New Work: Curry Stone Design Prize

Motion graphic of the Curry Stone Design Prize identity, produced for today’s awards reception at Google HQ.

Today the winner of this year’s Curry Stone Design Prize will be announced at a reception at Google headquarters in New York, timed to National Design Week. Founded in 2008 by architect Clifford Curry and his wife, H. Delight Stone, the Curry Design Prize highlights humanitarian innovation, honoring designs that improve people’s lives and the world. Each year up to four finalists are nominated for the award by an anonymous panel of global leaders in design and other disciplines, with the selected winner receiving a $100,000 grant. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut designed the prize identity, a play on the graceful curves of the C and S in the award’s name.

This year’s finalists for the Curry Stone Design Prize include ELEMENTAL, a Chilean design firm and self-described “Do Tank” led by architect Alejandro Aravena that has designed new public housing for Santiago’s Quinta Monroy shantytown; Maya Pedal, a nonprofit organization that invents and buildings “Bicimaquinas,” pedal-powered machines made from used bicycles that make tasks easier for rural residents with limited access to gas and electricity; and Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), an initiative led by Elizabeth Scharpf that works to address lack of access to feminine hygiene products in developing nations, most recently producing menstrual pads from locally sourced banana leaf fiber in Rwanda.

Update: Animated graphic announcing this year’s winner after the jump.

Make a Joyful Woof


Today marks the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the natural world. To celebrate, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York held its popular annual Blessing of the Animals yesterday. Churchgoers brought a menagerie of cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, turtles, guinea pigs, hamsters, macaws, swans, llamas, a goat, a peacock and even a camel to receive blessings from cathedral clergy. To help raise funds, Pentagram designed special t-shirts for the humans in attendance that read “Holy Cow!,” “Make a Joyful Woof” and “Make a Joyful Meow.” The graphics follow our identity for the Cathedral, using the custom font Divine. Judging by the raucous bleats and barks, all present had a heavenly good time.

New Work: New York University Abu Dhabi


The inaugural class began its studies this week at New York University Abu Dhabi, the first comprehensive liberal arts and sciences campus to be operated abroad by a major U.S. research university. The next step towards NYU’s ambition to create a global network for the creation of knowledge, NYUAD was created in partnership with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. This partnership is the outcome of a shared understanding of the essential roles and challenges of higher education in the 21st century, and of the alignment of NYU’s goals for global education with the forward-looking goals of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. There is no other such institution in the Middle East.

Pentagram was initially asked to design a graphic identity for this new institution, and subsequently has created a wide range of material to support NYUAD’s activities. The creative challenge was to devise a graphic language that would clearly link the umbrella New York University identity with the cultural context of Abu Dhabi, the Emrirates, and the Middle East.

This Way to Fall


The new fall season brings a new series of events to the Yale School of Architecture and a new typographic poster by Michael Bierut. The poster uses 58 different kinds of arrows to point the way to fall programming that includes lectures by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, a symposium on the lighting designer Richard Kelly and exhibitions on Kelly and the architect James Stirling.

Download the poster here. Bierut has designed the Yale Architecture posters since 1998—see more here and here.

Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Britt Cobb, designer.

New Work: ‘Design Research’


Today, retailers like Design Within Reach, Crate & Barrel, Habitat, IKEA and Target have all popularized the idea that good design should be accessible to everyone. But the concept was first introduced over a half century ago by Design Research, the influential modernist mini-chain that mixed design objects from Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen with eclectic folk materials and textiles from around the world and helped introduce the modern “lifestyle” to postwar Americans and their homes.

