New Work: ‘The Guggenheim’
The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum is the definitive chronicle of the creation of the iconic building, the final project of its renowned architect. Designed by Abbott Miller, who has a long-standing relationship with the museum, the book has been published to commemorate the Guggenheim’s 50th anniversary and is a companion volume to Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward, the blockbuster exhibition that became the museum’s most popular show ever during its run in New York this summer. (The exhibition has now traveled to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, where it opened last week.) Miller describes the project as the ultimate souvenir book, and it has been designed to captivate architectural aficionados and casual visitors alike.
Miller has worked with the Guggenheim Museum for nearly fifteen years, collaborating on their publications, website, and exhibition graphics, and the design of the identity for the Guggenheim Foundation. When working on a magazine project for the Guggenheim in 1996, Miller commissioned Jonathan Hoefler to develop a typeface based on the lettering found on the façade of the Frank Lloyd Wright building. “Guggenheim”—now “Verlag”—is now a central ingredient in the museum’s communications program. The font serves as the display font throughout the book, supported by body copy and captions set in Martin Majoor’s beautiful font Nexus.
The design translates the famous Guggenheim spiral into an iconic typographic composition, its concentric circles evoking the view from the top of the rotunda. A collage of news clippings and correspondences of important events and players adorns the endpapers. The distinctive rusty red color throughout the book is inspired by Wright’s palette.
Taking cues from architectural journals of the 1950’s Miller and Susan Brzozowski created bold layouts that are both elegant and controlled. A fantastically detailed timeline comprises 76 pages of the 230-page text, nearly a third of the book. Red bars striping the page edge create a visible band along the fore-edge of the book’s pages. The timeline delves deeply into the history of the design, augmenting straight information with scanned letters, news clippings, drawings and photographs to give life to the context and controversy out of which the Guggenheim arose.
Project Team: Abbott Miller, partner-in-charge and designer; Susan Brzozowski, designer.