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The Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2004

Louis Khan Dhaka. Construction / Raymond Meier (2 Bde.). Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

365: Aiga Year in Design 24. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Aggressivität, Zärtlichkeit und Sexualität. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Auf der Hochebene und andere Orte (Werkausgabe). Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Aura/ Glamour. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Beauty and the Book. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Blendwerk. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Buchstaben, Bilder, Bytes. Das Projekt Wahrnehmung. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Die Chinesische Wespe. Geschichte einer Liebe, die ihren Fortgang nimmt. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Design und Architektur: Studium und Beruf. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Diplom 04. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Drei Umbaustrategien- Die Zürcher Verwaltungsbauten von Gustav Gull. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Ecal Graphic Design. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Felice Varini- Points of View. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Frische Schriften. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Die Geborene. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Globus Cassus. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Im Rausch der Dinge. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Intersection: 4 cities/ 360 people. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Liberté à quatre sous. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Mark Leckey, 7 Windmill Street W1. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Nicht bei Trost- a never ending Haiku. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

O.T. Ein Ersatzbuch / Das Schauspielhaus Zürich 2000-2004. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Oh, No, No... – The Crystal Series. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Olafur Eliasson. Minding the world. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Parkett – 20 years of artists' collaborations. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Produktionsweisen. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Schwarz auf Weiss. Zeichnerischer Realismus - zeitgenössische Positionen. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

SILEX No. 20 – This is the end. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Starving for embarrassing architecture. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Swiss Design 2004. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Vom Letten bis Rimini. Geschichte und Gegenwart der Zürcher See-und Flussbäder. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Waldi. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

About the awarded year

Mirjam Fischer

 

There was a gratifyingly high number of books consisting of text among the 33 entries selected as The most beautiful Swiss books published in 2004. This year, 400 publications were received by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, more than ever before. Thus the book design competition, which has been held every year since 1999 by the Art and Design Section of the BAK under the auspices of the Swiss Federal Department of the Interior (EDI), has once again established a new record. Under the presidency of François Rappo, of Lausanne, this year the seven-member jury again consisted of competent professionals from different branches of book design. The jury judged the entries on the basis of their concept, graphic design and typography, the technical level of the printing and binding, and the quality of the bookbinding and materials used. Consideration was also given to originality and innovation.

 

Independently of the books entered in the competition, the jury also awarded the Jan Tschichold Prize. With this prize the EDI has the opportunity every year to honour a person, group or institution for outstanding achievement in the field of book design. This year the Jan Tschichold Prize in the amount of CHF 15,000 was awarded to Elektrosmog (Valentin Hindermann and Marco Walser) in Zurich. They have been comitted for a number of years in the field of book design, and with their exceptional book projects they constantly give proof of the independent and brilliant language of their graphic art. The jury members also selected a ‘Book of the Jury’, which this year was a book of photography entitled Louis Kahn Dhaka, Construction – Raymond Meier (20), published by Edition Dino Simonett, a volume which presents and portrays the government building of Dhaka in Bangladesh in an impressive manner.

 

It is especially gratifying that this year three Swiss contributions were awarded a prize at the international design competition ‘The Most Beautiful Books in the World’ in Leipzig. An international jury judged 638 books from 31 countries and awarded the ‘Golden Letter’, a gold medal, two silver medals, five bronze medals and five diplomas of honour. One of the bronze medals went to the book entitled Vom Letten bis Rimini (32), a specialised book about the history and present of the lake and river bathing areas of Zurich, and one of the 5 diplomas of honour was awarded to Olafur Eliasson – Minding the World (25), an exhibition and artist’s catalogue produced with remarkable fresh-ness of design and outstanding printing. And to crown all, the gold medal was won by Christian Waldvogel – Globus Cassus (16), an unconventional exhibition catalogue about a visionary architecture for expanding the earth. The book convinced the jury by the choice of binding material, the typography, the colours and the illustrations, both as to its contents and design.

 

With the present catalogue, The most beautiful Swiss books 2004, you are now receiving an exceptional product, which could not have been produced without the generous support of the producers of all the prize-winning books: the bookbinder firm of Burkhardt, the paper firms Arctic Paper Schweiz AG, Antalis AG, Inapa Switzerland AG, Sihl+Eika AG and Fischer Papier AG, as well as the printing firm of Odermatt.

