Unlike most design monographs, that often have to make do with a range of existing photographs of differing quality, GTF commissioned Angela Moore and Annabel Elston to reshoot Boontje’s entire oeuvre.
In bringing the images under the same artistic direction, Moore and Elston were also able to convey the environment of Boontje’s studio in Bourg-Argental in France, by shooting the objects in the workplace and in the surrounding forests.
GTF (who have known Boontje since 1999 and been working on the book with him for two and a half years) then designed a perforated pattern that would be stamped onto the wide margins of the text pages with household nails. “I made a block with nails here,” says GTF’s Paul Neale, “then we took it to a die-stampers, put it through their press and it seemed to work. The printers then agreed it was feasible to do it.”
The publishers, Rizzoli, left GTF more or less to their own devices and so they were able to attempt another non-standard production technique: using “mull” to encase the cover of the book. Mull is the cloth material that binders use to strengthen the spine of a book. “We wanted to have hand-finished craft elements working alongside the mechanical,” says Neale. “The mull went on over a photographic cover and so the image is discernable through the cloth.”
For the book’s text GTF employed the “surprisingly underused” face, Vendôme, originally designed in the 1950s by Francois Ganeau and refined by Roger Excoffon. The face was ideal “because it’s Romantic-looking but thorny” and had echoes of the work that Boontje creates. As Neale put it neatly: “The project was fuelled by Tordisms.”
Tord Boontje is published next month by Rizzoli (£45)