On the occasion of the company’s 75th anniversary, Porsche granted the Type 7 team virtually unlimited access to the official Porsche company archives. The goal was a large-format illustrated book that presents relics and previously unknown details of Porsche’s history in unprecedented depth. The result of one year’s work is now available in the Elferspot Shop!
Type 7’s latest book has the very appropriate name Artifacts. It contains small artifacts, stories and snippets of contemporary history that illuminate Porsche’s living history in wonderful detail. But more than a historical collection, Artifacts is a photographic document. It shows the development of the then small design office into a global corporation.
The new Type 7 book’s focus is the artistic perspective, and it has it all. With skillful play of light, the documents, some of which are heavily patinated, come back to life and tell the incredible story of the former Stuttgart family business. But the illustrated book also features photos of vehicle models, objects from the Porsche family, and technical assemblies.
Type 7 editor-in-chief Ted Gushue admits that the book was born out of a dream. With his small team, he unearthed the historical treasures from countless files in the Porsche archive. They spent a full three weeks every day in the archive to compile a “previously unprecedented wealth of visual material and information”.
Porsche itself otherwise only grants a few hand-picked employees this full access to the archive. It is regarded as the repository for all important information relating to the brand. It is “Porsche’s memory,” says Frank Jung, head of the historical archive at Porsche. “We keep the innovations of the past there. Being able to work so close to the core of the brand is both a pleasure and an obligation. The appreciation and special view of the details as conveyed in Artifacts are unprecedented.”
“There’s something very special about seeing all the things you can’t normally see”, Gushue continues, “like with the 90 percent of the iceberg that’s always underwater”. The editor-in-chief speaks of a magical experience that occurred every time he visited the archives. And it is precisely these feelings that he and his team now want to share with Artifacts.
There’s something very special about seeing all the things you can’t normally see, like with the 90 percent of the iceberg that’s always underwater.”Ted Gushue, Type 7 editor-in-chief
Whenever their gaze lingered on a piece of archive material, the Porsche Archive team was there to answer questions. “For example, when we found an item we thought was interesting, they explained the story behind it. Without them – both in terms of logistics and storytelling – the book wouldn’t have happened.”
Type 7 is particularly proud to have photographed many items and documents from the Porsche archive that have never been shown before. These include, for example, vehicles from the museum, equipment from the Design & Development departments, or a perforated ignition key to document the limitless pursuit of weight reduction.
A special highlight of the illustrated book is the enclosed index. This is because, in order to give the pictures by photographer Thomas Walk enough space, they were all given the same reference number as in the Porsche archive. Readers can track information about the image using the pull-out index and thus trace a piece of the Type 7 crew’s experience from the archive.
The detailed explanations for each object make it possible to experience for yourself the experience of an archivist researching Porsche’s history. “That means you can look at Artifacts from different angles”, Gushue explains. “You can look at it simply for the beauty of the images, or you can experience the whole story by connecting it to the index. Either way, we wanted the reader to have the same experience we had when we were going through the archive and finding out the stories behind each object.”
Type 7 Artifacts is also intended to provide a tactile experience through its special presentation. It comes in a gift box that has metal corners and is made of the same paper as the storage boxes in the archive. Even the slipcase is in the same dark red as the folders that have been used at Porsche for decades.
The book is pulled out by means of a pull-out tab and opened by a string fastener inspired by historical Porsche manuals. Layer by layer, the reader opens the book until he discovers the treasures inside. An image that brings to life the discovery process to the most original details of Artifacts.
A large part of the archive documents is housed in two security rooms. These are secured by a special argon fire protection system. Anyone entering the rooms must sign a declaration to certify that they are aware of the potential danger to life that the fire protection system could pose in the event of an emergency.
A reproduction of this document, signed by the entire team behind Artifacts, is included with each and every book. These details make it an incomparable experience. “There are so many special little details like this because we totally fell in love with the project. It was executed by a group of people who have real passion for the brand and its history”, Gushue concludes.
The strictly limited edition book, which is only available in English, is now available in the Elferspot Shop. Every buyer thus secures an exclusive piece of Porsche company history. A must-have for the private library of true Porsche fans!