The ocean and the sea always fascinates, and Italian magazine Sirene does a great job of reflecting the unique mix of joy and fear large expanses of water bring. Subtitled ‘The ocean outside – the ocean inside’ the third issue starts as calmly as the first two, an ocean-blue logo and mermaid icon floating on a blank cover that draws attention to the special paper made from recycled algae. This stock is gently mottled, hinting at saltiness or sand.
A similar mood continues inside the magazine; the relatively large pages are always spacious yet never gratuitiously so; a bold condensed headline face prevents the otherwise delicate page layouts falling into tweeness. This story, an excerpt from a book about second world war US sailors visiting Hawaii (above), is a typically discursive wander through the history and culture of the sea.
The same font pops up in a shoutier mode opening a reflective first person piece by Leo Goolden about a solo sailing trip (above).
A guide to cliff diving (above) brings a more practical element to the issue, complete with detailed location guides and how-to diagrams.
This typographic opening spread manages to be both bold and gentle (above) as it introduces a tale of two oceans by Simon Winchester, one of the few stories which use unadorned images of the sea itself (also above). Then at the back of the issue we get marine biology, with a beautiful photo story about plankton based on a video installation in Kyoto (below).
Themed magazines sometimes find themselves limited by the self-imposed parameters of that theme; better ones use their theme as a loose basis to reach out into all types of story and link the seemingly unconnected. Sirene is of the latter type; the ocean is an excuse to explore the personal and the general, as that subtitle hints. It’s a smart, enjoyable and good-looking publication that is one of the more unique and timeless magazines around at the moment.
Editor-in-chief: Alberto Coretti
Co-editor: Floriana Cavallo
Art director: Sergio Juan