Open House Lecture: Irma Boom

Irma Boom

Photo credit: Ilvy Njiokiktjien for The New York Times

Please join us for a lecture by internationally renowned graphic designer, Irma Boom, where she will show recent design projects and discuss the continued urgency of physical books in the age of the digital. Boom will focus specifically on more than 20 years of collaborations with Rem Koolhaas, including their most recent project, Elements of Architecture, which is based on two GSD studios, conducted in Rotterdam and Cambridge in 2012 and 2013. The students’ research formed the basis for both the book and an exhibition of the same title that was part of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennial for which Boom acted as Art Director. Other recent projects include Victor & Rolf: Cover to Cover (Phaidon, 2018), Olafur Eliasson: Contact (Flammarion, 2015), and Project Japan (Taschen, 2011—with Koolhaas), among others.

Irma Boom is an Amsterdam-based graphic designer who specializes in making books. After earning her B.F.A. in graphic design from the AKI Art Academy in Enschedé, she worked for five years at the Dutch government publishing and printing office in The Hague. In 1991 she founded Irma Boom Office, which works nationally and internationally in both the cultural and commercial sectors. Clients include the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Aga Khan Foundation for Architects, the Museum of Modern Art, Prince Claus Fund, Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum, Camper, Mallorca, Ferrari, Vitra International, the United Nations, and OMA/Rem Koolhaas. For five years she worked (editing and concept/design) on the 2,136-page SHV Think Book 1996–1896, commissioned by SHV Holdings in Utrecht and published in English and Chinese. Ms. Boom has been the recipient of many awards for her book designs and was the youngest ever laureate to receive the prestigious Gutenberg prize for her complete oeuvre. The University of Amsterdam manages the Irma Boom Archive, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York has acquired her work for the permanent collection in the Design and Architecture Department. She was appointed to the Yale faculty in 1992 and is currently senior critic in graphic design.


cover image of the book Elements of Architecture by Rem Koolhaas, shown against a green background
Elements of Architecture by Rem Koolhaas, designed by Irma Boom


Photo of Elements of Architecture open to pages 242-243
Interior spread from Elements of Architecture, designed by Irma Boom


Photo of Elements of Architecture open to page 1.
Interior page spread from Elements of Architecture, designed by Irma Boom


Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].