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The Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2002

300 Türen, Portes, Porte, Portas. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Agrovision Burgrain. Konzeption. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Bruce Nauman, Mapping the Studio. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Chinatown. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Comprendre l'Escalade. Essai de géopolitique genevoise. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Décosterd & Rahm. Physiologische Architektur / Architettura fisiologica. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Elvis Road. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Erinnern und Vergessen, Eine Zürcher Familiensaga. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Fümms bö wö tää zää Uu. Stimmen und Klänge der Lautpoesie. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Heilig Kreuz und Eichenlaub. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Heimatfabrik. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Herzog & De Meuron, Naturgeschichte. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Install.exe/Jodi. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Jahresbericht 2001. Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Jost Hochuli: Drucksachen, vor allem Bücher. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Khadi-Textiles of India. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Komplexe Gewöhnlichkeit. Der Upper Lawn Pavillon von Alison und Peter Smithson. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Lohse lesen. Texte von Richard Paul Lohse (Zürich 1902-1988 Zürich). Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Natürlich die Schweizer! Neues von Paul Nizon, Ruth Schweikert, Peter Stamm u.a. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Olafur Eliasson. Movement Meter for Lernacken. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Prospectus. Thirty-one works by Ben Kinmont. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Public Affairs. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Public Plaiv. Art contemporauna illa Plaiv.Gegenwartskunst im Landschafts- und Siedlungsraum La Plaiv, Oberengadin. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Quelli di Bagheria. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

René Burri. Berner Blitz. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Rroms de Roumanie / Rroma in Rumänien. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Saisonvorschau Schauspielhaus Zürich 02/03. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Schweizer Möbel und Interieurs im 20. Jahrhundert. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Sedel 1981-2001. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Wonder Red Now / Swiss Art Awards. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

The Things. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

typografieren "Atlas" + "Revier". Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

About the awarded year

This year a total of 275 publications, including 10 Italian and 48 French titles, were entered in the Competition "The most beautiful Swiss books". The seven-member jury under President François Rappo singled out 33 of these as the most beautiful Swiss books, principally based on design-related criteria. The decisive factors in the judging were, in addition to the idea and design concept of the individual book, the typography, the quality of the printing and the binding, the materials used and the overall impression given. Besides books of art and illustrated works as well as specialized books, which again this year account for most entries, a number of belletristic and experimental books are also to be found. The palette extends from programme booklets with very large printings to private press-published works printed in very limited numbers.

 

For the third time, the members of the jury selected a "Book of the Jury". This was the straightforward and very subtly designed exhibition catalogue entitled "Olafur Eliasson. Movement Meter for Lernacken." designed and produced by the studio groenland.berlin.basel (Michael Heimann and Dorothea Weishaupt).

 

At the same time the jury awarded the Jan Tschichold Prize, with which the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs (DHA) honours creative and exceptional commitment in the field of book design. This year the prize, endowed with 15'000 Swiss francs. went to the innovative designer team NORM, Dimitri Bruni and Manuel Krebs of Zurich. With diverse, outstandingly executed commissioned jobs as well as very committed book projects of their own, the young book designers are making a notable contribution to Swiss book design.

 

The Swiss Federal Office of Culture (SFOC) highlights high-end quality book design creativity in Switzerland not only with these annual competition results, but also engages in the direct promotion of young book designers by awarding design contracts. This is in close connection with the general practice of design promotion by the Swiss government.

 

The Competition "The most beautiful Swiss books" has been organized since 1999 by the Art and Design Section of the SFOC on the behalf of the DHA and is also under the patronage of the Swiss Book Publishers Association.

 

This publication is being produced to coincide with the two exhibitions to be held in the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich and in the mu.dac in Lausanne, where all 33 prize-winning books will be displayed.

 

Mirjam Fischer, SFOC, Berne

Jan-Tschichold Award

NORM, Zurich
Winner of the Jan Tschichold Prize 2003

 

There is a well-known photograph of Jan Tschichold reproduced opposite the title page of Asymmetric Typography (the English version of his Typographische Gestaltung). The portrait captures him in profile, mid-bliss, apparently contemplating a finished piece of work, elated at its finesse. The pose is so fantastieally pompous - eyebrows to the heavens, lips pouted, thumb and forefinger touching just-so - that it could easily be a set-up. If not, we can still allow Tschichold such arrogance, deserving as he is of his reputation as a master practitioner who combined the craft and science of typography and type design. Whether in character as Heroic Modernist or Reborn Classicist, Tschichold was always primarily concerned with articulating content for the benefit of the reader.

 

Sixty or seventy years on, Dimitri Bruni and Manuel Krebs, called NORM, are primarily concerned with generating or shaping content towards their own interests. In their home-made research/manifesto The Things, for example, the exploration of space and symbols is taken to daunting extremes, and rather than creating a genuinely practical bank of information, the exhaustion of possibilities becomes an end in itself. This demonstrates how graphic design has slowly turned in on itself since Tschichold's time. It is no longer enough for a book to be merely a book. In one of NORM's commissioned works, for "physiological architects" Décosterd & Rahm, texts at the beginning and end are printed in gloss varnish on white gloss paper. In one way this makes sense (you can follow the thinking: subject matter about space, light and sensuality), but in another (its blatant unreadability) it is also nonsense.

 

Tschichold was passionate, obsessive and a perfectionist. While I'm suggesting here that their drive is fundamentally different, NORM have righteously inherited these qualities: their work is at once extreme and decent. It's not too difficult to imagine them striking the same pose as Tschichold upon receiving a job back from the printer, though in their ease the photograph would have to be a set-up. That kind of innocence just doesn't exist anymore; they'd be kicking each other under the table to try and make the other one laugh.

 

Stuart Bailey, Grafic Designer, London (UK) / Amsterdam (NL)