The Forgotten Archive

Posted by Fabio 17 December 2013

In the attic of Oslo National Academy of the Arts, a unique collection had been lying forgotten, untouched by time. Rare graphic design journals, cases of metal and wood type, books, correspondences between world-famous designers, type catalogues and printing machines dating back to the last century. The now rediscovered collection offers an exceptional glimpse of Norwegian graphic design history.

There is not much known about who is responsible for this collection, but it is believed to be partly the work of the design teacher, Ivar Bell. What is certain is that by 1968, the memory of the collection was no more, and the work of the unknown archivist would be left untouched for nearly 50 years. When the archive was rediscovered, it consisted of 130 cases of type (lead & wood), which were deteriorating, and a hefty cleaning process took place over a year in order to save them. They are today to be found in the Academy’s Letterpress Room, which was set up as a consequence of the rediscovery of the archive.