Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Idiot, designed by Ron Arad (Penguin Designer Classics)

Here's an older selection from my library that I thought I'd share with you: this is a rare edition of The Idiot, designed by Ron Arad and published in an edition of 1000 copies by Penguin as a part of their Designer Classics series from 2006. (I had previously featured FUEL's Crime and Punishment in one of the first posts on this blog, which can be read here.)

Ron Arad is an Israeli industrial designer and architect who is arguably most famous for his futuristic furniture design. His work consistently shows how limitless industrial design can be, whether you're looking at a chair fit for a space station or a bookshelf that coils around itself across a wall. He was appropriately selected to exhibit at the MoMA in 2009--an installation view can be seen here:

A little research online will bring up a number of new projects Arad's been working on, including a line of designer eyewear. Fascinating, challenging stuff.

Naturally, such an ambitious designer would tackle a book project with similar bravado, and Arad nails it. In this case, the "book" of The Idiot is a stack of bound-but-unboarded pages. The top of the stack is the first page of the novel, and the bottom of the stack is the last. With no covers, the design here is strictly limited to the edges of the paper. "The Idiot" is written across one side, the Penguin logo on another, and "Dostoyevsky" down the longer edge.

The white-on-black scrawl is very striking and very much compliments the mostly white of the novel's first page.

This pile of paper is held in place by small tabs on a perspex tray, which allows the 600-or-so pages to sway a little. Whether this is intentional or not, the paper's shift seems to further disorient the structure of the book.

Finally, this tray has a cover, which seems to seamlessly encase the book within its perspex shell. The top of the case has radial lens built into it that causes a very cool effect when you look at it straight on: despite is rectangular form, through the lens the book looks trapezoidal and all five sides can be seen at once. Very cool.




Currently reading:
The End of War by John Horgan

Currently listening to:
Light Asylum, "Shallow Tears" 12"

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