Wayne Daly is a graphic designer at the Architectural Association, London, an independent school of architecture founded in 1847. Working with a small team of designers and editors in the AA Print Studio, Daly’s activities encompass the design and production of the school’s publications and other printed materials. With Zak Kyes, he co-founded Bedford Press at the AA in 2008, a private press with the dual purpose of establishing an on-site facility for the production of printed matter and to create a new typology of publications that extends beyond the Architectural Association’s existing programme.
In 2011 he founded Precinct, a micro-press concerned with publishing and distributing short-form critical essays on music, as well as books touching on architecture, art and their allied activities. Precinct succeeds an earlier publishing platform, For Further Information, established in 2008, and continues to use print on demand facilities to probe new channels of circulation.
Daly recently participated in the touring exhibition Zak Kyes Working With…, and designed the accompanying catalogue, published by Sternberg Press in September 2012.
1) ‘Heaven is Real’: John Maus and the Truth of Pop by Adam Harper, Precinct, 2011. 2) Wayne Daly in conversation with Alexis Zavialoff, Architectural Association, 9 December 2010. Photo Scrap Marshall. 3) Zak Kyes Working With…, Sternberg Press, 2012
What is the first book you can remember?
The first time I can remember a book having some kind of significance was seeing a microfiche bible on a school trip to a book fair. Seeing the most iconic of books reduced to a grid of grain-sized specks was magical, and probably also offered early lessons in economy and levity.
What is the last book you read?
A handful: a critical study of the BBC TV series Edge of Darkness by John Caughie; the manuscript for Ahali, a book by artist Can Altay that we are soon publishing with Bedford Press at the Architectural Association; and I’m in the middle of reading issue 2 of Cannon, a magazine published by graphic designer Phil Baber.
Pick five books that would/could/should be buddies.
1) Puckoon by Spike Milligan 2) How German Is It by Walter Abish 3) Infinite Music by Adam Harper 4) Directory 1979 by John Cooper Clarke 5) The Use and Abuse of Monuments by Sean Lynch
Describe an impossible book that you’d like to make (if you could do the impossible).
Having recently moved home, it’s tempting to wish for hard copy books that can only be read once, before evaporating, relieving the owner of the burden to add yet another book to their collection. It might also promote hyper-focused reading. Or perhaps the self-organising book, which will always locate to its correct position on the shelf. I also would like to test the possibilities for dust-repellent paper, as seen in Back the Future II (1989).
Do you agree that a book is the best medium to disperse and accumulate information?
Yes, even more so now that ‘book’ has expanded to encompass other formats besides a bound paper hard copy. E-books are valuable and efficient in different ways from a hard copy, and it is becoming a necessary role for the designer to question and exploit these avenues of possibility. I think it’s a promising time to be producing books.
Do you have any current publication projects that you’d like to feature on our site?
Public Occasion Agency 1–22, published by Bedford Press, is part of the ongoing archive of activities conducted by the independent event bureau Public Occasion Agency (POA), founded by Jan Nauta and Scrap Marshall at the Architectural Association in 2009. The book is a collection of essays which respond to the first twenty-two POA events, including texts by Pier Vittorio Aureli, Shumon Basar, Mark Campbell, Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange, Henderson Downing, David Greene, Samantha Hardingham, Ingrid Schröder, Nicholas Simcik Arese, Silvana Taher, Tom Vandeputte and Carlos Villanueva Brandt.
Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music by Ferruccio Busoni, (originally published in 1907, republished by Precinct, 2012) is a daringly progressive statement about the necessary freedom and future of music, its broad and prescient outlook all the more fascinating for its having arrived so early. Busoni was a composer, composition teacher and virtuoso concert pianist of early twentieth-century Europe, born Italian but working in Germany, and a highly respected figure in his time. Sketch was written immediately prior to his mentoring of avant-garde composers such as Arnold Schoenberg and Edgard Varèse, whose ground-breaking work came to define twentieth-century classical music. Yet Busoni’s writing is steeped in ornate, deeply poetic language, in nineteenth-century philosophy and Romanticism. As a bygone era metamorphoses into the new one that will stretch all the way to John Cage, he even brandishes news of the first keyboard-based electric sound synthesiser with enthralled delight. This edition features a new translation into English by Pamela Johnston, a foreword by Adam Harper, and includes the rare and remarkable Epilogue, an abstract imagining of a ‘Realm of Music’.
Methods of printing/communicating changes with technological advancement. What do you predict after this digital epoch?
I’m especially interested to see how developments such as flexible e-ink paper can be exploited; I also read recently about successful tests to project onto the world’s thinnest screen, a membrane composed primarily of a soap bubble called a colloidal display. E-readers are already getting less expensive, so it will be interesting to see how these new kinds of capabilities will influence the technology over the next couple of years. We will likely see a continued increase in niche publishing – in print and electronically – as publishing tools become ever more accessible and consumer-friendly. It would be nice to think though that this amplified book democracy will be weighted with a more heightened critical and editorial awareness; though that seems uncertain. Perhaps most importantly will be the ways in which book sellers continue to respond to these recent market shifts; larger chains may no longer require vast expanses of physical retail space in a near-future era where e-books dominate sales. This implies then that there will be a fight for some other kind of visibility and to obtain significant stakes in new distribution channels. Even more interesting will be how smaller, specialist art book stores, which in general seem to be flourishing right now, will also engage with these changes, either directly or indirectly, which seems entirely necessary given that there are already many art publications and magazines, as well as experimental artists’ books available in e-book formats.
In what form would “books” be in the year 2112?
I don’t think that books will be fundamentally different in 100 years, in terms of their primary use; there will simply be a wider array of available formats and reception channels. Technology might allow for novelty additions, like sensory e-books for instance, but I’d guess that people will still prefer their reading material to be delivered in a structured and finite form – however they are delivered and displayed.