Tobias Frere-Jones on Wim Crouwel, Gerrit Noordzij Prize 2009
Mentioning Robothon09 in last week’s review of the TDC2 2010 – Display Type category reminded of something. At the occasion of the Gerrit Noordzij Prize 2009 – which coincided with Robothon09 – Tobias Frere-Jones introduced the work of Wim Crouwel. His not-to-be-missed presentation is up on Vimeo. Shame on me – somehow I overlooked it when it was originally uploaded almost a year ago.
The Gerrit Noordzij Prize is an initiative of the master course Type and Media and is organised by the Royal Academy of Art and the Meermanno Museum, under the auspices of the Dr. P.A. Tiele Trust in The Hague. It is the tradition that the winner of the previous Gerrit Noordzij Prize designs the award that is presented to the new winner, and introduces his work in a short presentation. In 2006 Erik Spiekermann – winner of the Gerrit Noordzij Prize 2003 – had FF Meta Wood made for Tobias Frere-Jones – a beautiful hand-made case with the FF Meta Black alphabet cut in wood by Scott Polzen. Last year Tobias in turn presented Wim Crouwel with an enamel plate featuring the letter “a” in 64 of the 66 weights of Gotham, arranged in a grid.
Beautiful as these prizes may be, the highlight of the 2009 Gerrit Noordzij Prize ceremony definitely was the presentation of Wim Crouwel’s work by Tobias Frere-Jones. This was in stark contrast with Chris Vermaas who introduced Tobias, and strangely talked so much about himself that it gave the impression he had been the defining factor in Tobias’ success as a type designer. I asked around, and I wasn’t the only one who was a little put off by this. Tobias’ thoughtful presentation however was nothing short of brilliant. It was insightful, revealing, and entertaining, and in less than 20 minutes Tobias managed to give me a different appreciation of Crouwel’s work. Faut le faire. Thanks to Erik van Blokland, we can now all discover it, or enjoy it again.
And if just like me seeing this presentation sparked your interest in Wim Crouwel’s œuvre, I suggest you go over to the Geheugen van Nederland website (The Memory of The Netherlands) where numerous of his works can be viewed.
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