Dick Elffers 1909 PLEM 1959

...De Stijl, Piet Mondriaan & Gerrit Rietveld...

the photobooks of Dick Elffers :

BBB: bouwen en industrie; bouwen en speurwerk; bouwen en organisatie. [Text D. Dresden, J. de Vries (redactie); Bert Schierbeek (essay); J.J. Vriend. Photography Cas Oorthuys. Layout Dick Elffers en Ben Duyvelshoff].

1909 PLEM 1959. [Text L. Harpman, P.A. Becx (redactie); Bertus Aafjes, R. Franquinet (essay); E. L. Kramer (foreword); F. Houben (introduction); H. Gelissen (firm's history). Photography Cas Oorthuys Illustrations: P.A. Becx Layout Dick Elffers en Ben Duijvelshoff].

Waar ook. Photography Carel Blazer (bedrijfsreportage); Cees van der Meulen; Frits Rotgans. Layout Dick Elffers].

Synthese: kunstharsfabriek synthese n.v. Katwijk Holland. [Text Max Dendermonde (firm's history). Photography Cas Oorthuys. Illustrations, layout Dick Elffers].

De beurt is aan 1855-1955. [Text J. M. Fuchs (bedrijfsgeschiedenis en redactie); J. Algera (foreword). Photography Cas Oorthuys. Layout Dick Elffers].

Andriesse, Emmy
Die Welt von Van Gogh. Le monde de Van Gogh. The world of Van Gogh. Photographie Emmy Andriesse. Auteur W. Jos de Gruyter. Mise en pages Dick Elffers.

Graphic design &Facetten van boekdruk

Dick Elffers


Plem 1909-1959 by : Martin Parr & Gerry Badger in The Photobook : A History volume II

It is a characteristic of the Dutch photobook, as it is of the Japanese photobook, that design is an important element of the total package. One of the best designed examples of the period was produced for the utility company PLEM ( Provinciale Limburgsche Electriciteitsmaatschappij), the electricity-generating company in the south of Holland, and it is the book's lead designer Dick Elffers, who is the driving force behind the look of the volume, even tough the photographic roster includes such distinguished names in Dutch photography as Cas Oorthuys (Oorthuys) and Koen Lenarts.

With its plethora of design 'references', the book might even be considered a prototype of the postmodern photobook, although graphic design, like fashion, was always a matter of visual appropriation. The borrowing begins with the cover, where the letters 'PLEM' are arranged in exactly the same way as the letters 'CPDE' on the cover of Man Ray's Électricite' (1931; see pages 182-83).

Another important design feature is a grid pattern that relates to the De Stijl movement of the 1930's, which numbered amongst its exponents Piet Mondriaan and Gerrit Rietveld. De Stijl was noted for its rigorous geometry and use of primary colours, and this is echoed throughout PLEM. Most notably, its piece de resistance is a two-page panorama of a power station at night, in which the space is fractured and expanded by means of red and yellow overlaid shapes.

Dick Elffers (Rotterdam,1910 - Amsterdam,1990) occupies a crucial position in the development of graphic design in the Netherlands in the 20th century. He was a talented, diversified artist whose activities varied from painting to architectural & exhibition design, large scale sculpture, tapestries, ceramics, photography and an extensive body of graphic design. After studying at the Art Academy in Rotterdam (1929-1933) he worked with Piet Zwart and Paul Schuitema; interrupted by the 2nd World War he established his own studio in Amsterdam in 1945. He retreated from the austere modernism of the thirties and began to use a painters approach for his imagery creating his own expressionist style. His famous poster "Weerbare Democratie" has become an icon for the changing approach to poster design in the Netherlands after the war and his numerous music and film images designed for the Holland Festival in the fifties and sixties, with their bold colours and inventive typography, exude a vitality which has never been duplicated since.
In 1949 Elffers was the first recipiant of the H.N.Werkman Prize awarded by the city of Amsterdam; he taught at the Academy of Art in Eindhoven in the seventies; he designed the Dutch memorial exhibition in the Staatsmuseum Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1980 and in Westerbork in 1983.

Cas Oorthuys Rotterdam dynamische stad