A book crafted with the same techniques used in the manufacture of the most important and exclusive watches
Not all the watches are – luckily – the same. Same can be said of books, as well. Or rather, it would be better to say that some watches are just like some books: industrially made series products, all basically alike.
But then, there are the special ones. The watches produced in limited editions, not for marketing reasons but due to the true impossibility of crafting more than one piece per month or per year. A manufacturing process during which every single detail is meticulously cared, refined, and checked. The same philosophy inspired MACRO ‘Portfolio of images taken from Royal Vacheron Constantin’, one of the Pucci Papaleo Edizioni team’s recent editorial projects.
The constructive philosophy – Macro has been indeed entirely ‘constructed’ – was basically based on making a unique, entirely hand made, one off object book striving to reach the ultimate quality and typographic high-end technology. The manufacturing process never involved one single series producing phase: the photographs were singularly printed in six-colour format on photographic paper, which granted the maximum quality ever involving a 20 minutes process per image.
Each photo has been checked by an operator, who repeated this operation after each lamination too, so as to assure a bright gleam and an ever-lasting life to the colours. One tiny scratch or bubble were just enough to start it all from the beginning: averagely, each single tome has been printed three times more the necessary number, hence a 66% overhang production.
The same checking quality has been applied on the pages featuring texts, where besides the special inks, particular attention was given to an obsessive check of the texts’ layout. The line-spacing has been studied with pinpoint accuracy, reducing the size of the high letters, such as the letters L or F, as well as the small ones such as the letters G or P.
All the printing stages clearly followed certified quality standards; nothing here mentioned has been made up, but everything was in keeping with international established standards. Additionally, the pages are of course in high quality paper, the only one capable of granting long lasting colours as well as the necessary flexibility to flip through its massive pages.
The bookbinding is another small typographical masterpiece. The problem was quite difficult – for some even impossible: ensure the easy opening and the strong durability of a 18 kg book, made of thick pages matching an ultra high-end definition photography thus featuring an equal thickness? How to feast our eyes on wide-open pages without breaking or warping them? The problem was solved by a team of skillful artisans, one of the very few in the world able to craft such a complex and difficult book. The pages were simply hinged altogether; initially, hand-gathered and fixed upon the backside spine of the book by means of a series of steel screws, which dropped out of sight once mounted onto the book. The tough work was crafting the backside as thick as the book itself.
Most of the pages featured a double thickness – because of the pictures – thus could not slide inside the spine because the bending would have caused an immediate lamination damage. Consequently, small portions of paper as thick as the photographs have been singularly joined together in correspondence of the backside, so as to create an ensemble that featured an equal thickness, even though in the bending point only the base paper stratus was folded, granting an increased durability and flexibility throughout lifetime.
It must be noticed that all the manufacturing stages are entirely handcrafted, thus each single Macro is realized in succession, never in parallel: the 60 photographs are printed and set up, the texts are then printed, and finally the book is hand bound. Throughout all the production process, each of these operation phases is checked and approved. A single imperfection and the page or the photo must be deleted and a new copy printed.
One single copy of Macro involves 4 weeks of work, alternating about 15 people who carry out at least three different crafts. It is impossible to work on two or more volumes together; just one at a time, trial proofs included, necessary so as to value the final result.
No wonder that MACRO ‘Portfolio of images taken from Royal Vacheron Constantin’ has been realized in only five copies, and two artist proofs. Seven books that involved eight months of printing procedures: as a matter of fact, we must add other three months due to the different technical proofs.
Project by Pucci Papaleo
• 124 pages
• 50cm x 60cm Format
• 50 Original Images
• 9 Colour Print
• English language
• 20 Kg weight
Photographs by Fabio Santinelli
Texts by Paolo Gobbi
English Version by Naomi Ornstein