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Archive for May, 2012

Wobo : One function before another function

Thursday, May 31, 2012


stack the bottle

Can a stackable beer bottle help to make construction more sustainable? As the story goes, beer magnate Freddy Heineken came up with the idea of the World Bottle when he saw waste materials being recycled to build dwellings in the slums of the Caribbean. At his request, John Habraken designed the first stackable bottle in 1962. The ribbed glass and the depression in the bottom of each bottle reinforce the construction of the brickwork.
The bottle remains a prototype. The brewery’s marketing department is afraid the idea will harm their image. As an experiment, Habraken builds a house made out of bottles for Heineken. In 1975, the beer bottle once more surfaces as a possible building material, although critics say that far from solving the issue of recycling leftover bottles, the World Bottle would only encourage people to drink. To get the number of bottles needed to build their house, people would have to consume a substantial amount of beer first!

I found this idea really really avant-gardist and full of possibilities. I think it is a field that designers should investigate more. Not recycling materials, because it is only a reaction on the consequence of the harmfulness we have dealing with the wastes of our mass consumption society, but design the product without forget that someday it will become a waste that will take a lot of place and long process before this object will be transformed and recycled (PET recycling process for instance). What would be a world where all consumption object would be designed like this: one function before/another function after it would become a waste?

Patchwork Metropolis

Thursday, May 31, 2012



‘Patch Work Metropolis’ is a study for city expansion between Den Haag and Rotterdam in The Netherlands by Dutch architect Willem Jan Neutelings.
The initial drawing of the project contains a lot of colors which makes distinction between the places of different character in order to understand and figure out the geographical facts of the area. I was very inspired by the way of using colors and the way it looks, it reminds me of a coloring book.

My project is a book based on this idea. The image on the cover is based on that same drawing, and the content is a simple text describing the project. When you look inside of the book, you can only see white pages which have embossed lines with an instruction saying ‘Color inside of the lines’. By coloring, the text will appear.

Predictions from a 18th century interior

Thursday, May 31, 2012

(Hello Alaska)

The sketch for this 1763 interior by Leendert Viervant has a liftable part on one of the panels. It reveals an alternative to the dominant Rococo style of this period: The Neo Classicist style. This showed a clear desire to adapt to the client’s wishes.

Neoclassicism was a “return to purity” as a reaction to the flamboyant lifestyle of the monarchy in the 1700’s. It was the return to the classic styles & spirit from Rome and ancient Greece. Moral & rationality replaced bold ornamentation & superficiality. The promotion of science and individuality during the Enlightenment (origin 1650) had left a demand for personal freedom & equality.

In the spirit of the enlightenment & the belief that all individuals should be able to reason for themselves, Viervant leaves the choice to the client by offering alternatives to the initial designs. The awareness of the changing demands at the current time & difference in personal taste makes Viervant’s approach seem like a prediction of our modern customizable 21st century society.

“Enlightenment is mankind’s final coming of age, the emancipation of the human consciousness from an immature state of ignorance & error.”

- Emanuel Kant

15 miles into the andromeda strain

Thursday, May 31, 2012



The easier, the more, the stronger

Thursday, May 31, 2012

After visiting the treasure room of the NAi I was very inspired by a non-existing student houses from Jan Verhoeven [x]. A very strong image of a wooden model caught my attention.

For the student residence in the campus Drienerlo the architect Jan Verhoeven devised a smart structure. He designed an easy structure that gets stronger when you build more houses. This sketches of the plan from 1965 are very colorful, colored squares represent the layered houses. Mathematical drawings with different structures, some a-symmetric some not. The sketches give me the feeling of mandalas, the spiritual drawings that suppose to give you rest and peace. It reminded me also of the patterns my great-grandmother used for making embroiderys.
This all sounds very warm and cozy, but when you look at the drawings it's still a bit cold because of the straight and perfect lines and squares.
What i wanted to do was to make a booklet, make this drawings into embroidery and give this the warm feeling it reminded me of. The process of making the embroiderys give you the same peaceful feeling as making and looking at mandalas. Also the fabric is getting stronger When you stitch more layers, the same as the original idea from the student residence. In the booklet I also tried to preserve the atmosphere of the model with using the wood board and keeping the clean image. The text in the booklet are keywords that represent the essence of the project from Jan Verhoeven, but also three separate titles of the embroiderys.

