Harry Pearce was invited to contribute to a book and app by Art Tails, a group of professional artists and creators related to the community of Tōhoku, the region of Japan hardest hit by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. As well as contributing several pieces of his work he also created this poster specifically for the project as an acknowledgement of the inspiration of two of his heroes, Hamada and Yanagi. With his contribution he sent the following thoughts:
I am so honoured to have been asked to contribute to your beautiful publication. As well as sending you three of my favourite pieces of work, I really wanted to create something particular for this publication. It’s my way of a little thank you for your collective inspiration.
The Japanese and eastern aesthetic has been a major influence on my career and life. For a very long time the vision and insights of Shoji Hamada and Soetsu Yanagi have been a particular inspiration to me.
They taught me where to look for feeling and truth, in myself and my work. Many of your great artists and designers are so knowing in the truest sense. As an acknowledgement to you all I have taken a beautiful quote from Hamada, “Beauty is not in the head or in the heart, but in the abdomen,” and created this poster in his and your honour.
No matter the hardships your beautiful country is suffering, your spirit and vision will endure.
Project Team: Harry Pearce, partner-in-charge and designer, Sean Chilvers, designer.
Quick Link: Justus Oehler’s Haiti Poster Wins Red Dot Award
Given the challenging economic climate our public institutions have faced in recent years, pro bono design projects can make a remarkable difference for the communities they serve. At the same time, these projects can have an incredible effect on the architects and designers who work on them. The Power of Pro Bono is a new book that documents the benefits of pro bono in case studies of 40 architectural projects, told from the perspective of both the architects and clients. Produced by Public Architecture, an organization that puts the resources of architecture in the public interest, and published by Metropolis Books, the book demonstrates architecture as social act: pro bono projects give architects an opportunity to contribute to their communities, build relationships with clients, and teach nonprofit and philanthropic leaders the value of good design.
Pentagram has a longstanding commitment to pro bono service, and The Power of Pro Bono was itself designed pro bono by Paula Scher and her team. The book’s projects include schools, housing, community centers, clinics, gardens, and galleries designed by a range of firms including SHoP Architects, Morphosis, Perkins+Will and HOK. One of the case studies highlights the L!brary Initiative, the program, supported by the Robin Hood Foundation, that engages architects to create new or renovated libraries in NYC public schools and features environmental graphics designed by Pentagram. Each of the book’s case studies presents testimonials from the architect and client who collaborated on the project, helping to encourage formalized commitments for pro bono design work and demonstrating that pro bono is good business.
A look inside the book after the jump.
In the midst of the financial crisis our friend Ed Schlossberg of ESI Design gathered a group of designers and design thinkers together to consider how to connect the NYC “design-impoverished” with all the designers who wanted to contribute in some meaningful way to the city. It was, at its core, a group looking for ways design could make NY a better place. At the time it seemed the least we could do and, in spite of the “recovery,” it still is.
Design is one tool for solving problems, but often it is characterized as the decoration on top of the cake (or even on top of the icing on top of the cake). For us it is, to stretch a simile nearly to its breaking point, the whole cake; recipe, layers, presentation and taste. With a sense of optimism that seemed almost anachronistic we met over a period of months in the ESI offices to formulate ideas for New York.
desigNYC was the result.
desigNYC is fundamentally a tool for connecting those organizations in need of design with those designers in need of an outlet for their sense of civic pride and engagement.
desigNYC is our attempt to put design back in the set of tools a city has to solve problems.
desigNYC is aimed at creating a civic design resource for New York.
desigNYC is in its beta testing now and we encourage all organizations in need of design to apply here. The deadline is November 30.
Pentagram’s New York office was honored last night by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation for its work for nonprofit organizations. Paula Scher and Jim Biber were on hand to accept the honor during a ceremony held at the Harvard Club. Pentagram received the first annual “DNA” award for “its exceptional incorporation of pro bono service into its business culture.” Recent Pentagram pro bono projects include work for the Robin Hood Foundation, the Madison Square Park Conservancy, the Public Theater and the One Laptop Per Child initiative.
The award ceremony is part of a two-day Pro Bono Summit that has brought together 150 top corporate, government and nonprofit leaders to launch a multi-year campaign to dramatically increase the amount of skilled volunteering and pro bono service employees give to nonprofits and their communities. The leaders are discussing strategies for making the idea of “pro bono” as common in marketing, finance, technology, HR, logistics and other professions as it is in the legal field.
Speaking about the business advantages of doing pro bono work Scher stated: “A lot of the work we’ve done is outside, public, it’s very visible, and so clients will call us because they’ve seen the design. I can’t tell you how many jobs I’ve gotten through [pro bono work with] the Public Theater. We’re connected to virtually every cultural institution in the city. We are rewarded in recommendations; we’re included in groups where we find out information about things—it’s all very good business.”
Pro bono work has been part of the culture at Pentagram for decades as the partners and their teams donate their talents and time to enhance the design programs of cultural institutions and nonprofit organizations all over the city. “Pentagram Design is setting a powerful example of corporate citizenship that we hope other companies will follow,” said Jean Case, Chair of the Council. “Embracing a pro bono approach is good for employees, the community and the bottom line. America’s businesses have an extraordinary pool of skilled talent, and engaging corporate volunteers on a large scale could make a profound difference in the well-being of our communities and our country.”
The Council’s Pro Bono Award is given annually to six companies who are considered to be setting the standards of excellence in offering pro bono corporate skills to solve social challenges. This year’s other awardees are the Advertising Council; General Electric; Harvard Business School Community Partners; McKinsey & Company; and the Monitor Group.