The Berlage

Session Room K

The Architecture of Books

Joost Grootens

The digital age has profoundly changed the way we produce, share, and use information. As the traditional intermediaries between editors and readers, designers of information have to establish a new balance between these forces. In doing so, they need to redefine their own position as well. Next to designing digital information environments, maps, typefaces, and spatial installations, Joost Grootens works primarily in the field of book design. Constantly challenged to develop appropriate formats that justify the production of printed matter, he acknowledges the growing need for visual representation of data. The books Grootens makes present knowledge, but they also question the relevance of typologies such as catalogues, indexes and atlases as part of an ongoing research process. Joost Grootens likes to deal with complexity, showing that it is a misconception to assume that something complex should look complicated.

This is the fifth in a seven-part lecture series entitled “The Architect as Generalist.” Scholars and practitioners will explore how architecture practice is inherently expansive and cross-disciplinary, from the Renaissance to the present. Lectures will examine how architects are not only comfortable designing buildings and cities but also furniture, exhibitions, books, films, fashion, amongst other things. Topics in the series include the architect as the Renaissance Man, Carlo Mollino’s Conceptual Mannerism, the intersections between architecture and fashion in the work of Prada and OMA/AMO, the designs of Luigi Caccia Dominioni’s from the spoon to the city, the architecture of book design, architectural practice as a field of research, and new forms of professional practice.

Joost Grootens is a graphic designer with a background in architecture. His studio SJG work primarily in the field of book design and map design for publishers like Lars Müller Publishers, nai010 publishers, Park Books, Phaidon press; and educational and research instituties like ETH Zürich, Future Cities Laboratory Singapore, ISIA Urbino, KADK Copenhagen, TU Delft. A monograph about SJG’s work titled I swear I use no art at all was published by 010 Publishers in 2010. Joost Grootens leads the masters program Information Design at Design Academy Eindhoven, and is a lecturer at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts at Leiden University.

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