Archives
Current Year

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 1999

Alles schreit. Marc Deggeller. Anlässlich der Ausstellung der Prague Quadrennial of Stage and Theatre Architecture. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Zur Erinnerung an Helen Ganzoni-Landolt. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Lehni. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Staatsexamen. 81 Sprachbeobachtungen. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Affenschwanz - Trilogie einer virtuellen Firma. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Adrian Frutiger. Lebenszyklus. Cycle de la vie. Life cycle. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Aplix. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Zoo Basel. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Auf frischer Tat mit Joghurt, Quark & Co. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Hasentexte. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Paul Gugelmann. Maschinen im Kopf. Eine mobile Skulptur entsteht. Einblicke in die Werkstatt. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

A shot away some flowers. Video Works 1997 - 1999 / I built this garden for us. Photographic Works 1992 - 1999. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Das Festival im 21. Jahrhundert. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Raum Komfort Ästhetik. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Bannières 50 ans des conventions de Genève / Banners 50 years of the Geneva Conventions. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Franz Gertsch – Silvia. Chronik eines Bildes. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Richard Paul Lohse. Konstruktive Gebrauchsgrafik. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

In Natura. Pascale Wiedemann. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Architekturführer Zürich Ost. Ausgewählte Bauten des 20. Jahrhunderts. Zürcher Oberland und Rechtes Zürichseeufer. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Carles Valverde. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Daniel Schmid. A smugglers Life. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

Poemanderm Schlaf. Der Rede Dreh. Photography: Melanie Hofmann, Zürich
© FOC

About the awarded year

David Streiff
Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture
FOREWORD

 

The Swiss Federal Office of Culture (SFOC) has always taken an active interest in good book design. For over 80 years, it has given financial support to specific book projects and awarded prizes in the graphics field in the framework of the Federal Design Competition. With its competition for "The most beautiful Swiss books", the SFOC has been promoting book design in Switzerland for almost forty years in recognition of its high quality. The competition was initiated in 1944 and has been held at regular intervals since the 1950s. In 1971, the Federal Department of the Interior (FDI) became the patron and provided it with a new legal framework. Since its inception, various changes have been made to the competition in terms of both content and form.

 

Most recently, the SFOC, acting on behalf of the FDI and in consultation with the Swiss publishers' associations Buchverlegerverband der deutschsprachigen und rätoromanischen Schweiz (VVSD), Association Suisse des éditeurs de la langue française (ASELF) and Società editori della Svizzera italiana (SESI) decided to assume sole responsibility for organizing the competition and to terminate the shared sponsorship agreement between the FDI and the three publishers' associations. In return, the publisher's associations will assume the role of patrons of the competition.

 

Since January 2000, a redefined and simplified set of regulations and a new approach to adjudication (the preliminary jury has been replaced by one main jury) have formed the basis of the competition.

 

By 1997, the emphasis of the adjudication in "The most beautiful Swiss books" had already shifted from technical features to design. Though technical quality and appropriate choice of materials continue to be important criteria, the artistic design of the book has been one of the stated main concerns of the competition ever since.

 

Prize-winning books are to receive an award and be presented in only two exhibitions per year in Switzerland. To ensure appropriate presentation of the award-winning books, we have obtained the support of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich and the Musée des arts décoratifs in Lausanne, two institutions that take a close interest in book design. We look forward to displaying the most beautiful Swiss books to a broad public for the first time at the "Salon international du livre et de la presse" in Geneva. The award-winning books will also be presented abroad at two high-profile exhibitions: the international book design exhibition "Buchkunst International" at the Frankfurt international book fair, and the show of the world's most beautiful books, "Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt", in Leipzig, at which the book design foundation Stiftung Buchkunst will award the Golden Letter, gold, silver and bronze medals and diplomas of honour. We are delighted that this year a diploma of honour will go to a publication, Raum - Komfort - Ästhetik (Space - Convenience - Aesthetics), which has won an award in our competition.

 

In addition to the national and international exhibitions, the results of the competition will be attractively presented in the catalogue "The most beautiful Swiss books", which will also give full details of all relevant technical data. As well as providing illustrated information, however, the catalogue is also intended as an artistic contribution to contemporary book design. Every three or four years, young book designers will be invited to design the catalogue. Gilles Gavillet, Zurich, in cooperation with Cornel Windlin, Zurich, has already designed and produced it for the second time. Besides the catalogue, a new corporate design for posters and invitation cards also communicates the competition to the outside world.

 

This year's seven-strong jury presided over by Lorette Coen, Lausanne, has singled out 22 of the 267 submissions for an award. The Jury has also chosen the winner of the fourth Jan Tschichold Prize, with which the FDI rewards outstanding achievement, creativity and commitment in the field of book design. This year's Jan Tschichold Prize, which is worth 15 000 Swiss francs, will go to the publisher and bookseller, Ricco Bilger, Zurich and Leukerbad.

 

Besides providing an insight into Swiss book design today, the competition for "The most beautiful Swiss books" and the associated exhibitions and catalogue are meant to encourage a broad public to engage in a critical and deeply felt debate on current issues and problems in the field of book design.

 

I should like to express my warmest thanks to Mirjam Fischer, who has taken care of the conceptual and organizational work of the competition since last May.