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This summer at CSM(Central Saint Martins), in the Holborn campus i’ve ran across several different studios like the huge wood athelier, the metal studio and personally most amazingly the letterpress studio where students can make their own letterpressing via using different print colors and metal types of many different font families.

The metal letters were placed in tiny boxes -the letter L in a rectangular box, the number 9 in another horizontal one, “,” in another box etc- and there was a little guide map to make life easier by showing the mapping of the letters in boxes. We could easily find where each letter bundle was placed in the big drawer and place them as tight as possible on a row which is stable by a ruler-like metal block -to arrange all the kerning and spacing- and also stabled at the bottom of each row by various-width thin metal blocks for leading purposes. For spacing, we had 5 different thicknesses of plain metal blocks, which required a little more precision and profession to complete the row, and hold it, once again as tight as possible so that nothing would move throughout the pressing on paper process.

First i went for Univers 65 -i’m a bit obsessive with the Univers family- yet we weren’t allowed to use the letters in the bottom drawers so as a second choice, i went for Franklin Gothic. I’ve written a random sentence, like the whole class did, and my tag below. Everyone used different fonts and result press was a bunch of different types on one canvas. The workshop leader color a huge wheel in two different colors; she mixed pink and yellow and turned the wheel for a while so that the colors were blended in the middle and still sharp and flat towards the edges. We had 3 colors on the wheel, which meant that we would have 3 different colors on the paper. Then the metal letters were placed below the colored wheel and each relief letter -at same height- were colored by the wheel until no metal texture -which meant “white/ blank” on paper- was visible.

The A3 paper was placed in its right place, between two thin wheel-like pieces of the mechanism, you locked the paper there by stepping on another mechanism at foot-level and then released when you were ready to turn the arm-wheel and press the sentences on the paper. The results were amazing in means of hand-made pressing, rather than using a digital printer which could fail you many times in a life-time.

Last year, in my graphic design course, one of my biggest worries was never achieving the right colors, meaning the colors i see on my lcd screen. Well, here, the whole coloring is in your control. You don’t need to see the color on your screen anymore since you have in flesh and blood. You smell the color, you smell the paper, you experience, you print your own material. I didn’t run across to anything more amazing than this in digital printing yet.

Here is the whole process with found images of the stages i’ve been talking about:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are the last two images, my own images, the two prints i’ve done at CSM workshop and took with me as a memoir:

 

 

 

 

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The Romanesque and Gothic manuscripts presented together in the source readings, this combination directly took my mind to a subject I’m heavily interested in; these styles reflection on architecture since the period of their emergence.

Some 6 orr 7 years ago, I’ve been to a Prague-Vienna(sequentially) vacation, architecture not being a subject of my life but just an enough interest in it, I was amazed by the difference between where I live and how those two cities were constructed. The regular buildings, especially in Prague were extremely brutal, for me and probably for the rest of the world. Besides their massive appearance, they also looked pretty dark in color, giving a reference for their birth dates. The city’s big your body’s small, your body’s short the city’s tall.

Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of the medieval era in Europe, clearly recognized by their pointed arches. The synthesis of Roman and Byzantine styles ended up massive, tall and thick buildings, mostly out of concrete. Besides the thickness of the walls, other characteristics that help you recognize a romanesque style are the round/pointed arches, peaking towers and decorated arcading. They have a uniquely defined form, and one significant detail about romanesque constructions is that they are mostly planned to be built symmetrically. This actually is one key factor that differentiates romanesque from the gothic.

Many medieval period castles and churches are built in romanesque style:

 

 

Back to Prague, there are several significant Romanesque style buildings in the city that I remember of.

St. George’s Rotunda(above)

 

Lund Cathedral(above)

 

Gothic architecture is an extension of the romanesque architecture, that also blossomed out during the medieval.  Gothic architecture emerged in France(Europe in general) and for a while was known as the French Style in architecture. The style’s details are the pointed arch likewise the romanesque, yet two other units as a ribbed vault and and the flying buttress.

Gothic architecture is also used in the construction of churches and cathedrals as a matter of fact, but besides those units, also palaces and universities are two other area of practice. What I experiences in Prague and Vienna was a transition of emotions, in a brutal sense.

Besides the above mentioned districts, England is another considerable location -which I visited this summer for an architectural photography course- and also Italy and Spain- Barcelona expecially.

“The architectural style of Sagrada Familia has been called “warped Gothic,” and it’s easy to see why. The rippling contours of the stone façade make it look as though Sagrada Familia is melting in the sun, while the towers are topped with brightly-colored mosaics which look like bowls of fruit. Gaudí believed that color is life, and, knowing that he would not live to see completion of his masterpiece, left colored drawings of his vision for future architects to follow.” (http://architecture.about.com/od/greatbuildings/ig/Antoni-Gaud-/Sagrada-Familia-.htm)

 

The Barbican Centre, in London, which I visited several times this summer, was built after World War II. The centre is a huge complex of the gallery, theater etc which synthesizes function and form, either one following the other as a general term of architectural study. At the edge of the Barbican complex, you can still see remnants of the medieval city walls, which are also characterized as Gothic. The Barbican Trade Building itself cannot be recalled as in Gothic style yet as London is a garden-city, constructed out of low base buildings, the Barbican is way too complex and brutal for the rest of the city.

Here are a few photos I have taken during my visits, that could give an idea about the complex structure of the centre:

 

Below is my beloved tree alphabet i’ve done this summer for a graphics design summercourse at CSM in London. The leaves were picked out on the Old Kent Road(i’ve got my story behind). The letters have no reference typeface yet a logic lays beneath following the types of leaves i have used for each letter’s anatomy. Yet the most fun part was when using the negative space revealed with the carving out of the letter forms on the leaves themselves.

This second family is the sharpening of the first, and i believe gives a better idea about the anatomy of the leaves, since our instructors have told us that if a design works in b/w, it always works in colored form. The above does not give any essence of the leaf itself once it is converted to a b/w image. So, here it is.

 

 

 

 

 

And i’ve also tried using my tree typo for making several posters, for the fun of it.