Organic Architecture

Thursday, May 31, 2012

“So here I stand before you preaching organic architecture: declaring organic architecture to be the modern ideal and the teaching so much needed if we are to see the whole of life, and to now serve the whole of life, holding no ‘traditions’ essential to the great TRADITION. Nor cherishing any preconceived form fixing upon us either past, present or future, but—instead—exalting the simple laws of common sense—or of super-sense if you prefer—determining form by way of the nature of materials…”

- Frank Lloyd Wright, An Organic Architecture, 1939




As an inspiration for this publication I chose Ton Alberts and Max van Huut. They were the leading architects in organic architecture. Their NMB (now ING bank) office building was realized according to a completely new concept: organic forms instead of the straight lines that dominated the impersonal, efficiency-focused office buildings of the 1980s. The free forms encourage a creative atmosphere at work. They created people-friendly surroundings with plenty of plants, varied spaces and climate-neutral installations. The office of the ING Bank is one of the most impressive examples of the upsurge in organic architecture during this period.


Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most widely acclaimed works, was designed in 1936 for the family of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann. The key point for the design of the house was the waterfall over which it was build. While designing this house F.L.W. stayed true to his principles. He respected the properties of the material and he respected the harmonious relationship between the form/design and the function of the building.


Antoni Gaudi’s concept of organic architecture was significantly different than the one of Frank Lloyd Wright. In his work Gaudi mimicked nature itself by creating concrete waves on the facades of the buildings , making lizards from shattered colored clay tiles,  twisting metal leafs and flowers for railings on balconies and stairs. His greatest work La Sagrada Familia (not finished) truly is the most magnificent example of Gaudi’s work. The rippling contours of the stone facade reminiscent us of sand castle, while the towers are topped with brightly-colored mosaics which look like bowls of fruit. Gaudí believed that color is life, and, knowing that he would not live to see completion of his masterpiece, left colored drawings of his vision for future architects to follow.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Thursday, May 31, 2012


(I did some research )?

After seeing wonderful sketches of the famous design for the Rijksmuseum by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers’, I made a pop-up of the building as a form of a pop-up. click on the image to view the result!

In 1875 architect Petrus Josephus Hubertus Pierre Cuypers won the design-contest for the Rijksmuseum. Before this time he designed little more than a hundred churches, for witch about seventy got realized. Besides that me made designs for monasteries, chapels and did renovations of old churches.

Cuypers was the first Dutch architect who, in his time, used Gothic construction-techniques and put them into practice. Before he made use of the Gothic shapes in a decorative way, until he completely switched to a Neo-Gothic style.

The Gothic revival was a reaction on the cold and strict forms of the Classicism. This came from a nostalgic, romantic interest for the Middle Ages.

Cuypers’ design for the Rijksmuseum featured Renaissance-style arches, neo-Gothic windows and Medieval towers. The function of the building is not clear. From the outside you would not guess it is a museum. However, Cuypers build an ode to Dutch history by combining styles and thereby gives an public lesson in Dutch history.

The design got a lot of critique from the public, the Protestant majority could not cope with the ‘to Catholic’ result. They considered it also to be ‘to Medieval’.

I think it’s a remarkable building, build with a great eye for detail.

During my research I found out that the recent construction work, which started in 2003, is not only focused on modernizing the facilities but as well to bring long gone elements of Cuypers original design back into the building. Like for instance, in the front-hall they remade the mosaics on the floor. The Rijksmuseum hired a specialized Italian company to get the job done. The mosaics are series about the cycle of life, cycle of the year and the cycle of seasons. I’m looking forward to see the work in its final state.

Hey Hole!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The project I singled out from the NAI treasure collection is called 15 MILES INTO THE EARTH by Hendrik Wijdeveld.

Wijdeveld situated his 1944 design for an international geological research centre in a shaft in the earth at a depth of 15 miles. Designed during the harsh winter of 1944 and 1945 at the tail end of the Second World War when food and supplies were scarce, this project is a plea for international collaboration and for putting science and technology to a peaceful use. At that point in time, little was known of the earth’s deeper strata. Wijdeveld foresaw new discoveries, an ‘uranium age’. At the same time, the project is a ‘world theater’. With a ritual scene taking place at the base of the shaft, he depicts the world coming into being as the primordial force of nature and man’s creative power collide in an explosive display of energy.

