Irma Boom: The Architecture of the Book

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Irma Boom: The Architecture of the Book

Books in reverse chronological order, 2013 –1986, with comments here and there

Exhibition Biography in Books, 2010

Willem Franken

The Survival of the Book or The Renaissance of the Book! Irma Boom The distribution of information has always been dependent on its changing form. The classic book can’t escape that and is now feeling it acutely. The digital book is decidedly on the rise. But its appearance in the form of flat, digital images need not threaten the three-dimensional book. The new competition even encourages us to explore the intrinsic charac­ teristics of the printed book more intensely. I think we stand on the verge of a new flourishing of the 

classic book. Perhaps it has even begun already: the Renaissance of the book. For the printed book, pre­ conceived layouts are a thing of the past. The book designer must first become thoroughly familiar with the content before begin­ning the actual task at hand: conceiving a structure and a form. One can compare designing a book to performing a piece of music: a conductor explores the music and interprets it. The book designer is an editor and director of texts and images. The result of this effort is the freezing of time and information, which is a 

means of reflection; compare it to a photograph or a painting. An image at a given moment serving as a reference of time and place. The flux inherent in the internet doesn't allow you that kind of time. The printed book is final and thus unchangeable. Moreover, the extra use of base materials and man-hours (with printing and binding) forces you, to some degree, to make conscious choices. I make books where content and form are closely connected. The content of the material very much determines the design. This makes each book unique: ďœˇďœ˛

never the result of routine treat­ ment. My books have a physical presence through their dimen­ sions, scale and weight. Their form may be emphatic, but it is always determined by the content. The need for the book’s intimacy – the paper, the smell of ink – is certainly not nostalgia or false sentiment. The printed book is a fundamental and integral part of our tradition and culture, of published and public knowledge and wisdom. The book is dead. Long live the book!


Mathieu Lommen

Selection of Books 2013 – 1986

Note from the designer I think of my work as being commis­sioned by ‘commis­sioners’, rather than by clients: a collabo­ ration on equal terms in freedom and trust.




Hicks+Boom = an Explosive Cocktail Sheila Hicks While it is true that Irma Boom is an intense listener and observer, she also listens to her intuition (immense talent) and considerable experience to design a wide and wonde­rous range of messages to a vast public. Each book she makes is unique. Each sub­ ject she chooses to tackle comes alive as never before. She is a sequencing genius. I was fortunate to benefit from her master­ful pre­sentation of my work and amazed to see the book she designed enter into its fourth edition this year. No mean achieve­ ment. Thank you Irma Boom, Nina Stritzler of Bard, and Yale Press.

Anna Seo

see nos. 231, 162


No 5 Culture Chanel, 2013 No Ink! The book is totally embossed, totally white in a black box. no ink! The ultimate book! no pdf! The content comes from the world of Mlle. Chanel: poetry, mystery, noir et blanc, music, the modern, the invisible, simplicity, astrology, tarot cards, superstition, flowers, numerology, the ephemeral. Wish to create something almost nonexistent yet very present. A multiple? An autonomous piece?


Irma Boom: The Architecture of the Book Books in reverse chronological order, 2013–1986, with comments here and there

ISBN 978-94-6226-035-1 263

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