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Leonardi/Stagi. The Architecture of Trees

Leonardi/Stagi. The Architecture of Trees
Client

The redesign of the new edition of The Architecture of Trees, a book by Cesare Leonardi and Franca Stagi.


Activities

Redesigning The Architecture of Trees was a long term item of our bucket list.

This book comes after the great success of the retrospective Cesare Leonardi. L’architettura della vita, that strengthened our partnership with the Archivio Architetto Cesare Leonardi and Lazy Dog Press and set the basis for the re-edition and the restoration of this eclectic and visionary work, that reflects the personalities of his authors.

The architect and art critic Joseph Grima defined it as a completely original “labor of love and obsession”. A book which is a legendary botanical masterwork and a fundamental of landscape architecture.

This new edition is the result of a massive work of digital restoration of the 550 quilt-pen illustrations. We worked to bring back the accuracy, the attention to detail and the incredible depth of the original drawings by Leonardi, Stagi and their collaborators. All images are based on the pictures taken by Cesare Leonardi during a landmark study that took over twenty years to complete, from the early Sixties to the first edition published by Mazzotta in 1982.

The new design gives value to the study and contributes to make the contents more accessibles, even to a non-specialists public.

We operated on the several graphic and typographic layers left by the previous editions and we reorganized the contents following a logical order. All the illustrations and the technical drawings have been digitally rebuilt and restored thanks to the meticulous work of both the Archivio Architetto Cesare Leonardi and the Archivio Stagi, that provided us all the materials necessary for the complete restoration of the volume.

A massive work that sometimes reminded us of the restoration of an ancient code, given the attention, the rigor and the amazing amount of hours we dedicated to it. A common effort that gave us not just a brand new edition but the complete digitalization of the whole production of both authors. Definitely well worth it.

The 2018 edition of The Architecture of trees in co-edited by Lazy Dog Press and Princeton Architectural Press , in both Italian and English.

There are 374 plates depicting trees, as well as diagrams that demonstrate the movement of shadows over the course of the day and through the seasons, all organized empirically in the days before the computer age. Rounding out the volume were descriptions of each individual species and detail drawings (leaves, flowers, fruit).

— (From the Introduction to the new edition, by A. Cavani and G. Orsini)

To rebuild the tables of the foliage and the seasonal color variations we used the handmade original color charts, kept at the Archivio Franca Stagi.

We liked the idea of keeping some elements from the first edition, without altering the authors’s original ideas. We kept the original font, the Baskerville, updated to the latest Storm Type version that includes also old-style numbers and small capitals.

— Francesco Ceccarelli