Do typefaces matter? In July 2012, the filmmaker and author Errol Morris published a short and rather enigmatic quiz on the website of The New York Times. Without really understanding its purpose, over 45,000 people responded to the quiz, which purported to address the question “Are You an Optimist or a Pessimist?” Morris’s real goal, however, was to determine whether the choice of typeface had any effect on a message’s believability. His answer: It does.
This experiment is the focus of Pentagram Papers 44: Hear, All Ye People: Hearken, O Earth. Designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Jessica Svendsen, the book republishes the two-part Times essay in which Morris revealed the results of his test, and is set almost entirely in the typeface that he determined to be most trustworthy: Baskerville.
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.
John Rushworth has developed a strategy and visual identity for The Mansion on Marylebone Lane, a 22-unit development in Central London that modernises the concept of a mansion block.
Rushworth’s approach was informed by London’s long history of mansion buildings. A result of the population boom during the industrial revolution, mansion blocks were built in the late 19th century to meet the demands of the new wealthy to have a pied-à-terre in the capital. A distinctly London-based idea, these apartment blocks use Queen Anne’s, Arts and Crafts and Edwardian style architecture, and are unified by red brick facades with terracotta detailing. The blocks are concentrated in the historically wealthy areas of Kensington, Marylebone and Knightsbridge.
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.)
Last Folio – Traces of Jewish Life in Slovakia – an exhibition of photographs by Yuri Dojc, designed by Daniel Weil – has come to Germany for the first time. From 24 April to 27 June 2015, the exhibition will be on display in Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (National Library of Germany).
The exhibition is part of worldwide commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. It came to Berlin from the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Latvia.
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.
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.
Marina Willer and team have created a new identity for Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, Richard Roger’s award winning architecture firm that, amongst others, has designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Lloyd’s Building in London (which in 2011 became the youngest ever to be given Grade I-listed status), and the Stirling Prize winning Madrid Barajas Airport.
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.
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.)