Recent work - 2015

1984, October 25, 2015

Published by the Folio Society, London, 2014 - bound in 2015 by Benjamin Elbel.
The design for this binding was inspired by a wall seen on a motorway just outside Amsterdam. I wanted to do a puzzle binding and when I saw this wall I knew that its pattern would be successful at conveying a sense of the military, carceral, totalitarian state described in George Orwell's 1984.
architecture inspired binding
The shapes were cut out of black Hewit's bookcalf and applied to the binding as in a puzzle, with variations in the direction of the veins. Some pieces were embossed with thin parallel lines and finally, thin onlays of the same blue as the headbands were inserted before each corner piece to inject some life into the strict composition.
The text block was forwarded in a traditional way, with the signatures sewn onto cords and laced into the boards, spine lightly rounded and backed, headbands hand sewn. The leather pieces were kept at full thickness (approx. 0.8mm) on the outside of the binding, and step-pared to approx. 0.4mm on the inside as shown below. In addition to that, each piece was edge-pared to a 45 degree angle, resulting in a deep groove between each piece.

This binding was awarded in the Designer Bookbinders (UK) annual competition with the Sally Lou Smith prize for forwarding.


Design binding for George Orwell's 1984, work in progress



Boven Kamers 2.0 - the edition - October 23, 2015

Following the handing in of the binding for Boven Kamers earlier this year at the Royal Library in The Hague (see few posts below), we made plans with the designer Moon Brouwer to bind the 10 remaining copies of her edition of 50.
With the edition project arose the new challenge of keeping the quality consistent throughout all 10 copies. We came up with a new structure that makes use of compensation strips in the spine and at the fore-edge, giving the book a nice solid feel and a beautiful black and white pattern on the edges. Lying on its wedge shaped foam pillows the open book has a great sculpural presence.
More information on the product page.




Dissertation binding, 12 years later March 27, 2015

It took Bethan twelve years to decide to get her dissertation bound, but we think (and she hopefully too) it was worth the wait. An English style case binding covered in sand coloured cloth, with foil blocked lettering across the spine and front board, highlighting the subject of the dissertation, the letter T for T Lymphocytes. The endpapers were crinkled by hand, which creates a beautiful texture and subtly reminds that in fact, the research turned out to be wrong.



Boven Kamers 1.0 - Royal Libary copy - March 07, 2015

Boven Kamers (litterally upper rooms in dutch, a colloquial expression meaning brain), is an exploration of the human brain in the form of a pop up book, by the young dutch designer and publisher Moon Brouwer.
Benjamin was commissioned to re-bind the book by the dutch Royal Library for their collection of special bindings.
When we first received it, the book presented itself as a series of folios laminated with one another, each folio containing a pop up. A hard cover was provided but disconnected from the textblock.

Boven Kamers pop up book, initial condition

Technically, the challenge was to provide compensation for the pop ups as well as a perfectly flat surface for them to smoothly unfold, all of this without sewing and without introducing blank pages between the folios. The folios were separated, then laminated onto a backing paper (ironing photo). Then began a long process of designing a structure that would provide all the necessary features as well as a be visually appealing. At some point the aim was to display the title Boven Kamers on the spine using the stitches, which unfortunately didn't turn out to be successful.

Boven Kamers pop up book, development of the binding

The structure Ben created is a series of 'T' elements made from heavy paper, sewn with one another. The folios are inserted between each T and secured only at the fore-edge. On the next images one can see how the spread 'floats' on top of the binding, allowing the pop up to fully unfold. The original cover was mounted at the back of the book and a lettering was created, on the spine and front board, to evoke a kind of staircase leading to the upper rooms.

Boven Kamers pop up book, the finished binding

On the 13th of february Benjamin gave a presentation at the Royal Library in The Hague, Netherlands where he walked the audience through the whole research and experiments that lead to the final result, using the numerous samples and try-outs that were created during the development phase which lasted over a year. A box will be created, which will house the finished binding together with the research.

Boven Kamers pop up book, presentation

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