If you ever had the chance to stay at our Hotel you might have noticed a red haired, tattooed receptionist who is as friendly as he is unique. His name is Markus Kleinloh and he is the author of 13 Robinsonaden, the book he designed as a part of his master’s studies and the same book that has gained him some serious recognition in the world of book design!
So we asked if we could steal a few minutes of his time and ask an inappropriate amount of questions about his life outside of The Circus. Lucky for us, he agreed, and minutes quickly turned into hours as we sat in our colorful lobby drinking Commonground’s amazing brew. Here’s what we found out…
The last three years have been quite eventful for Markus. He’s traveled the world, got a baby boy, joined The Circus and designed a book. He is definitely not wasting time! And yes, we said designed, not written, keep reading!
Apart from taking great care of our guests, Markus has another passion – book design. And he’s been working hard pursuing the dream of becoming one of the best book designers out there. We’d say he’s been doing a pretty amazing job. His master’s thesis was shortlisted at Walter Tiemann Preis 2018, he was a finalist at Deutsche Designer Club Award and longlisted on the Foerderpreis für junge Buchgestaltung from the Stiftung Buchkunst, making it to the top 15 applications of 139 in total. Pretty impressive, don’t you think?
But what makes a book so special that it receives this much recognition?
Let’s start with the name. The original title of the book is 13 Robinsonaden. Confused? So were we, until Markus explained that it is actually a collection of 13 real-life outcast stories that date as far back as the 1600s! And that they are organized to give the reader a tour around the world as each story takes you to a different part of the ocean!
Although named after the most famous fictional character stranded on a remote island, there’s nothing fictional about Robinsonades. You think Tom Hanks had a tough time? Try being smuggled from Africa in the bottom of a ship for slavery in Belgium only to be abandoned on an island that doesn’t even have a single coconut? Yes, Tom Hanks, there are worse things than pulling your tooth out with an ice skate!
Great design is never conventional, and in this case, if you were looking for page numbers, get ready for more confusion. Instead of your regular page numbering, 13 Robinsonaden has coordinates at the bottom of each page. Here’s the cool part. If you look them up on a map, the coordinates will take you to the exact spot the heroes of the story you are reading were stranded on. Connect them all and you’ll get a full circle around the world!
Another weird thing that might have caught your eye are the strange lines that go on for pages between the stories. By now it should be quite obvious that nothing in this book is an accident, not even a bunch of lines on pages. The reason they are there is to give you an idea of the distance between the stories and the size of the oceans surrounding us. As for the actual stories, they are transcribed in their original form, and if you are a German speaker you might notice the language tends to be quite outdated at times. Like we said, nothing about this book is conventional and in this case, the author is more of a collector than a writer. But what a collector!
If you’d like to see what it looks like in person, we are delighted to tell you that there’s a copy inside The Circus Hotel library and you are welcome to come check it out any time! If you’re lucky you might just run into Markus himself and get to pick his brain some more!