There’s a couple ways to enjoy this minute depiction of 30 kilometers of riverside structures–either flipping through each side of the book, examining the hundreds of windows in each building and the plethora of supports on the bridges, or by stretching it out across your entire home, the folds of the pages winding through many rooms that only hint at the length of the banks of the Thames and London’s huge size.
But however you enjoy it, London Unfurled seems to be a book made more for a Londoner than for a visitor. It’s for someone who can find familiar structures among the meters upon meters of black and white lines. There are a few edifices recognizable to all, of course–the London eye, the Houses of Parliament (strangely small when compared to everything else), even MI6 headquarters–but mostly the pages seem to be a record for the purpose of fond reminiscences, a record of many miles walked past structures of iron, brick, and everything in between.
Nevertheless, this book is original and intricate, perfect for giving the impression of London, of the miles of it–something difficult to imagine if one has never walked thousands of footsteps along the banks of a river, from the interesting and pretty buildings to the boring ones stretching off into the dusty industrial regions. It’s not just the art that matters, it’s the format, that other oh-so-debatable aspect of the book. The black lines on white paper only go halfway to replicating London–the other half’s the miles of the Thames itself, in paper format. As I myself get ready to embark on a trip to London, coincidentally happening in but a couple of days, I look forward to discovering whether the banks of the Thames are really that endless. Something tells me that they are.