Last week, after several years and two talks about organizing art, Ursus Wehrli published his latest book The Art of Clean Up, wherein he attempts to organize… just about everything. Bowls of soup, a single pine branch, or even a sky full of star, it seems nothing is immune from his penchant to introduce order. His process (photographed by Geri Born and Daniel Spehr) is carried to absurd extremes, where flower arrangements are made into tidy stacks of detached petals and stems, convoluted train maps are turned into neat stacks of lines, text, and dots, and even type itself is broken down into useless stacks of lines and curves.
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A couple weeks ago I rather uncouthly declared on Twitter that our last Re-Covered Books contest, featuring The Hobbit as the subject, was a flat out disaster. I shortly after received an email from Adam Busby taking me to task about the comment. He had worked hard on his cover and it wasn’t fair to sweep the contest aside. He was right, and I was wrong. He sent me a copy of the cover design he created, and if you ask me, it was quite a winner.
I think what Adam did right with his cover is that he made it feel contemporary but still with a nod to the book because of the hand-made nature to the map in the background. It’s got all sorts of distressed print marks around the edges of the cover which makes it feel like the map has been used numerous times on a number of adventures. The font he chose/created for the title is also full of character, with a lopsided H and an I that’s shorter than the T. The back cover is simple and well organized, exactly what you’d want to see.
Overall I think Adam nailed this and absolutely had a chance of winning the contest. This cover is so spot-on you could imagine it being sold at Anthropologies and Urban Outfitters everywhere. You can see more of Adam’s great work by clicking here.
Icinori produce some of the best picture books I think I’ve ever seen! The publishing studio is made up of illustrators Mayumi Otero and Raphael Urwiller, and their publications often come in the form of impressively engineered pop-up books filled with beautiful illustrations and incredible paper constructions.
The book above is called Momotaro and it’s a retelling of a popular Japanese folk story. The name ‘Momotaro’ literally means Peach Taro, which is commonly translated as Peach Boy. According to the legend, the story tells the tale of a strange child born of an apricot who undertakes a quest and travels to a distant island to fight oni, eventually becoming a great hero in the process. Like much folklore, Momotaro is a fantastically off-the-wall tale but it also sounds like a really great story. You can learn more about it here. I love the look of Icinori’s adaptation and I really love how it manages to feel very traditional and yet completely modern all at once. Make sure to see more of their work by checking out their website here.
The space race was the greatest competition all time: two great nations pushing technological and scientific boundaries for galactic supremacy. Rooted in the necessity to achieve what no nation had yet to accomplish, science and mankind reached new heights. Tom Clohosy Cole’s concertina, Space Race, beautifully illustrates this push to the limits. The efforts of these two great Cold War super powers are detailed on opposing sides of a paper-made Iron Curtain narrating the notable achievements of spaceflight. The highlights of the USSR include Sputnik’s star streak across the autumn sky and Yuri Gagarin’s landmark orbital waltz around the home planet. On the opposing side, the achievements of the United States showcase the Apollo rocket boys. Cole’s concertina crescendos at quite probably the greatest single achievement in the space race – the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. This event technically marks the end of the Space race between the two nations as the Soviet Soyuz and the Yankee Apollo crafts dock together–a cosmic handshake and sign of peace. From my own ethnocentric point of view, the space race narrative (as told here in the United States) ends with Armstrong & his boys’ dance on the moon. Yet in actuality the Test Project, commonly referred to statewide as Apollo 18, is truly the last dance of the great space race. Cole’s depiction in four colors boldly celebrates these adventuresome achievements. And unfurled, it paints a panorama of this time far grander than any Hasselblad shot brought back as a souvenir.
The inspiration for food themed week of posts came from my obsession with Rene Redzepi and his restaurant, Noma. Redzepi pioneered New Nordic Cuisine, which uses only locally and seasonally harvested ingredients. This approach has led many to say that Noma is in fact the best restaurant in the world right now, which is now surprise if you’ve seen the dishes Noma puts out.
What I find inspiring is how passionate Redzepi is about his cooking. It’s not just about putting food on a plate, it’s about creating an experience. It’s about taking an ingredient and pairing it with other ingredients that would grow in the very same area. It’s about taking six weeks to prepare a grasshopper garum. Everything Redzepi does is done with 120% of effort and that to me is where his genius lies.
The video was created by Phaidon for the release of the Noma cookbook they published. It gives a pretty godo insight into the type of foods that Noma is preparing and the dedication Redzepi has to New Nordice Cuisine. Hopefully you’ll find Redzepi as inspiring as I do.
Arden Kuhlman Riordan recently put up a large collection of book cover designs by her graphic designer father, Roy Kuhlman. The covers were designed in the 60’s and 70’s for an extremely wide range of topics, mostly for Grove Press, an indie printing company that’s been around since the early 70’s. The collection is immense, I’m sure you’ll find a ton of inspiration in it.
I think I may be a bit behind on this, but Design Observer has a great list of the 50 best book covers of 2011, many of which are some real jaw droppers. The list was put together by a panel of 35 folks, people like Michael Beirut, Irma Boom and Chip Kidd, who’ve sorted through a ton of nominations to choose the creme of the crop. The picks above are a sampling and feature some of my favorites of the bunch. Looking through the list it also made me realize that physical books aren’t going to disappear any time soon, especially when they’re this beautiful.
If interested, you can also check out a list of nominations for the best book cover of 2012 by clicking here.
Verdens første ballongferd (The World’s First Balloon Flight) is a newly released book for children written by Lena Lindahl and illustrated by Rui Tenreiro. The book is about of the world’s first aeronauts and it tells the true-life story of two brothers in 18th century France who set about building the first hot air balloon. The illustrations really looks terrific and wish I could speak Norweigan just so that I could read this.
It’s illustrator, Rui Tenreiro, is a Mozambican author, artist and editor. Dividing his time between Sweden and Mozambique he creates wonderful illustrations filled with detail and character. Some prints from the book will soon be available from Rui Tenreiro’s online shop while the book itself is currently available online here.