Recent work

Immunity, June 2017

Immunity, Sicherheit ohne Gewehr, artist book by Barbara Philipp, edition of 30.

One of the great pleasures of working with artists is their non-biased approach to materials and aesthetics. At first we were a bit doubtful about using this faux leather with printed snakeskin pattern, a kind of material we normally reserve for menu covers and the like; but as we were making them we realised just how relevant the choice and how strong the artist's vision was. This is definitely one of the most exciting artist book editions we have made recently.



La Tête Or, March 2017

Design binding for La Tête Or, poem by Morina Mongin, letterpress printed by Michael Caine, with an original etching by Moucha. 

Photos © Michèle Garrec for La Reliure Contemporaine

This binding is made of two boards and a spine piece, covered separately in leather. The hinges are Benjamin's variation on the Criss cross binding, a construction devised by Anne Goy, which offers a firm bond between the parts and yet, prodigious mobility. The sections are attached to a concertina, providing excellent mobility to the text-block as well.

The binding uses three colours that refer to the art of edge gilding: white for the egg, red for the Armenian bole, and gold, of course. The white dominates the outside of the binding, in strips of goat and calf leather which received various decorative treatments. The red is mostly present in the endpapers, and can also be spotted under the gold of the leather hinges.

A limited edition poster of this design binding is available for purchase here


Inside The Book, December, 2016

Inside The Book by David Esslemont, bound for the international competition Open Set (American Academy of Bookbinding). Awarded 3rd prize.


Inside The Book is an essay covering all aspects of book design and production, from type setting to marketing, and everything in between.

Light hearted, at times humorous, but respectful of a certain tradition, it seemed natural to bind the volume in a traditional structure, in leather. The colour red imposed itself as a reference to a frequently used colour in traditional printing.

After 1984 (see recent work 2015), Inside the book is Benjamin's second 'puzzle binding', with the covering consisting of multiple panels of red calf, some plain and some debossed with blown up textures from inside the book. The top edge is gilt and the endpapers and leather headbands are light grey. Comes in a lettered chemise and a slipcase.

Veren voor Kees, December 20, 2016

Binding for Veren voor Kees, published by De Buitenkant, Amsterdam. Commissioned by the publisher. 5 copies.

Veren voor Kees is a tribute to a man written on the occasion of his retirement from a leading position in an organisation.

'At least this is what I understood with my rudimentary Dutch, and this is what drove my choice of materials this binding project, for which I had been given carte blanche. Rough hand made paper (Cave Paper) as an analogy for age and strength. Colours: honorable, authoritative dark blue with glimpses of lavender gentleness (inside the spine and as inner joints). Sprinkles of mica for a touch of glamour.' Benjamin Elbel

The structure is a tue-mouche binding. For more information about the tue-mouche binding visit this link.


De Theeroos, July 06, 2016

De Theeroos is a private initiative by Dutch sculptor and book collector Gerard Overeem, to bring together in the book form a series of drawings and poems as an ode to the garden.

Benjamin's contribution is a full dark green goatskin leather binding, incorporating the inlayed silhouette of a tree in distressed leather. The endpapers are leather jointed paste papers, created especially for the book. The artwork was mounted in a 3 layered stub construction of which the close-up below demonstrates the excellent opening. The book is housed in a light green cloth solander box.




Tile Books, March 17, 2016


This work was created as promotional material for a luxury scotch whisky brand. It was designed by Jake Noakes and produced by Booxs (NL). 
Seven philosophers, seven sizes and designs. What they all have in common are the boards, which are actual ceramic tiles, glazed and printed.
In order to incorporate the very thick tiles (5-6 mm) into a smooth looking binding we backed the bookblocks to a 90 degree shoulder equalling the tile thickness. Cloth spines were created separately, foil blocked and applied to the books with the tiles on top. 
We are very pleased with the results: a monumental, yet elegant collection of books, dressed to impress.



Dutch Alphabets, February 22, 2016


Published by De Buitenkant, Amsterdam, 2016 
Compiled by Mathieu Lommen and designed by Peter Verheul, Dutch Alphabets is a collection of 46 alphabets created by some of today's noticeable "Dutch" lettering artists, type designers, calligraphers and sign painters. 
It is not a book but a portfolio with ties, of which we produced 300 copies; an unusually big volume for Elbel Libro. 
In the image below you can see the team in action: Benjamin Elbel, Marja Wilgenkamp and Beatrice Pesenti (and Kieke Schaaper who took the picture).
The book can be purchased on De Buitenkant publishers page on this link.



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