Autumn 2023

The power of physical books

Sonya Dyakova has a way with words, ideas, space and type. By Mark Sinclair [EXTRACT]

Over the past ten years, Atelier Dyakova has been steadily branching out from publishing and editorial design. However the physical printed book remains a key object both in its practice and in the life of the studio’s founder, Sonya Dyakova. A new publication designed by the studio for artist Chris Ofili, for example, has a direct link to a gift given to Dyakova by her father – a book about Léon Bakst, artist and costume designer for the Ballets Russes in Paris, whose designs for L’Après-midi d’un faune in 1912 in part influenced Ofili’s own Pink Daydreams of a Faun print series. ‘I remember even the way this book smelled. I kept it for all this time,’ says Dyakova. ‘It’s so useful, you never know when you might need it. Never throw away your books. They have a lot of power.’ …

Chris Ofili’s Pink Daydreams of a Faun (2023) is a series of prints inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s Symbolist poem L’Après-midi d’un faune and made using the Japanese suminagashi paper marbling technique. Top. Portrait by Orlando Gili, 2023.

Mark Sinclair, freelance writer, editor, Stroud

Read the full version in Eye no. 105 vol. 27, 2023

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.