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A look at Werk #21

A look at Werk #21

In my recent round-up of the debut U Symposium in Singapore I mentioned Werk magazine, an ongoing personal project by local creative director Theseus Chan. He kindly gave me a set of recent issues, and I said I’d share them here. So here’s a look at the last-but-one edition, published in 2014.

The issue celebrates French designer Martine Bedin, one of the founders of the Memphis group in the 1980s. It is typical of the project in that it is highly hand finished; only 1,000 copies are printed so customisation is just about practical.

The issue is essentially a monograph about Bedin and her work, focusing on the Memphis years. Alison Harley, dean of Singapore’s Lasalle College of the Arts, provides an introductory essay on the front cover, while at the back she interviews Bedin in detail about the Memphis years and her work since.

Between these two texts the pages feature a selection of Bedin’s drawing, beautifully reproduced at what appears to be actual size; the magazine acts as a kind of ‘best-of’ collection of sketches, the paper looking and feeling like a sketchbook.

So far so good, a decent collection of images and texts. But as is clear from the pictures here, what makes WorkWerk very special is its physical production.

The six sections each have a different diecut page edge pattern, the designs echoing typical themes of the Memphis group. Geometric repeat patterns – cicrles, triangles, squares – make for an extraordinary tactile experience. And each section edge has been hand painted with a different colour ink.

Such production fireworks might conflict with some people’s drawings, but in this case the two go hand in hand, adding to the overall thrill of good written material being presented in an appropriate manner. It’s typical of WorkWerk, a wonderful project that until now I never fully understood. We’ll be sharing other issues over the next few weeks.

Now, how do I store this without damaging it..?

Review by Jeremy Leslie





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