Opinion by Richard Baird
Åhléns began in 1899 as a small mail-order business. Aside from it being one of the oldest it has also grown to become one of the largest retail chains in Sweden. By carefully collating a variety of items across brands and price categories, the retailer maintains its relevance today, understanding and responding to the many ways in which its customers have changed over its long history. Happy FB, the Scandinavian design studio behind Åhléns new visual identity, puts it simply “to Åhléns’ urbane and socially conscious patrons, shopping and sustainability are not contradictions. Inspiration and trends do not equate to use and discard. Premium can be inexpensive and cheap doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in quality”. The retailer’s new visual identity expresses this by taking the well-established Åhléns wordmark and single red and builds this out into a range of changing graphic expressions, imbuing a variety of touchpoints, material and digital, with more character whilst retaining a recognisable immediacy through simplicity.
Opinion by Richard Baird
Kaiyo, formerly Furnishare, is an online platform for the reselling and buying of used furniture, currently available in New York City and New Jersey, but with the intention to expand this internationally. Kaiyo picks up, inspects, cleans, photographs and uploads furniture to its online catalogue, easing the difficulties of selling secondhand online. It is part of a growing up-cycling movement, challenges the notion of seasonality promoted by large furniture retailers and was created in response to the approximately 8 million tons of furniture that ends up in American landfill each year. Eco-modernist, good design available to everyone, reuse and longevity are central to Kaiyo’s positioning. This was developed by Pentagram partner Natasha Jen and team, alongside naming and graphic identity which runs across website, brochure, van livery, tote bag and box tape.
Jack Self (JS) is a London-based architect and writer. He is the director of the REAL Foundation and Editor-in-Chief of the Real Review, a magazine that explores, through a variety of topics and lenses, what it means to live today. The text below is an excerpt taken from a 10,000-word transcript of an hour-long conversion between Richard Baird (RB) and Jack Self. This covered architecture, graphic design, publishing and the review.
RB—I spoke to Jack Self about my desire to create an unexpected material object from the work I do for BP&O. That I did not know what form it would take, although the LogoArchive zine is now folded into that project. I would use words like performance or sculpture when speaking to people about it, to move the conversation beyond, say, an annual; a common suggestion (although it was always going to be material) as a way to draw people into a worldview. This is what Jack had to say about that and how Real Review creates new relationships with space and develops a dialogue between text and image, outside of their literal reading, by way of a vertical fold.