Welcome to our new post for the category „My library“. Today we asked the designer Harri Kuhn about his reading habits and about his actual and future projects. Harri Kuhn is one of the three designers who compose the graphic design agency Mischen in Berlin. This outstanding design agency is full of ideas and rich in variety, as you can see on its website. They design very creative and personalized books, catalogues, posters, flyers and many more products that are true works of art. Harri Kuhn studied communication design in Mannheim and Berlin-Weißensee. He worked in places like Barcelona, New York, Weimar, Buenos Aires among others. Besides his interesting work he leads workshops with students and participates in exhibitions like „Dear Japan“ that took place in New York.
We thank Harri Kuhn for his interesting reading suggestions and wish him good luck and lots of fun for his next projects!
1.-WHEN AND WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO READ?
I like to read whenever I can concentrate. I especially like to read on the plane or on the train. That means I am travelling and my mind, too, in a different way. Nice to turn the pages while outside the landscape breezes along.
2-WHICH ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS AND WHY?
That’s a complex question. I think everyone has different favorite books depending on the phase of her/his life. As a kid I really loved the books from Astrid Lindgren (Ronjas Räubertochter, Die Brüder Löwenherz, Pippi Langstrumpf) and Michael Ende (Momo, Die unendliche Geschichte). On the one hand I liked the fantasy-part of those books (without being too unreal) and on the other hand I liked the strong, brave and freedom-loving character of the main figures. Nowadays I do read very diverse books. In terms of novels I like books like “Die Fahrt” by Sybille Berg, “Freiheit” by Jonathan Franzen, “Mister Aufziehvogel” by Haruki Murakami. In terms of specialized literature (Fachliteratur) I’d like to mention: “Der Typografiestreit der Moderne” by Hans Rudolf Bosshard (Amazing how critical both of them, Bill and Tschichold, were with eachother. Even if there is a point were they just turned too stubborn in my eyes. But anyways, open critique and taking a position is something that I really miss these days in the design world), “Handwerk” by Richard Sennett (It is a very interesting book about the value of work, conceptual work, labour work, artisan craftwork and artwork. That book helped me a lot to reflect about my own work and profession as a designer), “Gestaltung denken” by Klaus Thomas Edelmann and Gerrit Terstiege (Bit by bit design theory from both, practicioners and theorists. Perfect for a design practitioner with interest in theory like me).
3.-WHAT ARE YOUR BOOK´S WORKSHOPS ABOUT?
In my work at the design school, when I teach students, I try to transmit different aspects (among others):
_Re-defining and re-interpreting the medium book (or catalogue, magazine, publication)
_Trying to find new and specific values for a (printed) book
_Understanding a book as a three-dimensional and “emotional” object (size, volume, material, way of binding, haptic)
_Consciousness about the development in the book market (print, digital, way of reading etc.)
_Taking a strong and self-conscious position as a designer
4.-WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT PROJECTS ABOUT?
Right now there is no book project on my to-do list. I am working on a web project for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, on a visual identity including print and web for a literature festival in Leipzig, Berlin and Freiburg, on a poster for an exhibition in Barcelona and on an image-medium for the Goethe Institut in New York among others. I really hope to do a book project later that year 😉
5-WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL COMMISION WORK?
An ideal project includes:
_to be at eye level with the client and everybody involved
_openness and sincerity
_a challenging and interesting topic/content
_to be paid adequately
_high quality production
_and then: hopefully getting great feedback! (that helps, but it’s not the most important thing)