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"architecture" Tag


The island of Utopia


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A page of the 3rd publication from the first english version of Utopia, made in 1597 by Raphe Robinson

A page of the 3rd publication from the first english version of Utopia, made in 1597 by Raphe Robinson

 

The book Utopia was published in 1516 by Thomas More. The word itself means “nowhere”, from the ancient Greek language. As it is said, it was written to give an example of a better society rather than the one of  Europe in the sixteenth century could be like.

As I started reading it there was just one question that kept arousing into my mind: how could the Utopians be so willing to obey the rules? Was More making use of his famous black sense of humor when he designed them?

The Utopians are a group of devoted, placid people; they all dress with the same garments and eat in big cantines. Their sense of community is greatly strong. They agree with all the rules. But that sounds so atypical. More, as many other utopians have done, created a little society where human feelings as fear, hate, jealousy and rage almost didn’t exist.

In fact, many utopic authors created a world in which these feelings didn’t exist either. Like the dystopian work of Aldous Huxley, “A Brave New World”, in which humans take pills to be constantly happy. Most utopias are made to terminate all bad feelings. But why not learn to control them and coexist with them? The deeper the pain, the deeper the joy. A world without these feelings would be a passive world. And in a passive world, there’s little space for big strokes of imagination and self-thinking. How boring would that be…
 

An example of how the island of Utopia could have looked like Isola_di_Utopia_Moro
An example of how the island of Utopia could have looked ~ how it was illustrated in the first edition

 
That lead me to think that most utopias are dangerous. As they represent the most ideally perfect aspects of society/mankind, and perfection is a subjective concept, they are very susceptible to not to fit the personal needs of every human being. So they can easily set apart any person who doesn’t correspond the same ideal, and put her in a cage.

Hitler almost realized his own utopia, and drove many people to serve him in this savagery. Maybe the others could sympathize with him because they saw, too, the heaven in Hitler’s mind. However after the discovery of the Holocaust, utopias could never be the same.

I’m not sure if I could, as many people do, relate that much Thomas More to the humanists of the 15th century. They put for the first time men before God, seeked the ability of the human being to think by itself and break with traditions, and supported more the science rather than the superstition. Thomas More was a deeply religious person, and he even stated being God’s servant when he was executed. However, his book Utopia pursues the finest achievement of a human community in what regards society organization, behaviour and education. So to have gone gone so deep into the matter, shouldn’t More have had a real passion for humanism?

More’s book is not easy to read. Used as we are, “free” educated thinkers from the 21rst century, to judge and compare everything with our current times, I think it’s difficult to put yourself into the mindset of the 15th century. I believe it’s a truly visionary book to be written back in that time, when religion had a considerable place in the european population, taking big imporance in every act.
 
atenas Renaissance artists from the 15th century seeked, too, to find perfection and utopy in the human body

Renaissance artists from the 15th century seeked, too, to find perfection and utopy in the human body

And exactly 440 years after Utopia was published, Constant Nieuwenhuys started working in New Babylon. His structures were motivated by the devastated cities he saw after World War II; he started thinking about how architecture influences daily life, and how it creates a specific environment depending on its shape and interior organization. When I thought about Constant and More together, I couldn’t imagine such differents idealists. But as soon as I started going deeper into his ideals, and tried to understand them, I could see some resemblances. On one hand, I think they were united by the fact that they both had a fascination for anthropology. Constant and More put a great effort into imagining, each one their own way, ways to enhance culture and society. What would have happened if we combined the community of More with Constant’s architecture? Perhaps it would have been a total failure, as it is like combining two opposite worlds that scream for way divergent paragons of life. Constant architecture was made to play, whereas iddleness was totally forbidden in More’s book.

 

An example of one of Constant's scale models for New Babylon

I can also imagine that some art tendencies would have been banned in Utopia. As they hide, as well, butcher houses because it stimulates human violence, they would have probably limited art to just beautifully looking things that appeal to “nice acts”.

But what More, with his deeply religious faith (which maybe nowadays would have been translated into a deep love for mankind) would have designed for nowadays? Aren’t we almost living in a utopia right now, isn’t Amsterdam some sort of bubble? How would he would have felt in our current capitalist world? He was not an artist but I believe he had a deep love and understanding for humanity. Which doesn’t take him that far from art..

