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New Work: Stairwell B at the Museum of the City of New York

Stairwell Graphics and Signage Installation, Museum of the City of New York

As much as New York is a city of walkers, it’s also a city of climbers. Living in an almost completely manmade landscape of buildings, towers and subways, New Yorkers probably spend more time on stairs than the inhabitants of any other American city. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and team have created a new graphic installation for a stairwell at the Museum of the City of New York that pays tribute to the city, its people and their many ups and downs.

The graphics are part of the signage program we’ve developed for the ongoing renovation of the museum by Ennead Architects. The new installation transforms Stairwell B, a secondary staircase at the back of the museum, into a destination on par with the historic curving stairs that are the centerpiece of the museum lobby. Conceived as an interior tower of words and pictures, nearly every inch of wall space in Stairwell B has been filled with historic quotations about and photographs of New York.

New Work: Pepsi and the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium

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When fans arrive at MetLife Stadium this Sunday for Super Bowl XLVIII, they’ll be greeted by a dramatic new entrance for Pepsi, one of the game’s major sponsors. Designed by Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and his team, the huge installation transforms the gate into an unexpected celebration of the Pepsi brand, complete with a pair of unique graphic sculptures inspired by the Pepsi bottle and a four-story high rendition of the famous Pepsi Globe logo.

New Work: Centro Roberto Garza Sada, Universidad de Monterrey

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A school of design and architecture that is itself a bold architectural statement, the Centro Roberto Garza Sada (CRGS) is a new arts center at the Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM) designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando. Located in the mountainous landscape of northeast Mexico, the monumental concrete building rises out of its surroundings to announce the university and has quickly become an iconic landmark for the growing city of Monterrey. Pentagram’s Abbott Miller has designed a comprehensive program of signage, wayfinding and environmental graphics for the center that complement the raw physicality of Ando’s building with clean, crisp shapes and sleek, smooth surfaces.

The CRGS was conceived by Ando as a “Gate of Creation” that is both a marquee building for UDEM and a metaphor for the learning process. The six-story structure acts as a gateway for the campus and provides amazing vistas of the region. Constructed of cast concrete, the monolithic, minimalist form bridges over a massive triangular void at its center. The portal is meant to symbolize the opening or beginning of the students’ educational journey, and anchors the diagonal axis of the campus. The building was recently honored at the 2013 World Architecture Festival, where it was short-listed in the Higher Education and Research category.

There’s a New Girl in Town

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Partner DJ Stout and designer Barrett Fry in Pentagram’s Austin office have designed a new sign and additional branding materials for the second location of Lucy’s Fried Chicken on Burnet Road. The sign Stout and Fry created for the original South Congress Avenue restaurant in 2012 featured a dark-haired Lucy holding a chicken leg and kicking one of her own human legs through the magic of old-school neon animation. The Pentagram team worked with Austin’s retro-sign guru Evan Voyles on that sign and the new one, which features a sassy redhead. Owner James Holmes named the restaurant after his grandmother who taught him how to make fried chicken.

“At first he was thinking it would just be the exact same sign,” says Stout. “But we suggested introducing a new girl, maybe her sister, for the second location. This time Lucy’s holding a bucket of chicken and wearing a blue dress with white polka-dots.”

New Work: Forgotten Jewish Architects

In 1933, two years after Hitler came to power, Jewish citizens were persecuted and victimised across Germany. All Jewish citizens were forced to stop trading, and amongst them were 500 architects. Some managed to flee, others were deported and killed in concentration camps. Many architects who were once well-known are now forgotten and their works have been altered or destroyed.

New Work: GlaxoSmithKline US Headquarters

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Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and his team have designed a bold program of large-scale environmental graphics for the new US headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline, the global pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare company. Located in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, the innovative “smart” workspace is 100 percent mobile—no one has an assigned desk, not even the company president—and the iconic graphics help foster a spirit of connection for a new collaborative way of working.

Gericke, with Associate Don Bilodeau and their team, worked closely with GSK and Francis Cauffman, the building’s interior architects, to develop the graphics for the unique, 208,000 sq ft offices. Conceived as a healthy and sustainable headquarters for a company with well being as its focus, the modern, contemporary interiors are open and loft-like, with a series of gathering spaces that include shared work stations, team tables and meeting areas. The headquarters building was designed by Robert A.M. Stern and is the first in Philadelphia and only the sixth in the nation to be certified with LEED Double Platinum status, for both Core & Shell and Commercial Interiors.

New Work: Barclays Center

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The Brooklyn Nets returned to the Barclays Center this weekend for their first home games of the 2013-2014 season. In the short year since the 18,000-seat arena opened, it has become the top-selling venue in the US (and number two in the world) and a symbol of the resurgent borough. In addition to being the home of the Nets, Barclays is now home to the NHL New York Islanders, and has hosted concerts by artists like the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, and Paul McCartney and events like 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. The arena has been honored with the Building Brooklyn Award for Economic Development from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, named Architizer’s Building of the Year and given the AIA New York State Award of Merit, and this week the Municipal Arts Society will recognize it as a “Neighborhood Catalyst” in their 2013 MASterworks Awards.

The distinctive design of the Barclays Center has played a major role in its appeal. The iconic architecture of the building, designed by SHoP Architects and Ellerbe Becket (now part of AECOM), has become an instant landmark at the crossroads of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and team have designed a program of signage, wayfinding and environmental graphics for the arena that reflect its one-of-a-kind character. Working closely with the architects and the arena developer, Forest City Ratner Companies, Bierut and his designers have created graphics that are seamlessly integrated with the interior architecture and convey a tough, friendly spirit, a lot like Brooklyn itself.

New Work: Signage for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

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When all New York’s creatures great and small make their pilgrimage to the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine this Sunday for its annual St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals, they’ll encounter a new set of commandments. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and team have created a series of signs for the Cathedral that gently remind visitors to curb and leash thy dogs. The signs use the identity we designed for the institution, which employs the custom font Divine, a redrawn version of Frederic Goudy’s 1928 Blackletter. The signs will be a permanent addition to the Cathedral grounds, a popular spot for walking dogs in the neighborhood.