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New Work: ‘FitNation’

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Architecture and urban design have become important tools in the fight against obesity and related chronic diseases. Practical changes to the design of buildings, towns and cities—locating stairs for visibility, creating networks of well-marked bike lines, designing streetscapes that are inviting for pedestrians—can help encourage physical activity and make the built environment more conducive to healthier lifestyles. Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and team have been involved in several projects related to these initiatives, including the design of the Active Design Guidelines, issued by the New York City Department of Design and Construction in 2010, and the creation of the graphic identity for the Center for Active Design, a new non-profit organization announced yesterday by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. The Mayor has signed an Executive Order requiring all City agencies to use active design strategies when performing all new construction and major renovation projects.

These strategies are currently highlighted in FitNation, an exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York. Hayman and team have created the graphics for the exhibition, extending their design for the Active Design Guidelines and the recent FitCity conferences into playful supergraphics that illustrate the different ways environments can help people stay physically fit. The exhibition was designed in collaboration with Abruzzo Bodziak Architects and is scheduled to travel following its run at the Center.

New Work: Richard Rogers Royal Academy Exhibition

Opening today, Inside Out is an exhibition at the Royal Academy that celebrates Richard Rogers, one of the world’s most influential and admired architects. To promote the exhibition, Pentagram’s Marina Willer was asked to create an introductory film and Harry Pearce and his team created its visual campaign.

New Work: DOT DOT DOT App

The iPad offers a uniquely interactive performance space that presents new opportunities for dance and choreography. DOT DOT DOT is a new app that invites viewers to interact with a dance designed, choreographed and scored for the digital tablet. Conceived and designed by Pentagram’s Abbott Miller, the app is the latest project from 2wice Arts Foundation, which Miller has worked with for many years. The app was developed in collaboration with 2wice publisher Patsy Tarr and the choreographer and dancer Tom Gold.

DOT DOT DOT uses a graphic interface of black and red dots that establish a diagrammatic space for a series of vignettes that users activate through the touchscreen. The app can be viewed in different registers that are accessed by swiping vertically and horizontally. Seen from above, the dots on the stage trigger different actions when touched. Seen from the side, the dots become columns that define the dancer’s movements. Another vertical swipe accesses a choreographic sequence seen from the corner of the stage. Along the way, Gold bounces across dots, spills a bucket of paint, and dances with his multiple selves; in another section of the app, the dots have morphed into a series of columns that form an increasingly dense forest. As he performs within this graphic environment, he presents himself as an intrepid performer, an avatar for the viewer.

DOT DOT DOT is now available for download from iTunes.

New Work: The Public Theater Lobby

Over the past year the lobby of the Public Theater has been transformed into one of New York’s most vibrant and welcoming spaces for theatergoers. As part of a major renovation by Ennead Architects, Pentagram’s Paula Scher has created a program of environmental graphics for the space that integrates her iconic identity for the Public into the architecture of the theater itself.

The renovation opened last fall, but the graphics program was initially incomplete as elements have been gradualy installed throughout the season. The major work on the lobby is now complete, and Scher and her team continue to put finishing touches on other parts of the project.

Summer Squeeze

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A new banner floats over the hazy days of summer at Pentagram’s New York studio, continuing the long-running tradition of typographic flags on our façade at 204 Fifth Avenue. Designed by Michael Bierut and team, this season’s model squeezes our name into a 6 ft by 12.5 ft field, with the custom lettering stretched long and tall on one side, wide and stacked on the other.

New Work: One M&T Plaza Vestibule

A new entrance vestibule to Minoru Yamasaki’s M&T Bank headquarters in downtown Buffalo has recently been completed to a design by Pentagram partner Lorenzo Apicella.

Located on Washington St., behind a grand banking hall facing a public plaza on Main Street, the vestibule is significantly larger than the original built in 1967. Where narrow exterior stairs previously led to a simple entrance lobby, two wider stairs now lead to two entrance lobbies, seating areas, and secure access controls into the building’s elevator lobby. The materials and details of this larger vestibule draw directly however from those of the original, and its form and siting aim to enhance the original experience of entering the building from the street.

New Work: Life In My Shoes

Daniel Weil has created an interactive public exhibition for HIV charity Body & Soul’s award-winning, Life In My Shoes youth campaign.

‘Life in my Shoes’ is a multi-platform campaign that challenges the fear and misunderstanding that surrounds HIV. The campaign highlights the terrible isolation faced by young people with HIV with bold and anonymous silhouetted portraits of HIV+ teens, created by photographers Rankin and Suki Dhanda.

NYC BigApps 2013 Winners Announced

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Pentagram’s identity and graphics for NYC BigApps 2013 provided a colorful backdrop for the competition’s fourth annual awards ceremony, held on June 20 at the IAC Building in New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced seven winning teams in the competition, including Grand Prize winner HealthyOut, an app that helps users locate healthy meals at nearby restaurants, based on criteria like calories, cuisine and ingredients. (Healthy eating is, of course, one of Mayor Bloomberg’s signature issues.) The winning teams will share $150,000 in cash prizes and receive support in launching startups based around their apps.

‘Pentagram Remixed’ Opens at Ningbo Design Biennial

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In honor of our recent 40th anniversary, Pentagram was invited to present an exhibition at the 7th Ningbo International Design Biennial in Ningbo, China. Conceived and designed by Natasha Jen and her team at Pentagram New York, Pentagram Remixed puts a new spin on our portfolio to locate the ideas and influences that have guided our work across four decades. The exhibition opened on June 14 at the Ningbo Museum of Art and remains on view through July 14.

Rather than stage a traditional historical survey, Jen wanted to place Pentagram’s work in unusual contexts that would reflect our constantly evolving point of view and allow visitors to make their own connections and associations. The exhibition presents different aspects of our portfolio in a series of “zones” that flow together to create an impression of our collaborative and interdisciplinary approach.

New Work: NYC Wayfinding

Finding one’s way through the streets of New York when coming up out of the subway or walking through an unfamiliar neighborhood can be confusing, even for the most seasoned New Yorker. On Monday the New York City Department of Transportation introduced WalkNYC, a new program of pedestrian maps that makes it easier to navigate the city streets. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan unveiled the initiative’s first signs at a news conference in Chinatown, where four maps were installed over the weekend. In addition to Chinatown, the first phase of the program will be implemented this summer in Midtown Manhattan, Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, and Long Island City in Queens, with more to follow next year in other parts of the city. The maps are already installed on over 300 kiosks of the CitiBike bike-share program.

Pentagram helped create the graphic language of the maps, working on the project as part of PentaCityGroup, a special consortium of designers that also includes wayfinding specialists CityID, industrial designers Billings Jackson Design, engineers and urban planners RBA Group, and cartographers and geographic information specialists T-Kartor. The team worked closely with DOT and the city’s local Business Improvement Districts (BID) and other institutions and agencies to develop the program.