‘A Glacier's Requiem’

Book Design, Packaging

Book, record cover and packaging design for a photographic and audio recording of the disappearing ice giants of this world.

Multimedia artist Julia Calfee has spent months living underneath the Länta glacier, Switzerland, at 2,100 meters above sea level in rudimentary conditions to understand and preserve as an archive the images and sounds of the melting glaciers which she could touch as they disappeared before her eyes. During this time, she recorded 300 pieces of audio with accompanying black and white photographs, which portray, in an abstract manner, the elements of this constantly changing nature.

Calfee is releasing a selection of these images and a compilation of her recordings in a book and vinyl record titled A Glacier’s Requiem, published by German publishers KEHRER.

Designed by Pentagram Berlin—which previously collaborated with her on her 2008 book Inside: The Chelsea Hotel—the book is split into six sections with contributions from six artists.

Pentagram introduced a simple hexagon as the main graphic element, as common ice crystals are symmetrical with a hexagonal pattern. This concept is reflected in the book’s six-chapter structure. Hexagons are used throughout to reinforce the subject of Calfee’s research. Inside the book, large hexagons mark the six chapter openers and slowly shrink from chapter to chapter just as ice melts in above-freezing temperatures.

Pentagram also collaborated on the book title, A Glacier’s Requiem, which tragically reflects an apparent contradiction: the melting glacier composing its own requiem. The size of the book is governed by the size of the vinyl record which accompanies the book.

Pentagram also designed the packaging for A Glacier’s Requiem, which holds the book and the vinyl record, presenting them as a visual and audio monument to the disappearing ice giants of this world.

Watch a page by page film of A Glacier's Requiem here.

Julia Calfee
Book Design
Justus Oehler
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