Once again we’ve got to the end of the production process and a brand new issue of Printed Pages is sat proudly on all of our desks. As ever, getting our new cover just right took a lot of time, energy, late nights, early mornings and a massive barrel of ink with some juggling balls chucked in. This time round we worked with Bonsoir Paris – a French design studio with serious pedigree when it comes to the world of high-end production and set design – whose work for the likes of Selfridges, COS, Galleries Lafayette and Hermés has long had us drooling at their skills.
Together with photographer Ben Sandler they went about constructing a simple-yet-stunning set, to produce one of our most striking covers to date. Here’s how it all came together…
Talk us through your initial ideas for the cover design…
When we were contacted to shoot the autumn cover our first inclinations were towards two different interpretations of the subject: representative and literal. Our first direction was related to biomimickry; the concept of transcribing biological codes in engineering and design – i.e. art mimicking life. The other direction was of course that of a physical portrayal of the force of gravity on an object or objects.
What made you explore the idea of ‘The Fall’ in the end?
We felt that this direction was more befitting of a Printed Pages cover – something a bit playful and surreal, graphic and iconic.
How did you go about creating the set?
We used a large thin sheet of PVC foam, with a 25cm x 25cm square cut offset from the centre, set on trestles. Underneath the sheet we placed a deep plastic bin with a sealed interior reservoir which contained our various brews of paint, water, oil, etc. We covered the studio floor, the set, and the equipment with plastic tarp to try to mitigate some of the backsplash. It all looked pretty forensic in the end.
What are the liquids and objects you used?
We tried a few different ball sizes and colours sourced from a local juggling shop. The balls were of varied density and weight and each one reacted a bit differently when impacting the liquid. We made a few different brews but the most visibly striking and haunting one was black – a mix of water, powdered glue, and Indian ink. The liquid had to be fluid enough to create expressive movements, but viscous enough to be well-contained within the framing of the set.
It’s a pretty tricky task to get the splash looking good. How many photos did it take to get the final shot?
327. It definitely required some trial and error and testing in order to find that perfect splash. We have to mention that after each shot we would clean the set, something that was at best tedious and at worst rather redundant, especially when looking at the screen only to realise that we missed the impact by just that much!
What else are you guys working on right now?
We’ve recently finished the window designs for Hermès at De Bijenkorf in Amsterdam; other than that, a few really interesting design and photo/film projects coming up in the pipeline. And when we’re feeling a bit whimsical, we head to the weekend studio to shoot for our Wasted Time series.