Everybody who's familiar with her work knows that Dutch graphic designer Irma Boom is brilliant with books. She's crafted everything from
a bite-sized biography
a rainbow-hued, 2,136-page corporate history
. But her latest work is missing something all the others had: Ink.
The result is stunning. Commissioned by Chanel for its No. 5 perfume line, the object d'art
is 300 pages of designs
embossed gently onto white paper. Altogether, it's five centimeters (two inches) thick-a nod to its subject. The book tells the story of Gabrielle Chanel in a way that nothing else could: Through texture, text and, incidentally, the lack of scent. While Boom spent time in Chanel's Paris apartment and walked through fields of roses in Grasse, she refused to make scent a part of the book. "The concentration is on the images, text and tactility," she says. "If you leaf through the book, you can almost smell the perfume-and I think that's, in this case, much more interesting and thought-provoking."
is currently featured in an exhibition at the Institut Neerlandis
in Paris with the title "Architecture of the Book." It's fitting for someone who doesn't really consider her books to be works of art. "I do push the boundaries of bookmaking, but it is never art," she says. "Books are not unique-it is commissioned work, it is a reproduction."
But in this case, it's a reproduction that also happens to one of a kind. [