During a recent visit in Lisbon, we happened upon a set of delicate, handmade notebooks from the brand Namban. Some research showed that the Namban brand was run by two local architects, who describe their practice in the following way:
’In 1543, the Portuguese arrived in Kyusho, becoming the first Europeans to reach Japan. They were called Namban jin or southern barbarians, a name commonly given to foreigners. From that time onwards, the word Namban was used to describe the most varied cultural and artistic expressions which arose due to the Portuguese presence in Japan, which lasted for about one century. Today, the NAMBAN notebooks, produced by hand in Portugal, using Japanese binding, are themselves a bond with the ancient Japan. They represent oriental aesthetics, going beyond the meaning of a utilitarian notebook.’
To us, the perfect notebook is the one that you always carry with you and the Namban notebook, with its soft, flexible cover and pocket friendly size proved to be just that - a constant companion. After using their notebooks for a while, we contacted the founders of the brand to investigate the opportunity for co-designing an special edition of the notebooks for ll’Editions. The result is the ORD-BILD notebooks, released in an edition of 25 sets - each containing two notebooks and a hand numbered brass token, housed in a staple bound, flat foiled box.
The hand embossed cover of the notebooks features a typographic composition consisting of the words ’ORD’ (word) and ’BILD’ (image), hinting at the intended use of the notebooks. Together, the words make up the compound word ’ORDBILD’, the Swedish equivalent of ’wordmark’. For the cover and inlay, we used two different papers, dark grey for the cover, light grey for the inlay, from Takeo, Japan’s leading paper distributor.