There are swatchbooks and then there are swatchbooks. Some are fun, some are beautifully printed, and some do little more than show you the different papers available. From the looks of their new limited-distribution volume “The Paper Book,” Arjowiggins is aiming to add another category to the swatchbook library: swatchbook as art object.
Ostensibly a sample book showing off all of the offerings in its Creative Papers family, “The Paper Book”is by turns decadent and minimalist, and looks like the designer’s equivalent of a legal or medical book. It will also set you back $145. (Also note that not all of the papers included are actually available in North America.)
As Creative Review points out, “There are no dividers, sections or folders, just page after page of different A4 papers, plain except for a brief description printed on each sheet.”
(A separate folder contains swatches of all the stocks covered in the book.)
“Aside from the pure visual appeal of leafing through it all, there are some important intentions behind the design of the book, according to Arjowiggins’ luxury brands & marketing director Christophe Balaresque. ‘[In the past] all the papermakers, including us, thought that it was important to demonstrate that you can print on these fine papers,’ he says, so most used printed samples. Now, however, papermakers recognize that designers prefer to show paper samples to their clients as blank sheets.”
While it’s hard to take 7 1/2 pound “The Paper Book” as a serious indication of things to come in the swatchbook world – Arjowiggins has always treated paper as a rarefied artistic experience in such lines as their Curious Collection – it’s still an impressive testament to what can be done with this medium. After flicking through its pages you can’t help but feel that it’s nicer somehow to live in a world where “The Paper Book” exists…