The Most Beautiful Swiss Books

Bookshop, Design, Exhibition, Filmvorführung, Vortrag, Milano

WED-FRI: H11:00-17:00
By signing-up at the entrance
In collaboration with SPRINT– Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon



Books as Hooks



Press image

Bookshop, Design, Exhibition, Filmvorführung, Vortrag

WED-FRI: H11:00-17:00
By signing-up at the entrance
In collaboration with SPRINT– Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon

Istituto Svizzero is pleased to present The Most Beautiful Swiss Books, an exhibition portraying the winners of the 2019 edition—awarded in 2020—organised by the Federal Office of Culture.

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books’ competition acknowledges the work of the most talented book designers of each year, encourages and showcases high quality productions and promotes the awarded works.

Every year an international jury selects the projects that meet the eligibility criteria and chooses the most beautiful Swiss books, which are documented in a catalogue designed by Teo Schifferli.

For the Milanese presentation of the Most Beautiful Swiss Books we invited personalities from various fields—such as graphic design or publishing—to create small video portraits of the award-winning books. All portraits can be found here.

The exhibition is nourished by a thick (for the moment due to health regulations) online agenda which will run parallel from November 27 to January 16, 2021 and includes a collaboration with this year’s online edition of SPRINT – Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon, reviews, talks, screenings and much more.

For the full list of book exhibited: The Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2019

Special thanks to fioroni for the furniture.

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books

Jan Tschichold Prize winner 2020
Maximage: David Keshavjee & Julien Tavelli

January 2021
Podcast COUNTERCULTURE: experiences between Milan and Switzerland in the ’70s. Self-publishing and aggregation movements for a social critique‘

SPRINT—Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon & Istituto Svizzero present the podcast COUNTERCULTURE: experiences between Milan and Switzerland in the ’70s. Self-publishing and aggregation movements for a social critique. Through the perspective of the Archivio Primo Moroni/Calusca City Light bookshop in Milan, we navigate in the trajectories of a recent history, between politics and culture, that intertwines independent publishing, actions and movements of struggle for an opening to the alternative voices of Italian and Swiss society: how should we live? Between progress, attempts and failures of the system and the anti-system.

— Archivio Primo Moroni | ’Small but incisive archive of memory, a relevant fragment of social and political history of the 60s and 70s enriched by many items of the 80s movements, marked by urban ghetto cultures‘ [P. Moroni].

— The Narrator | Very young at the time of the movements and experiences in question, the narrator was invested and existentially overwhelmed by the second wave, around the mid-seventies, continuing to live under the banner of social contradiction and adherence to the ‚révoltes logiques‘ of the class ‚the largest and poorest‘. In 1998, after the death of Primo Moroni, who had founded the Calusca bookstore in Milan at the beginning of the seventies, the narrator contributed, along with others, to keep it open and to establish the archive-documentation center named after Primo. With this recording, dedicated to the countercultures of fifty years ago, the Calusca City Lights bookstore, the Primo Moroni Archive and the CSOA ‘Cox 18’ also intend to show solidarity with the CSOA ‘Il Molino’ in Lugano, which has been threatened with eviction since last November and which, in this dark present, validly contributes to keeping the torch of Criticism burning.

— Drawing by Mizio Turchet for PARIA n.6 magazine [1971, Canton Ticino, CH], founded by Antonio Rodriguez or ‘Pariananda’ as he liked to sign, was published between 1969 and 1975.

Workshop ‚LA LETTERA NEUTREƏ – Inclusive typography experiments‘

SPRINT—Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon & Istituto Svizzero, within the context of the exhibition The Most Beautiful Swiss Books present the video recording Lectures by Loraine Furter & Nina Paim for the workshop LA LETTERA NEUTREƏ – Inclusive typography experiments by Collletttivo, whose first day of remote meeting took place on Saturday 16th January 2021.

LORAINE FURTER is a graphic designer based in Brussels, nourishing Armenian, Spanish, French & Swiss roots, specializing in hybrid publishing, research, and intersectional feminist projects. She launched in 2018 the Badass Libre Fonts by Womxn, a free, feminist, open-source type collection, and she is part of the collective Bye Bye Binary and the L.i.P. Collective – The Liberation in Print Collective, whose research gave rise to the exhibition and the publication Feminist Findings, curated and edited by Futuress.

NINA PAIM, Brazilian curator and design researcher based in Basel, co-founder of Futuress, a platform for design politics. The lecture will have as its focus Feminist Findings the collective research of twenty-six women and non-binary people on the history of feminist publishing taking the form of an exhibition [host at A—Z gallery, Berlin, 2020] and accompanying zine.

The group takes the acronym L.i.P. Collective — Liberation in Print — formed during the recent lock-down period and its research showcases stories around twentieth century publications from across the world, including Agenda, Al-Raida, Aspekt, Bridges, Carnets des Nanas Beurs, Chrysalis, Common Lives/Lesbian Lives, Courage, Di Froy, DYKE A Quarterly, Distaff, Emanzipation, Ewa, Froyen Shtim, Gidra, Heresies, Leïla,  Manushi, Nova, Phoenix Rising, Sinister Wisdom, Sorcières, Soviet Women, and Spare Rib. The project was curated and edited by Futuress.

