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

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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: ‘30 Years of Emerging Voices’

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Every year since 1982, the Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices program has identified up-and-coming architects, landscape architects and urban designers who promise to make a lasting impact on the field. Considered one of the most important honors in American architecture, the annual lecture series and award is celebrated for its foresight in recognizing individuals and firms destined for worldwide influence. These have included Brad Cloepfil, James Corner, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, SHoP and Jeanne Gang, among many others.

Emerging Voices’ remarkable legacy is commemorated in a new book, 30 Years of Emerging Voices: Idea, Form, Resonance, out now from Princeton Architectural Press. Designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Laitsz Ho, the book is a richly illustrated compendium of almost 250 of the most innovative North American architects of the past three decades.

The League is launching 30 Years of Emerging Voices with a pair of events this week. The book was the focus of a special Oculus Book Talk at the Center for Architecture. This Saturday, July 11, the League and Open House New York will present OpenStudios: Emerging Voices, an opportunity to visit more than forty New York-based Emerging Voices firms. Pentagram’s office will serve as the check-in point for participants before they go on a self-guided walking tour of the studios. Copies of 30 Years of Emerging Voices will be available for purchase. Details here.

New Work: NLand Surf Park

Surfs up in Austin! Well, not quite yet, but a new surf park scheduled to open in 2016, the first inland surf destination in North America, does have a name and an identity courtesy of Pentagram’s Austin office. NLand Surf Park will be bringing the ocean to land-locked Central Texas in a lagoon roughly the size of nine football fields. The ambitious, Texas-sized development is the brainchild of engineer and surfer Doug Coors, who is a descendant of brewing legend Adolph Coors.

The park will feature 11 surfing areas with four different skill levels ranging from beginner to professional. NLand is partnering with Wavegarden, a Spanish engineering firm that invented a wave technology that creates one-foot, four-foot and perfectly tubing six-foot waves every 60 seconds. The waves never lose power or shape.

“We designed the park to tread lightly on the land and all its resources, especially water,” says Coors. “Even in the most challenging drought conditions, we will be capable of operating the lagoon with only rainwater. As an engineer, I am incredibly proud of what we will be creating in Austin, and as a surfer, I can’t wait to share the waves with my family and friends.”

The American Way(s)

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Pentagram’s Michael Bierut contributes the cover illustration for this weekend’s edition of The New York Times Book Review. Timed to the July 4th holiday, the issue features a review by George Packer of two new books that look at how many Americans are discontent with U.S. government and the existing political system, and what it might take to incite another revolution. Charles Murray explores the issue from the right in By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, while Chris Hedges takes a left-leaning view in Wages of Rebellion.

Bierut illustrates this bipartisan back and forth with two hand-painted drawings. The cover pictures a U.S. flag that replaces its stars and stripes with arrows that point right or left, and an interior image features a face-off between arrows in Republican red and Democrat blue. Bierut is, of course, no stranger to arrows and politics, or new takes on the U.S. flag.

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.

Preview: The Bridge at Cornell Tech


Teaser video for The Bridge at Cornell Tech.

Construction kicked off this week on Cornell Tech, the $2 billion, 17-acre campus for technology on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team are designing the identity for The Bridge at Cornell Tech, an innovative corporate co-location building on campus that will bring together students, companies, researchers and entrepreneurs to collaborate and interact, all under one roof.

Developed by Forest City Ratner Companies and designed by Weiss/Manfredi, the Bridge is the centerpiece of Cornell Tech and is conceived as an incubator that connects—or “bridges”—the gap between academia and industry leaders. The seven-story, 200,000-square-foot building will contain loft-like spaces where students and entrepreneurs can work with stunning views of Midtown Manhattan as the backdrop. Cornell Tech is set to occupy one third of the building, with a mix of startups and larger companies in the rest. The campus also includes an academic building and residential building, and is scheduled to open in summer 2017.

To launch The Bridge, Bierut and his team created a teaser video that highlights the idea of connection. The clip pictures a series of graphic intersections, then pulls back to reveal the Bridge logotype, set in the distinctive, tech-inspired font Three Six by Muir McNeil. The visuals are accompanied by propulsive music composed by Jacob Rosati.

Additional coverage: Fast Company.

Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge, designer and writer; Hamish Smyth, associate and designer; Todd Goldstein, designer. Music by Jacob Rosati.

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.

Preview: ‘Live From New York!’

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“Saturday Night Live” continues the celebration of its 40th anniversary with the release of “Live From New York!”, a new documentary feature film that explores the legendary sketch comedy show’s cultural impact and evolution into an American institution. The film premiered as the opening night selection of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and opens today in theaters nationwide.

Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and her team have designed all of the graphics for the documentary, including the identity, poster and motion graphics in the film and its trailer. A devoted fan who has watched SNL since the beginning, Oberman has collaborated with the show on many projects over the past two decades, both before and since joining Pentagram, including three iterations of its identity, several opening title sequences, commercial parodies, and most recently, the graphics for the 40th anniversary season and the design of Saturday Night Live: The Book, the definitive visual history of the show.

New Work: 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival

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The 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival opens today with a bold identity, promotional campaign and trailer designed by Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and team. Produced by Film Independent and now in its 21st year, the Festival runs from June 10 to 18 at L.A. LIVE and showcases 74 feature films—including 39 world premieres—60 short films and over 50 new media works representing 35 countries. Simultaneously strong, colorful and evocative, the branding sets the tone for the extraordinary range of films presented at the Festival.