Daniel Weil: Returning to the Light

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From June 2004, I spent five and a half years designing the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archeological Wing of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. When the wing was opened in July this year, to great acclaim, I felt proud and very privileged to have been part of the renewal and elevation of a great museum to world class status.

Returning there in November allowed me to see the wing from the point of view of a visitor - to experience the unique chronological narrative in its galleries. And what I saw most clearly was the story of light. The light of Jerusalem is the major protagonist in the Archeological Wing’s experience, as the journey of this unique history goes from dark to light, triggering the emotions of the visitor.

New Work: Big Ten Conference

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The Big Ten Conference is the U.S.’ oldest and largest Division I college athletic association. Founded in 1896, the conference is comprised of schools located mainly in the Midwest and includes world-class academic institutions such as Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern, and University of Wisconsin–Madison. Big Ten schools compete at the highest level of NCAA competition in basketball and football, and over the past decade the Big Ten has led all conferences with national titles in different sports including volleyball, track and field, cross country, wrestling, hockey, soccer, tennis and golf. Despite its name, the conference has included 11 member schools since Penn State joined in 1990, and it will add University of Nebraska – Lincoln as its 12th member in July 2011.

Pentagram’s Michael Gericke (a graduate of the University of Wisconsin) and Michael Bierut (husband of 30 years to an Ohio State alumna) have designed the new logo for the conference, announced today. The conference’s previous logo hid an “11” in the negative space around the “T” in “Ten.” The new logo evolved from this use of negative space and is built on the conference’s iconic name without reference to the number of member institutions. “Seeing two numbers at once is clever, but it means redesigning the logo every time the conference expands,” says Bierut. “It was time for something direct and simple.” The resulting logo features contemporary collegiate lettering with an embedded numeral “10” in the word “BIG,” which allows fans to see “BIG” and “10” in a single word.

“The new logo was developed to symbolize the conference’s future, as well as its heritage and tradition of competition,” says Gericke. “Going forward, fans will know The Big Ten will always be the Big Ten.”

“The new Big Ten logo provides a contemporary identifying mark unifying twelve outstanding institutions,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “It conveys some elements from the past while simultaneously introducing new features. We think the new logo is fun and has something for everyone.”

New Work: The Studio Museum in Harlem

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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a rising British artist of Ghanaian descent whose paintings are centrally focused on the human figure. Her work is influenced by painters like John Singer Sargent, Francisco Goya and Edouard Manet, but her portraits are fictional: she is also a writer, and in her paintings she creates characters with complicated back stories that are only hinted at in the dark tones, monochromatic backgrounds and thick, textured brushwork. The Studio Museum in Harlem is currently presenting Any Number of Preoccupations, Yiadom-Boakye’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S., on view through March 13, 2011.

Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and Brankica Harvey have designed the catalogue for the exhibition. The book includes the 24 portraits featured in the show and a short story by Yiadom-Boakye and essays by curator Naomi Beckwith and critic Okwui Enwezor. The book’s simple, elegant design complements the formal atmosphere of Yiadom-Boakye’s paintings. Opara previously designed the Studio Museum magazine and Stealth, a poster installation at the museum.

A look inside the book after the jump.

New Work: Clock for an Architect

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Privately commissioned to create a gift for an architect, Daniel Weil created a one-of-a-kind clock that is both simple and complex. Reducing objects to their component parts has long fascinated Weil. The Radio in a Bag he created for his degree show at the Royal College of Art three decades ago is an icon of 20th century industrial design. This clock is the latest demonstration of his interest in investigating not just how objects look, but how they work.

New Work: GE Capital, Americas

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The Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, and the economy has been slowly improving over the past year, but what does the recovery look like for the average business? In a survey, GE Capital, the financial services unit of GE, asked 530 CFOs of middle-market companies in seven major industries about their confidence in the recovery. GE Capital is one of the biggest lenders to small and midsize companies and provides financial products and services for over 1 million businesses around the world. In the U.S., midsize companies represent GE’s primary market and are a significant engine of growth for the economy. The CFOs participating in the survey—not necessarily customers of GE Capital—represented companies that had $50 million to $1 billion in annual revenue, with an average of $144 million.

The survey provides a comprehensive portrait of the state of the economy and business, and GE Capital Americas commissioned Pentagram’s Lisa Strausfeld and her team to create a data visualization that dynamically illustrates the survey results. The project is the latest in an ongoing collaboration between Pentagram and GE to make information more accessible to consumers. Strausfeld and her team previously designed visualizations for GE about hospital quality and home appliance energy use.

