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“The Book of Hours”

Time for Contemplation

Frida Escobedo

“The Book of Hours”
By Elisa Grossi -

Medieval Books of Hours are manuscripts emblazoned with miniatures and illustrations of scenes of country life and sacred images, alongside psalms and prayers to be recited at regular intervals throughout the day. On antique library shelves, these diminutive, scribe-written books symbolize a lost, forgotten, and extinct era: an age of contemplation and devotion. Zumtobel Group’s 2022/2023 Artistic Annual Report, sub-titled The Book of Hours, takes readers on a journey of introspection in our daily lives – something that is ever more necessary in an era when time seems to constantly be accelerating.

Mexican designer Frida Escobedo, owner of the self-titled architecture studio in Mexico City, was commissioned to creatively direct the 32nd edition of the company’s artistic report. The Book of Hours is a collection of 24 objects that belong to her, photographed at various times of the day and under different lighting conditions. By their very nature, the pieces in the collection are decontextualized and free of any functional obligation, liberating them for contemplation. The objects selected for the volume include blue ceramic shards collected on a beach in the Japanese region of Tohoku, recently devastated by a tsunami, as well as a seashell, chestnut husks, and various stones. 

Apprehended in an interplay of light and shadow, each object is of special significance to Frida. The architect worked on the publication with her sisters, Ana and María Gómez de León Lopez. Sister no. 1, a photographer, took all the shots. Sister no. 2 wrote texts for the volume, one for each portrayed object. Scientific articles, poems, philosophical writings and musical pieces, the texts in The Book of Hours combine with objects even if they may at first seem unrelated, forming a coherent picture as a whole.

Frida graduated in Architecture from the Universidad...

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