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.

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We were pleased to pick up The New York Times this morning and see, on the front page, the landmark sign we designed for the border crossing station at Massena, New York. But sad, too, since this will be the last time anyone will see it. The sign, bold 21-foot-tall yellow letters reading UNITED STATES, is being removed this week for reasons of national security.

Approved in 2007 as part of the station design by Smith-Miller & Hawkinson, the sign was up for less than a month before officials decided it was, in fact, a little too bold. “The sign could be a huge target and attract undue attention,” a spokeswoman for the Customs and Border Protection Agency told the Times. “Anything that would place our officers at risk we need to avoid.”

Times architectural critic Nicolai Ouroussoff praised not only the building but the sign, noting the way the latter “communicates openness and possibility, not aggression.” He added, “It is hard to see how values like those would make any building a target. They may even seem like something worth defending.”

New Work: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology


For nearly forty years, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology has been represented by a stylized “everybird.” Paired with an all-capitals serif wordmark, the old logo served the lab as it grew from a local academic initiative of about two dozen employees to an organization of more than 250 around the globe, housing among its assets the world’s most comprehensive collection of recordings of bird calls and other wildlife sounds. Feeling the need to update its image to match its standing and worldwide influence, the Lab turned to Pentagram for a new brand identity.

New Work: ‘Amsterdam/New Amsterdam’


Four hundred years ago this September, the Englishman Henry Hudson, sailing for the Dutch East India Company, discovered what we now know as New York Harbor, Manhattan Island and the Hudson River.

Designed by Michael Gericke and his team, the new exhibition Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson at the Museum of the City of New York examines Hudson’s historic journey and the cultural link between Amsterdam and New York that are an integral part of the city today.

Gericke’s exhibition design uses large, modern curvilinear forms inspired by Hudson’s ship de Halve Maen (the Half Moon) to create a compelling context for interpreting this rich history. The design was cited as a highlight of the exhibition in a review in The New York Times.

New Work: Howcast


Paula Scher and her team designed the identity for Howcast, the popular how-to video site that was profiled in Sunday’s New York Times. Howcast hosts a library of over 100,000 short instructional videos—everything from how to type faster on your iPhone to how to survive a bear attack—and its videos received over 20 million plays in June alone.

So how do you design a logo for Howcast? Scher created an italicized “H” that became a directional arrow that could be used as a vehicle to begin the videos and would suggest taking the “next step.” The style of this “H” was used as a guide in designing all the other icons. The form of the “H” was adapted into a chevron that is used in the video graphics, where it indicates steps or appears behind titles. For its part, the unusual “H” also instructs viewers that they can expect a little irreverence in the videos, many of which are humorous and creatively use animation and props to convey useful information.

Scher also designed a series of icons for the various categories of videos: First Aid & Safety, Food & Drink, Sex & Relationships, Crafts & Hobbies, etc. The identity was prominently featured in a recent iPhone spot, helping Howcast’s free iPhone app become one of the most popular, with over 500,000 downloads to date.

New Work: ‘Mannahatta/Manhattan’


What was Manhattan like 400 years ago, before the first settlers arrived? Designed by Abbott Miller, the new exhibition Mannahatta/Manhattan: A Natural History of New York City at the Museum of the City of New York reconstructs the ecology of the small wooded island originally known as Mannahatta (“island of many hills” as the Lenape Indians called it) before it became one of the most densely built places on earth. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society and is based on the Mannahatta Project, scientist Eric W. Sanderson’s decade-long research of the ecological history of the island, its geological features, as well as its flora and fauna. The exhibition has been mounted as part of the museum’s celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Henry Hudson in Mannahatta (September 12, 1609) and is on view through October 12.

Abbott Miller also designed Sanderson’s book about the project, Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, and like the book, the exhibition presents stunning visualizations of pre-settlement Manhattan rendered by Markley Boyer. Miller’s design of the exhibition highlights these visualizations to transport visitors to a Manhattan quite unlike the one outside the museum walls.

Michael Gericke Honored by the American Institute of Architects


Michael Gericke has been named the recipient of the Harry B. Rutkins Award for his design, service and professional contributions to the AIA and its New York Chapter’s activities.

Michael has collaborated with the AIA since 1994. His work includes the Center for Architecture’s iconic key symbol, posters, and graphics for many of the New York Chapter’s publications, initiatives and events.

Honorees for other AIA New York awards at this year’s annual meeting included Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Ada Louise Huxtable, Robert Yaro, Susan Szenasy, Jerilyn Perine, David Resnick and Chris Ward.

A sampling of Michael’s design for the AIA follows after the jump.