April 4th is the International Vitamin C day, an organic compound which is present every day in our lives. But like all common occurrences, sometimes we forget just how special it is, how many benefits it brings to our well-being. With this in mind, and especially in a year where we are constantly reminded how precious health is, we couldn’t agree more that it deserves a day of celebration and awareness!
From keeping colds at bay, to helping sailors treat scurvy in past times, to lowering the risk of heart disease, to making our skin radiant, vitamin C has blessed so many areas of our life and the popularity of such products and recipes has risen dramatically over time. What better way to celebrate Vitamin C Day, than by sharing with all of you the sizzling vitamin C infusion of “Citrus Condensed” by Nina King?
“Citrus Condensed” is not your typical cookbook. It is a citrus fruit that wants to be eaten. Every single detail from designing this book is meant to make your mouth water.
Nina King is a Vienna based, designer, illustrator & artist specialising in food, plants, and nature itself. As a trained landscape architect she always felt the need to be in contact with the natural world and everything it has to offer – especially all the edible bits and pieces. Her love for cooking, nature and an illuminating travel experience in Sicily where she could follow her passion for citrus fruit for the whole summer made her change her career path towards Book Design, and we couldn’t be happier! Nina then graduated from New Design University in Austria and has been working as a freelance designer under Kingsview, her own studio which stands for creative works involving & evolving from paper & plants.
All the papers and materials within “Citrus Condensed” have a specific meaning for portraying the main idea of this project.
The cookbook is the citrus fruit in a wooden box, allowing the reader a remarkable unboxing experience – just as you would find them at a vegetable & fruit market! It comes in a wooden fruit box wrapped in silk paper, waiting for the hungry reader to grab it off the shelf.
The slipcase is made out of plywood panels, which were hand cut, sanded, and carefully constructed -glued & stapled – to portray a miniature wooden fruit box, like at a market stall. The title on the spine of the slipcase, which reads “CITRUS CONDENSED │ON HOW TO BECOME AS JOYFUL AS A CITRUS FRUIT” was skilfully laser engraved. For an extra citrus flash, the inside of the plywood crate was laminated with an extra layer of Fluo Poster yellow 90g/m2.
Unboxing “Citrus Condensed” is a metaphor to unwrapping a citrus fruit – it unveils its glossy skin & fragrance.
First of all, you unwrap the white tissue paper from the book – here Nina King’s choice was driven by nostalgic childhood memories, when oranges were individually wrapped in tissue paper for protection – because they were so expensive and special. After which, the pink cover portrays the skin of a grapefruit, with an added touch of a hand stitched lemon emblem. Then, when you imagine peeling the fruit you get to the inside – the white fleshy part (the core paper) and its segments.
Three courses: individual cookbooks held together by small magnets hid in the cover, similar to parts of a fruit.
After the initial “peeling” Citrus Condensed is comprised of three enticing segments – they are three individual cookbooks, each appealing to different parts of the cuisine. Citrus maxima – “Drinks & Soups”, Citrus medica – “Savoury” and Citrus reticulata – “Condiments & Sweets” are the three courses bringing up flavours and explosions of vitamin C, encapsulated in different dishes. In no specific order, they are held together with little hidden magnets so you can easily pull them apart – just as you would do with segments of a clementine for example – and share them when cooking together with friends and loved ones.
The three cookbooks are hand-bound with a neon yellow hand-stab-lock stitch – which supports the folding technique of a Japanese Fold.
With this technique, the pages form little triangular shapes because their fold is closed, another delightful reference to the fruits segments.
Bindakote white & Fluo Poster yellow: a surprising and refreshing choice for the core
The main core paper used for the three booklets was Bindakote white 80 g/m2– one sided cast-coated paper – with the glossy side folded inwards to hint at the ‘juiciness’ of the fruit and to offer a little surprise element for the reader. The recipes are printed on the rougher, matte side of the Bindakote paper to give tactile contrast to the softness which can be glimpsed through the inner side of the Japanese fold.
The charmingly called ‘Flying Recipes’, together with the hand-drawn illustrations showing the ingredients accompanying some of the recipes are printed on the Fluo Poster yellow 90 g/m2, which is then covered with an extra layer of tissue paper to dull the neon effect and portray the segments’ silky citrus-like skin.
Limited edition artst cookbook
“Citrus Condensed” was digitally printed in a limited edition of just five artist cookbooks, and in case you crave some citrus goodness on your own shelf, you can get in direct contact with the designer and get your hands on one of the two still available copies. Nina’s bilingual background was the reason she opted to write the book in English – she felt the English language somehow looser, edgier and a bit more fun. This all goes hand-in-hand with the dramatic effect of diving in the artful cookbook which is “Citrus Condensed”.
This combination of textures, colours and the tickling of your senses is an invitation to enjoy every sour & invigorating bite of this arty cookbook.