Hendricus Theodorus Wijdeveld (1885-1987) considers himself as director with the world as a total theatre, a stage for his designs: he is architect, editor-in-chief, and typographer of the journal ‘Wendingen’, as well as a designer of books, theatrical stage sets and costumes, furniture and utensils. The most famous example is the huge People’s Theatre in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam in the shape of an enormous vagina, the national park Amsterdam-Zandvoort, a number of enormous high-rise projects and “Plan the Impossible”, like this extraordinary proposal dating from 1944, involving boring a 25 kilometre deep shaft deep into the earth, and a plan to hem in the existing city with a ring of towers. The towers would not only act as dramatic landmarks but would set a resolute boundary to urban growth. He took advantage of his experience in theater design to stage a new landscape and evoke collective experiences.
Several architects such as Brandon Mosley, Rick Gooding and Douglas Darden have based their utopias in the underground. The novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne digs into the depths of the prehistory of the globe. Furthermore many modern and contemporary artists worked with the concept of the hole, in primis Anish Kapoor seems to be almost obsessed by it.

hole (hõ?) noun 1. opening into or through a thing 2. hollow place, as a pit or cave (a deep place in a body of water; trout holes) 3. underground habitation, burrow 4. flaw, fault 5. the shallow cup into which the ball is played in golf; a part of a golf course from the tee to the putting green 6. shabby or dingy place 7. awkward position. [middle English, from old English hol (from neuter of hol, adjective, hollow) & holh; Old High German hol, adjective, hollow and perhaps to Old English helan, to conceal; first known use: before 12th century] 1. I have a hole in my sock 2. He fixed the hole in the roof 3. There is a mouse hole in the wall 4. The dog dug a deep hole 5. Her putt rolled right into the hole 6. She made a birdie on the seventh hole 7. The course has 18 hole synonims perforation; gap; flaw; weakness; burrow; aperture; orifice antonyms bulge, camber, convexity, jut, projection, protrusion, protuberance rhymes with hole bole, boll, bowl, coal, cole, dole, droll, foal, goal, knoll, Kohl, kohl, mole, ole, pole, poll, prole, role, roll, scroll [...]

‘A hole?’ the rock chewer grunted. ‘No, not a hole,’ said the will-o’-the-wisp despairingly. ‘A hole, after all, is something. This is nothing at all’. (Ende)

Holes are an interesting case-study for ontologists and epistemologists. Naive, untutored descriptions of the world treat holes as objects of reference, on a par with ordinary material objects. Hole representations – no matter whether veridical – appear to be commonplace in human cognition. Not only do people have the impression of seeing holes; they also form a corresponding concept, which is normally lexicalised as a noun in ordinary languages. Some languages even discriminate different types of hole, distinguishing e.g. between inner cavities and see-through perforations. Moreover, data from developmental psychology confirm that infants are able to perceive, count, and track holes just as easily as they perceive, count, and track paradigm material objects such as cookies and tins. These facts do not prove that holes and material objects are on equal psychological footing, let alone on equal metaphysical footing. But they indicate that the concept of a hole is of significant salience in the common-sense picture of the world, specifically of the spatio-temporal world. If holes are entities of a kind, then, they appear to be spatio-temporal particulars, like cookies and tins and unlike numbers or moral values. They appear to have a determinate shape, a size, and a location. (‘These things have birthplaces and histories. They can change, and things can happen to them’, Hofstadter & Dennett) On the other hand, if holes are particulars, then they are sui generis particulars. For holes appear to be immaterial – they seem to be made of nothing, if anything is.
For example: 1. It is difficult to explain how holes can in fact be perceived. If perception is grounded on causation, as Locke urged, and if causality has to do with materiality, then immaterial bodies cannot be the source of any causal flow. So a causal theory of perception would not apply to holes. Our impression of perceiving holes would then be a sort of systematic illusion, on pain of rejecting causal accounts of perception. (On the other hand, if one accepts that absences can be causally efficacious, then a causal account could maintain that we truly perceive holes) 2. It is difficult to specify identity criteria for holes – more difficult than for ordinary material objects. Being immaterial, we cannot account for the identity of a hole via the identity of any constituting stuff. But neither can we rely on the identity conditions of its material “host” (the stuff around the hole), for we can imagine changing the host, partly or wholly, without affecting the hole. And we cannot rely on the identity conditions of its “guest” (the stuff inside it), for it would seem that we can empty a hole of whatever might partially or fully occupy it and leave the hole intact.3. It is difficult to assess the explanatory relevance of holes. Arguably, whenever a physical interaction can be explained by appeal to the concept of a hole, a matching explanation can be offered invoking only material objects and their properties. (That water flowed out of the bucket is explained by a number of facts about water fluidity, combined with an accurate account of the physical and geometric conditions of the bucket.) Aren’t these latter explanations enough? Further problems arise from the ambiguous status of holes in figure-ground displays. Thus, for example, though it appears that the shape of holes can be recognized by humans as accurately as the shape of ordinary objects, the area visually enclosed by a hole typically belongs to the background of the host, and there is evidence to the effect that background regions are not represented as having shapes. So what would the shape of a hole be, if any?

