuhisa╣s Foreword was also on the cards ... !

   
Best Kept Beauty Secrets of the Orient

Working with inspirational lawyer-turned-first time author Christine Teh and old friend and colleague Luca Tettoni to produce a book about Asian secrets to sexual allure, beauty and weight loss was both eye-opening and entertaining. Last-minute photo shoots, frantic fact-gathering, interviews with traditional healers, quick trips from Singapore to Malaysia and back... all were part and parcel of this project. The result? A handsome book with some wonderful recipes and tips: if clear skin, better muscle tone, staying slim and enhanced sexual performance are on your agenda, go out and buy it!

   
Things Japanese

THINGS JAPANESE (Periplus Editions, 2002) are part of a series of books that look at items of note in a particular country. Be it a cultural, social, religious or decorative item, it is explained, assessed and photographed. My job on these books was to work closely with author and photographer to organize the many items both by function, form and chronology, and check/edit texts for accuracy and interest.

Photographs © Michael Freeman

 
 

 

 

Things Thai

THINGS THAI (Periplus Editions, 2002) are part of a series of books that look at items of note in a particular country. Be it a cultural, social, religious or decorative item, it is explained, assessed and photographed. My job on these books was to work closely with author and photographer to organize the many items both by function, form and chronology, and check/edit texts for accuracy and interest.

Photographs © Michael Freeman

 
 

 

 

The Tropical House
Cutting Edge Design in the Philippines

Working with good friends photographer Luca Invernizzi Tettoni and Elizabeth Reyes, this was a fairly straightforward editing job for a book that looks at the latest in architectural and interior design in the Philippines. Published in 2009 by Tuttle Publishing, the book covers trends in furniture design, the growth of artful naturalism in the landscaping and a new confidence in modernist architecture.

 
 

 

 

Tropical Gardens of the Philippines

Published in the summer of 2010, this book celebrates the diversity of the landscape design, plant life and gardening talent in the Philippines today. My main job was to work with writer Lily Gamboa O’Boyle to make sure that horticultural references and landscaping terminology were 100 percent correct. Drawing on knowledge culled from working on earlier botanical titles and my extensive library, we embarked on a serendipitous journey of species identification, all the while trying to tell the story of numerous imaginative gardens.As we state on the front flap: "There is no one school of gardening in the Philippines ..." ; similarly there is no one type of reader that will be interested in this book.

 
 

 

 

SINGAPORE SHOPHOUSE

A collaborative effort, I was brought in to work on this title (Talisman, 2010) when the publisher, photographer and author reached an impasse on what direction the book should take. Hiring a new designer was my first job, then it was a case of editing down the history section and adding two new chapters: the opener – a deconstruction of the shophouse – and a closing section featuring a plethora of today’s many incarnations of shophouse interiors. The result is a lively, colourful look at a uniquely Singaporean edifice.

 
 

 

 

Classic Thai
Design, Interiors, Architecture

CLASSIC THAI (Periplus Editions, 2002) was one of a number of books that world-renowned photographer Luca Invernizzi Tettoni and I collaborated on. The aim (as with similar books on Burma and elsewhere) was to provide a comprehensive overview of traditional Thai design in art, architecture and design. My job was to commission experts in various academic fields to write the chapters and work with Luca and a designer to produce books that are both informative and beautiful.

 

 

  The Tropical Spa
Asian Secrets of Health, Beauty and Relaxation

THE TROPICAL SPA (Periplus Editions, 1999) was one of the first books to be published on an industry that has grown phenomenally in the last decade. Author Sophie Benge produced lively texts, but the organization, categorization and general editing was left to me. It was a challenging project to include so many aspects of an industry - food and treatment recipes, summaries of modalities, spa assessments, a roundup of ingredients, and more - in an easy-to-follow and informative manner. The result is something spa-lovers around the world adore.

  Birding Indonesia

BIRDING INDONESIA (Fielding & Periplus Editions, 1999) is a comprehensive guide to bird-watching in the world's largest archipelago. Pages of travel tips, lively articles, rare photos and detailed maps, as well as a complete listing of all Indonesia's birds, makes this the definitive birder's guidebook for the area. I worked closely with the many authors, photographers and cartographers to produce a book that no Indonesian ornithologist would be without.

Beyond the Green Horizon

BEYOND THE GREEN HORIZON (World Wildlife Fund, 1994) was a discussion paper on the positives and negatives of sustainable tourism. I was invited to be a member of the Editorial Board: Our job was to try to pinpoint 10 facets of sustainable tourism, and then work with authors to present these accurately, giving working examples wherever possible. This volume was the first of such assessments of what, at the time, was a very new concept.

 
Eyewitness Travel Guide
Great Britain

Dorling Kindersley's EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDES are now recognized as leaders in the hugely competitive travel guide market. I worked on a number of their guides including the pilot New York city guide, the Vienna city guide, and the Great Britain country guide, both as an editor and as part of the initial team that formulated many of the methods in which text and images were presented. Ground-breaking in many ways, these guides have spawned clones since their launch in 1990.

 

Eyewitness Travel Guide
Vienna

Dorling Kindersley's EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDES are now recognized as leaders in the hugely competitive travel guide market. I worked on a number of their guides including the pilot New York city guide, the Vienna city guide, and the Great Britain country guide, both as an editor and as part of the initial team that formulated many of the methods in which text and images were presented. Ground-breaking in many ways, these guides have spawned clones since their launch in 1990.

 

Ultimate Spa

Working closely with author Judy Chapman and photographer Luca Invernizzi Tettoni over a period of three years, ULTIMATE SPA was born. Both a guide to the region's best spas and a catalogue of at-home treatments, the book also covers Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and other indigenous therapies. It is part visual feast, part practical index: packed with information and how-to tips, it was a labour of love for all concerned.

 

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