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New Work: KIPP NYC College Prep High School

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This week KIPP NYC College Prep High School celebrates the graduation of the second class of seniors who have studied at its new state-of-the-art building in the South Bronx. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed the program of signage, wayfinding and environmental graphics for the school, which is the first high school in the KIPP NYC network of 11 public charter schools and serves over 900 students in grades 9 through 12.

KIPP stands for “Knowledge Is Power Program,” and KIPP NYC students regularly outperform their peers at other New York schools and boast higher graduation and college matriculation rates. (KIPP NYC College Prep sees an extraordinary 100 percent of its students go on to apply for college.) This mission of educational empowerment extends to the graphics of the new building, which encourage students to think, learn and problem-solve as they encounter a series of codes, puzzles and riddles that have been integrated into the school environment.

New Work: ‘Philadelphia Explained’

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In her typographic map paintings, Pentagram’s Paula Scher explores ideas of location and individual ways of seeing the world. Now, working in collaboration with students at her alma mater, the Tyler School of Art, Scher has expanded this unique point of view to an immersive environment. Philadelphia Explained is a large-scale installation that details the city and its surrounding areas in a hand-painted map created by Scher and 154 participants that covers the walls and floor of Temple Contemporary, the school’s 2,100 square-foot gallery.

USA Pavilion Opens at Expo Milano 2015

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This weekend Expo Milano 2015, the world’s fair, opened in Milan, Italy. Organized around the official theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” the Expo features exhibits and events from 147 participating countries—including 54 national pavilions—that explore ways to produce healthy, safe and sustainable food for the world. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have created the identity and environmental graphics for the USA Pavilion, which is designed by James Biber of Biber Architects.

Titled “American Food 2.0, United to Feed the Planet,” the USA Pavilion focuses on innovations in the farm-to-table food model and sustainable production. Biber’s striking design for the Pavilion reinterprets the architectural forms of the barn and other agricultural structures and includes a 7,200 square-foot, football-field-length vertical farm that has been planted with a variety of vegetables, grains and herbs. The harvestable crops are grown in hydroponic planters on louvers that open and close like shutters, giving the building a feeling of transparency. (In addition to “farmers” tending to the fields each day, there will be periodic performances by acrobats.)

New Work: ‘Mad Men’ Monument

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Over the course of seven seasons, the landmark series “Mad Men” has charted the rise of ad man Don Draper in the “Golden Age” of advertising in 1960s New York. Today AMC unveils a special installation that commemorates the show’s impact in the city. Designed by Pentagram’s Lorenzo Apicella, Michael Bierut and Emily Oberman, the monument takes the form of a sleek, elegant bench that features the iconic graphic of Draper from the show’s opening title sequence. Pentagram project coordinator Julia Lindpainter worked closely with AMC and the bench’s fabricator, DCL, to manage the design’s careful execution.

The bench is located outside the Time & Life Building, the fictional home of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (changed to Sterling Cooper & Partners in the sixth season), where Draper and fellow characters Roger Sterling, Peggy Olson, Joan Holloway and Peter Campbell work in the series. “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner and stars Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, Christina Hendricks and John Slattery were on hand today for the sculpture’s unveiling.

The installation coincides with the show’s final seven episodes, which kick off on Sunday, April 5. The bench will be on display in the Time & Life Building Plaza at 1271 Avenue of the Americas (between 50th and 51st Streets) for fans and passersby to enjoy from March 23 through the summer.

Shake Shack: Branding a Better Burger

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As every Shackburger fan knows, Shake Shack serves some of the best burgers in the world. And now, with a recent IPO that has valued the company at a staggering $1.6 billion, more of the world will get to know the Shack: From its roots as a hot dog stand in New York’s Madison Square Park, the company has grown into a chain of 63 restaurants from Chicago to Dubai, and plans to use the additional funds to expand to over 400 locations in the next decade.

Tastiness of its burgers aside, no small part of Shake Shack’s success is due to its sophisticated sense of design, expressed in an iconic brand identity and environmental graphics by Pentagram’s Paula Scher and original restaurant architecture by James Wines and his firm SITE. (Shake Shack even noted its fantastic brand awareness as an asset in IPO prospectus.)

“The modernness of the identity is perfect in keeping with the quality of the food,” says Scher. “Shake Shack looks back to the classic burger stand but is a contemporary fast-food chain with a high-level product. It’s invented a whole new category.”

Have a Holly Jolly Texmas

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A jackalope is a mythical animal that has supposedly been seen hopping across the plains of West Texas for centuries. The story goes that the jackrabbits are so big in that area—“everything is bigger in Texas”—they began mating with the wild antelopes in the region and the jackalope, a jackrabbit with antelope horns, was born. Now partner DJ Stout and designer Barrett Fry in Pentagram’s Austin office have created a version of the mysterious beast just in time for the holidays. Meet the Jackareindeer.

Cooper Hewitt Reopens With Graphics by Pentagram

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Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum reopens today following a three-year renovation that restores the historic Andrew Carnegie Mansion and increases the museum’s exhibition space by 60 percent. Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and Eddie Opara and their teams have collaborated on the graphics for the revitalized institution, including a bold new graphic identity, website, signage, wayfinding and exhibition graphics.

Michael Gericke and his team developed a vibrant and contemporary signage and environmental graphics program for the mansion’s exterior and interior. The program includes the exterior identity, exhibition directories, wayfinding and donor recognition graphics. The Andrew Carnegie Mansion is a historic landmark and cannot be physically altered, so the team found ways to creatively integrate the signage into the building in an impactful but non-intrusive way.