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Invisible Cities Book

2021 ISTD Student Prompt Submission

Completed for the 2021 ISTD Student Prompts, this copy of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities is framed by the relation to the narrator himself, the traveler Marco Polo. The most beautiful part of this project isn't the book at all, but everything that came beforehand. I always place a heavy weight on the research for each project, but because this project was completed for ISTD, and that the outcome was a printed book, I allowed my research to be driven not by my intended users, but by an artistic and personal motivation. This research ultimately manifested into a book printed on different sizes and types of paper representing the identities of the categories of the cities described in the text. Each chapter is book ended and annotated by the conversation between Polo and Kublai Kahn. This form was inspired by the roots of the author's inspiration, The Travels of Marco Polo, an illuminated manuscript. The ability for the reader to view every spread for each city plus the conversations that bookend and annotate the short stories ultimately upholds the strong theme of duality that is so apparent when reading the text. The horizontal, large-format design of the book, as well as the kettle stitch binding which allows it to lay flat, allow the book to have an immense presence in the reader’s hands and creates it’s own backdrop and cityscape when opened. Though this book appears to have traveled to all the cities it describes, the truth is, it was made for the coffee table. For the listener, much like Khan himself. 

Final Outcome Photos

Final Outcome Video

Sample Chapter Flip-through Mockup

Process Video

Process PDF

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