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New Work: ‘Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modern Art’

A true power couple and two of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera helped develop Mexican modernism, a movement that combined social realism and surrealistic imagery in paintings and murals that shaped Mexico’s cultural heritage. Over fifty years after their deaths, the pair continue to fascinate, and Frida is currently having a moment as the subject of several books and exhibitions. Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and his team have designed the catalogue for Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Mexican Modern Art, a new exhibition currently on view at the Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale that explores these famous figures and the other artists who defined the movement.

New Work: ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’

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Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and her team have designed the catalogue for China: Through the Looking Glass, the blockbuster exhibition currently on view at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Organized by Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute, the show explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion, and how China has inspired artists and designers for centuries. The exhibition launched with the annual Met Gala on May 4 and remains on view through August 16.

China: Through the Looking Glass is one of the largest exhibitions ever mounted by the Metropolitan Museum and features more than 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear by designers including Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood. These are juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other artworks, including films, which are highlighted for their importance in influencing fashion. (The celebrated filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai served as the exhibition’s artistic director.)

‘Mad Men’: The End of an Era

This Sunday the landmark AMC television series “Mad Men” signs off with its final episode. But just because the show is over, that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to Don Draper: he lives on in a custom one-of-a-kind bench installed for the summer in midtown Manattan.

Over the course of seven seasons, viewers have become obsessed with the meticulously detailed world of ad man Draper and his colleagues in the “Golden Age” of advertising in 1960s New York. We caught up with several fans who reflected on the show’s impact—and what just might happen in the last episode—as they visited the Mad Men bench. In the words of one fan, “Unfortunately all things come to an end, but we’ll always have reruns.”

Designed by Pentagram’s Lorenzo Apicella, Michael Bierut and Emily Oberman, this “monument to Mad Men” transforms the iconic graphic of Draper from the show’s opening title sequence into a sleek bench where fans can “drape” like their hero. As one visitor told us, “How often do you get to sit next to Donald Draper?”

The bench is on display outside the Time & Life Building, once the fictional home of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, at 1271 Avenue of the Americas (between 50th and 51st Streets) through the summer.

Project Team: Lorenzo Apicella, Michael Bierut and Emily Oberman, partners-in-charge and designers; Jonathan Correira, designer; Matthew Clare, associate and designer; Dragan Skuljevic, designer; Julia Lindpaintner, project coordinator.

Film by Drew Bierut and Tyler Weinberger, Superseed Productions. Music by Jacob Rosati.

New Work: ‘Safdie’

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For five decades, the pioneering architect Moshe Safdie has designed iconic buildings and public spaces that have contributed in meaningful ways to their settings while catalyzing a vibrant public life. Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and his team have designed Safdie (Images Publishing), a definitive 50 year monograph that traces the evolution of the prolific architect, urban planner, educator, theorist and author. Safdie was awarded the 2015 AIA Gold Medal in recognition of his lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

Safdie presents a complete chronology of Safdie’s planning and design work since the inception of his practice, ranging from his groundbreaking modular design for Habitat ’67 in Montreal to his current commissions around the world. Organized to follow the architect’s career and design explorations, the book is richly illustrated with architectural imagery, design drawings and essays by noted critics and writers.

New Work: Choice Works

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Animated version of the Choice Works identity.

Pentagram’s Paula Scher and her team have designed the identity and event graphics for Choice Works, a party and art auction to benefit Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood of New York City. Support from the event will help provide affordable or free reproductive health care to New Yorkers and fight to protect women’s rights in every state across the U.S.

The auction features artworks donated by leading artists including Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Marilyn Minter, Jeff Koons, Matthew Barney, Roni Horn, Nan Goldin, Kara Walker, Alex Katz, Richard Serra, Richard Prince, Ryan McGinley, Louise Lawler, Sarah Sze, Dana Schutz, Lisa Yuskavage, and many others. The event will be held at Sotheby’s in New York this Friday, May 15.

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: ‘OfficeUS Atlas’

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OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, was conceived as a working architecture office that explored the ways in which U.S. architectural practice has influenced the discipline around the world over the past 100 years. Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and her team have designed OfficeUS Atlas, a new book that compiles and interprets the research assembled in the exhibition’s OfficeUS Repository, an archive of nearly 1,000 projects produced by U.S. offices abroad between 1914-2014. The publication is the second in the four-volume OfficeUS book series, following OfficeUS Agenda, also designed by Jen and published last year.

A massive, 1,232-page compendium, Atlas is structured around a highly organized mix of firm profiles, project data, press records, and infographics that detail the transformations of the U.S. architectural office and its international impact over the past century. The book design builds on the graphic identity Jen developed for the OfficeUS installation, which utilized a visual language built out of the efficiencies of office culture.

OfficeUS Atlas is published in partnership by Lars Müller Publishers and Storefront for Art and Architecture, the lead organizer of OfficeUS. The book will be launched at a panel discussion to be held on Tuesday, April 28 at 7 pm at Storefront for Art and Architecture, 97 Kenmare Street in New York City.

New Work: Ten Trinity Square

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John Rushworth has developed a brand strategy and visual identity for Ten Trinity Square, a redevelopment of the former Port of London Authority building in the City of London consisting of a private members club, 41 luxury residencies and a Four Seasons hotel. It is the first investment of Chinese conglomerate Reignwood, outside of Asia in super prime real estate.

The brief was to reinvigorate the purpose of the building and create a long-term vision that would also support Reignwood’s future investments in the sector. To do this, the project had to be positioned in a way that recognised its location, architecture and historical importance.

New Work: Success Academy

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Success Academy is the largest and highest performing network of charter schools in New York City. Founded and led by former city councilwoman Eva S. Moskowitz, Success Academy’s growing group of publicly funded, privately operated schools includes 24 elementary schools, seven middle schools and one high school that provide education for nearly 9,500 students across the city. Primarily serving underprivileged children, SA consistently has the highest test scores of any schools in New York, regularly outperforming institutions in wealthier communities. Tonight Success Academy will celebrate its own continuing “success” at its Third Annual Spring Benefit.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed a graphic identity for Success Academy that conveys the schools’ innovative educational mission. The system extends to environmental graphics that help motivate students and build school spirit at Success Academy locations, which share space with New York City public schools.

New Work: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Magazine

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Partner DJ Stout and designer Carla Delgado in Pentagram’s Austin office have redesigned the flagship publication of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). The second issue of the new magazine will be mailed this month. In addition to completely revamping the publication, the Pentagram team, working closely with the MFAH’s Director, Gary Tinterow, and the museum’s Publisher in Chief, Diane Lovejoy, changed the title’s name from MFAH Today to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Magazine, or “h Magazine” for short.