Philippe Starck once admitted he had 200 projects going at any one time, which is not hard to believe when one considers the contents of Starck (Taschen, $78.30, edited by Simone Philippi), a volume of phone-book girth devoted to product photographs. Having stamped his name on everything from chandeliers to lemon squeezers to baby monitors to homes and hotels, Starck has every reason to feel pleased with himself. Despite criticism he is stretching himself too thin, the superstar stands firmly by the principle of creating only products that have a right to be. '[One] should refuse ... if the object already exists and functions perfectly well,' Starck says. Browsing the book with that in mind makes for a more interesting experience than simply judging designs aesthetically. But it also places question marks over the doctored cover photos of Starck with his head facing backwards. The Exorcist actress Linda Blair did it better. Also from Taschen is Living in Tuscany ($195), by Barbara and Rene Stoeltie. Showcasing houses in the Chianti district as well as Chiusi and Montalcino, this book shows beauty in the raw (exposed rock walls) as well as the splendour of imitation (trompe l'oeil pastoral scenes) and the allure of antiques. Homes range from modest to majestic and austere to ostentatious. Beauty of a different kind fills the pages of The Design World of Hashimoto Yukio (Pace Publishing, $380, edited by Yuki Li), a monograph showing 50 of the Japanese interior designer's best projects. Having honed his aesthetic sensibilities at Super Potato Design Studio - the Japanese company behind Cafe Too in the Island Shangri-La hotel, as well as restaurants in Hyatt hotels in Singapore, Seoul and, most recently, Ho Chi Minh City - Hashimoto set up his own company in 1997 and started putting his stamp on restaurants, cafes, bars and boutiques across Japan. His predilection for combining natural materials with the shiny and sleek produces a modern primitive style: boulders can take centre stage, as can rough-hewn logs, although he also creates theatre with acrylic, steel, mirrors and glass. Despite the commercial nature of his work, many of his ideas beg to be adapted for home use.