‘Laying Foundations for Change’

Book Design

Design of a two-volume collection documenting the global work of the non-profit organization, The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Since their inception in 1982, The Atlantic Philanthropies have provided more than $2.5 billion for over 300 capital projects across five continents. Encompassing schools, universities, museums, hospitals and research centers, these projects show, in the words of Atlantic founder Charles Francis “Chuck” Feeney, “Good buildings for good minds can make the difference in the lives of a lot of people.” Pentagram has designed Laying Foundations for Change: Capital Investments of The Atlantic Philanthropies, a new two-volume collection that chronicles the enormous social impact these structures have had on the health, education, culture and livelihood of millions of people.

Laying Foundations for Change records this impact with striking photography by some of the most acclaimed documentary photographers in the world. To create the book, Atlantic collaborated with the Magnum Foundation, an organization that champions documentary photography that fosters positive social change. The scope of the project was enormous; Atlantic and Magnum worked together to photograph more than 30 sites across five continents in the seven regions in which Atlantic works: The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Viet Nam, Australia, Cuba and the United States.

To complete the photography, a process was designed that reflected the values of Atlantic and its investment in people: Educational programs were established that gave young regional photographers the opportunity to help document the projects, working alongside leaders in the profession. Participating photographers from the prestigious Magnum cooperative included Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr, Jim Goldberg, Donovan Wylie, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Chien-Chi Chang and Mark Power, who worked with photography students from the seven regions. More than 25 emerging photographers received grants to participate; a selection of the images are featured in the book, with more on the project’s website.

The publication is designed to feel both special and accessible. The two-volume set is elegantly housed in a linen-wrapped, foil-stamped slipcase. The Magnum collaboration is featured in the 400-page first volume, which functions both as a visual narrative and illustrated atlas of the Atlantic projects around the world. The cover is wrapped in an image of the Engineering Building at the National University of Ireland, Galway, a “living classroom” that epitomizes the goals of many Atlantic investments. Throughout the book, the images capture the visible manifestation of Atlantic’s work as well as the spirit of the less visible, seen through the people whose lives are impacted by the capital projects. The capital projects are organized by region, with a tipped-in, colored stock divider introducing each section. On the reverse, a map highlights the location of the featured projects and other Atlantic initiatives.

The main book is accompanied by a second volume, titled “Compendium,” which provides snapshots of each project in which Atlantic invested $100,000 or more. The book is also organized by region and color-coded to match the sections in volume one. The comprehensive breadth of Atlantic’s work is captured in brief overviews of more than 300 capital projects, including details such as dates, total investment, and funding partners. Open circle diagrams indicate Atlantic’s estimated portion of the total amount of the project funding, and many entries feature photographs, illustrations and maps. In both volumes, the sans serif font Theinhardt is used for titles, headers and maps, with the serif Arnhem used for text.

Digital editions of both volumes can be downloaded here.

New York
Luke Hayman
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