Opinion by Richard Baird
246 Queen has a long and storied history. Opened in 1964 on Auckland’s Queen Street, it heralded a new era of modern architectural vision, exclusive boutique-based experience and an urban post-war retail sophistication. The building played host to fashion shows, designer concessions, furniture showrooms and contemporary dining. However, the architectural ideas drawn up by the original architects Rigby Mullan (Alan Rigby and Antony Mallen), remained only partially realised. These are now being paid homage to in the building’s renovation by the Wilshire Group working in collaboration with architects Fearon Hay, once again becoming a mixed-use space of food and drink, retail and commercial opportunities across eight floors.
Architectural details include a distinctive fascia of curved windows and accents, floor to ceiling central glass light well, exposed ceiling and concrete floors. This sits within a district of 20th-century architecture and mid-century landmarks, a broad range of coffee shops and casual dining, the Auckland Art Gallery and the century-old Albert Park.
The marketing of the building and its spaces is aimed at what are described as design-savvy directors. Those with companies within the creative sectors, smart PR, marketing, bespoke legal and financial services, those who have developed award-winning digital experiences or are tech innovators. Essentially, those with clients who expect the structure and space to fit the nature of the companies they intend to work with. In this way, modernist architecture functions as a material symbol of the pioneering spirit that now exists within the less material worlds of the service led and digital sectors.
The marketing language and the graphic identity of the building, designed by Auckland-based Studio South, draws on the history and original vision of the building. This revolves around the modernist, and aimed at those that recognise or are drawn in by mid-century architectural heritage and an associated graphic history, and desire access to contemporary international food and high-quality services in building and locally. This manifests itself through type and text, colour, material and structure, and through a graphic motif that is inspired by the building’s curved accents and large rounded windows.
Opinion by Richard Baird.
Slet is a mass gymnastics event and union of schools that has its roots in the latter half of 19th century Prague with the intention of providing physical, moral and intellectual training for the nation. Slet takes its name from the Czech word for flocking of birds. This can be understood in the sight of a stadium field filled with participants exercising in union. Slet became Skol clubs and spread across the country, establishing strong relationships with gymnastic bodies internationally, particularly with those in France, a relationship that endures today.
Slet, which took place every six years, were also characterised by their strong visual identities. This was a critical part of the unifying nature of the occasion. This was often put in the hands of prominent artists of the time.
From its beginnings in the second half of the 19th century to the present, Slet has found itself caught amongst political agendas; suppressed or repurposed for propaganda, only to reclaimed. The event was revived during the Prague Spring of 1968, only to fade out and remerge again for the fourth time in 1990 and then in 1994 when 23,000 Skols participated.
In 2018 Slet once again returned for its 16th event. In the same spirit of its earliest events, visual identity was an essential component. Inspired by the complex movements and the diagrams of dots, lines and arrows that guided the gymnasts, Prague-based Studio Najbrt draws a sense of fun, energy and character from complexity. This runs across and links a variety of printed materials, these included posters, billboards, badges, t-shirts, stamps, bags, badges and a variety of merchandise.
Opinion by Richard Baird.
Innsbruck International, Biennial of the Arts is a 16-day event set over 10 locations presenting the work of over 20 international artists who are invited to make use of Innsbruck’s historical and contemporary venues. Together, these works reach across the wide spectrum of the visual arts; from painting and sculpture, film and sound to performances and installations. Although events of this kind are, by their very nature, politically charged; the worldviews of a few artists presented to an international audience, the 2018 event brought this right to the forefront under the theme of “Agents Of Social Change”. Capturing the spirit of this Italians Studio Mut developed a graphic identity for the 2018 Biennial that included posters, advertising, programmes, brochures and website. This is marked by a visual language of both the personable and mechanical, motion and pause, yet, united by an immediacy and urgency.