A client has written a novel and asks you to work on the design of the book. He wants you to develop a concept that enhances and brings forward the visual dimension of the story. He does not request a traditional design, but a book that helps to develop the narrative through its form and materiality.
Out of the given story options, I chose Labyrinth, which goes as follows:
“A family moves into a house with unexpected spatial characteristics. The rooms keep shifting position every time a door is opened. The family members are trapped inside the house and start a journey to find the front door. While they keep moving from one room to the next, they discover that they are not the only ones lost in the impossibly infinite labyrinth of the house.”
Rather than trying to think too carefully about how to display the concept of ‘Labyrinth’, I thought that just starting to work with the book after a couple of rough sketches would be a better approach given the amount of time we had to complete the project.
To get a clearer picture of what I wanted to create, I did some research on sculptural books and decided to base my design on the work of Brian Dettmer. From the summary of the story Labyrinth, I decided to focus on the fact the every time a door is opened, the rooms keep shifting position. To express this idea in a physical form I had the idea to separate the books pages into equal sized sections and cut out different shapes in each section to represent the rooms shifting, so that when the layers are laid on top of each other, the book itself looks like a labyrinth.
I started cutting out shapes from sections of the book, however due to the thickness of the book, the sections were relatively big so cutting was a difficult task. Because of this, some of the smaller corners and thin strips of paper tore, so I reinforced these with tape, which also made the structure of each section stronger and thus made them clearer. However I decided not to tape up the top section so that it would look more haphazard and confusing, relaying how the family would be feeling at the start of the story.
This project really made me think about how to incorporate a concept or idea into an object that already exists, rather than making something from scratch. I enjoyed this project as it was very hands on from the start and had a lot of freedom concerning how we wanted to manipulate the books.