Marc Thomasset’s The Brutalist Colouring Book of architectural illustrations

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Art director and graphic designer Marc Thomasset tells us about his latest product, The Brutalist Colouring Book.

To cut it short, it’s a new colouring book for adults that pays tribute to the finest achievements of brutalist architecture. Adult colouring books have been around for a few years, but I thought it would be fun to have a “brutal” one, mainly based on concrete colours, cold grey and warm grey. Less flowers, and more concrete.

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I was walking through the adult colouring book department of a library in Brussels when I thought “Let’s make a brutal one”. I have to say that I have been passionate about architecture since I was a kid. A few years ago, I started sharing pictures of brutalist buildings on Instagram and following some great accounts of like-minded people. I grew more and more fascinated by the incredible brutalist gems that stand all over the world.

The response has been so enthusiastic, it is great to see so many people that love these architectural beauties. And maybe some other people might get more interested in brutalism too, raising appreciation for this particular architecture style, as best known brutalist buildings are still threatened with demolition, like Ove Arup’s Brutalist Dunelm House.

I choose first some of my favourite pictures of brutalist buildings and painstakingly redrew them. And then I checked, with my wife, daughter and friends what was their thoughts about The Brutalist Colouring Book. They always have interesting insights, and they make me look at my projects in a different way.

When printing, I always try to produce my projects locally, and in a sustainable way, using recycled and labelled paper. I work with a local printing company, we meet and talk about the project, the bits that might be tricky, the choice of papers. It is always a fascinating process to transform your vision in an actual physical product. Once the project was finished, I contacted my friend Geert De Taeye, a talented photographer, who was very enthusiastic about the idea, so we spent an afternoon at his place shooting it and making these nice pictures.

I hesitated on calling the book The Brutalist Colouring Book (British spelling) or The Brutalist Coloring Book (American spelling). I finally decided that, as I am living in Europe, it was logical to use the British one. But my computer’s spelling check is set on American English, so he keeps on changing the word over and over again.

I am gonna launch a second edition of The Brutalist Colouring Book as soon as I am out of stock of the first one. Right now, I am launching a new very personal project called “The Skin Project” I hope it will resonate with people.