These difficulties – along with some form of horror vacui – may lead a philosopher to favor ontological parsimony over naive realism about holes.
A number of options are available: [A] One could hold that holes do not exist at all, arguing that all truths about holes boil down to truths about holed objects. This calls for a systematic way of paraphrasing every hole-committing sentence by means of a sentence that does not refer to or quantify over holes. For instance, the phrase ‘There is a hole in…’ can be treated as a mere grammatical variant of the shape predicate ‘… is holed’, or of the predicate ‘… has a hole-surrounding part’. (Challenge: Can a language be envisaged that contains all the necessary predicates? Can every hole-referring noun-phrase be de-nominalized? Compare: ‘The hole in the tooth was smaller than the dentist’s finest probe’) [B] One could hold that holes do exist, but they are not the immaterial entities they seem to be: they are, like anything else, material beings, which is to say qualified portions of space-time. There would be nothing peculiar about such portions as opposed to any others that we would not normally think of as being occupied by ordinary material objects, just as there would be nothing more problematic, in principle, in determining under what conditions a certain portion counts as a hole than there is in determining under what conditions it counts as a dog, a statue, or whatnot. (What if there were truly unqualified portions of space-time, in this or some other possible world? Would there be truly immaterial entities inhabiting such portions, and would holes be among them?) [C] One could also hold that holes are ordinary material beings: they are neither more nor less than superficial parts of what, on the naive view, are their material hosts. For every hole there is a hole-surround; for every hole-surround there is a hole. On this conception, the hole-surround is the hole. (Challenge: This calls for an account of the altered meaning of certain predicates or prepositions. What would ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ mean? What would it mean to ‘enlarge’ a hole?) [D] Alternatively, one could hold that holes are “negative” parts of their material hosts. On this account, a donut would be a sort of hybrid mereological aggregate – the mereological sum of a positive pie together with the negative bit in the middle. (Again, this calls for an account of the altered meaning of certain modes of speech. For instance, making a hole would amount to adding a part, and changing an object to get rid of a hole would mean to remove a part, contrary to ordinary usage.) [E] Yet another possibility is to treat holes as “disturbances” of some sort. On this view, a hole is to be found in some object (its “medium”) in the same sense in which a knot may be found in a rope or a wrinkle in a carpet. (The metaphysical status of such entities, however, calls for refinements.)
On the other hand, the possibility remains of taking holes at face value. Any such effort would have to account to the effect that holes are sui generis, immaterial particulars – but also for a number of additional peculiarities. Among others: [a] Holes are localized at – but not identical with – regions of space. (Holes can move, as happens anytime you move a piece of Emmenthal cheese; regions of space cannot.) [b] Holes are ontologically parasitic: they are always in something else and cannot exist in isolation. (‘There is no such thing as a hole by itself’) [c] Holes are fillable. (You don’t destroy a hole by filling it up. You don’t create a new hole by removing the filling.) [d] Holes are mereologically structured. (They have parts and can bear part-whole relations to one another, though not to their hosts.) [e] Holes are topologically assorted. (Superficial hollows are distinguished from internal cavities; straight perforations are distinguished from knotted tunnels.) Holes are puzzling creatures.
Black Holes appear to be the origin of the Universe, and vaginas the cradle of life.