 

Tabula Rasa


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

rei-kawakubo copyConstant_Nieuwenhuijs_(1974)

 

1. Rei Kawabuko

 

Rei Kawakubo is a Japanese fashion designer. She first studied fine arts and literature at Keio university but then later thaught herself how to design and started making clothes under the label Comme des Garcons. In 1973 she incorporated it as a company. Soon Comme des Garcons became a label preferred by the Avant-garde. Kawakubo designes clothes with a modus operandi more familiar to conceptual art than to fashion.

 

11261966_916720045016664_1635637135_o

Rei Kawakubo
and Yohji Yamamoto,
1983

 

During the 1980s, her garments were primarily in black, dark grey or white but later more colors were added. The materials were often draped around the body and featured frayed, unfinished edges along with holes and a general asymmetrical shapes. Comme des Garcons is often referred as anti-fashion with their austere, deconstructed garments and the focus is more on the three-dimensionality of shapes and not so much on the surface and finish. By all these means Kawakubos designs challenges the traditional notions of beauty in fashion.

 

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Rei Kawabuko,
1997

 

In 1997 the spring/summer collection was an ironic commentary on female vanity and advertisements for cleavage enhancing bras and figure sculpting thights. These designs suggest that the mind no longer need to submit itself to the dictates of conventional notions of beauty, but it is free to find it where it will. Also that beauty may not reside in the places what our culture suggests but more in our own imagination.

 

What is beautiful doesn’t have to be pretty

Rei Kawakubo

 

Working together with other professionals like photographers and architects their approach in fashion is very collective. Kawakubo wants to be involved in all aspects of her business like photography, graphic design etc.

 

11354448_916720235016645_731800098_o

Ensemble
Rai Kawabuko
1997

 

Ensemble is a top and a skirt from collection Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body. It is made of cheesecloth stapled together in layers of pattern sections. The sculptural silhouette and the complex piling reflects Japanese ideas about the garment, which is seen as a construction in space. Here the garment is an autonomous sculptural object and it is no longer dependent on the shape of the human body.

This garment was part of a exhibition in Booijmans museum under a theme: Tabula Rasa. I think Kawakubos design fits quite well to the theme because she has been quite groundbreaking in her field by challenging the traditional idea of beauty in fashion.

 

2. Constant Nieuwenhuys

 

Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920 Amsterdam – 2005 Utrecht), also known as Constant is dutch. He is a painter but he touched other fields such as sculpture, music and, what interests us, theory and architecture.

His brother Jan Nieuwenhuys, who was born a year after him also became
an artist and their paths are closely related as they founded together with Corneille, Asger Jorn, Karel Appel and others the Experimentele Groep in Holland in 1948. It is important to mention that all those people then took part to the CoBrA movement which we all know and which was a period when Constant painted a lot and a lot of beautiful paintings.

 

Constant

Constant Nieuwenhuys
Maskierte Ungehorsamkeit
1948

 

Constant took part to the theorizing of CoBrA. In Wikipedia I found his theory resumed to six points, I translate it here.

 

– Realism is the negation of reality
– Who denies hapiness on Earth denies Art
– No good painting without great pleasure
– Civilization admits the beautiful to excuse the ugly
– The best painting is the one reason cannot admit
– Imagination is the way to know reality

 

After CoBrA, he briefly joined the revolutionary Art movement International Situationist (from 1958 to 1960), led by Guy Debord, between others. Asger Jorn was there as well. This part of his life is really important to understand his work New Babylone.

The International Situationists were influenced by Marxist thinking and wanted to end the class society and the merchandise dictatorship. Their thinking is well explained in the book Society of Spectacle Guy Debord wrote in 1967. Guy Debord is an important character to understand New Babylon because in 1956, he theorizes the Derive in his text La theorie de la derive.

 

One or several people experiencing the Derive are renouncing, for a laps of time more or less important, to the reasons to move and to act they generally know…

– Guy Debord, Theorie de la derive, 1956

 

societeduspectacle

Image used for the cover of one of
Society of Spectacle editions

 

New Babylone was supposed to be called Deriville. It is a utopian city in which the defaults of capitalism (and of society of spectacle) does not exist anymore. In this sens, it fits very well in the Tabula Rasa theme.

