Book Review: Paris versus New York by Vahram Muratyan

We know of friends who are big fans of this book, like so many around the world. We first became aware of Paris versus New York by Vahram Muratyan on our 2013 trip to the concept store Merci in Paris when an elaborate exhibition/installation was set up in the store to celebrate the book. If such a splendid installation (pictured below) can be conjured from the book, it’s almost certain that the book itself is equally splendid.

MERCIAIMEPARIS-VAHRAMMURATYAN-2013

True enough, the book is so full of life, colour, cute observations of the two wonderful cities, expressed via some of the most minimal illustrations and accompanying text. How pages of such pared back details, stripped to plain colour blocks, lines and short phrases can say so many different things about a city is just brilliant. To think that it originated from a simple ideas, pitting two cities together and letting the discussion of ideas flow. Below are some of our favourite comparisons.

Paris vs New York metro ticket illustration

Paris vs New York Godard vs Woody

Every double page spread points out the minute differences of one particular aspect of life, art, culture, landscape, geography, architecture, food, transport and the list goes on, of Paris versus  New York. Yes, you can read it as a polarising exercise, which of the two cities is the better city, but that is never the intention of the author. The comparisons are done with so much heart, at most times, we smile, agree and even laugh at the differences, but end up recognising as we turn the last page, the cities aren’t that different after all in their greatness.

Paris vs New York Depardieu vs De Niro

Paris vs New York Book cover

What is ultimately most encouraging or uplifting about this book is that fact that it proves the print medium is stronger than ever. If you have a good idea or have something truly unique and valuable to express, get it on print. On that note, we will only suggest to Vahram Muratyan to take it to the next level, print out his pages in large format posters, we’ll gladly hang them on our walls!

Picture of Vahram Muratyan installation courtesy of Merci Paris.

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