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New Work: ‘thingworld’

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Presented by the National Art Museum of China, thingworld: International Triennial of New Media Art is the third edition in the museum’s series of large-scale surveys looking at current trends in art created with new media technologies. One of the most comprehensive international exhibitions staged in China, the 2014 triennial features 58 works by 65 established and emerging artists from 22 countries around the world. Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and her team have designed the identity, graphics and catalogue for the exhibition, on view this summer in Beijing.

Following earlier editions that focused on more ephemeral forms of new media art, the theme of this year’s triennial is “thingness”—object-based works that explore the salience of things. As triennial curator Zhang Ga describes it, “The world is a thing world…Thing is everything.” Many of the displayed works examine how objects mediate experience between people and the world around them.

Jen’s identity for the exhibition is built around customized Chinese typography. Chinese characters are pictograms—representing things—and the thingworld letterforms have themselves been objectified through modification.

New Work: Taiwan Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

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Domesticity is perhaps one of the most fundamental beginnings of architecture—realized as bedrooms, dining rooms, bathrooms, dressing rooms, etc.—each devoted to a programmatic specificity. The Taiwan Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale explores the idea of private domesticity inverted as public space in the exhibition Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan. Curated and designed by the noted architect Jimenez Lai, the pavilion is a collection of nine small houses, each embodying one domestic program. Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and her team have designed an identity for the exhibition that showcases the theme in a lively mix of colorful graphics and custom typography, both in English and Chinese.

New Work: First Round Capital

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First Round Capital is a leading venture capital firm that has backed more than 150 companies, including category innovators such as Square, Uber, Fab, Warby Parker, Hotel Tonight, Refinery29 and One Kings Lane. First Round does exactly what its name says, providing seed-stage funding for the first 18 months of a startup, the most critical period for a new business. At the same time, the firm builds a sense of camaraderie among the companies it supports, looking at them as a community rather than a portfolio.

Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and her team have designed a new identity for First Round that conveys the firm’s unique point of view. The logo eschews typical VC imagery like financial symbols and growing trees for something more modern and elemental: A simple line derived from the number “1,” inspired by the company’s name. The line suggests the diagram of a floor plan, with one side left open to convey a sense of possibility. The shape of the line also creates a profile, hinting at the personal, one-to-one connections valued by the First Round. The logo is balanced by the company’s name, set in the sans serif font Gibson.

OfficeUS Opens at the Venice Architecture Biennale

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OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, opened on June 7 with an identity, environmental graphics and publications designed by Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and team. Conceived as a working architecture office, the installation explores the ways in which U.S. architectural practice has influenced the discipline worldwide over the past 100 years. Jen’s identity for the Pavilion provides a dynamic visual language that is built out of the simple efficiency of office culture.

Jen worked on the project as part of a team organized by the Storefront for Art and Architecture in collaboration with PRAXIS Journal, and with research lead by the MIT Department of Architecture. The group was selected by the U.S. Department of State to represent the U.S. at the Biennale. The New York-based architecture firm Leong Leong developed the Pavilion design.