 

imageproxyboijmans

Constant NieuwenhuysNew Babylone
1966

 

3. Tabula Rasa

 

Even though the history and works of Constant and Kawakubo aren’t similar, they work in different fields, different puposes and connections are hard to find, we see that in those both particular works, some interesting aspects can be joined.

 

The first aspect is the use of architecture thinking for works that are not only architectural. Kawakubo, in Ensemble, thinks the garment as a construction in space, which means that she works with the object but also with the void it creates. Ensemble is a garment created using architecture.

Constant tries to build an utopian city, he has no choice but using architecture (he also made some beautiful models of New Baby- lone). The sketch we are talking about can also be seen as a piece of Art because the city was never built, it was only a big project that, I think, even Constant himself did not think he would see become real. New Babylon is a piece of Art using architecture.

 

The second aspect is related to the idea of Tabula Rasa. As we saw, Constant relation to it is quite obvious, he wants to built a new city for a new kind of human. In other words start everything again.

Kawakubo, in her garment, tries to challenge our traditionnal idea of beauty and to find new aesthetic values. We saw in Ensemble that the garment becomes autonomous from the body form an can be seen as a sculpture too.

 

 

the orthogonal allegory of browsing


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

 

BrowseMap-sketchIMG_3148-2

 

This is a search that started as a response to the 'Orthogonal Allegory Thesis' I found at the the essays page of Designblog. It shows the dynamic of my browsing, dealing with the facts I bumped into, as well as the associative impulses that coincides with it. I tried to translate my sketched browse history into a text version, to make it more readable ! If you click it, an interactive pdf. version will create that experience for you.

Curves


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Golden_Ratio_4

curved_archtecture_redu

Capture d’écran 2014-06-04 à 14.38.24

 

If I tell you architecture, you’ll tell me SQUARE

If I tell you nature, you’ll tell me ROUND

We obviously link architecture to geometry, structure, squares, etc… and nature to organic features and therefore curves and irregularity.

Therefore what is interesting is the notion of curve in architecture.

We started seing curving architectures at the same time as the introduction of movement in art (cubism, kinetic art, futurism, chrono-photography, mobiles, etc….)

Beyond the fact that it’s aesthetically seducing, and beyond the fact that it is bringing movement, curves are attracting more attention from your brain.

Psychologist Oshin Vartanian made researches on what was going on in people’s brains as they viewed two rooms — one with rounded features, the other more rectangular. First of all, the ones that were confronted to the curvy one were more likely to define it as “beautiful”. They also displayed more activity in a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex that, among other functions, is linked to the brain’s ability to regulate and process emotions.

Curved buildings can point to nature, whereas angular buildings contrast with it. Straight lines and angular shapes are disconnecting a building from nature, and humans natural state. It is reducing everything into a harsh and boxy aspect, which we naturally don’t identify in so much.

I observe (on a very personal level) that in the end my attraction goes to buildings balancing the angle and the curve. The final reconciliation between “organic” and “organized”. People like Frank Gehry, Herzog et de Meuron, Oscar Niemeyer, Zaha Hadid, Rudi Ricciotti and many others are/have been working on it and succeeded quite well so far, to bring new rules and esthetics to modern architecture, inspired from the so called international style and reconciled with more organic references, as well with new materials that are more environmental friendly.

I am starting for this occasion a tumblr “Curves” where I will be developing this idea through posts and references, grasping a lot of elements orbiting around this, and that is starting from this thesis that I invite you to read on Orthogonal Allegory in Architecture by Anton Stuckhardt [graduation essay [x].

 

Orthogonal Allegory – the reality of architectural plan drawing


Friday, July 26, 2013

In this essay not only does the plan delineate (describes) the basic ‘syntax’ of a building, but it also creates a reality on its own; through allography the plan creates an allegory. This thesis won the 2013 Rietveld Thesis award

 

The floorplan takes a peculiar position in architectural creation. As a notational device, it translates the conception of a built space to a graphical code. The form of an orthogonal projection of a building abolishes the illusion of space, it excludes exactly the elements that are elementary to architectural expression, “light and shade, walls and space.” Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture.
Scan 2
John Hejduk Still Life Museum / Museum for still lifes, could it be possible for the architect to take the natura morta of a painting and by a single transformation build it into a still life?

