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New Work: Rockaway Beach

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When Hurricane Sandy devastated New York in 2012, Rockaway Beach in Queens lost much of its iconic boardwalk. This summer, as part of the ongoing restoration of the area, the first sections of a new boardwalk have been completed and reopened to the public with a more resilient design that replaces the traditional wooden planks with steel-reinforced concrete. Pentagram’s Paula Scher and her team have created graphics for the new boardwalk that helps put Rockaway back on the map, literally: The typography announces the beach in letters that are each 100 to 150 feet wide and almost 50 feet tall, and together span nearly a mile.

New Work: Kikori Whiskey

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Pentagram Austin partner DJ Stout and lead designer Barrett Fry have designed the identity, packaging and print collateral for a new Japanese whiskey called Kikori. The name Kikori, which was developed by the Pentagram team, means “woodsman” in Japanese and was inspired by the lush forests that surround the distillery in Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan, where the whiskey is made.

In addition to a spare, all-caps word mark, Stout and Fry created a traditional Japanese symbol for Kikori featuring an image of a woodsman with an axe slung over his shoulder and carrying a lantern. The mark references Visu the woodsman, the stubborn protagonist in a cautionary Japanese folk tale about life without balance. Working day and night, Visu forsakes his family and friends. When advised to seek his spirit, he abandons his work and drifts even further from his family. Eventually he loses everything.

New Work: Food Truck Nation at Expo Milano 2015

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Hand-crafted hamburgers made with organic grass-fed beef. Wood-oven pizza topped with handmade cheese and seasonal vegetables. Korean tacos stuffed with locally sourced ingredients. Some of the best and most sustainable American food is currently being served by the artisanal food trucks and street vendors that are sprouting up all over the U.S. The USA Pavilion at the food-themed Expo Milano 2015 pays tribute to this casual culinary revolution at “Food Truck Nation,” an installation of six food trucks that offers a rotating menu of regional favorites.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed graphics for “Food Truck Nation” that build on the identity they developed for the USA Pavilion, designed by Biber Architects. Appearing in patriotic red, white and blue, the system of 160 custom icons works in tandem with the flag symbol to create a playful take on American iconography. The circular symbols are inspired by highway and roadside signs, as well as icons used in farming and agriculture, and graphically complement the massive billboard-size flag logo that anchors the Pavilion.

New Work: Theatre Under the Stars

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Pentagram’s DJ Stout and his team in the Austin office have designed a new identity and website for Theatre Under The Stars, Houston’s acclaimed non-profit musical theater company known as “TUTS” to the locals. The completely overhauled website is a part of TUTS’ campaign to update and freshen the company’s brand, following the new logo reveal earlier this year.

Theatre Under The Stars, which offers a world-class musical theater experience ranging from full-scale Broadway productions to educational initiatives, literally got its start under the stars. Founded in 1968, TUTS began staging its mix of touring musicals and self-produced shows at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. What began as free summer shows, a beloved staple for the Houston public to this day, TUTS’ role in all facets of theater arts has flourished beyond its origins in the open air. To date, TUTS has produced more than 300 musicals including many local, national and world premiers and has made the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts its home.

New Work: Hazen and Sawyer

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Hazen and Sawyer is the world’s leading engineering firm devoted to water. Headquartered in New York, the company has 42 offices across the U.S., as well as in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Jordan, and focuses on developing safe water drinking systems, as well as controlling water pollution and its effects on the environment. Pentagram’s Paula Scher and her team have designed a new identity for the firm that reflects its stature in the field.

The work Hazen and Sawyer does is incredibly important, especially as access to fresh water becomes a critical issue around the globe. Staffed by a team that includes many of the world’s top environmental engineers and scientists, the firm addresses these growing challenges. The new identity integrates the company’s mission into its logotype, which features a ripple of water inspired by the free water surface symbol, a notation used in water system engineering.

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.