Aoi Huber Kono

Born in Tokyo in 1936 and grew up in the studio of his father, Takashi Kono. After graduation he moved first to Stockholm and then to Milan with Max Huber, whom he married in ‘62. Since 1963 he has collaborated with numerous commissioning artists and architects, and his output ranges from designs for tiles, plates and jewelry to illustrations for advertisements, magazines and children’s books such as the celebrated Il grande pesce (Emme Edizioni, 1968). He is among the founders of the Max Huber-Kono Foundation and the m.a.x. Museum in Chiasso, which opened in 2005. Today he lives in Switzerland together with his cat Sabato.

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      There are places that exist only in memory, some of them so bizarre that they seem instead to be the figment of a child’s imagination-or perhaps an artist’s or even a designer’s. This is not the case with The Shops of Aoi Huber Kono: the meticulously illustrated facades in this leporello, which Aoi began composing in 1974, correspond to places that did indeed exist, everyday and familiar places. 

      If we are all accustomed to going to the bakery or the fish market, what happened instead to the confectionery, the dairy, the milliner or the haberdashery? Perhaps someday we will tell our children, as if it were a legend, that toys were not always crammed into the aisles of a shopping mall but that there were stores in which to spend hours looking at them all, magical places to be taken to after being at the doctor’s, or grandparents in secret. Or that once upon a time, when the world was a little less interconnected and much more diverse, there were no places in which to find everything from celery to tires: there were stores. 

      In this book, whose plates were designed for a small volume in the Tantibambini series, edited by Bruno Munari for Einaudi, Aoi Huber Kono illustrates the facades of 16 stores, making a summary of the most characteristic features of each: some still exist, but who can say for how long?

      The title on the cover is a small jewel of design and graphics, the result of the intense collaboration between husband and wife: Max Huber made the curtain strips with colored cutouts and composed the lettering, Aoi embellished it with a punctuated hemming.

      Illustrations by Aoi Huber Kono
      Book design Bunker

      23 × 16 cm
      16 pages
      Leporello with jacket
      Italian
      Isbn 978-88-98030-51-4
      First published July 2022