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Today let us share a beautiful book called Under the Ocean by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud.

The book is a mastery of paper book engineering, with each spread unfolding in two steps: first to show the situation on the surface of the ocean, where the boat Oceano is traveling. Then, with more impressive sculptural effects, we’re shown what’s underneath it. The 3D extravaganza is paired with beautiful, subtle illustration whose strength lies in just enough detail combined with subtle painterly effects and sensitivity.

It takes you on a journey through the richness of the ocean and while not as directly focused on the ecological message as their previous book about a forest (we’ll show you that one, too), it still manages to convey the beauty and the vulnerability of our oceans.

The cover of the Polish edition.

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The boat is starting its journey.

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Whales (the minimalist spread offsets nicely more busy spreads around it.)

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Seals in the Arctic.

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This is probably not exactly like seeing the coral reef but what a beautiful approximation.

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Spring always feels like a Jane Austen season to us, maybe because of all those walks in parks she describes. It’s not quite spring yet but it still feels like a good time to share one of our recent Christmas gifts: a box set of all Austen novels (and her juvenile writings) in elegant canvas covers, with neat editorial work to boot. The whole set is published by Penguin Classics and looks great on the shelf.

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And we mean “box” literally because the books come in a carton/canvas box with a floral pattern.

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All the individual books, with their different patterns. (Admittedly, we’re not always sure why the particular pattern is chosen but they look good.) Notice the interesting, far from obvious color scheme.

Pride and Prejudice, arguably the best of these novels.

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As personally we find Austen very re-readable, we’re happy that the next time we read her work it will be this lovely edition.

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It is white outside and summer seems far away. One way to make it feel closer is to look at books from summer holidays, which, for us, tend to be about Paris. Paris Paname by Sébastien Plassard is a charming picture book based on a simple idea of folding pages. When folded they show one scene in a typical Parisian area and when unfolded – another one, sometimes changed quite subtly. Each illustration includes the thrill of  surprise.

It reminds us of games we used to play as children, in which unfolding a piece of paper changed the illustrated story: it has the same joy and inventiveness, although a much more sophisticated color palette than we tended to employ. If you like your books with a little twist, you might enjoy this one.

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In a follow-up for our posts about the Dior exhibition in Paris and the marvellous Dior illustrator Mats Gustafson, let us share the most impressive Christmas gift we got this year: this amazing album of Gustafson’s illustrations for Dior.

Under the most unpretentious title you find dozens of beautiful large-format illustrations created for numerous collections in Gustafson’s signature style: minimalist and charming. He uses watercolors, cut papers and thoroughly impresses us with his talent for capturing fabrics in all their varieties. The dresses and accessories live on the pages. The album is simply a great pleasure to look through and captures well the, strictly speaking unnecessary (but how important!), beauty of fashion and even illustration.

The book out of the sleeve.

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Dior’s portrait.

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A very Dior-ish, high couture Didoni in the introduction. Other than that, the book uses Gustafson’s handwriting.

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Layers.

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Stripes.

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With a handwriting like this you don’t need fonts.

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After Christmas we have a whole bunch of pretty books we want to share with you. This pair of books is a Polish version of a Swedish book Food Pharmacy, which originated as a blog. The first one presents the authors’ philosophy on healthy eating and the second is a companion with recipes. The books are designed by Anna Lindelöw.

We don’t know much about the food theory in these books (it seems you have to eat a lot of green vegetables) because the main reason we wanted them is how good they look. A couple of years ago when we were designing our first cookbook we went to look at food-related books in a bookstore and boy, were they awful. But this market has really improved and now we own some cookbooks just because they look great. Now these two have joined the shelf.

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The books are illustrated with a combination of colorful and black and white etchings, photos (both stylized and random-looking), stamp-like icons and geometric type. It results in an eclectic but well-planned look that makes the hard truths of the book a bit more accessible and inviting.

The open book with a somewhat surrealist collage.

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Table of contents.

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Tangible type! (sort of)

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Just in time for Christmas cheer we want to share the most themed book on our shelf. (Also, I guess we don’t actually have so many Christmas books and that should be corrected. What are your favorites?) Marguerite’s Christmas is written by India Desjardins and beautifully illustrated by Pascal Blanchet. (We’ve got a Polish edition but you can see or buy English one on Amazon, here.) It combines two emotions which often go together during this holiday season: sense of magic and sense of sadness and also manages to say something true about the old age (thus, becoming much more than just a book for children).

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The illustrations are quite artful, using colors, compositions and a certain old-fashioned style to match the atmosphere and the theme of the story. At the same time they’re very modern in their simplicity.

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We know few books, particularly picture books, that would capture better the feel of a winter night.

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Or the emptiness of an apartment.

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re-shop-friendsAnd here’s just a last-minute reminder that there are still promos and great gift ideas (including, but certainly not limited to, our stuff) on Society6 and bza.

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Christmas is coming fast and if you’re still unsure of what to get people, we’re here to help. That is, if the people in question like delightful, delightful books. Continuing our recent series of posts on books about traveling and lovely places comes a behemoth of illustrated maps called A Map of the World (here on Gestalten’s site).

The book gathers dozens and dozens of beautifully illustrated maps, all of them different, showcasing tons of styles and approaches (all in large format).

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We find it fascinating in how many ways one can think of a map and how pretty one can make it. See for yourselves.

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re-shop-friendsAnd if you want to buy something of ours for Christmas in addition or instead, head  over to Society6, which is having a bunch of promotions before Christmas. There’s no better gift than a poster, right? We also have some, well, towels and are working on more stuff. (Until midnight a code “giftit” should give you 30% off and free shipping and the following days will have different promotions.)