 

This catalogue, which is appearing at the opening of the exhibition, was formulated and designed this year for the first time by Laurent Benner (Reala). The design concept is intended to thematise the books, particularly in respect of their printing and materiality, thus accentuating and visualising certain very specific aspects of book production. For this purpose we have worked closely together with the printers and paper suppliers, and have been able to assemble and include eight (original) pages from all the prize-winning books from their corresponding printers in Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Lebanon in this unique publication.

 

We have had great pleasure in the wide interest and generous support which has been given to us from all sides with the presentation of ‘The most beautiful Swiss books 2004’, and we wish you the same great pleasure in reading them.

Jan-Tschichold Award

Jan Tschichold Prize awarded to Elektrosmog:
Valentin Hindermann and Marco Walser

 

Already during their time of study (1994-1998) at the School of Art and Design Zurich (HGKZ), Valentin Hindermann (b.l966) and Marco Walser (b.l973) produced projects of their own in the field of commercial art design. After the completion of their training they founded a joint studio and named it Elektrosmog. Their work focuses on assignments in the field of the visual arts. One important project in Elektrosmog's history where both designers gained experience with booklet formats was the re-designing of the art magazine material of the Migros Museum in Zurich. Each of the three issues of this publication designed by Elektrosmog for presenting international contemporary art was distinguished for the innovative use of pictorial material; the designers undertook hold experiments in the field of typefaces, which made this publication - unfortunately now discontinued - a treasure trove of creative richness.

 

With Argovian Sun, a book devoted to the work of Andreas Dobler, Elektrosmog presented an artist's book for the first time in 2002. Patrick Frey, a dedicated publisher of numerous art publications, gave the order for this project. Argovian Sun, in which texts, newspaper clippings, photos and pictures of Dobler are combined, affered Elektrosmog the opportunity to include inspirational material from Dobler's archives and treat it in the same way as the artist's finished pictures. A year later, the book Supercritical Fluids, designed by Elektrosmog, in which the pictorial work of the painter Hanspeter Hofmann is shown, was awarded a prize in the competition 'The most beautiful Swiss books'. At the same time it received the rating 'Book of the Jury'. In this project, their second artist's book, the designers succeeded in presenting Hoffmann's exceptionally rich and subtle artistic work despite small picture formats. Dobler's and Hoffmann's works have both been exhibited in the Glarus Art Museum, for whose design presence Elektrosmog has been responsible for several years in a convincing fashion, despite limited financial means.

 

In the framework of a competition, Elektrosmog was able to assist the Swiss Federal Office of Culture in creating a new, variable concept for information materials to accompany its supportive measures in the field of design: Elektrosmog developed a system of transparent plastic folders which are differently designed, colour and text-wise, yet are recognizable as an overall system. The transparent folders each contain the relevant, updated rules and instructions that are also graphically worked on by other designers. In the course of its collaboration with the SFOC, Elektrosmog succeeded in developing the design concept of a newly created publication in the field of design and produced the yearbook of the 'Swiss Federal Design Competition' for three consecutive years. Twice in succession (2003 and 2004) Elektrosmog's catalogue for the competition 'The most beautiful Swiss books' was awarded a prize. Designed in the same format three times, the aim was to treat the theoretical and the catalogue sections according to different criteria. In the middle of the volumes entitled Swiss Design the products developed by young designers are included in a way permitting them each time to appear with other means of design and with different photo concepts.

 

Another award was won by Elektrosmog in 2004 with its design for the book published on the occasion of the 20th jubilee of the renowned art periodical Parkett. The history and importance of this important international journal induced the two designers to give the book a dense design in a witty and at the same time informative fashion. Elektrosmog succeeded in harmonizing different graphically playful forms also from outside the field of book design. In fact, its design language is always open to new solutions. Both designers attempt to develop products for the defined subject in an appropriately new way, each time approaching and getting the feel for an area or the work of an artist anew, from project to project.

 

With this year's Jan Tschichold Prize, the Jury is honouring a designer team that has attracted notice for a number of years with various exceptional book design projects. Elektrosmog has become especially distinguished for the extremely many-sided and undogmatic language of its graphic designs in each of its projects.