Edited by Sakura Nomiyama and Haruki Mori
384 pages, hardcover, $60
Published by Thames & Hudson
Takenobu Igarashi is a master of dimension, a shape-shifter of letters and a matchmaker of colors. A new monograph, cleverly named Takenobu Igarashi A-Z, serves as a rich, illustrative dictionary of the designer’s career. Organized from A to Z are images of his experiments and client projects, as well as terms that touch on his philosophy, techniques, influences and collaborators. D, for instance, is for drafter, an essential tool shared by Igarashi, architects and interior designers, and U is for UCLA, where Igarashi received his master’s degree and taught for a year. Quotes elaborate on each term, and essays create a nice pace and offer more-intimate commentary about Igarashi, including his path to international recognition.
The stunning images show his most famous graphics, his architectural sculptures and never-before-seen sketches. Close-ups outline how letters were chipped away pixel by pixel or sliced through with sheets of color. Portraits capture the weight and solitude of a chrome- and gold-plated F sculpture. In drafts, clean lines that look freshly inked with a ruling pen stir up nostalgia for the warmth and patience of Igarashi’s analog process.
While the book thoughtfully presents Igarashi’s alphabetic work, some terms feel superfluous and would benefit from more context. Understandably, translation is also a challenge, and several quotes could be edited to land with greater impact. But these details are minor, as readers will likely be in awe of the breadth of images that demonstrate Igarashi’s command of 2-D and 3-D spaces, and be reminded of the life and presence that letterforms share alongside us in the world. —Florence Fu