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Les Suen and Bespoke Associates
March 24, 2011
The next level of craft with the famed book designer
- Text by Karchun Leung
Born in Shanghai, (with a stint in Hong Kong in 80s), Les Suen obtained his MA from Musashino Art University at Tokyo, and his thesis titled “The Body of Book - Writing and Experiments on the Physical Structure of Book” clearly made his statement on what he wanted to do for his future. Back in Shanghai, he was appointed as the general manager for creative unit M LAB for McCann Erickson Advertising before officially establishing his design studio Bespoke Associates. He is currently working on a brand new magazine for Shanghai.
Satellite Voices: Who are you?
Les Suen: A human being with flesh that dislikes conformity and the take-for-granted system.
SV: What is a book designer? How is that different from layout designer and graphic designer?
Les Suen: A book designer is a translator of a specific mind into a form, that affords the action of turning pages, which is also known as re-collecting fragments of memory through the physical action. It is also a process of multiplying the body of an author. The book designer is dealing with the concept of time, the layout designer is making a piece of time.
SV: Do you think you are using a deconstructive way of book design? Do you ever think the books you design may be too complicated?
Les Shen: I think the readers should be more complicated and liberal. Or, do we go to convenience store too much? That makes thing too complicated.
SV: What inspired you most in your life?
Les Shen: Death.
SV: Can you tell us more about your new magazine?
Les Shen: It will be a magazine that prefers saying “Why not?” and “Not to be”.
SV: You have a huge collection of books, which three are the most important for you?
Les Shen: All the books are important to me because those "bodies” alert me that I actually know nothing.
SV: What you want to do next?
Les Shen: To continue to open the next door and step into another "dazed and confused" of being-in-the-world. To understand how to pick up and when to let go. This is, I think, all we have to do now.
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