A Printed Book History X : A Visual History Of The Printed Book

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


The Rietveld Library acquired a copy of the book [x] “The Printed Book : A Visual History”. The book of “The Printed Book” is compiled by Mathieu Lommen, and designed by Cees W. de Jong. It gives an impressive overview of 500 years western bookdesign [x]. Read this article in the New York Times for some background [x]
So for all who missed that exceptionally beautiful and well designed exhibit at the Special Collections of the UvA (University of Amsterdam) can still dream away online at home because students from the Foundation Years D_Group went there for you and selected their favorites, . Scroll down and enjoy…..

poster, catalogue and exhibition design by Experimental Jetset


A Printed Book History 16 : Modern methods of book composition

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Practice of Typography: Modern Methods of Book Composition

A treatise on type-setting by hand and by machine and on the proper arrangement and imposition of pages.

by Theodoor De Vinne [1904]

The form of the book itself is somewhat flat and stale.
The cover is made with a bleak brown, the color of mud that is unpleasant to see.
One thing on the other hand, is that it is combined with beautiful golden linings and an old fashion design of type letters,
which also is one of the only things inviting of this book cover. A bit ironic, knowing that the book is based on design of type letters and typography which tell us absolutely nothing about the book from the outside.

only tiny detailed letters sown and marked in the book.

What interests me about the book was its content and a brief clarification of
typography and the history behind it. The simplicity and detailed work of type
design, arranging type in order to make language visible. It gives you some
understanding of the detailed design letter types and the needed guidelines on
how to make these various designs in your work.
Examples of equipments to use during this process. for example different kind “stands” (open framework of pinewood to support the cases of type) measurements, thickness of the fonts, and how much gaps should be placed, and so on…
basically it is an ideal book for “how to” to authors, giving specific rules and certain explanation of type design in the early 20th century.
Now off course that is different, type design has progressed in different area’s of art and literature making more creative and appealing for the readers.

For me, it is an important element in the wide field of the arts especially for design and graphic design.
Typography and Type design is is the core process of the work from beginning to the end, and the key element of it all.
Its an easy decision but hard work, from authors deciding on the letter type, writing an email for your mother, or designing a poster for the next party. With Typography and Type design we are our most oblivious, and lacking an active conscious of what really is letter type and where does it come from.

anyway, i just think this is good start on learning of typography,especially if you’re in graphic design, to understand how they managed in the early years from the first equipments to now.

post by Pri Lalcé


A Printed Book History 15 : Universal Communication

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Als ik terug denk aan Vrijdag 11 mei, 13.20, UVA special collections, alleen en de laatste dag van de expositie “The Printed Book A Visual History” komt het werk van El Lissitzky als eerste op in mijn gedachten. Niet alleen vanwege mijn voorliefde voor het Russische alphabet, maar ook de simpele en moderne typografie en de duidelijkheid van het bericht dat wordt doorgegeven. Ik spreek geen woord Russisch maar toch is het boek zo begrijpelijk en universeel.

De karakters worden in sommige gevallen zo vergroot dat het abstracte vormen of illustraties worden. Evenals in de Thumb-index aan de rechterkant van de paginas worden de letters als symbolen gebruikt.  Een boek geschreven door de Poët Vladimir Mayakovsky met de titel “Dlya golosa” (For the Voice) uit het jaar 1923.
Mayakovski wordt gezien als een dichter die zijn tijd ver vooruit was, hoe El lissitzky daarop heeft gereageerd vind ik erg goed. Beide hadden ze een moderne abstracte visie op hun werk.

