Designers and Book Fair 2012
The first-ever Designers and Book Fair was held last weekend at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. The two-day fair featured 35 publishers and around 1,500 books ranging in subjects from architecture to design to urban planning. (Titles were as varied as Why Architects Wear Black to 100 Ideas That Changed Fashion to Design After Modernism.) The fair opened Friday with a panel on the future of book design. The following Saturday and Sunday, publishers from Europe and the United States took up residency at FIT. Each day was interspersed with panels covering book design, fashion, international design, and architecture. The weekend was a successful merger of many fields and professions—a spotlight on images, craft, and the written word.
Lars Muller Publishing traveled from Zurich to attend the book fair. The publisher focuses on the intersection of design and urban planning; managing editor Michael Ammann explained the company is particularly interested in “looking at how temporary homes can become permanent ones.” A few books on display embodied the sentiment: the book From Camp to City serves as a case study on how people live in refugee camps in the Western Sahara; through studies and illustrations, Torre David examines how an abandoned high rise in Caracas became a “vertical slum.”
The panelist didn't think the shift toward e-readers threatened the future of the book design, but admitted the profession needs to rethink how to market physical books. And none of the designers felt that their work stood alone among the words they were designing for. “We're not trying to create a new work, we're trying to create the same work,” says Mendelsund. “A book is a complete thing,” Boom stresses. “It is never just about the aesthetics.”