Conceived as a walk through the extensive archives of the company, The Waking Society is a new book that celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the family-owned Camper shoe business. The book showcases Camper’s contemporary design practice, compiling sketched concepts, prototype products and as-yet-unreleased pieces from the brand’s network of renowned international designers including Hella Jongerius, Jasper Morrison, Bernard Wilhelm, Jaime Hayón, Alfredo Häberli, Anton Beeke, Nendo, Rafael Moneo, Shigeru Ban, Neville Brody, Mark Farrow and Martí Guixé. The book has been designed by Mallorca-based studio Atlas.
“The Walking Society” also looks at a selection of themes, with essays covering subjects from the anatomy of the foot to the cultural history of the shoe. The authors, including Francesco Careri, David Cirici, Kenneth Goldsmith, Daniel E. Lieberman, Deyan Sudjic and Robert Thiemann, give a broader sociological and philosophical insight into the walking society from different points of view.
The book begins in 1975, when Lorenzo Fluxà, equipped with nearly 100 years of shoe-making heritage, founded Camper and launched its first shoe, presenting a fresh and casual approach to footwear design. Paired with humorous and bold communication and the introduction of radical store concepts, the brand set new rules for the business of everyday casual shoes.
Astrid Stavro and Pablo Martín of Atlas design agency based the book’s design concept on a famous verse by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado: “Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar” (which translates as “Walker, there is no path. A path is made by walking”).
Purposefully designed with no chapter dividers, the book seamlessly weaves together the history, present and future of the brand. Conceived as a visual promenade, readers can choose to begin wherever they like and continue in any direction, beginning new journeys when the time suits — the book is for wanderers and wonderers.
The Atlas team spent months sifting through the extensive sketches, vintage posters, bags, and boxes full of slides, prototypes and images that make up the Camper archives. They talked with and interviewed some of the employees, researching and documenting to get an insider feeling of the brand. The experience proved overwhelming: the editing of the book became a daunting task — the question being what to include, what to leave out and of course, why.