Dit werk heeft mij geholpen en geinspireerd om een opdracht voor school (Sculpture) te vervolgen waarin communicatie heel belangrijk was. Het versimpelen van bepaalde factoren was uiteindelijke het belangrijke aandachtspunt.

post by Jessy van Dinther


A Printed Book History 14 : dynamic balance

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Reclame by Piet Zwart [1931]

Wat mij aantrekt in dit boek is voornamelijk de compositie van de geplaatste afbeeldingen en tekst. Er zit een bepaalde beweging in die zoals de vinger al aanwijst. Maar ook dat de vinger naar buiten wijst suggereerd het naar meer. Ook de “collage”stijl spreekt mij erg aan omdat er een klein beetje diepte in het beeld komt. De opgerekte EN (zoals je die ook in de kop van een courant zal vinden) vindt ik de afbeelding ophalen en er ook zeker meer spanning in het totale beeld creeeren. De overige typografie vind ik simpel maar passend door de wat drukke achtergrond is het goede keuze om een schreefloos lettertype te gebruiken en het refereerd ook naar hoe tijdschriften de typografie gebruiken. Het valt mij op dat de zinnen geen hoofdletters gebruiken wat inhoudt dat het geen begin en einde van een zin is. Ik weet niet of ik dat nu storend vindt of geplaatst. De balans van de kleuren vind ik perfect door sommige delen transparanter te maken is niks overheersend en wordt je oog als het ware over het blad geleidt.

post by Edmee ter Meulen


A Printed Book History 13 : massive and monumental

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

‘Also sprach Zarathustra’

The book I chose to write about is F. Nietzsche [x] ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’ designed of Belgian Flemish painter and architect Henry van de Velde in 1908. The design of this book immediately captured my attention, but when I saw the title I was involved even more because I also have an e-book version of ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’ so it was very intriguing to see this book in real.

In this page layout we see a symmetrical duplicate composition which makes the whole design stronger and more impressive. The deep reddish – purple and gold colours palette gives it a very dramatic effect. The form of the image is massive and monumental and also flat but still decorative. The content of the illustration is quite abstract. H. van de Velde used organic motives which are creating a very dynamic atmosphere even if the framework has a very strict geometrical form though these two different patterns come together very well. Van de Velde leaves some ‘calm’ place for the text. The font of the title is solid and works with framework. The balance Henry van de Velde creates in his design is sophisticated. In conclusion it creates the feeling that there is just a thin line between simplicity and complexity.

This image I chose to support this text is a cover which I designed myself for the book ‘Grimm’s Tales’ a year ago. It is influenced by 19- 20th century typography. Between both images you can see some similar characteristics which are typical for that period.

post by Egle Petraskaite


A Printed Book History 12 : a visual identity

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


the edition Suhrkamp designed by Willy Fleckhaus, 1963

The book I want to write about was actually a series – the edition suhrkamp from Suhrkamp Verlag. Willy Fleckhaus designed it in 1963 and it remained unchanged till 2004. He managed to create a very basic visual identity which consists only of colour and typography.
The covers of the 48 books which are published every year are held each in a different colour of the visual spectrum. No pictures can be found on the covers – in fact it is reduced to the name of author, title and publisher put into a grid of lines in the width of the cover page and at the bottom of it. The books are affordable and therefore popular in literature class in school. For a lot of pupils in Germany a certain title is very strongly connected to a certain colour.



Edition Suhrkamp books were a forum and inspiration for leftist-intellectual discussion in Germany for years, which came apparent as well in reviews written by its protagonists for the edition’s 40 year anniversary. It has published texts from Adorno, Brecht and Barthes. As well as the texts, the daring design stays in the minimalist style of the avant-garde. I see it as a metaphor for the development of the 68-generation that the complete collection can be bought inclusively made-to-fit, white design book shelf for the avant-garde living room. Ideals and individuality are important, but it comes with a surprisingly open attitude towards consumerism and must-haves.
From this text it may seem a rather impersonal approach to my choice of a book from “Printed Matter“, but I am mostly fascinated by the role of edition Suhrkamp as a publisher in society and as one of the most important forums for intellectual discussion in German. Adding to that I like timeless design which became fact here and it is as an example next to for example Otl Aicher‘s pictograms [x] for the 1972 Olympic games. At the same time, because of my impression that all books in “Printed Matter“ stood in a modernist interest of solid, timeless, well-designed books and me being familiar to that 60s rainbow colour design with typo, I chose Willy Fleckhaus‘ series also with a bit of irony.

post by Nicola Arthen


A Printed Book History 11 : Bifur a composed typeface

Monday, May 21, 2012


„Bifur: caractère de publicité” by A.M. Cassandre, Paris 1929


I found this book most interesting at the collection exibit I saw at the University of Amsterdam. A.M. Cassandre, whose real name was Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron, was an Ukrainian- french graphic designer from the Interbellum period. He was designing posters and letter types.
Bifur was poduced by Deberny & Peignot from Cassandre’s designs. The book is a publication of this font released in 1929.

