OK-RM creates stunning book designs that celebrate one artist's fascination with sailor suits

London-based studio OK-RM is behind the stunning designs for Naïvy, a book of works by Coco Capitán published alongside the artist's first solo exhibition in London earlier this year.

The book is published by InOtherWords, an imprint founded by Oliver Knight and Rory McGrath of OK-RM in 2015, and presents Capitán's paintings, large-scale photographs, and artist-embellished found objects. These work together to explore the iconic sailor suit outfit visually.

"Our practice is interested in performative frameworks to understand and explore the relationship between content and context," says OK-RM. "When an artist like Coco's work is taken into 'white cube scenario', it takes on another very different reading. Here the form of the book – which is designed as a standard exhibition catalogue which is already archived – examines how context affects content and our understanding of a work."

As the book was created as a book "object" rather than a straight-up exhibition catalogue, the layout is primarily guided by the art exhibition in-situ, as it was installed.

As such, the works are shown at different scales on the pages just as they would be in real life, with fold-out pages used for the larger works. For works that were originally displayed in a vitrine, the colour and closer placement of the book have been adapted to underline the shift in the mode of presentation.

The idea of an archive object is further underscored by the outer cover, which represents a library binding that encompasses the publication mounted inside, which uses slightly translucent paper stock. These pages mark a beautiful contrast to the luxe, shiny finish of the glossier paper for the plates, which enables very high-quality photographic reproduction.

Each book is unique since the front features a selection of stickers in various configurations taken from Capitán's series of works titled Where did the sailor get lost? 2010 - 2020. These underscore the artist's longterm fascination with the navy and naval insignia and the sense of adventure, community, but also isolation within those.

While the artist's previous books have used red heavily in their designs, OK-RM deliberately steered clear of this, installing using blue and white fo the inner title page as a further underscoring the navy theme.

"The most important projects to us have always thrived on a level of collaboration directed around a shared vision and set of values; it's our belief that working with an artist/collaborator directly informs the quality, intimacy and poignancy of the final book," says OK-RM. "Within this space, decisions can be taken quickly, communication is direct, and ideas are considered from ultimate ambitions of authenticity and distinctively – essentially content-centric perspectives – counter to the all too often technocratic goals of large publishing houses and institutions."

The studio adds: "The conception of InOtherWords ties into a broader philosophy of OK-RM, one based in the constant questioning of the boundaries of our practice into a propositional position that operates across disciplines and into culture at large.

"This is not counter to the treasured history and tradition of craft but is an acknowledgement of the emerging structures and opportunities that our context presents, and an excitement about the potential for design to shape it."


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