“GE continues to believe that data visualization is a powerful way to simplify and advance our shared understanding of the issues shaping our lives—health, energy, and the economy,” says Camille Kubie, leader of GE’s data visualization initiative.

USA Bid Makes Final Presentation to Host 2022 FIFA World Cup™

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Today the USA Bid Committee made its final presentation to FIFA to host the FIFA World Cup™ in the US in 2022. President Bill Clinton, actor Morgan Freeman, U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Landon Donovan, and USA Bid Committee Chairman and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, with a video message from President Barack Obama, helped make the presentation in Zurich. The US is one of five countries bidding to host the 2022 games.

Pentagram’s Michael Gericke, Luke Hayman and Lisa Strausfeld have been working closely with the USA Bid Committee for the last 18 months on the identity, bid materials and final presentation to win the games for the US. For the presentation, the designers created an animated timeline of soccer’s explosive growth in the US since the country last hosted the games in 1994.

Tomorrow the four countries bidding to host the 2018 World Cup will make their presentations, and the FIFA Executive Committee members will cast their final votes for the selected host nations for the 2018 and 2022 games. The announcement of FIFA’s decision is expected at approximately 10 am EST.

New Work: ‘TimeFrames’

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This December, as we prepare to say farewell to 2010, we also have the opportunity to look back on the first decade of the 21st Century. TIME magazine is using the occasion to introduce TimeFrames, a new project to analyze and make sense of larger historical events and trends. The campaign uses the familiar TIME red border as a graphic “framing” device for decisive moments in history.

TimeFrames is launching this week with a special issue, on newsstands now, that looks back at the ‘00s. TIME Design Director D.W. Pine invited Pentagram’s Paula Scher to interpret the TimeFrames idea for the cover of the magazine. Scher has assembled and placed over 100 headlines in frames with the proportions of the TIME border, creating an intricate pattern of metaphorical covers that fill a vertical timeline of the past decade, top to bottom. Scher, with Luke Hayman, redesigned TIME magazine in 2007.

In 2005 Scher created “All the News That Fits,” a multi-page timeline for Print magazine that collected headlines of the early 2000s.

Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Drea Zlanabitnig, designer.

New Work: I’m Going to Saks

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This week culminates in the shopping free-for-all known as Black Friday, the kickoff to the holiday shopping season that accounts for over half of annual retail revenue. This fall, facing a challenging and somewhat uncertain economic climate, retailers have looked for novel ways to encourage shoppers to visit their stores. For its fall campaign, Saks Fifth Avenue has launched a promotion that declares—in a characteristically straightforward New York manner—“I’m Going to Saks,” and makes the trip to the store an occasion.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Jennifer Kinon worked on the campaign with Terron E. Schaefer, Saks’ group senior vice president for sales and marketing. The team previously developed the store’s spring campaign, which playfully asked shoppers to “Think About…” offerings in various product categories like shoes, jewelry and outerwear. The new campaign is one of action. In advertising and on catalogs, the tagline “I’m Going To” appears in stylish black-and-white arrows pointing the way to the Saks logo, accompanied by declarations like “I’m going to Saks… because some biker chicks have a soft side” and “I’m going to Saks… for everything I want and nothing I need.” These appear alongside photographs by Anders Overgaard of models in motion using all forms of transport: taxi, skateboard, ski lift, hang glider and even crutches. (The fall catalog features supermodel Karolina Kurkova on a Segway; a dog sled appears on the cover of the holiday catalog.) On special shopping bags created for the campaign the arrows appear in a pattern inspired by the identity Pentagram designed for the store in 2007.

New Work: Vilcek Foundation

Vilcek_Final_620.jpg The new Vilcek Foundation website. Click image to go to the site.

The Vilcek Foundation is a unique organization that promotes the contributions of immigrants to the sciences, arts and culture in the United States. Established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, who themselves immigrated to the US from the former Czechoslovakia, the foundation honors and supports foreign-born scientists and artists. The foundation annually awards a pair of Vilcek Prizes—one in the biomedical sciences and the other in the arts and humanities, each worth $50,000—and showcases work of immigrant artists at its gallery in New York.

This month the Vilcek Foundation launched a new website designed by Abbott Miller, an update of the site he originally created in 2006, when he designed the foundation’s identity. The new design showcases foundation programming in a flexible framework of panels or “cells” on the site’s homepage. The panels can be devoted to multiple highlights or “channels”—award recipients, gallery and lecture announcements, video clips—or come together to make one image. Clicking on an image panel takes the visitor to the relevant section of the site.

Project Team: Abbott Miller, partner-in-charge and designer; Kristen Spilman, designer.