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Life Style

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Bruce Mau. Phaidon, 2000. 624pp. £39.95

'This book is conceived and designed as an active field, not a classical object that follows a chronological, linear model, ' says the Canadian graphic designer Bruce Mau. He is right - its presentation encourages you to treat it like a magazine, dipping in here and there when an image catches your eye, writes Terry Howe .But with some 600 pages, not to mention the choice of eight luminous covers ('bound in glossy satin'), Life Style has more grandiose pretensions.

Mau puts a lot of emphasis on the collaborative process, on mixing it all up with artists, writers, editors, film makers and architects. AJ readers probably know him best for his massive book with Rem Koolhaas, S, M, L, XL, or perhaps for his series of beautifully designed cultural journals for New York's Zone Books (see picture). Such projects feature heavily in Life Style's pages, interspersed with thoughts of chairman Mau - among them, 'Form and content are inseparable' (now where have I heard that before? ) and 'design is more than an end in itself; it is not separated or segregated from life but instead is integrated with other messy flows. It engages directly with the world.'

With the world of consumption, that's for sure.

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