First and foremost architectural plans are a tool for instruction and documentation of a building process, but the graphic compression of a spatial idea creates a reality on its own. The plan equally takes part in other disciplines, painting, literature (think of Alain Robbe Grillets Jealousy), as it does in architecture.

chamberworks III-H
Daniel Libeskind, Drawing from the series Chamberworks, 1983, Chamberworks, carries in its title the notational character of the drawings, the form of their conception of space.

 

The planar form of representation is able to develop architectural problems independent from the construction process. It writes a text, different from that of the building, though in an indexical relation they contain each other. The factual information given by the plan creates a metaphor of the building through decisions made in its form of graphical notation, the format of drawing enables architecture to incorporate and appropriate parts of other disciplines, literature, philosophy, painting. The foundations of casual literacy are different from those of architectural, spatial literacy. In John Hejduk’s Architecs wheel the history of literature stands of the same level of elemental necessity, as that of construction materials, forms of depiction and building elements. Still, a plan is bound to an indexical relation towards reality, but it narrates a different story about the building it depicts, just as the story of the building differs from that of the plan. In its abstraction, the plan creates a Sinnbild (symbol), ideograph, allegory of the building.

DP109642
Man Ray, Dust breeding, 1920, Duchamps 'Large Glass' metaphorically turns it into a huge landscape, a pictorial setting.

 

The text formed from a logic of graphical signifiers, line, plane colour, typography, delineates what a building is about it a two-fold way: Syntactical, as the composition of spaces, and theoretical, as the Weltanschauung (philosophy of life), a complex synthesis of philosophical, religious, social beliefs. In that sense, the architects wheel is an archetypical plan, containing Hejduks complete vocabulary, a model for his architecture, for the narrative of basic shape, rather than a concrete building. Every plan evokes the world in which that building exists, the possibility of a space, just like every lie creates the world in which it is true. The plan formulates principles of grammar, methods of thinking and working, it integrates tectonic space and form and human experiences and conditions that comprise our existence and thus it is essentially philosophic.

dubai_masterplan2
Dubai Masterplan, “It was the precision of my memory which enabled me to demystify the imaginary quality of the dream: surreal and real became interchangeable metaphors.” Raimund Abraham, the architects dream, 1983

text by Anton Stuckardt [graduate student department of Graphic Design]

 

from the jury rapport: In ‘Orthogonal Allegories, the reality of architectural plan drawing’ Anton Stuckardt has tackled the difficult subject of how the three-dimensional form is two-dimensionally represented. Still Anton manages to make the subject understandable in a very intelligent way and the thesis shows that he is a sharp thinker. The jury also found it to Anton’s advantage that he took his own interest in architecture, and connected this to the field of graphic design. Overall the thesis was compact, powerful and well written with good illustrations.

 

Pdf-icon Download this thesis:

Orthogonal Alegory – the reality of architectural plan drawing.

 

Unknown – Interior spaces essay.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

New revised edition of essays about spaces distributed inside of the cities and outside of these, inside of the ‘’close’’ and outside of this last. Reaching a new kind of environment trough different assignments and lectures related with the real world of now, breaking the based bubble attached to the ‘’what‘’ should be your space in the last 50 years. A generation is changing the screen of a real house trying to figure out this in a really different kind of space so far from your surface and so close to your rational and ‘’developed’’ imagination in the front of your screen. [x]

Complicated, frustrating, stressing, confusing, reaching a harmony between the conceptual and the real, is how it was the beginning of what you had been reading and looking or not yet. The conceptual taking a piece of a real world and its necessities, becoming it in a messy text inside of our minds and after a tiny text in a paper or whatever. Our text is changing its purpose taking the shape of some streets and places so far from these, big yellow tracks and intense white light at night enclosure by a skull net, are inside of these places, where our co-workers begin to work depending in several times on your behavior, critical point of view and other really important things. So there should be a certain point in all this last statement where this book take advantage and begin to compile simple and clear pictures and diagrams of the whole process of creation of a new space, adding certain text to make more understandable just for some people. ’’Interactive’’ is the right word to describe our commercial approach.

