Home to masterworks by Cezanne, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, and others, the Barnes Foundation is one of the most important collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modernist art in the world. Now, as the Barnes prepares for a high-profile move from Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, to a new location in downtown Philadelphia, the museum has announced a comprehensive new identity program designed by Pentagram’s Abbott Miller. The graphic identity has been introduced with the launch of a new website designed by Miller and his team for the Foundation, which had its Phase 1 launch last week. The museum opens to the public in May 2012.
Established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes, a visionary who amassed paintings, decorative art, and African sculpture (before it was widely collected by other institutions), the Barnes Foundation has been housed since 1922 in a custom gallery in Merion designed to Barnes’ specifications. The galleries of the original building were intimate settings that presented art and objects from various parts of the world in distinctive symmetrical “ensembles,” a hanging style that allowed viewers to make links and associations among the diverse works. These arrangements will be recreated in exact detail in the Barnes’ new building, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and have inspired Miller’s identity for the museum.
Robert A.M. Stern may be known as a pioneering postmodernist, but the term doesn’t begin to cover the stylistic versatility and wide-ranging output of his architectural practice. Among different audiences, Robert A.M. Stern Architects is known equally for everything from the design of houses and apartment buildings, to the design of office towers, academic buildings, and whole towns. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut has designed a new website for RAMSA that captures the firm’s expansive portfolio.
Bierut has a longstanding relationship with Stern, having designed a series of five monographs on the architect’s work, beginning with Robert A.M. Stern Buildings in 1996, followed by Houses (1997), Houses and Gardens (2005), Buildings and Towns (2007), and On Campus (2010). The distinctive design of the books reflects Stern’s own architectural approach—the contemporary interpretation of classical forms in a confident, even monumental form. Bierut has also designed two books of architectural writing by Stern, The Philip Johnson Tapes and Architecture on the Edge of Postmodernism.
A visit to any designer’s studio will show you that designers have a special relationship with books: reading them, collecting them, writing them, designing them. Designers & Books is a new website devoted to publishing lists of books that esteemed designers—architects, graphic designers, fashion designers, interior designers and product designers—find personally important or formative to their ideas about design. Founded by Steve Kroeter, the site is guided by the principle that, similar to the way good design can make your life better, good books can also make your life better. Pentagram’s Lisa Strausfeld and Takaaki Okada have designed the site to be an accessible, growing resource.
The site launches with book lists from 50 designers, including our own Michael Bierut and Paula Scher, and over 650 titles. In addition, the site also includes book lists submitted by members of the extended design community academics, critics, curators, editors, lecturers and writers—who the site calls “commentators.” The site will continue to expand: new book lists from designers and commentators will be added weekly.
Since it began issuing laptops in 2007, One Laptop per Child, the initiative to put low-cost computers in the hands of the world’s poorest children, has provided its XO laptops to an astonishing 2 million students and teachers in countries and regions all over the world. The program, founded by Nicholas Negroponte, has fostered a growing community of educators, developers and supporters, and has helped change the lives of children in Afghanistan, Paraguay, Madagascar, Kenya, India, Argentina, Nepal, Gaza and the West Bank, among others.
Pentagram’s Lisa Strausfeld and her team have designed a new site for OLPC that helps focus on this new phase of the project: the use of the laptops and how they are helping to empower children. Previous versions of the OLPC site emphasized the organization’s mission and laptop technology. Now that the laptops are in use, the new site details the accomplishments of the program, helps create a sense of community and encourages continued support. The site has an editorial focus and acts as a kind of OLPC “mother ship,” or hub, that serves to aggregate news and information about OLPC and surface the communities that have grown up around the program. The homepage shares stories and photos of children and classrooms that use the laptops. News updates are color-coded by source, and the site features an interactive map of the world that shows the countries and regions that have signed on to the initiative, with links to local updates via the OLPC Wiki. The site uses the language of simple graphic icons that Pentagram’s Michael Gericke developed for the organization’s identity. The new site was developed by Upstatement.
Pentagram has been involved with OLPC since the organization’s inception. This is the third time we’ve designed the OLPC site, following the initial launch in 2007 and an update in 2008. Michael Gericke designed the OLPC identity, and Lisa Strausfeld designed Sugar, the XO laptop’s graphical user interface.
Every designer or design firm faces the challenge of how best to show their portfolio online. Which projects make the cut? How many images? What do potential clients want to see? For our new site, launched last week, we’ve taken the maximal approach, creating an image-driven, easily navigable collection of hundreds of our projects that will continue to grow as we finish new work. The site allows users to view multiple projects at once and take a closer look at portfolios of each project.
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.
This week Pentagram’s newest partner, Eddie Opara, officially joined our New York office. Eddie is a multi-faceted designer whose work encompasses brand identity, publications, environments, interactive installations, websites, user interfaces and software, with many of his projects ranging across multiple media. He has developed numerous applications including the MiG, an innovative content and asset management system for off and online applications that is currently in use by various clientele.
Eddie brings with him the team from Map, the studio he founded in 2005: Brankica Harvey, senior designer; Raed Atoui, software developer; and Frank LaRocca, designer.
Eddie’s wide-ranging practice complements Pentagram’s multi-disciplinary approach. “Bringing a diversity of design skills laced with innovation to Pentagram is paramount,” says Eddie. “I strive to conceive and build compelling work through my love of strategy, design and technology.”
Paula Scher says: “Eddie represents the new generation of graphic designers for whom all forms of media and all dimensions of design are not separated from the initial concept but are an integral part of the total thought.”
On the occasion of his joining, Eddie and his team have developed a new Pentagram app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad that showcases his portfolio. Download it here. Look for future updates of the app featuring more work from our studio.
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.
Lisa Strausfeld’s dynamic media wall for Bloomberg L.P. corporate headquarters in New York.
We are thrilled to announce that Lisa Strausfeld has been selected to receive the 2010 National Design Award for Interaction Design. The National Design Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in design and are sponsored by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Patron for this year’s awards, and the recipients will be honored at a gala on October 14 in New York.
Strausfeld was a Finalist in the Interaction Design category last year, the first year the discipline was honored by the awards. She specializes in information visualization, and her work ranges from software prototypes, user interfaces and websites to interpretive displays and large-scale media installations. Recent work includes user interfaces for One Laptop per Child and Litl; data visualizations for GE and The New York Times; websites for the Cleveland Museum of Art, Gallup, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro; and installations for the Museum of Arts and Design, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the corporate headquarters of Bloomberg L.P. She holds four patents relating to user interfaces and intelligent information search and retrieval.
Strausfeld has won five awards from the prestigious International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), and Fast Company magazine selected her as one of its 2009 Masters of Design. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.