Nina’s work usually involves many others and revolves around notions of directing, supporting, and collaborating. She was born in Nova Friburgo 168 years after Swiss settler-colonialists displaced the indigenous tribes of the puris, coroados, and guarus. Love and fate brought her to Basel, where she seeks to transmute her daily immigrant anger into care practices for making space. She curated the exhibition Taking a Line for a Walk at the 2014 Brno Design Biennial and co-curated Department of Non-Binaries at the 2018 Fikra Design Biennial. She was a program coordinator for the 2018 Swiss Design Network conference Beyond Change. She’s a two-time recipient of the Swiss Design Award.

Collletttivo is an open source type foundry founded in 2017, and a network of people who promote the practice of type design through sharing and collaboration. In addition to the design and release of typefaces, the group – based in Milan – is responsible for organizing workshops, talks and many other online and offline projects with the aim of encouraging continuous comparison and experimentation in the typographic field. Collletttivo aims to make the culture of typography more open and inclusive, consolidating its diffusion in the world of design.

December 2020

In collaboration with SPRINT

A conversation with A Frei (1982, lives and works in Zurich)

SPRINT’s new performative video series will focus on the publishing projects of Swiss spirit A Frei. From the multiverse catalogue for Chewing the Scenery, Swiss Off-site Pavilion, project curated by Andrea Thal at the 54th Venice Biennale [2011], to the Risograph printing posters and tapes covers for OOR Records Shop that A co-runs in Zurich. Let’s DANCE!

A Frei are a sound artist, sonic community organizer, collaborator, sonic researcher, recordstore co-operator, graphic designer and experimental/essayistic dj (aka Fred Hystère). For more than 10 years A Frei has organized concerts, experimental audio formats and collaborates on listening performances and collective listening settings. A works as freelance graphic designer focusing on sound related projects and art books, is concentric of publications and editions and gives weekly risograph-print-workshops.

A’s sonic practice consists of research-based listening performances, essayistic djing (Fred Hystère), modular synthesis, various forms of microphony and free electroacoustic improvisation. They focus on questions of socio-political and solidary practices of listening and the possibilities within the sonic realm and non-verbal communication. They are a collaborator in various sonic activist, art and performance projects, listening formats and dj-sets in fortress Switzerland, fortress Europe and beyond.

A are co-founder of OOR Records/OOR Saloon. OOR records is a collective, cooperative and honorary operated record and art bookstore, organic archive and social gathering place for adventurous ears. OOR saloon is a sound art space and production-/event context focussing on emancipatory collaborative and intersectional queer-feminist politics/practices of listening and sound, electronic and electroacoustic music, experimental club culture, performance and sound art. The OOR saloon series wishes to create collaborative, multi-sensory and discursive spaces for negotiations of emancipatory artistic practices related to sound/forms of listening and questions of difference. For OOR saloon A are responsible for event-conception/programming, organization (together with Franziska Koch) as well as the graphic design.


In collaboration with SPRINT

SPRINT lights up—The Most Beautiful Swiss Books–with a series of city posters which release the exhibition out of its venue, where it is installed but not yet visible to the public due to the current health measures. 

Original images will be featured in Milan’s neighbourhood to introduce selected books’ titles as the best expression of Swiss publishing in 2019, in order to immerse the exhibition in the topography of the city.

The billboards can be found in the areas of: Buenos Aires, Cimitero Monumentale, Lancetti, Città Studi, Navigli, Maciachini, Cadorna among many others.
See Photo Gallery.

November 2020

In collaboration with SPRINT

With works by Alfredo Aceto (Fellow Milano Calling 2020/2021), Monia Ben Hamouda, Michele Gabriele, Meloe Gennai (Fellow Milano Calling 2020/2021) & Sol Pagliai, Real Madrid (Fellow Roma Calling 2019/2020), and Giuliana Rosso

Watch here


SPRINT _\|/_ Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon 
In collaboration with Istituto Svizzero.

A series of online appointments such as studio visits, listening sessions and much more can be found here: SPRINT

This year’s participation includes the independent publishing houses Nieves, Zurich and Fuzao Design, Locarno.


29.11.2020 H16:00
w/Udo Breger and Luzius Martin (Basel)
Conversation & presentation: counterculture, dream-machine, random-sequence generators and cut-up techniques by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin.

Even though only 3 numbers were issued in the 70s, Soft Need —founded by Udo Breger back in 1973—quickly became a legendary publication for both William Burroughs‘ fans and those interested in counterculture artists’ editions. Soft Need had its roots in the underground press of the  previous two decades and at the same time became a prototype for the forthcoming fanzine scene.
Planned as another mag, it ended up as a book of 260 pages with more than 80 contributors from all over the world & 190 illustrations. Conceived in the spirit of friendship and dedicated to Ian Sommerville, mathematician, friend & collaborator of Burroughs & Gysin, Soft Need 23 is a book that contains literary essays, photographs, poetry, visual art, caricature, memories & and all kinds of bits & pieces.

Live streaming on Facebook.