In the 1950s, there was only one Raymond Loewy; today, point out the authors of The A-Z of Modern Design (Merrell, HK$295), there are scores of star designers, leaving their mark everywhere from our homes to offices and cars. Why these modern architects, artists and craftsmen are now regarded as more than product shapers or creators of form is clear from the 2,800-plus colour photographs of their work and accompanying concise biographies. It's no surprise that a book about design should be presented in a logical way that also looks good. Cross-referencing and a colour-coded system of entries allow readers to glean the information they seek efficiently; so, for instance, the entry for bathroom-fittings manufacturer Hansgrohe directs those interested to Philippe Starck and Antonio Citterio, both of whom have designed items for the company. A bonus is a timeline that shows when the products appeared on the market. The work of architect Geoffrey Bawa features prominently in Sri Lanka Style (Periplus, HK$312), which is to be expected considering the way the former lawyer reshaped the serendipitous island's architectural and design ideals. In addition to his garden haven, Lunuganga, a rubber estate that took Bawa 40 years to transform into Italianate gardens, walkways and courtyards, are his simple house on 33rd lane, in Colombo, and The Club Villa in Bentota, a colonial-style beach house turned inn. Prevalent among the 30 dwellings chosen to illustrate Sri Lankan style are thick lime-washed walls, soaring windows and doors, exuberant colours and the pavilion, which, author Channa Daswatte points out, is the quintessential Sri Lankan building, given the climate. If having a garden is a luxury you can only dream of, Recycle (Kyle Cathie, HK$275) contains a wonderful idea that should sit well on Hong Kong balconies and rooftops. Authors Moira and Nicholas Hankinson explain how to build a grass-top table using, as the title suggests, items that might otherwise be discarded, including a slatted wooden table. Other materials needed are wire netting, plastic sheeting (an old tarpaulin will do), soil and garden turf. The authors, whose British-based Brainge company specialises in the sympathetic restoration of neglected houses, include other simple projects using recycled timber, glass and ironwork.