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New Work: Rainbow Room

A New York destination unlike any other, the Rainbow Room is the jewel in the crown of Rockefeller Center, the Art Deco masterpiece at the heart of midtown Manhattan. Located on the 65th floor of 30 Rock, the dining and entertainment space is in a glittering landmarked room with breathtaking 360-degree views of the New York skyline and beyond. The iconic venue reopened last week after a major renovation that reimagines the space with contemporary design. As part of the reopening, Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and his team have created an elegant new identity for the Rainbow Room that celebrates and pays tribute to its extraordinary style and spectacular vistas.

“The room, the views and the city below are grand, panoramic and timeless – so it was inevitable they are echoed in the identity,” said Gericke of the wordmark. The designers carefully considered the relationship of the Rainbow Room’s graphic program to Rockefeller Center’s iconic architecture and signature typography.

New Work: Albertine

Uniquely devoted to French works in French and English, Albertine is a new bookshop and reading room opened by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York. The only French-language bookstore in the city, Albertine offers the most comprehensive selection of French-language books and English translations in the United States, with over 14,000 titles from 30 French-speaking countries in genres including novels, non-fiction, art, comics and graphic novels, and children’s books.

Pentagram’s Abbott Miller has designed a distinctive new identity for Albertine inspired by French vernacular typography. Miller and his team worked closely on the project with the store’s founder, Antonin Baudry, the Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy. The shop has been envisioned as less a retail space than a reading room that invites visitors to linger, and the identity invokes the connection between books, knowledge, and Enlightenment, with references to Parisian Art Deco.

Albertine is celebrating its opening this week with a six-night festival that showcases the store as a new hub for French-American intellectual exchange and debate. Curated by cultural critic Greil Marcus, the event runs from October 14-19 and features discussions with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, filmmaker Olivier Assayas (Irma Vep) and author and filmmaker Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis).

New Work: ‘New Practices New York 2014’

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Presented by the New Practices Committee of the AIA New York Chapter, New Practices New York is a biennial competition that serves as New York City’s preeminent platform to recognize and promote new and innovative architecture and design firms. Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and team have designed the competition graphics and exhibition for New Practices New York 2014, currently on view at the Center for Architecture. The show opened this month as part of the Archtober festival and remains on view through January 17, 2015.

Jen’s graphics for the competition build on the identity she previously designed for the New Practices Committee in 2011. The logo presents a convergence of three lines: two come together to form a directional arrow, while the addition of a third creates a corner or symbol of dimensional space. This year’s New Practices New York competition has been organized around the theme “Action!,” and Jen’s design for the exhibition extends the strong black line of the logo into graphics that run across the walls and floor of the gallery to activate the space.

New Work: ‘The New York Times Book Review’

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The New York Times Book Review has commissioned Pentagram’s Paula Scher to design the cover for a special issue on women and power. Published with the paper’s Sunday, October 12 edition, the section features reviews of new books by female authors including Lena Dunham, Gail Sheehy and Katha Pollitt, among others, as well as essays about influential women including Kirsten Gillibrand, Sonia Sotomayor and Caitlin Moran. For the cover image, Scher created a graphic pattern that is both spiky and soft, with lines that radiate from the title typography.

Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Rory Simms, designer.

New Work: ‘Hair’

Guido Palau, also known as simply Guido, is an unparalleled force in fashion, a hair stylist who has worked alongside many of the most influential designers and photographers to shape contemporary beauty. A progenitor of fashion’s “grunge” movement in the 1990s, Guido continues to use hair to explore notions of identity. Hair is a new book by Guido and the renowned fashion photographer David Sims that highlights hair as a transformative medium in a series of portraits of unique and astonishing styles.

Pentagram’s Abbott Miller has designed Hair to showcase Guido’s avant-garde creations as works of art. Created over a two-year period, the 70 portraits in the book represent a personal project that allowed Guido the freedom to use hair to re-contextualize personalities, genders and codes of identity.

New Work: Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Season


The opening titles for the 40th anniversary season of “Saturday Night Live” introduce a new identity for the show.

NBC’s legendary sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live” kicks off its 40th anniversary season this fall with a new identity and title sequence designed by Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and team.

From its groundbreaking roots, “Saturday Night Live” has grown into a New York institution, and like the city, endlessly reinvents itself. The new identity and opening titles marry the SNL graphics with the architecture of the city. At the same time, the sequence playfully looks back to the show’s lo-fi days, with flickering graphics inspired by analog technology.

“For this season we wanted the open to be a love letter to New York,” says Oberman. “The city is such an important part of the show we wanted to find a way to get the logo to be part of the city.”

New Work: Governors Island

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This is the last weekend of the year to enjoy Governors Island, the jewel of a park in the middle of New York Harbor, just 800 yards off the southern shore of Lower Manhattan. Open to the public all summer, the Island is home to 172 acres of lush landscapes and picturesque paths where visitors can bike, picnic, lounge on hammocks, play sports, view art exhibitions, attend concerts and dance performances, and explore historic buildings, all in view of the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Reachable only by ferry, the Island is a serene, and somewhat surreal, escape from the bustle of the city.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed signage and environmental graphics for Governors Island that enhance this unique sense of place. Inspired by the Island’s gantries—the giant skeletal superstructures that mark the docks and frame views to and from the site—the designers have created a system of transparent signage that preserves these views, even as it helps guide visitors around the Island.

Bierut and his designers collaborated on the program with West 8, the landscape architects for the Island’s regeneration, and Leslie Koch, president of the Trust for Governors Island.

New Work: Amalgamated Bank

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Amalgamated Bank is the leading financial institution dedicated to providing affordable banking services to working people, unions, and progressive organizations and businesses. Established in 1923 as New York City’s first labor bank, Amalgamated is now the largest union-owned bank in the United States, with locations across the city, as well as in Washington DC, New Jersey, Nevada and California. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed a new brand identity for the bank that updates its look while also honoring its legacy.

Amalgamated has its roots in the union Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, now part of Workers United, current majority owner of the bank. The bank’s heritage in the garment manufacturing union inspired the new mark, which weaves two forms together like fabric and resembles an abstract “A” and “B.”