About the year 2005

'Vitra – Select&Arrange'
Cornel Windlin

About the year 2005

The 400 barrier for The most beautiful Swiss books was broken for the first time this year: 404 books were submitted for the competition. Once again it is clear that this competition run by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (BAK) arouses a great deal of interest in many ways, and generates a considerable response: last year’s catalogue attracted an extraordinary number of positive re-views in the specialist press, both at home and abroad.

The seven-man jury headed by François Rappo assessed the entries, as every year, in terms of concept, graphic design and typography, and then for print quality and the technical finish of the cover, binding function and the materials used. Originality and innovation are other important criteria. As well as the 32 commended books, the jury also chose a ‘Book of the Jury’. Here the choice fell unanimously on the sales and product catalogue Vitra.Select, arrange, a remarkable piece of design by Cornel Windlin for Vitra AG. The furniture is elaborately presented in many wonderful sets of pictures, obviously not just as a mere sales product, but in a most attractive and lively way as domestic objects that can be integrated into everyday life.

Every year the jury awards, independently of the books submitted for the competition, the Jan Tschichold Prize in memory of the typographer, whose proposal led to the inception of the Swiss book design competition in 1944. The Swiss Department of the Interior (EDI) enabled the jury to award this prize for the tenth time to an individual, a group or an institution for an outstanding book design achievement. The Jan Tschichold Prize, which is endowed with 15,000 francs, was awarded to Gavillet & Rust (Gilles Gavillet and David Rust) in Geneva. Here the jury was acknowledging a young design team from West Switzerland who have been convincingly drawing attention to themselves for several years with numerous book projects, especially for JRP publishers in Geneva and today in Zurich, and with their own typeface label Optimo. Together with Gavillet&Rust, Tania Prill & Alberto Vieceli, Zurich, Aude Lehmann, Zurich and Laurenz Brunner, Amsterdam were also nominated this year.

We are as always delighted with the awards won by Switzerland at the international The Most Beautiful Books in the World design competition in Leipzig. An international jury awarded one Golden Letter, one Gold Medal one, two silver medals, five bronze medals and diplomas, choosing from 636 books submitted by 34 countries. One of the bronze medals went to the Monica Studer, Christoph van den Berg. Somewhere else is the same place exhibition catalogue, designed by Iza Hren and Georg Rutishauser.

The catalogue by Laurent Benner (Reala) for The most beautiful Swiss books competition also caused an international stir last year. The design concept was so persuasive that the graphic designer and his team felt justified in developing the idea of a compilation of original pages further, and applying it in a new form. Light was to be thrown on specific aspects of book production even more than last year, making the publication entirely into an archival reference work and material book.

It is only thanks to the inspiring co-operation between graphic designer, printers, paper suppliers and the Burkhardt bindery that this year’s catalogue could be realized. Our thanks for their magnificent support (with material, work and ideas) go to the printers of all the winning books, the Burkhardt bindery, the paper firms Arctic Papers Schweiz AG, Antalis AG, Inapa Schweiz AG, Sihl+ Eika AG and Fischer Papier AG, and not least to the Odermatt printers. I am personally delighted that it was possible at a time of financial difficulty and despite all the prophecies of doom to realize a project like this, in which technical, communications and human expertise are demanded to an unusual extent, and to work together with such enthusiasm.

And now I wish you, dear readers, pleasure for all the senses in your trip through the most beautiful Swiss books of 2005.
Mirjam Fischer


François Rappo, 1955, Lausanne, Chair of the Jury
Graphic designer and typographer. Active in the fields of book design and type design, corporate and exhibition design as well as orientation and information systems. Since 1996 Head of the Department of Visual Communication at the ECAL in Lausanne. Member of the Swiss Federal Design Commission.

Julia Born, 1975, Amsterdam (NL) and Zurich
Trained in graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, active as a freelance graphic designer between Amsterdam and Zurich, mainly in the cultural domain. Teaching activities at the ECAL in Lausanne and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

Lionel Bovier, 1970, Zurich
Art historian and publisher since 1999. From 1990 to 2003 he realized numerous exhibitions on a free-lance or associate basis for institutions like Le Magasin in Grenoble and the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne. He is a director of JRP|Ringier, which he founded with Michael Ringer in Zurich in 2004, and is also responsible for creating and organizing the new Artists‘ Books section at the Basel Book Fair.

Patrick Frey, 1951, Zurich
Studies in Economics and art history. Art historian, exhibition organizer and publisher of art books. Writes and publishes concerning contemporary art and artists, photography and the phenomena of everyday culture. Since 1983/84 active in cabaret and the theatre as well as projects for radio and television.

Hans-Jürg Hunziker, 1938, Paris (F)
Trained as a typesetter, worked at Mergenthaler Linotype in New York, then with Adrian Frutiger in Paris. Since 1976 active as a freelance typographer. Type instruction at the Schule für Gestaltung in Zurich and director of studies at the Atelier National de Création Typographique in Nancy.

Karel Martens, 1939, Arnhem (NL)

Since 1961 active as visual designer in the fields of book art and typography for a wide variety of clients. Teaching activity at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. In 1996 awarded the Dr. A. H. Heineken Prize for Art. Founder of Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem.

Käti Robert-Durrer, 1948, Zürich

After graphic art studies at the Schule für Gestaltung Luzern, Käti Robert-Durrer worked for Pentagram Design in Zurich and London. Since 1977 she has had her own studio in Zurich with partner Jean Robert and has concentrated on images, posters, books and catalogues for various cultural institutions.