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Gamechanger: A Cautionary Tale of Corporate Jargon

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Naresh Ramchandani and Marina Willer explain the thinking behind this year’s Pentagram holiday card. 

We have spent a long time working together and often speak about how, like many other people who do what we do, we have developed an allergy to corporate jargon.

We often laugh at a story from when Naresh worked with a man who, on their very first meeting, said the task he wanted him to achieve was “mission critical.” The task was to add a couple of pages to a corporate site, not to hack through a jungle or to take a ring to a volcano. Was it that critical? Well, given that he only had to amend an ‘About’ page, the failure to do so was neither going to halt the “mission,” —if that’s what it was—or kill anyone in particular.

New Work: 500W21

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Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and team have designed branding, collateral and sales center displays for 500W21, a new residential development located where the High Line meets West 21st Street in the West Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The identity was inspired by the building’s unique positioning as an elegant, refined structure within the cutting-edge gallery district. Pentagram partner Emily Oberman also contributed, providing creative direction and messaging for the building’s advertising campaigns.

The team worked with the building’s developer, Sherwood Equities, as well as Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, architect Kohn Pedersen Fox, landscape architect Rees Roberts + Partners and interior designer MARKZEFF. Architecturally, the glass and limestone-clad building, which consumes an entire block between West 20th and 21st Streets, is industrial yet classic—in contrast to nearby structures by the likes of Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry.

New Work: ‘OfficeUS Agenda’

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OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion at the 14th International Venice Architecture Biennale, is a working architecture office that is exploring the ways in which U.S. architectural practice has influenced the discipline around the world over the past 100 years. The project is sharing its research through an extensive program of publications, both integrated into the exhibition—where a repository of 1,000 binders lines the walls of the installation—and as a series of books made available to the public. Pentagram’s Natasha Jen has designed Agenda, the first in the book series and the official catalogue for the U.S. Pavilion. The book design builds on the graphic identity Jen developed for the OfficeUS, which utilizes a visual language built out of the efficiencies of office culture.

New Work: London Design Festival 2014

For the eighth year running, Domenic Lippa and his team have designed the visual identity and promotional materials for London Design Festival, one of the biggest events in the design world. Running from 13th-21st September across London with the V&A as its centre, the Festival includes exhibitions, talks and workshops about a range of design disciplines.

London is a huge and unplanned city where even the most experienced visitors can lose their way. This year Lippa is honouring London’s chaotic nature by challenging visitors to “Lose yourself in the London Design Festival”.

OfficeUS Opens at the Venice Architecture Biennale

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OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, opened on June 7 with an identity, environmental graphics and publications designed by Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and team. Conceived as a working architecture office, the installation explores the ways in which U.S. architectural practice has influenced the discipline worldwide over the past 100 years. Jen’s identity for the Pavilion provides a dynamic visual language that is built out of the simple efficiency of office culture.

Jen worked on the project as part of a team organized by the Storefront for Art and Architecture in collaboration with PRAXIS Journal, and with research lead by the MIT Department of Architecture. The group was selected by the U.S. Department of State to represent the U.S. at the Biennale. The New York-based architecture firm Leong Leong developed the Pavilion design.

Harry Pearce’s Photographs Become Limited Edition Prints

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Harry Pearce has donated 10 personal photographs from the streets of Naples to the ‘Made in Cloister’ project, for which he designed the identity in 2013.

The images were shot during Pearce’s research for ‘Made in Cloister’ and these photographs have been printed with the aquatint etching technique by Vittorio Avella’s artisan printing house. 10 signed images of each print, 750cm by 530cm in size are being exhibited within the ruins of Naples’ oldest cloister, Santa Caterina from the sixteenth century, close to the Aragonese Walls and Porta Capuana, and are being sold to support the project.