Omnigroup design Karsten Födinger’s ‘Toward a Radical Sculpture’ in a masterclass of brutalism
Swiss design studio Omnigroup have once again showcased their publishing and typographic expertise in their catalogue for Karsten Födinger; a notable German artist known for his installations and structures. Innately referential to the work itself, Omnigroup’s visual system for the large-format book is refined if not somewhat brutal; itself a masterclass of typographic hierarchy and supportive editorial design – allowing the work to speak for itself whilst also holding its ground individually. Following elemental rules of layout, such as the primary text exclusively residing on the right-hand page – with paragraphs structured to reference the corresponding work – the publication seems both a tribute to traditional editorial principles and a radical step beyond. This of course is in keeping with the name of the book itself; ‘Toward a Radical Sculpture.’
Conspicuously emblazoned by an unmistakable yellow cover, Omnigroup explain the direct relevance the colour has to the work Födinger produces. “His work is at the intersection of architecture and art and he often uses these yellow construction panels or other yellow elements in his work,” Omnigroup tell us, “yellow could more generally be described as a colour that is related to the process and construction stage in the development of an architectural project,” they add – further contributing to the purposely severe and constructive tone of the project.
Constructing the publication itself are three categories of images collated by Omnigroup, each implemented separately across the book. The first category consists of full-bleed double-page spreads of Födinger’s art, printed on a coated paper on two of the sections. The second group was a secondary photographic series captured by Födinger, titled ‘Support Structures,’ an ongoing project researching its namesake. “This series was shown in a very straightforward way,” Omnigroup explain, “centred in the page and sitting on a light grey spot-colour background.”
The final category of images are directly supportive of the text; printed in black and white and set alongside the author’s writing. “The sizing of the pictures, the stacked layout and the monochrome treatment allows them to stand on a clearly different ground than A or B,” they note, adding, “this part was printed on a voluminous open paper.” With over a decade of work to comb through, including “images, sketches, screenshots, notes, references and his actual sketchbooks,” this significant editorial curation was vital due to it constructing the very foundations of the project. “Finding a structure that would work with the content and the design of the book, allowed us to find a homogenous rhythm for rather heterogeneous content,” resulting in a succinct and analogous reading experience.