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New Work: MIT Media Lab


The new MIT Media Lab identity integrates the logos of nearly two dozen research groups.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is holy ground not just for scientists and engineers, but for graphic designers as well. In the sixties, designers like Jacqueline Casey, Dietmar Winkler, Ralph Coburn and Muriel Cooper adapted the visual forms of European modernism to a lively, particularly American version that marked MIT as a place that balanced rigor and invention. Perhaps nowhere at MIT was that design impulse more pronounced than at the MIT Media Lab, which Cooper co-founded and where she ran the Visual Language Workshop. Nearly 30 years after its founding, the Media Lab has a new visual identity designed by Pentagram.

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: Archtober 2014

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It’s no wonder that October is one of our favorite months, what with the favorable weather, colorful leaves, and abounding Halloween candy. But this month is particularly special because it marks Archtober, the month-long annual festival of architecture and design in New York City. Now in its fourth year, Archtober highlights the city’s most compelling architectural and design in a series of tours, discussions, exhibitions, and films sponsored by a number of collaborating institutions. Pentagram partner Luke Hayman and team have designed the identity and exhibition graphics for Archtober 2014, building on the designs the team has developed for the festival since 2011.

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.