Plassein – a wonderful, wordless visual ride

Joji Koyama’s new book takes the reader on a surreal journey via a series of interwoven visual stories – each one like a short scene from an animated film

Published via his own Berlin-based Toupée imprint, Plassein is essentially a series of short, purely visual stories.

At one image per page, the book reads a bit like a storyboard (Koyama is a filmmaker and animator) and, aside from changes in shapes and colours, there’s no distinct beginning or end to any of the narratives.

bk181200

bk141200
In fact, there are no words in the book at all – aside from a colophon and acknowledgements – but Koyama says the stories “observe the forms and textures of the built world and trace their strange, melancholic entanglements”.

This is certainly true – though who is providing the observations via these weird and wonderful frames is not made clear.

bk051200
bk031200

bk041200
Landscapes merge into abstract patterns, which in turn reveal other scenes and settings. In one section, paddling kayakers give way to a wintry landscape, for example, before the view zooms in closer and pulls back out to reveal a character drawing at a table in front of a mirror. (Plassein comes from the Greek ‘to mould’.)

bk111200
bk161200

bk121200
Koyama’s talents are such that he employs a huge variety of visual styles throughout the book, from painting to pen scribbles, via close-up illustrations and strange, intensely-detailed drawings. There are bleak sequences that almost turn the pages white, alongside others full of vibrant and patterned colour.

With no guidance outside of the imagery itself, Plassein also reminds us that sometimes it’s just fun to be lost in a book for a while.

Plassein is available now from Toupée; €25, toupe-e.com. It is distributed in the UK by Central Books (£18.99). Joji Koyama’s site is at jojikoyama.com. (Images via jojikoyama.com/plassein)

bk211200

More from CR

Robin Day: a look at the designer’s graphics and works in wood

This year marks the centenary of designer Robin Day’s birth. We spoke to his daughter Paula, who runs the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, about her father’s graphics and a new exhibition at London Design Festival celebrating his works in wood…

Speciality-Drinks_logo

Middleweight Designer

Speciality Drinks
Europackaging_logo

Creative Designer

Euro Packaging
Silver-Lining_logo

Project Managers

Silverlining Furniture Limited