eileen-1

Our recent library trip yielded yet again a lovely find: a book we’d already seen online but now had a chance to read. Eileen Gray: A House under the Sun is a graphic novel written by Charlotte Malterre-Barthes and illustrated by Zosia Dzierżawska. It tells the story of a modernist artist Eileen Gray, who was a designer, decorator and also an architect of a house in the south of France called E-1027. Her influence on modernist architecture was almost forgotten and now the memory is being rekindled. The story focuses on the building of the house but recreates other periods from Eileen’s history and teases her scandalous conflict with the much more famous Le Corbusier.

We are particularly impressed by the work Zosia Dzierżawska did on the comic. We have been fans of her simple, classic style and faultless coloring for a while, and they work particularly well in this nostalgic story. She expertly mixes moods, and gives us glimpses of Eileen’s life without the impression of ever trying to be voyeuristic. The emotions and personal relations feel real. The strong control of composition and the lack of affect compliment perfectly the subject matter of modernism.

eileen-4eileen-8eileen-5eileen-7eileen-6eileen-3eileen-2

(Here‘s the house in question for reference.)

(Also, we heard Ms. Dzierżawska at a conference once and she seemed a perfectly lovely person so we’re happy her work is so good we can say only nice things about it.)

redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-02

As promised last week, we are sharing with you one of our favorite designs of the last year: the book for the Castle Museum in Malbork, Sapientia Aedificavit Sibi Domum.

The book tells a story of the State of the Teutonic Order in Prussia in over a dozen scientific articles, both in Polish and in English. It accompanied a large exhibition organized by the Museum last year (exhibition design, elements of which we used for the book design, was created by Maciej Bychowski).

The book’s limited color scheme of black, white and silver is derived from the imagery of the Order, including the famous white coats with black crosses on the back that inspired our design of the dust jacket. When the dust jacket is unfolded, it doubles as a two-sided poster. On the silver cover the title is hotstamped in brighter silver and the exhibition logo is printed with spot varnish (only visible after removing the dust jacket). Inside we also used silver extensively, including in the photos and for title pages of the chapters. The proportions of the page are golden ratio. We allowed the elegant, classic typography to be the main design element in most of the pages.

redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-01

Dust jacket unfolded into a poster.

200203-redesign-sapientia_posterredesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-03

Contents page.

redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-04redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-05

Title page for a Polish version of an article with two bookmarks visible.

redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-07

The beginning of an article.

redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-08redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-09

Silver photo on black.

redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-06

Title page of an English version of an article (silver on white).

redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-11redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-12redesign_studio-teutonic_order_sapientia_book-13

We loved working on this book and hope it shows in the design.

 

200203-redesign-sapientia_poster

We spent the last week photographing some of the recent(ish) work because we’ve got a crazy backlog of unphotographed designs (we’re really bad at keeping up with this stuff…). Now we’re finishing editing some of those photos and we’ll be showing them to you in the coming weeks (and also adding them to the website, finally).

Today enjoy this sneak peek of a project we did for the Castle Museum in Malbork. It is a double-sided exhibition poster which, after folding, works as a dust jacket for the book published for the occasion. (If it’s not clear, it will become so once we show you the book itself.) The title in Latin means “Wisdom built a house for itself” as the exhibition showed the history of the Teutonic Order in its headquarters: Malbork. The poster is printed in silver and black. The exhibition identity and logo (the cool gothic S) by Maciej Bychowski.

re-commendations-impulseOn December we skipped recommending stuff to you because Christmas and work took up all of our time anyway. But this month we’re back with another show that we think you might like and that kept us excited this month.

Impulse (season 1 and 2)

What is it? A show by YouTube Red tells a story of Henry, a teenage girl with a superpower: she teleports. This is not your run-of-the-mill superhero story, though. It’s also not a teen drama, not really.

Why we love it? It’s a surprisingly mature and original story: not so much a story for teenagers as about them. It captures well the frustratingly bad choices teenagers make. It also sets itself an ambitious task of examining the consequences of sexual trauma and of unconventional parenting. And we truly love Henry’s sidekicks, Jenna and Townes, who are shown with warmth and sensitivity.

Visually speaking, the tone is confidently bleak and cold, Henry’s town consistently uninviting. Everyone wears winter clothes, which we appreciate because Hollywood notoriously ignores low temperatures, having people dressed in T-shirts in winter. We could live without the shaky camera, though.

redesign-disappearing_animals-08

We did flake a little at the beginning of the year (sorry!) but December exhausted us completely. We’re back! We’re back with another lovely book, this time by Isabella Bunnel. The book is called Disappearing Acts and it shows endagered animals of different habitats in lovely, painted search-and-find spreads.

Each spread has a unique color scheme, a richness of details and patterns and a sad message: among the variety of well-painted animals from a different terrain, the reader is asked to find some which are literally disappearing.

redesign-disappearing_animals-01redesign-disappearing_animals-06redesign-disappearing_animals-04

Further pages describe the animals and explain the reasons for their endangered status (spoiler alert: it’s mostly environmental damage and loss of habitats).

redesign-disappearing_animals-03redesign-disappearing_animals-02

The activity part is easy – our four-year-old found all the animals fast – but the lovely, detailed illustrations still invite careful study. The book is educational, too, with an important message. It manages to match the kind of activity to the theme well (the animals are difficult to find because they are fewer and fewer – makes sense). And, most of all, the painting style is so charming and confident.

redesign-disappearing_animals-09redesign-disappearing_animals-07redesign-disappearing_animals-05