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New Work: ‘Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana’


As the legalization of marijuana gains momentum across the U.S., there’s a growing need for practical information about cannabis that is not clouded in a haze of hippy nostalgia or stoner clichés. Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and his team have designed Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana, a new book from Chronicle that is an accessible and comprehensive manual for the occasional user and the dedicated connoisseur alike.

Green was written by Dan Michaels, the founder of the cannabis research group Sinsemedia, and features the striking photography of Eric Christiansen and his studio Nugshots, which specializes in detailed macro shots of various cannabis strains. The book demystifies its subject with a straightforward, almost clinical approach that balances useful information with gorgeous images that show the natural beauty of cannabis plants and their buds.

New Work: Lloyd’s of London


Lloyd’s of London is the world’s specialist insurance market, conducting business in over 200 countries worldwide. Established in 1871, Lloyd’s is synonymous with London’s skyline and is based in the landmark Inside-Out building by Richard Rogers. Every year, Lloyd’s generates an annual report to send to key stakeholders. The latest edition, which is both print and digital, has been designed by Harry Pearce and team and covers the financial year of 2014.

Pearce’s brief was to create a report that used the Lloyd’s pre-existing brand guidelines, whilst being a significant departure from annual reports of previous years. The report needed to be more than a financial brochure, it had to have an editorial and utilitarian feel.

Preview: ‘OfficeUS’ at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale


Pentagram’s Natasha Jen has designed the identity, environmental graphics and publications for the U.S. Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition—la Biennale di Venezia, opening in Venice on June 7. Titled OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion is a working architecture office that explores 1,000 projects designed by 200 U.S. offices working abroad. Jen is part of a collaborative team—organized by Storefront for Art and Architecture, in collaboration with PRAXIS Journal, and with research lead by the MIT Department of Architecture—that were selected by the U.S. Department of State to represent the U.S. at the Biennale. This edition of the Biennale is directed by the architect Rem Koolhaas and centers on the theme “Fundamentals.”

New Work: ‘Terra Nova’

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The US spends roughly $1 billion a day overseas on foreign oil instead of investing the funds at home, where the economy badly needs it. At the same time, our dependence on oil from unstable countries endangers national security, and carbon dioxide emissions from burning oil contribute to climate change. In Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs, the scientist Eric W. Sanderson looks at how three powerful forces that drove American prosperity for the better part of a century are now detrimentally affecting the country’s quality of life. The book is a sequel of sorts to Mannahatta, Sanderson’s reimagining of what the island of Manhattan was like before the first settlers arrived. In Terra Nova, he looks ahead, and with a larger scope, envisioning what the US would be like if our dependence on oil, automobiles and urban sprawl were to end, and a new ecology was formed that valued the land, encouraged well-designed cities, and depended on America’s natural advantages in resources like wind, sun and heat, as well as ingenuity.

Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and team have created a design for Terra Nova that helps the book make its case through a clear, cogent layout and a series of 72 highly detailed diagrams. Sanderson’s writing is smart, creative and lively, and Opara has developed a corollary in engaging, user-friendly information graphics that complement the highly readable text. More than supplemental illustrations, the data visualizations are a key element of the book, helping Sanderson construct his arguments and communicate his vision.

New Work: ‘A Country of Cities’

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In his new book A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America, the architect and urban planner Vishaan Chakrabarti argues that well-designed cities are the key to solving many of the country’s challenges, from the sluggish economy and imperiled environment to rising public health costs and growing social inequality. Chakrabarti suggests that, contrary to what many Americans believe, urban density is actually better for the health and happiness of the country, as well as of the planet, and the trend of fast-growing cities can be harnessed to create an “infrastructure of opportunity.” The highly readable book was recently selected as one of Designers & Books’ 10 Notable Books of 2013 (so far) and will be the subject of a special Oculus Book Talk with Chakrabarti tonight at the Center for Architecture.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Britt Cobb worked on the design of the book with SHoP Architects’ Omar Toro-Vaca and Ryan Lovett, and Metropolis Books publisher Diana Murphy, helping to establish a clear, cogent framework that showcases the author’s manifesto. Chakrabarti makes his case simultaneously in words and pictures: an intelligent, closely reasoned thesis, accompanied by a series of 100 diagrams and infographics that bring the thesis to life.

New Work: Makr Shakr

Makr Shakr in action at this year’s Google I/O conference and Milan Design Week.

As any cocktail connoisseur knows, mixology is a precise science, and everyone has their own way of customizing their favorite drink. Makr Shakr was an installation at this year’s Google I/O conference that used robotic barmen to mix drinks in approximately one googol (that’s 10 to the power of 100) different crowd-sourced combinations. Developed by the MIT Senseable City Lab in collaboration with the Coca-Cola Company and Bacardi Rum, the project featured an identity, web application and data visualization designed by Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and team.

Conference attendees downloaded the Makr Shakr app on their handheld devices and mixed and selected ingredients as their own virtual barmen, then watched as the cocktails were crafted by three KUKA robots and delivered via conveyor belt. As the drinks were prepared, a digital display behind the bar showed the queue of drinks in the works, profiles of the users, and the precise mixture of ingredients in their drinks, as well as what cocktails and ingredients were trending across the crowd.