Irma Boom designs new book documenting UAE culture and history

A lavish new book created by the Dutch designer – in celebration of the United Arab Emirates’ golden jubilee – tells the story of the country through 50 plants, people and places

Silver foil 50U cover

“What started as a conversation amongst family and friends between Dubai and Amsterdam, led us here to the launch of a collection of tales,” says Yasser Bin Khediya – a philanthropist, owner of property development firm YBK Group, and the commissioner of the 50U book.

He says the ambition was to celebrate the past, present and future of the country – which, in 2021, marked 50 years since its 1971 inauguration as a federation of seven emirates.

Pages showing photographs from 50U book
Die-cut pages from 50U book
50U book cover
Grey cover of a special edition 50U book

50U features interviews with people born, and working in, the UAE – including diplomats, designers, artists, historians, craftspepople, a town planner, and various others immersed in the culture and day-to-day life of the country.

Other perspectives are provided by those who have contributed to the culture of the country over time, such as artist and photographer Rem Koolhaas and photojournalist Eve Arnold, both of whom have images featured in the book. Koolhaas captured the architectural language of the UAE’s cities, while Arnold’s shots date back to the 1970s, when she documented the states in the wake of the union.

Features are published in both Arabic and English and it’s all encased in Boom’s crisp graphic design, which uses a silver foiled cover, cut-out page edges, and sparse flashes of pink and green to frame 50U’s abundance of imagery.

50U is published by Archis; archis.org

DESIGNER

LONDON