Martin Gardner, Paulina Hechenleitner
and Josefina Hepp

Plants from the Woods and Forests of Chile

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

2015   |  420 × 300mm   |  202pp

Chile Book Cover

This award-winning volume is an great example of how fortune can bring ideas into reality. For years, Martin Gardner of the RBGE's International Conifer Conservation Programme (ICCP) had wanted to produce a book that could represent the beauty and rich biodiversity of Chile’s forested habitats where he had often worked. In 2007, Martin was sitting in the RBGE staff canteen when he was re-introduced to three visiting Turkish botanical artists and was reminded of quality of their work. By chance, the meeting coincided with a generous legacy to the ICCP for their work in Chile and enabled this extraordinary project begin. 

After eight years of intense work by the artists and authors, the project transformed into a large-format, beautifully-illustrated volume with fascinating accounts of all the featured species. It was published in 2015 to great acclaim: it won the 2017 Award of Excellence in Botanical Art and Illustration presented by The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries and was finalist in the 2016 British Book Design and Production awards.

As the designer, I was lucky enough to be involved in the project from early on as the process evolved with frequent discussions with the artists, authors and RBGE staff to guide them though the choice of formats, papers, printing techniques and how best to manage the tricky colour reproduction. It was expertly produced by Albe De Coker of Belgium using their UV press that help keep the vibrancy of artwork when printed on the FSC® certified uncoated paper (which in turn was made by the climate-neutral Lessebo mill in the forests of Sweden – all adding to the truly international range of this project!).

I was delighted with the final result and proud to have played my part in producing this beautiful book. N.H.