Golden LetterSwitzerland

Uta Hassler

Design: HUBERTUS, Jonas Voegeli, Scott Vander Zee, Kerstin Landis
Printer: Printer Trento
Publisher: Hirmer
ISBN: 978-3-7774-2596-2

The cover – which is not even remotely everyday – gives this book the appearance of a cornerstone on an architecture library shelf. This weighty work was designed as a half-bound volume. A coarse linen fabric protects the wide spine. An exotic effect is produced by the structures of the board covers: at the front, tobacco-coloured ray skin; at the back, lightly shimmering lizard skin. A dusky pink headband seals up the gap between the gilded top edge and the inner spine. The golden capital letters used for the embossed title are positioned unusually near the upper and lower edges. This study on the concept of the homeland in architecture and landscape design during the first half of the 20th century consists of critical essays documented with historical texts and pictures. The observer wonders if the elaborate outfit glorifies the notion of the homeland. The basic text reposes in a traditional type area, splendidly typeset with wide gutters. However, the solemn mood is counteracted by typographic jibes: paragraphs begin with large indents; illustration details are placed on the left-hand side next to the column and leave a gap where they were taken out of the body text; pagination is always on the right-hand side (therefore deep in the gutter margin on the left page); captions stretch across the entire width along the top edge, but in silver printing. The headlines on the centreline are all in firm contrast. The typographical irony does not invalidate the seriousness of this analysis, but rather underlines the critical distance. This is the subtle achievement of this book.

© Rolf Wöhrle