Irma Boom — L’architecture du livre


Graphic design

Irma Boom
L’architecture du livre

Past: September 18 → December 15, 2013

Architecture of the book is the first retrospective exhibition of her work in France.

Irma’s books, striking constructions of materials and colour, are internationally renowned and highly regarded. Several are held in the permanent collections of the University of Amsterdam (Special Collections) and the MoMA in New York. Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zürich and at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

This exhibition has been developed in close collaboration with the University of Amsterdam’s Special Collections and will, for the first time ever, present a broad overview of Boom’s work to a French audience, spanning her entire career from the late 1980s to the present. It will lend an insight into Boom’s design practice and how she creates her books from autonomous designs, which explore various essential elements of the book: size, the type of paper, structure and spine. Alongside a few exceptional and iconic publications — the SHV book, the Colorbook and the Otto Treuman book — several of her studies and “failures” will also be included. Moreover, Irma has selected some historical books from the Fondation Custodia to be displayed alongside her own: special books that bear some resemblance to her work and fascinate her. There will also be more recent projects, such as a book she created for Chanel about their famous perfume, Chanel N.5.

Aside from books, which are main focus of her work, Irma is also renowned for her interior designs — most recently the design and new logo of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, reopened in April this year — as well as annual reports, stamps and autonomous works for public spaces.

After completing her studies at the AKI in Enschede, Irma worked for the Sdu ontwerp groep (Sdu design) in The Hague. In 1991 she opened her own studio, Irma Boom Office, in Amsterdam and later that year was commissioned by Dutch multinational SHV to produce their anniversary book. Counting more than 2000 pages, it was published in 1996 and is now an icon of ‘Dutch design’. It attracted new international clients such as Vitra, Zumtobel and Ferrari.

Irma Boom has received a number of prizes for her work, including several “Best Dutch book design” awards, the prestigious Gutenberg –Preis in 2001 and the Amsterdam Prize in 2012. That same year she also received the Medal of Honour for Arts and Science of the House of Orange, presented to her by Queen Beatrix.

Design critic Alice Rawsthorn called Irma Boom « the finest book designer of our time — citation from the New York Times, Sunday 11 April 2010.

Institut néerlandais Art center
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75007 Paris

T. 01 53 59 12 40 — F. 01 45 56 00 77

Assemblée Nationale

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The artist

  • Irma Boom