The first Design Research store was established in 1953 in Cambridge, Massachusetts by the architect Ben Thompson, who later ran D/R with his wife, Jane Thompson, the founding editor of I.D. and an architect and urban planner. D/R expanded throughout the 1960s and at its height had locations in New York, San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Philadelphia, among other cities. The architecture of the stores, designed by Ben, was just as distinctive as its wares: Thompson’s iconic 1969 D/R store/headquarters on Brattle Street in Cambridge was constructed of floor to ceiling glass, turning the entire store into a display case, bringing the shop out into the street. (In 2003 the building received the prestigious Twenty-Five Year award from the American Institute of Architects.) But in 1970 the Thompsons lost their controlling share in the stores, and by 1979 they were closed.

In 2006, Jane Thompson brought several scrapbooks of Design Research ephemera to Pentagram and asked Michael Bierut and his team to help her tell the remarkable D/R story. The resulting book,Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes, is out now from Chronicle Books. Written and edited by Jane Thompson and Alexandra Lange, and with an introduction by Rob Forbes, founder of Design Within Reach, the book is an “autobiography” of D/R told through reminiscences by Jane Thompson and D/R staff, collaborators and customers. This year Jane Thompson was honored for Lifetime Achievement in the National Design Awards.

New Work: Fashion Law Institute


Fashion designers have always been arbiters of style, but as they increasingly encounter issues like copycat designers, counterfeit imports, calls for consumer safety and environmental sustainability, and even bans of various forms of dress, designers need to know and help establish the law as well.

Opening September 8, the Fashion Law Institute is a new center at Fordham Law School in New York that will train and advise designers, lawyers and design students in areas of the law affecting the fashion industry. The first of its kind in the world, the center has been established by Fordham in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and is being directed by Susan Scafidi, who pioneered the field of fashion law (and who blogs at Counterfeit Chic). The institute will provide a resource for legal knowledge in subjects like business and finance, intellectual property, real estate, employment law, international trade and government regulation, consumer protection and civil rights. The institute will have a special proximity to its subject; New York Fashion Week relocates this fall to Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, steps away from Fordham Law School.

Pentagram’s identity for the institute graphically fashions a gavel from a needle and spool of thread. The mark is the latest in our collection of identities for New York’s fashion community, which includes logos for the CFDA, 7th on Sixth and the Fashion Center.

Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Katie Barcelona and John Custer, designers.

New Work: Frank Sinatra School of the Arts


Tony Bennett is known for his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” but his favorite place is actually Astoria, Queens, where he was born 84 years ago this week. (Happy Birthday, Tony!) As a gift to his old neighborhood, Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto, a former public school teacher, established in 2001 the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a New York City public high school with programs in vocal and instrumental music, drama, dance, film and fine arts. (In addition to possessing legendary voice, Bennett is an accomplished painter.) The school is named in homage to Bennett’s friend, Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.

Originally located in a shared space in Long Island City, the school opened its own new five-story building in Astoria last fall. The school is adjacent to the Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Museum of the Moving Image at the intersection of 35th Avenue and 36th Street and has helped transform the neighborhood into a bustling arts district in the heart of Astoria. Designed by Susan Rodriguez of Ennead Architects, and funded by the New York City School Construction Authority, the state-of-the-art building includes a concert hall, black box theaters, dance studios, recording studio, media center and a rooftop courtyard for outdoor performances.

New Work: Ennead Architects


Design firms with a namesake partner or design leader inevitably face a challenge when leadership passes to a new generation: how to establish an identity that distinguishes the firm from its former leader, maintains its legacy, and reflects the vitality of its current partnership? Today Polshek Partnership Architects announces the change of its name to Ennead Architects. The name, pronounced EN-ee-ad, is inspired by the Greek word for a group of nine, here the number of the firm’s current partnership: Joseph Fleischer, Timothy Hartung, Duncan Hazard, Kevin McClurkan, Richard Olcott, Susan Rodriguez, Tomas Rossant, Todd Schliemann and Don Weinreich.

Michael Bierut and Lisa Strausfeld have designed a new identity and website for Ennead that reflects the firm’s shared history and thriving collaboration. The branding strategy was developed in collaboration with LaPlaca Cohen.