Book design for a transformative, carbon-negative cultural hub.

SAM is the catalyst for the fuel switch from natural gas to low carbon sources for district energy plant Creative Energy. The steam-powered plant will be located at SAM. Etho was engaged to create a process book to document this effort. Designed by the renowned Danish architecture studio, BIG, SAM is more than a building; it’s a building block for the city’s greenest city goals.




  • Architectural Renderings: BIG, Tandem Studio


  • Print Design
  • Digital Design

For the book cover, Etho drew inspiration from the iridescent panels on the building. In order to mimic this effect, we introduced a dot pattern for precise control over the foil application, achieving a softer, yet elevated feel. The building itself exudes an icy-cool vibe, and so to add a touch of flair, the logo’s bubble letters were debossed using a multi-level die—almost as if they were delicately scooped out like ice cream.

SAM’s iridescent facade shares the hues of bubbles, the shape of the building itself when seen from above resembles a rounded letter S, and the Creative Energy plant is steam-powered. All this inspired our use of bubble letters throughout the book and on the section title pages, in which the project’s manifesto was wrapped around a 3D model of the building. The staggered, checkered building exteriors also informed the playful styling of the page layouts. 

This piece was conceived as a process book. In that spirit, Etho styled architectural diagrams and infographics to help explain the project’s purpose. Playful, squiggly underlines were included to give the project a marked-up feel. The book’s contemporary cool aesthetic is kept a bit raw—as a process book should be.

At over 150 pages, the book includes details on the project’s architecture, offices, amenities, public spaces, and landscaping. Etho styled diagrams provided by BIG to fit SAM’s aesthetic, adding bubble call-outs, colour and iridescence. In all, this book was given an innovative look for an innovative project, helping to convey SAM’s significance in the Vancouver skyline. 

© Etho Studio