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The Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2006

Hot Love. Swiss Punk & Wave 1976-1980. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

13.11.1980:ARCHIE SHEEP / JASATA. 20.12.2007: PAN SONIC / ALTER EGO. Eine Materialsammlung zu 580 Konzerten von Taktlos Bern und Tonart Bern. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Amorous Delight. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

ars viva 2006/2007. Erzählungen / narration. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Art & Language. Homes from Homes II. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Atlas of Novel Tectonics. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Atlas of Shrinking Cities / Atlas der schrumpfenden Städte. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Bekanntmachungen. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Cécile Wick. Weltgesichte / Visions du monde. Druckgraphik 1996-2005. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Cneai = neuf ans. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Encyclopaedizer 2006-04. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Fischli Weiss. Flowers & Questions. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

GRRR30: urban recordings. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Hans Finsler und die Schweizer Fotokultur. Werk, Fotoklasse, moderne Gestaltung 1932-1960. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Henri Matisse. Traits essentiels. Gravures et Monotypes 1906-1952. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

In den Alpen. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

INOUT. Designers - Config.01 - MUDAC. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Ist mir grosse Ehre von gleicher Sorte zu sein. Hommage an den Luzerner Strassenphilosophen Emil Manser. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Koo Jeong-A. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Late Shift. Kunst als symbolisches Terrain zwischen Schichtarbeit und Fitnesspark. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Lee Lozano. Drawings. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Markus Müller. Nutzen und Nachteil. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Migros Geschäftsbericht 2005. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Mit Zirkel und Palette. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

La Nuit / Die Nacht. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Offside. WM 2006. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Philharmonie. Muziekgebouw van Haarlem. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Saisonbroschüre 2006/2007. Theater Basel. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Schatten der Macht - Architektur des Nationalsozialismus in Berlin. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Schweizer Jugendherbergen. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Tom Burr. Extrospective: Works 1994-2006. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

We make fonts. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

Wo-Wo-Wonige!. Photography: Raphael Hefti
© FOC

About the awarded year

Gold, Silver and Punk
Mirjam Fischer

 

Ski jumping is not the only discipline in which Switzerland is winning championship gold this winter season, with Simon Ammann; considerable successes have been chalked up in the sphere of book design as well. Swiss achievements are ringingly endorsed beyond our borders this year as well, as the Leipzig Book Fair showed. An international jury awarded one Golden Letter, one gold medal, two silver medals, five bronze medals and five diplomas of honour choosing from 545 publications submitted by 33 countries. Two medals went to books from the Swiss competition: the Atlas of Novel Tectonics received the Golden Letter, thus making it the third time since 1991 that Switzerland had won the highest of all prizes in the international design field. At the same time, the title on the Wo-Wo-Wonige! housing movement put a dissertation on the second podium, winning one of the two silver medals. Great grounds for celebration!

 

At the Swiss book design competition organized by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (SFOC), the jury unanimously voted for the designer team of Tania Prill and Alberto Vieceli from Zurich as the ‘book stars’ of the day. They went home with credit for not only three award-winning most beautiful Swiss books, including the jury favourite Hot Love. Swiss Punk & Wave 1976–1980 but also the Jan Tschischold Prize of 15,000 Swiss francs. The Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) enables the jury to grant an annual award to an individual, a group or an institution for outstanding achievement in the book design field.

 

398 publications in all were submitted to the competition for The most beautiful Swiss books. The seven-strong jury, presided over by François Rappo, awarded prizes to 33 books this year. The books submitted are assessed in terms of concept, graphic design and typo-graphy, then also the quality of their printing cover features, binding work and the materials used. Equally important criteria are originality and innovation in making the subject matter into a book.

 

The award-winning entries include many very carefully realized books in terms of their content, form and production relating to art and culture, a field in which traditionally more financial resources are invested and great attention paid to their production. But there are also some very exciting non-fiction books like a dissertation, an atlas containing elaborate cartographic material and a company report. The dimensions of the books covered a very broad spectrum, everything is there from a dainty small-format notebook to an outsize atlas or an artist’s book with 1,000 pages. With respect to design, it was striking how frequently hard black-and-white typography appeared, and interesting to see the repeated use of two fonts in particular: the contemporary Akkurat and the historic Fleischmann.

 

We are pleased to say that the book competition still attracts a great deal of interest in many ways, and triggers a broad response: the selection of the most beautiful Swiss books has previously been shown in the Swiss design museums (the Museum für Gestaltung und Kunst in Zurich and mudac in Lausanne), in the Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris and at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs, but last year it travelled further afield: new venues have been added in London (Design Museum) and also at exhibitions arranged partly through private initiatives in Amsterdam, Brussels and Vienna.

 

Another source of great pleasure is the catalogue available here (it too plays a great part in publicizing the competition). It has been realized for the third and final time by Laurent Benner and Jonathan Hares. The concept is based on the success of the two previous catalogues, and brings the trilogy to a brilliant conclusion. It takes up the idea of eight original pages printed on original paper again, but takes it further this time with a complete thumbnail summary of the contents. This means that all the pages are visible and easily accessible in a small size, along with a page in the original size. This creates a comprehensive impression of each prize-winning book by making available the tactility, the printing processes and the content. This project could not have been realized without the usual close and stimulating co-operation between the graphic designers, all the producers involved and the wholesale paper trade.

 

So we would like to thank the printers of all the award-winning books and the paper firms Munkedals Arctic Papers AB, Antalis AG, Inapa Schweiz AG / Baumgartner Papier, M-real Biberist and Fischer Papier AG for their magnificent support (with material, work and ideas).

 

And the project could equally not have been concluded successfully without vigorous support and consistent benevolence in relation to the book competition from Burkhardt bookbinders and the Odermatt press. Our warmest thanks go to them as well!

 

Now all that remains to be said is: take up your books and read!

Jan-Tschichold Award

Tania Prill and Alberto Vieceli
And every book so different
MICHAEL GUGGENHEIMER

 

The jury for the The most beautiful Swiss books competition has awarded the Jan Tschischold Prize, a sum of 15,000 francs, to the Zurich graphic and book design team Tania Prill and Alberto Vieceli. This prize gives the Swiss Federal Departm ent of Home Affairs (FDHA) the chance to award a prize to these two designers for outstanding achievements in book design.

 

There are books that make you suspect who designed them as soon as you look at the cover. You open the book and find you were right, because you have already come across similar approaches by the same studio. It’s very different when the books are designed by Tania Prill and Alberto Vieceli. Tania Prill and Alberto Vieceli do not keep on working in single style of their own, they adapt themselves to every job, every subject and every author each time they design a book. They have a complete mastery of more classical book design, but also acknowledge current trends and are receptive to outside stimuli. The books they design can appeal to a wide range of readers, not just in terms of content, but in form at, in the typographical design, picture presentation, tactile qualities and weight. Tania Prill and Alberto Vieceli, who have been working together in their visual communication studio since 2001, do not just design books: at first they can’t just think what the first job they did together was. And then they do remember: they first worked together on an exhibition of 30 posters called Stand der Dinge that the City of Zurich’s building department had set up in the EWZ to provide information about housing. Their present project involves work on typographic design for the texts accompanying an exhibition on Swiss diplomacy in the Swiss National Library in Bern.