Kon Makandra. Amsterdam-Paramaribo, Paramaribo-Amsterdam

‘It swings like Paramaribo’, was one panel member’s initial reaction after leafing through this book. It has the appearance of a joyous celebration, printed in blazing dayglow colours with a signature of coloured paper in the middle – it positively radiates sun and warmth.


The book’s subject is the collaboration between the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Nola Hatterman Art Academy in Paramaribo between 2006 and 2013. A book like this, full of project presentations, tutor statements, context photos and quotations from students can all too easily suffer under the uncoordinated jumble that the designer has to put together into something resembling coherence. In this case that task has been interpreted quite literally: the various constituent elements are ‘glued’ to each other with printed bands used as a kind of tape. These bands also return in the text columns scattered higgledy-piggledy over the pages – not always particularly legibly, but these are relatively short texts.

The cover too, which is of card in pastel shades, has been provided with fiercely red screenprinted bands. There are actually two different editions, with different colours of cover board and a different colour for the signature of coloured paper inside. That uncoordinated jumble is here forged together into flamboyant, wild homage to a beautiful transatlantic collaboration. In Sranantongo, the creole language spoken widely in Suriname, ‘kon makandra’ means ‘come together’. This multicoloured book whets the appetite for more such crossovers.

Edition: 2014
Language: Dutch
Final editor: Tammo Schuringa, Karien Wielenga
Publisher / commissioner: Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam
Designer: Niessen & de Vries (Esther de Vries)
Lithographer: Marc Gijzen imaging and digital lithography, Voorburg
Printer: Mart.Spruijt, Amsterdam (interior, printed in fluorescent colours), Helder Zeefdruk, Wormerveer (cover)
Binder: Stronkhorst Boekbinders, Groningen
Dimensions: 231 x 280 x 12
Amount of pages: 128 p.
Number of copies: 500
Price: € not for sale
ISBN: none
Font and foundry: Times (Linotype)
Binding style: sewn soft cover with flaps
Material: 120gsm Munken Pure Rough, 120gsm Rainbow medium blue (interior), 250gsm CLA (cover, with spot UV varnish)