The Metropolitan museum commissioned OK-RM to create a visual identity and publication for the show Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. Designed around a distinctive MxM emblem, OK-RM, in collaboration with curator Andrew Bolton and The Met design team led by Susan Sellers, played with the idea of the classic couture house monogram for the project that has been used across the exhibition and the publication.
Manus x Machina traces the story of haute couture from the pre-industrial age through to the current day. “In a similar vein, the design of the book unites pre-industrial papers, archetypical cataloguing principles and handset type with hi-tech printing methods and materials,” say the designers.
The catalogue is wrapped in a PVC and the cover is perforated, taking inspiration from the hole punched cards that were used to weave jacquard, the earliest programmable loom. Inside “High gloss silver, mirroring pages are set off against uncoated papers and the handmade character of the Swiss binding. A second book with interviews between Bolton and 10 fashion designers has a hi-tech Tyvek [a non-woven fabric] cover,” say OK-RM. “The placement of photographs by Nicholas Alan Cope generates unexpected encounters between works created decades apart: a Christian Dior New Look suit from 1947 reveals parallels with a mechanical Hussein Chalayan dress from 2007, a 1936 Madeleine Vionnet dress meets a Miyake design from 1991.”
A special limited edition hardcover version of the book is presented in a hand numbered, laser cut high-density foam box. Inside, different trays hold the book, the second book featuring interviews and a poster.