] Space Atlas by Studio Joost Grootens
floorplan Palace of Typographic MasonryPALACE about
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The Cosmographic Chambers

Space Atlas M, front, design: Joost Grootens, offset print in two colors: NPN Drukkers
Space Atlas M, back, design: Joost Grootens, offset print in two colors: NPN Drukkers
Space Atlas M, the 6 models created from the building plate

Space Atlas by Studio Joost Grootens

The ancient examples in The Cosmographic Chambers are of course very interesting in themselves, but how could they still play a role in this digital, disenchanted era?

"That is precisely the question with which I approached Studio Joost Grootens (SJG). That studio likes to deal with complexity. SJG wants to show that it is a misconception to assume that something complex should also look complex. The digital age has radically changed the way information is produced, shared and used, and designers, as traditional intermediaries, must strike a new balance. SJG wants to focus on the technologies that have shaped the field, and not on the persona of the graphic designer. The studio's retrospective book is not entitled I Swear I Use No Art at All for nothing."

That sounded like an echo of Wim Crouwel's statements.

"Fortunately, in practice, the studio has developed strategies to absorb ambiguity! It can challenge the inevitable manipulation in the design of visual information, and work as an antidote to assumed objectivity."

On the floor of the vestibule stood a wooden pallet on which handheld boxes were stacked. From the top box, which was already open, the Designer took out an envelope and a printed sheet folded into a star folder. He handed it to me with a generous gesture.

"This is what Studio Joost Grootens designed to make a connection between the cosmographies in the collection of the Cosmographic Rooms and contemporary information design. SJG made six construction sheets of two planets, with which the studio wanted to express the area between mystical mathematics and hard science."

In addition to the various construction sheets of the models of Mars and the Moon, the sheet also featured photos and maps of the planets. The whole sheet was printed in offset using only two colours, orange and blue.

"You could say that these construction sheets are built in different 'resolutions', namely 4, 8 and 20 equilateral triangles. The models that you can put together with this are different in 'resolution' but are roughly the same size. They are also made in the same scale: Mars is almost twice the size of the Moon."