An essay and nothing more should be added. We just tried to create a recreation of your world and visualize it in our way. Beforehand or not we apologize about the mistakes that just you can find inside of this essay. But we are afraid to can do nothing by the moment because this is just a reproduction of your world.

 

this post is part of he subjective library project "Unopened Book"
the book can be found at the Rietveld library : catalog no : 774.7-c

Like clothing to fashion – an architectural research


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The initial starting point of my research is rooted in the interest around the De Stijl movement and its outspoken elements regarding architecture. From 1917 until 1931 while being in The Netherlands and bordering countries, one was able to find a great body of work containing certain remarkable aesthetics. An underlying common intend was to create spiritual harmony and order by reducing the use of forms and color. Stylistically that lead to the conclusion of implementing primary colors, black, white, vertical and horizontal lines as basic elements. Abstraction was the thing.

Anyway my idea of what my research topic should be all about shifted shape numerous times during the process of finding a spark. The reason for that can certainly be found in my personal approach towards architecture which I will involve a little more later on. Questions concerning the different stages in the process of designing architecture reoccurred. The importance of De Stijl for works of upcoming future architects was another aspect I chose to lie my focus on. While hunting down valuable pieces of information with consideration towards De Stijl’s influence nowadays, I found myself in the lucky position of gaining insight into architecture students’ minds while wrenching out new ideas. I went and asked.

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Paintings in Wendingen magazine


Friday, November 25, 2011

In my research project I became very interested in some paintings that I found in one of the Wendingen magazine I researched. It was very strange to see some issues about Pyke Koch or Klimt because Wendingen was a monthly publication aimed at architecture and interior design. I am wondering why the chief editor who was the architect H. Th. Wijdeveld decided to publish some issues about paintings in this magazine which appeared from 1918 to 1932!

After the First World War in Europe it was a difficult and depressing period. For the young hoping for careers in architecture, painting, sculpture or interior design the prospects were bleak, with preference inevitably going to older and more experienced exponents with establish reputations, the fact of being young meant a disadvantage. Even the older generation with a record of solid achievement reaching back perhaps to the days before the Great War found it hard to make ends meet in the drab years of the Depression and anyone fortunate enough to be in safe and congenial employment took care to hold on to his position at any cost. It was quite hard for painters to alone sell of their works and many artists started to paint decorative elements screens for interior decorators or to design china or textiles. It presented good opportunities to earn some money. On top of all that, a new movement – Art deco started to come in use.

Art Deco took place in various subjects including architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright was at  the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century the American architect credited with the invention of the skyscraper. Wright was instrumental in fashioning a specific American Tradition of modern decoration upon which American Art Deco was built. This is particularly true of the horizontal style of domestic architecture. The best example is ,,The Robie House’’.  Inside of the building you can find a lot of decorative elements. On the wall you can see long, black stripe, on the windows arty stain glass, which bright designs. All these Art Deco elements were influence by a number of other art movements. For instance, Edward Wadsworth was one of the main figures in the Vorticism movement. If you look at “The Robie House” walls and ,,Liverpool shipping’’ you can see that Wright using the same concept of a vortex as Edward.

 Liverpool shipping

You can find the same examples with Art Deco style and Expressionism(forms derived from nature are distorted or exaggerated and colors are intensified for emotive or expressive purposes), Futurism (forms derived chiefly from Cubism were used to represent rapid movements and dynamic motion; showing hostility to traditional forms of expression), Cubism (the reduction of natural forms to their geometrical equivalents).

In Amsterdam you can find Art Deco style in Architecture too. One of the most famous building is ,, American Hotel’’. It was built in 1900. In American Hotel there are many features which are typical of the Art Deco style period, such as the stained-glass windows. Also you can see some paintings which are placed inside. The café American has beautiful interior which reminded me some of Klimt works. Ornaments on furniture (especially on chairs) and colour palette are quite similar like The Café American.

Moreover, one of the Dutch artist- Pyke Koch was interested not just in painting and drawing but in interior design too. He created and also made interior designer for the van Dam van Isselt house in Utrecht. Pyke Koch painted on the marble table, garden doors and painted dolphins on the floor.

