Scenographics (promopress) offers readers an unprecedented look at the intersection of set design, graphic design, and illustration through the work of 40 prominent artists from around the globe. Scenographics is unlike any other design book we’ve seen recently in that every spread takes you on a journey to a fantastical world created by artists committed to concocting their wild ideas. Just when you think you’ve seen every crafting stunt under the sun, you turn the page and there are more (great) projects. The artists push the boundaries of the handmade unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and you’ll be left puzzling over how many hours were spent cutting, gluing, assembling, arranging, lighting, and photographing each scene.
As leading set designer Linnea Apelqvist notes in the preface, “In this field each project you take on is unique and comes with its own set of problems for you to solve. One day you might be outside gluing flowers to branches, while the next you could be delicately arranging peppercorns in a neat line, or standing in a large, dark studio, covered in paint. This is a big part of what makes the job interesting and pushes you to develop as a set designer.”
Wang Shaoquiang, professor at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, curated this incredible, colorful collection of stories. As a viewer of these magnificent sets, you get a perverse feeling, as if you’re peeking into another world you wish you could crawl into—if nothing else to at least touch the objects and see if they’re real. This voyeuristic tendency will capture you throughout the book, whether you’re looking at intimate items like undergarments and toiletries, or random objects floating effortlessly through space.
Although the art of papercraft is dominant throughout the book, artists employ everything from food and household utensils to shoes (lots of shoes), as well as inanimate objects like toys, books, and hand-carved letters and symbols. Each scene is beautifully photographed, revealing the meticulous craftsmanship behind each story.