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About us

Bookbinding and Design

The Department of Bookbinding and Design offers hand bookbinders, graphic designers, conservators, and interested persons with appropriate experience a forum for learning and engagement that encompasses both technical and creative aspects of bookbinding and design. Course participants have the opportunity to further their education and broaden their skills by learning new techniques and methods from internationally recognized instructors who stand at the forefront of their craft. The unique environment of the CBL allows for unparalleled creative exchange with other professionals in the field, provides new inspiration and fresh approaches to your creative practice, as well as an opportunity for self-reflection away from daily stresses and work-life demands.

Our annual course program is continuously changing in order to offer you a wide variety of interesting and up-to-date courses. We offer everything from the classic hand bookbinding techniques such as the French full leather binding, the “Bradel” technique or classic gold tooling, to the latest in contemporary book design and binding techniques. The second focus of the program is on the broader, contemporary applications of paper as a medium – from the bound book to packaging and presentation media and sculptural forms. Materials, design and technical craftsmanship all play a synergistic role to fill the functional and qualitative demands of your work.

The Department of Book and Paper Conservation offers courses to professionals in the field of bookbinding and conservation, librarians, archivists and others working with paper and books on a professional level. Our program covers introductory, intermediate, advanced and specialized courses. Our courses offer the theoretical background needed for understanding the subject matter and special attention is given to each student for guided hands-on practice.


Suzanne Schmollgruber

Suzanne Schmollgruber is the school director of the Centro del Bel Libro Ascona. Her responsibilities include teaching courses, coordinating guest instructors and overseeing the continued development of the program. Thanks to her broad international experiences and contacts, she is always able to bring new impulse to the department of Bookbinding and Design.

Suzanne Schmollgruber trained as a hand bookbinder in Lausanne and Sion from 1988 until 1992. In 1992/1993 she attended a year long advanced training program at the CBL under the direction of Edwin Heim. Between 1994 and 2007 she continued her advanced training in different countries with other well known professionals such as: Hedi Kyle, Peter Aegerter, Jean-Luc Honegger, Suen Evrard, Carmencho Arregui and Pamela Moore. From 1993 until 1996 she worked as a hand bookbinder with Rolf Bommer in Basel and at the Basel Paper Mill Museum for paper, writing and printing. From 1996 until 2005 she worked in Barcelona as a free-lance bookbinder running her own workshop. During that time she also taught courses in her studio and at schools throughout Spain. In 2005 she moved to Milan, Italy where she continued her free-lance work as a fine binder and taught nationally and internationally. As the director of the CBL, Suzanne travels worldwide to participate in fairs and exhibitions and as a guest lecturer.


individual courses

Our instructor is also available for individual courses lasting 1 – 5 days. Prices on request. Date by arrangement.



Bubu Bookfactory, Mönchaltorf
Basler Buchbinder Verein, Basel
Raiffeisen Schweiz AG
Peyer Graphic AG, Lengnau
Winter & Company AG, Basel
Schmedt GmbH & Co, KG, Hamburg
Viscom, Bern
VSD, Bern
Fischer Papier, St. Gallen
Buchbinderei Grollimund AG, Reinach
Wolfau Druck AG, Weinfelden
KAPAG Karton + Papier AG, Muhen
Renfer AG Buchbinderei, Dübendorf
Buchbinderei Scherrer AG, Urdorf
Gramag Grafische Maschinen AG, Reiden
Chromos AG, Dielsdorf
Buchbinderei E. Keller AG, Wetzikon