BPO


Hands On: Critical Mass by Foreign Policy

Opinion by Richard Baird

Design and publishing by Singapore-based Foreign Policy for brand, art and cultural magazine Critical Mass

Critical Mass is a biannual magazine that explores a brand’s ripple effect across the globe, from patterns in consumer spending to environmental implications. It intends to showcase, in its curation, commissioning and design, how a brand’s living legacies extend beyond mere aesthetics and profit margins in the face of fast-moving and ever-changing global consumerism. Issue 1 explores the lines blurred between artistic expression and commercial endeavour in a series of texts around Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama approached from a variety of angles by different authors.

The magazine is designed and published by Singapore-based design studio and think tank Foreign Policy and takes the form of a slim staple bound booklet of 32 pages. Although light, it is an insightful document that is materially and graphically distinct. Texts move comfortably between the micro and the meta, complete easy reads and those that are more challenging, propositions for continued thought. There is pleasing breadth drawn from a singular focus.

Continue reading this article


Mies In London by OK-RM

Opinion by Richard Baird

Mies In London published by Real Foundation and designed by OK-RM

Mies In London is a project by Real Foundation that seeks to document modernist architect Mies van der Rohe’s only design for the United Kingdom, Mansion House Square; a bronze tower and grand plaza located at the heart of London opposite the bank of England and commissioned in 1962 by Lord Peter Palumbo. Following a long struggle with Royal and political concerns, as well as an increasing disfavour for modernism within the public consciousness, the project was halted by an inquiry in 1984 with many of the details and artefacts lost to time.

Through careful research and collaboration with RIBA, the CCA and Drawing Matter over three years, editor Jack London and co-editor Yulia Rudenko have brought to light the inside and out of Mansion House Square as envisioned by Mies. The project is an interesting and ambitious example of Gesamtkunstwerk / Total Project. This is expressed by Real Foundation in their own practice and material response through a combination of book and objects; an ashtray and door handle. The book, designed by OK-RM, chronicles and presents the grand architectural gesture and philosophy for the site using the arrangement of content; documents and images with extended captions as a narrative tool.

This article, in a break from convention and with a desire to experiment editorially, has two interwoven parts; the familiar format looks at the micro (the graphic and the material), while inset italics explores the more meta. These can be read independently or sequentially.

Continue reading this article


OfficeUS Manual by Pentagram

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Book designed by Pentagram's Natasha Jen for OfficeUS Manual published by Lars Müller Publishers

OfficeUS Manual is a guide to the American architectural workplace over the past century. It is the third book in the OfficeUS series which deals with the development of international US architectural practices, and offers insight into the office life of these over the past 100 years; how they have changed and remained the same. It does this through the compiling and presentation of job listings, timesheets and estimates, work furniture and reception areas, office hours and benefits.

The book is marked by its approach; a balance of criticality, conviviality and deadpan documentation, in its mix of isolated objects, technical drawings and iconography, contemporary reflections by more than fifty architects, artists and writers, and a scope that covers the meta, macro and micro.

The book was edited by Eva Franch, Ana Miljački, Carlos Mínguez Carrasco, Jacob Reidel and Ashley Schafer and published by Lars Müller Publishers. It is a paperback measuring 160 × 240mm, made up of 288 pages featuring 461 illustrations and was designed by Pentagram partner Natasha Jen and team.

Continue reading this article