I chose this book cause i was impressed by a font itself and also the form of the book- how it was printed. I really like the simplicity and a specific character of it. The font was originally produced in 1- and 2-color versions. The one presented in the book is a 1-color version. I think visually it is very appealing and it was quite innovative for its time. The simplicity of the geometrical form, clarity of the message, funcionality create a beautifully balanced font. For me particularly attractive is the fact that some of the letters could be read as images and some of them as the letters with a small decorative element which anyway stays really simple. For example the lines in the letter „L” create the letter but in „M” they just create space around it. That makes me look at it, also the illustration in the book and not something that creates a readable image.
I also like the way how it is presented in the book. I think the combination of this elegant form of the font and the yellow colour create an absorbing, unique image.

Personally i also like the posters of A.M. Cassandre and i think the font in his works is very well combined with the images and shows how important this connection is.

post by Hania Sobolewska


A Printed Book History 10 : Two equals One ?

Monday, May 21, 2012


‘Traité des fougères de l’Amérique’, Charles plumier (1705), Imprimerie Royale, Paris

This book is a collection of ferns found on the American continent. It was printed one year after the death of the author. Through the thin paper we see that every fern has it’s own leaf (Ironically). What I like about the book is that the Ferns seem to have adapted to the form of a book. They seem to have sprouted somewhere outside the confines, out of the eye and “grown” precisely inside the printing ratio and reached a perfect 1/?2 scaled size. I like how the fern leafs function as separate columns on the sheet. And the little leafs on it function as lines, and the dots on these leafs as unreadable letters.

Traité des fougères de l’Amérique is printed on lain paper, a paper that was very often used in the 19th century. This paper has a watermark, thin lines of a thicker paper as nerves over the sheet. The lines are formed by a dandy roll. The lines on the paper suggest that the paper also has nerves, the same as the leaves lying on the paper. Next to that the book has a limp binding, animal skin that is prepared to print and write on functions as the cover of the book. Where the animal skin again has a pattern that can be seen as patterns of plants.



The arte povera artist Guiseppe Penone compared the skin, mostly very enlarged, to the bark of a tree, and his fingerprint to leafs. His drawings, partly printed as this book is, are the best example where all these aspects come together. The printed leaves with their, in Penone’s work, very outstanding nerves on a soft sheet of heavy paper and rough fibered paper. They are directly connected to the mouth as forming one plant.

In this book where leaves are growing in the books shape, but also the other way around the book, looking like a plant too, aspects are mixing up creating a bit of an unlikely but beautiful image.

post by Naomi van Dijck


A Printed Book History 9 : looking at Sagmeister

Monday, May 21, 2012

The first time I saw his book was at a gallery, which let’s agree it’s not the most intriguing place for displaying books since we didn’t have the chance to go through the pages, but the positive side of it was that it made me even more curious about the content of the book and helped me to analyze my primary choice I had to choose among an array of books from different ages, designers, concepts and styles.
Why did I chose this one? Sagmeister’s book was one of few books lacking any text on the cover meaning that for it’s representation
it relies only on its visual qualities. But not only that, it lacks any hint of subject on it as well so it triggered me to step closer.
At first look I saw a book with a portrait of an animal referring to a wolf, but the closer I went to the image the more information started “appearing” on it by different layers.That combination of overlaying made me curious even more. When it is in it’s red plastic cover a perfect, friendly and appealing portrait of a German shepherd is displayed on the surface, but once you remove it, the mood of the dog changes by an added green layer and it doesn’t even look like dog anymore. It adopts a dualistic grotesque-creature shape which fascinated me instantly.
I found this interaction between all the elements very intriguing. Further in my investigation I figured out that it’s a book covering 20 years of graphic designs by Sagmeister, INCLUDING THE BAD ONES.

‘Made You Look’ by Sagmeister 2001

Cover and content, the duality of our showing on the surface what people want to see, but giving them the chance to look on the other side as well.

post by Jenela Kostova


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