New Work: What Is American Power?

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In his photo series “American Power,” the artist Mitch Epstein has created a complex portrait of energy production in the United States, its environmental, economic and personal costs, and its complicated role in our politics, culture and national image. Photographed from 2003 through 2008, the series includes views of power plants dwarfing their towns; rows of windmills bordering on unnaturally green playing fields; natural landscapes depleted by mining and drilling; and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast. “I wanted to photograph the relationship between American society and the American landscape, and energy was the linchpin,” writes Epstein in American Power, the book of the series published last year.

Now Epstein has expanded “American Power” into an unusual public exhibition that launches this week, timed to the 40th Earth Day. Titled “What Is American Power?”, the installation presents photographs from the series on 23 billboards in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio. Each billboard carries a simple URL, WhatIsAmericanPower.com, directing the public to a website that invites them to respond to the question. Designed by Pentagram’s Lisa Strausfeld and Takaaki Okada, and developed by Christian Swinehart, the site provides an immersive context for the project’s content and creates a public forum about notions of power and energy in America today.

New Work: Litl

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Litl is an innovative new web computer, or webbook, that marries the communication functions of a laptop and TV. Small, portable, and equally at home on a kitchen countertop or a living-room coffee table, the webbook is designed for families with multiple users who like to keep in touch and socialize. Litl is always connected to the web (with access to Wi-Fi) and flips upright like an easel for TV-like viewing of photos and video. It has no hard drive, files or applications of its own, but instead runs on the “cloud,” using web-based applications like webmail, Google, Flickr and Facebook.

Pentagram worked closely with Litl founder John Chuang and the Litl design team on the development of the Litl experience. Abbott Miller created an accessible, friendly identity for the brand and Lisa Strausfeld and her team designed a unique graphical user interface (GUI) based on Litl’s brilliant OS that makes the webbook fun, convenient and easy to use. All help to make Litl the next big thing in home computing.

Lisa Strausfeld and Luke Hayman Redesign Craigslist for ‘Wired’

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The famously rudimentary design of craigslist hardly seems to deter users, but Wired asked a pool of designers to give the megasite a makeover for its September issue. The exercise accompanies a cover story about Craig Newmark, the elusive founder and visionary behind the site. For their take on the piece, Lisa Strausfeld and Luke Hayman, working with Takaaki Okada, “decided to do something about the cult of Craig,” says Strausfeld. In the article by Marc Wolf, Newmark is a reticent personality who believes in sharing information; a proponent of grassroots democracy who runs one of the world’s most popular sites exactly as he wants to. Newmark calls himself the “Forrest Gump of the Internet,” and the team responded to this pervasive, peculiar self-effacement by highlighting categories and dates on the site’s homepage to create a ghosted image of Newmark himself. The redesign brings the site back to its origins, as literally Craig’s list.

Visit a live version of the design here.

Museum of Arts and Design Media Installations Win IDEA Award


The suite of dynamic informational and interpretive media installations at the Museum of Arts and Design.

Our program of dynamic informational and interpretive media for the Museum of Arts and Design in New York has won a Bronze in the Environments category of the prestigious International Design Excellence Awards, announced today. The awards are co-sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), BusinessWeek, Target and Autodesk.

The IDSA jury recognized the project for its use of dynamic and interactive technologies in a museum environment. Designed by Lisa Strausfeld and her team, the media were developed as an integral part of MAD’s new home at 2 Columbus Circle and include animated directory and wayfinding displays and interpretive installations that let visitors explore the museum’s permanent collection. The program was developed in conjunction with the identity we designed for the museum.

Abbott Miller’s exhibition design for the Harley-Davidson Museum was a Finalist in the Environments category of the awards.

New Work: WNET.ORG

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New York’s public television stations, THIRTEEN and WLIW21, have rebranded under a new umbrella identity, WNET.ORG. The new name references THIRTEEN’s historic call letters, a new commitment to digital communication, and the organization’s history of service to the public, locally and nationally. Working with WNET.ORG’s marketing and management team, Pentagram created an overall brand strategy for WNET.ORG, including a new suite of identifiers and the institution’s first online annual report.