Wendingen magazine was published in 1918 almost in the same period when Art Deco movement started. I think this style was very important in a lot of art fields and it was relevant with architecture and interior design. It can be a reason why in Wendingen magazine you can find some information about artists who was the most concentrate in paintings.

 

Thinking out of the white cube


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Parooldriehoek is a triangular piece of land, somewhere in Amsterdam-Oost. A piece of land with little character, between the busy Wibautstraat and the train tracks. I hadn’t really ever noticed this plot, and I started to wonder why. It’s not that I never pass through that part of the city; I visit the adjacent club Trouw regularly. Maybe that’s the problem.

Every time I’m there, it’s night. And there’s not very much to see there during the day, let alone during the night. It’s a very dark and uninviting piece of land. Some even say they feel uneasy walking in the area after dark and that is where I could change something.

I was going to give the city something to be proud of, and I was going to make this little triangle memorable and comforting. I wanted not only to make the outside a part of the interior (much like Gerrit Rietveld himself used transparency whilst designing buildings) but I also wanted the surroundings to be affected positively by the presence of a new building. I wanted to make this a place people wanted to visit instead of wanting to avoid it.

With this in mind, I designed a glass library, a place that hides nothing in the dark, but shows everything. Just like the inspiring architecture of Rietveld’s academies. Two fine examples (one in Amsterdam and the other in Arnhem) of how a construction of steel and glass can give a large building a very light aesthetic. Two buildings from which the outside and inside are of great influence on each other.

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New way of looking at architecture


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Using my last tags, I found a really interesting book from an artist I already knew before. Because I found something with the words architecture and library, which were the most important tags of my last post, I was surprised, to find a book which is so nice even when I had to search quite specific.

Andreas Gursky makes pictures that are famous over the whole world. In my first post I told something about a book which is totally focussed on libraries. But this book shows not only libraries, but it shows a whole content of buildings photographed on a way only Andreas Gursky is able to. He makes pictures that show a new view on a building. Most of them are enormously big, or extremely complicated. They show an index of these buildings.

It is related to my second book because Andreas Gursky also photographed some interesting libraries and museums. And that is also the reason it is related to my first book. The difference between the books, is that this book is all about photography of the buildings. That’s why the images in the book are so interesting. In this book, the main subjects are the photographs of Andreas Gursky, in my other books it was about the building itself.

I think it is really interesting I found this book. Andreas Gurksy is one of my favorite photographers, and combined with the subject of this book and my earlier books, it is a nice collection if you want to know more about the architecture of the library, and specially when you want to see some brilliant pictures. It all fits together, but I think it also fits really well in the project we worked on.

Public Library Amsterdam: 761.2

Make your own library


Thursday, November 26, 2009

The second book I choose is about the architecture from library’s and museums. Because my tags were “library” “arranging” “industrial” it isn’t a really big surprise that the book I find now is quite similar to the other one. But the most important difference is the fact that this book is about the architecture of the buildings.

It is a really interesting book because you will find out more from well known buildings and also discover some new. Off course the architecture is really important for the atmosphere in library’s and museums.

The reason that makes this book interesting for me is that they show every detail of the buildings. I like the fact that you can find maps, models, etc. In some way it almost looks like a hobby book, for self-made architecture. But to make one of the buildings myself, is not gonna work I guess…

Publik Library Amsterdam: 718.4
Bauten der Kultur: “Museen und Bibliotheken”

Design for Revolution


Thursday, November 12, 2009

When i was checking the books at the library, i saw a book about the topic that i’m really interested in, Soviet Architecture. I checked it and yes it was the book that i am looking for. Then i looked for other books to find some images to  support my topic, i couldn’t find though. Suddenly i saw a boow, looking old and having old, dark red just jacket. Yes! It was about Russia Architecture. The best thing about it is the just jacket. It is just like Soviet public architeture or Soviet mentality. A book need to covered and there it is, nothing more ( i love “the Raven btw). One barely reads the name of the book, there is nothing on it to make you buy it (if you were in the book store). No colorful letters, no information about what it contains. One can find it, only if he/she needs it. Which is what i did. Which is why this dust jacket is a perfect match for this topic.

On the left side you see the book i choosed and on the right side there is a book from BRD – Germany (to compare)

718.8 lis 1


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