By Luigi Serafini

Published by Franco Maria Ricci, 1981

Codex Seraphinianus is probably one of the weirdest book ever published. In the form of an encyclopediae, this book gives to see a totally imaginary world. Continents, animals, plants, meteorologic phenomenons, culture, historical events, diseases, etc, everything is very well documented and drawn by the hand of the artist/author Luigi Serafini. This huge book is not a theoretical work to read about design (actually you can’t read it, the whole text is written in an invented language) but it’s definitely an important book in the history of design and it’s such a strong object that it makes you wonder. It is like a mirror on our world. All the content looks very fanciful but, at the same time, close to what exists on Earth, which can be disturbing. Imagination relies on what we already know, so can imagination really escape far from the natural and cultural existence?

Selected by ECAL / Nicolas Toulotte-Garner