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An Atlas of Es Devlin


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Table of Contents

Contributor interviews Virgil Abloh * Hannah Barry * David Blaine * Benedict Cumberbatch * Jeremy Deller * Jefferson Hack * Chris Heath * Kaspar Holten * Bjarke Ingels * JaQuel Knight * Charm LaDonna * Aicha McKenzie * Sam Mendes * Hans Ulrich Obrist * Gareth Pugh * Alice Rawsthorn * Carlo Rovelli * Julie Taymor * Neil Tennant * Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) and La Mar Taylor * Lyndsey Turner * Keith Warner * Willie Williams * Anna Wintour

Project Case Studies Beyonce * Chimerica * Memory Palace * Mirror Maze * Ugly Lies the Bone * U2

About the Author

Es Devlin creates large-scale sculptures that combine light, music and language. She has created stage sculptures for Beyonce, The Weeknd, U2, The Royal Opera House, National Theatre, La Scala and The Met Opera, as well as the 2022 Super Bowl featuring Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem, and the 2012 London Olympic Closing Ceremony. She was the subject of the Netflix documentary 'Abstract: the Art of Design', and has been awarded multiple Olivier, Tony and Emmy awards, as well as an Ivor Novello award and a CBE.


'Modern Britain’s answer to Leonardo da Vinci' - Sunday Times

'Category-defying... An exquisitely produced and immersive artwork in itself, containing photographs, texts, foldouts, pullouts, translucent overlays and cutout pages that reflect the intricacy and imaginative extent of Devlin’s processes, from concept to final iteration' - The New York Times

'Sculptural … as much art object as art book, the 900-page tome gorgeously layers stories and interviews, pull-outs of sketches, playing with cut-outs over images as it maps each set from concept to realisation' - Vogue

'An exquisitely designed gift book that keeps giving. Nine hundred pages open to offer fold-out sculptures, fragile little paintings, paper cuts, mechanical models, mirrors. They distil in miniature the genre-bending kinetic creations of the artist and designer who has set the stage for Beyoncé and Adele; experimental opera and the London Olympics; Trevor Nunn and AI poetry recitals' - Jackie Wullschlager, Best Books of the Year, Financial Times

'Hefty, multitextured … an interactive physical experience, requiring the reader to unfold sections, overlay others, skim and delve. Devlin’s aim with her work is “to restructure the human imagination”, and this book is part of that project … Amazement is her modus operandi – “The role of artists is to amaze people into changing their minds” – but she always returns to the primary text for her inspiration. Now she has created a primary text that will serve as inspiration for the rest of us' - Times LUXX

'The book reads like one of [Devlin's] stage sets; that is to say, it’s an experience. Featuring cutouts, foldouts, various paper types and sizes, mirrors, and other materials, the 900-plus-page book shows Devlin is more than a set designer for flashy pop stars but also an artist, a sculptor, a poet, and an activist' - Fast Company

'[Devlin’s] smallest-scale but most personal project to date … Part-memoir, part-monograph, the volume comprises her life story, favourite creations and conversations with collaborators including Virgil Abloh, Carlos Rovelli and Pharrell Williams, alongside exercises for the reader. There are shapes to cut out, pages to unfold, annotated scripts to read and mirrors to see yourself in' - Reference.Point

'From the cardboard sculptures and paintings that developed into stage sets for the 2012 Olympic closing ceremony and the 2022 Super Bowl, to her activism, theater, poetry and more, this 900-page monograph traces ... Es Devlin's three-decade-long career across disciplines' - The New York Times Book Review

'Despite its heft, the book's complex form...feels intimate and inviting... A surprising variety of translucent and mirrored papers, page sizes, die cuts, and other unexpected moments invite readers to pause and appreciate the object they hold in their hands. The ideas startle, provoke, and reward. Devlin searches for ways to provide dopamine hits. As with her designs for the stage, she invites readers to become part of a temporary society traveling through a rich, creative landscape of observing and feeling... An Atlas of Es Devlin is an immersive, joyful reading experience, an encyclopedia of creativity, and a tribute to the sculptural possibilities of the printed book. It gives form and substance to the artist’s philosophy of why she creates' - PRINT

'Vibrant photographs of Devlin's stage and arena structures contrast with the simplest of doodles, and everything in between. There are booklets within booklets; there are holes to look through and ideas to imagine… 858 pages altogether, in which the entire expanse of Devlin’s world is mapped out (hence the title) in vivid color and sumptuous design... One of our most brilliant and creative modern artists comes to scintillating life before you' - Goldmine

'An extravagant catalog, a doorstop designed by Devlin and Lipps with Thames & Hudson nearing 1,000 pages and containing thousands of words by the artist, herself a clear and generous writer … Documenting far more work than the exhibition - including her Damien Hirst-like LED cubes for Jay-Z and Ye - the book serves as both hatchling and egg … Sincerely interesting and aggressively tactile' - The New York Times, 19.1.24

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