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Modern Recreation by Blok, Canada

Opinion by Richard Baird & Seth Rowden

Graphic identity by Blok for subscription coffee service Modern Recreation

Modern Recreation (ModRec) is an international coffee subscription service that offers its subscribers an ever-changing selection of the very best in micro-roast coffees sourced from around the world. ModRec takes pride in its positioning; the rejection of artifice, pretence and mass culture in favour of what it says is a realness, spontaneity and individuality. This attitude, and the unique character of ModRec’s coffee collections, is expressed throughout its graphic identity; in the remixing of colour, type and form, and alongside intimate imagery and in the individual and straight talking tone of voice used online. This was developed by Canadian design studio Blok with the result being a cheerful blend of the modern and personable, variety and discovery.

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Hands On: Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold by Blok, Canada

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold, a book designed by Blok celebrating the first ten years of Canadian architecture studio Superkül

Superkül is a Canadian architecture studio with a diverse portfolio of understated boldness, subtlety and spacial richness, rooted in a process that intends to find the essence of each project and remain true to this throughout design and development. To celebrate the studio’s first ten years Superkül worked with Blok to create Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold, a book that would serve as a collection of work and as a tool to articulate the firm’s unique philosophy and design approach. This was an exercise in discovery and positioning which then was expressed materially through paper transition, finishes and printing techniques.

In the first of an on-going series, BP&O takes a hands on look at Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold. This follows, and intends to augment, the initial impressions given by Blok’s press release and promotional images, as reviewed in BP&O’s first article which can be read here.

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The Broadview Hotel by Blok, Canada

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Visual identity designed by Blok for Toronto's The Broadview Hotel

The Broadview Hotel is located within one of Toronto’s most recognisable architectural landmarks. This was built in 1891 by a wealthy businessman who recognised the strategic importance of the East End as the city was expanding. It has been home to a business centre, acted as a political and social hub, and used as a hotel, boarding room and more recently, a strip club.

The building, over the last two years, has undergone extensive restoration and renovation, and now features a distinctive glass structure and new floor on the roof. This was done with great consideration for the original architectural details. Interior design, created by DesignAgency is inspired by the local community and is infused with a contemporary yet old-world grace. The hotel is made up of public spaces and 58 private bedrooms. These are peppered with what is described as a witty eclecticism that pays homage to the building’s past, with certain rooms featuring the original brass poles from the strip club. These homages are set alongside modern finishes and amenities.

Canadian graphic design studio Blok worked with the hotel to develop a visual identity that would embrace and express the building’s contemporary new voice, possess a similar wit and attitude, and finally acknowledge and celebrate the hotel’s East End roots. This is achieved in the contrast and collision of image and type, emphasised by a simple colour palette, and in the variety of secondary typefaces. This run across and links a plethora of printed assets. These included business cards, menus and coasters as documents here, but also wayfinding and signage.

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