Irma Boom creates a masterpiece of embossed images inspired by roses picked in France.
Irma Boom is an Amsterdam-based designer with an impressive track record when it comes to book design. Of her 250+ creations, an astounding 20 percent have found a home in a permanent collection at the MoMA. Boom’s latest project is no less breathtaking, a 300-page book designed for Chanel that doesn’t use a single drop of ink. Instead, the book tells the story of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel with pages that are embossed with drawings and quotations in a clean, understated, ephemeral,yet engaging way.
Boom was provided with all the information she could need and the freedom to do what she wanted for the commission. She spent her time in Chanel’s Paris apartment and studied her life, witnessed the bottling process and even joined the Chanel team as they picked roses, which is when inspiration struck.
When I was there I immediately got the idea for the book. What I smelled there was so intense, exciting… not visible.
Boom is no stranger to embossing, but if the book was bound and cut as is normally the case, it would flatten the embossed effects. They ended up using an old letterpress machine, with the ink removed, which meant each page was first designed on an aluminum plate and turned into a mold that the pages would then press against.
Despite the temptation to infuse the pages with the smell itself, Boom told Wired the idea was too literal, too obvious.
The concentration is on the images, text and tactility. 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.