On 14 November 2014, a monument was inaugurated in the Trefort Garden on the campus of the Eötvös Loránd University’s Faculty of Humanities (ELTE BTK) in memory of former staff and students who as a result of anti-Jewish laws died during forced labour, or lost their lives in concentration camps and ghettos, as well as all those who met their death while serving in the army and as civilians. ELTE BTK and the Master Association of Architects (ÉME) had announced a competition for students of ÉME’s Master’s studies under the title Trefort Garden Monument Competition.
The double volume Bevésett nevek (“Carved Names”) was presented a year after the inauguration of the monument, in November 2015. The white volume contains the designs submitted to the competition, while the black volume documents the conference lectures with reference to the inauguration of the monument.
The white volume was designed by Ákos Polgárdi and the black one by Dániel L. Németh and Zalán Péter Salát, both under the art direction of Zalán Péter Salát, winner of the German Design Award Gold 2015. The white volume is as varied as the designs submitted to the competition. The book design follows the latest international design trends with a plethora of typographic elements beyond the settled visual world, and a play with sizes and forms provides an engaging experience for the reader.
The puritan appearance of the black volume represents the humility of science, the force of concentration and the calmness of thinking. The dialogue between simplicity and elegance offers the opportunity for absorption where the designer intensifies the minimalism of typography to the extreme. In the black volume, a single size of a single font family, in only Regular and Italic styles, is used. The designer’s acceptance of this provides the feeling of reading a printed version of essays with distinguished academic content on A4 paper in the most unassuming typeface. Stanley, an adaptation of Times New Roman released by the Swiss Optimo Type Foundry in 2012, is applied in the book.
The unusual approach at first sight is the conceptual manifestation of remembrance that characterises the whole project connected with the monument. The homogenized typography is a metaphor, which refers to the intention of destroying diversity — to the consistent practice of the Holocaust when state power sentenced all its discriminated citizens to the same fate without exception.
The names, dates and places of birth and death of the university’s victims can be read in 9,454 characters in a ribbon-like manner of a total length of 200 metres on the walls of the university buildings. In a similar manner, the nearly one million-character-long flow of text in the volume of studies provides the sensation of reading which is both horizontal and elongated.
In a manner that breaks with tradition, footnotes are not separated from the body text. The notes printed in bronze color are inserted right where they appear, visually echoing the bronze strips in the mortar joints of the monument.
The ribbon-like lines become highlights, even in the apparent typographical homogeneity, while the parts of the body text have remained, yet the content has received a stronger meaning. The meticulous use of twenty-seven linear memento signs makes the reader aware of the Prussian-like system of layout rules which the designers created for the volume, but in which the text shapes itself into a coherent system. The soul of the book design is provided by these twenty-seven so-called “thread page pairs”, which also represent the pictorial illustration of the black volume after omitting the photographs and graphic elements from the book.
Contributed by Lead82 Budapest
Contributed by Stephen Coles