BPO


Speculations On Anonymous Materials by Zak Group

Opinion by Richard Baird

Catalogue by Zak Group for a trilogy of exhibitions that explore the theoretical lines separating the natural from and the artificial at Fridericianum

Speculations on Anonymous Materials (2013), nature after nature (2014) and Inhuman (2015) is a trilogy of exhibitions, curated by Susanne Pfeffer, that took place at Fridericianum, Europe’s oldest public museum, located in the German city of Kessel. The exhibitions, which mark the institution’s turn towards post-humanist thinking, intended to demonstrate how current artistic practices shift the theoretical boundaries separating the natural from the artificial. London-based design studio Zak Group was recently commissioned to catalogue the trilogy of exhibitions, which was then published by Koenig Books. The catalogue is set in German and English, has 220 pages and features three metallic spot colours.

Continue reading this article


New Architecture in South Tyrol 2012—2018 by Studio Mut

Opinion by Richard Baird

Book design and layout by Studio Mut for New Architecture in South Tyrol

New Architecture in South Tyrol—a travelling exhibition and catalogue—brings to light the unique architectural boom happening in Alto Adige, also known as South Tyrol, the predominantly German-speaking northern-most province of Italy.

Selected by an international jury, the catalogue focuses on fifty-nine buildings from the region, realised between 2012–2018, and have gained local contemporary architects international recognition. These buildings are marked by their keen sense of locality and materialisation. This is documented throughout the exhibition catalogue by way of images and plans. Texts in English, German and Italian augment these, providing a comprehensive survey of recent architectural trends and developments in the region with the intention of facilitating international comparison.

The design of the exhibition catalogue, developed by Studio Mut, channels the architectural continuities present within the region and draws these out through the immediacy of imagery and technical drawings, and explored playfully in the balance of type and space. In this, the design of the catalogue captures the “lively and innovative architectural scene” rooted in a rich tradition of craftsmanship, and set within, and often in contrast to, an alpine context.

Continue reading this article


Hands On: MacGuffin Magazine. No.6

Opinion by Richard Baird

Hands On: MacGuffin Magazine. No.6 by Sandra Kassenaar

MacGuffin is a biannual design, art and crafts magazine that commissions stories on, around or jumping off from ordinary things, uncovering personal and curious relationships with the objects that surround us. Issues 1 to 5 explored The Bed, The Window, The Robe, The Sink and The Cabinet. The Ball, MacGuffin Magazine No.6 Autumn/Winter 2018, the one BP&O has its hands-on, takes a look those related to the spherical; from the ballpoint pen to the disco ball, Harvey Ball (the designer of the smiley face), to the Biosphere and the sphere as the building block in which to shape a Japanese future.

The magazine mixes writing styles and lengths with documentary and cinematic stills, still life and artworks, the diagrammatic, illustrative and iconographic. Featured writers include Danish artist Nicolai Howalt, graphic designer Paul Gangloff and Real Review’s Jack Self who reflects on Bisosphere 2, an eco-futurist experiment.

MacGuffin, in its content, manages to draw beauty from the banal, the hidden and the utilitarian, elevating the every using a plethora of interesting and revealing philosophical, historical and socio-cultural insights. These moves from the micro, macro and abstract, viewed through an architectural or art and design lens. There is, occasionally, a form of meta-criticism at play which is a nice observation on the spherical type element of the Selectric Typewriter, nicknamed the golf ball, doing the hitting, rather than being hit. However, the publication largely leans towards the simple joy of revealing the idiosyncrasies and legacies of the commonplace or the overlooked. The spirit of this is expressed graphically, typographically and materially by editors Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven working with Dutch Designer Sandra Kassenaar. MacGuffin Magazine No.6 is 210 x 218mm, 232 pages and features five Pantone inks. It is supported by adverts, these come in the form of a fold-out cover, back page and the first five pages. It costs 14GBP / 16EUR / 20USD, and is also available as a yearly subscription.

Continue reading this article