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.

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85 Spring Street by Studio Ongarato

Opinion by Richard Baird

85 Spring St is a residential property development of 132 apartments by Golden Age Group, designed by Bates Smart and located in the Australian city of Melbourne. It will be marked by its total work of art philosophy, or Gesamtkunstwerk, which embraces a multitude of artworks to compose one singular piece, but also its distinctive, sculptural and high-rise modernity within an area of significant architectural heritage and many low-rise structures. Although disparate in its form and height, its stonework seeks a connection with the surrounding urban environment.

Studio Ongarato worked with the developer to create a visual identity and strategy for the marketing of the property. Mixing commissioned artworks, material craftsmanship and a modern graphic simplicity of type and colour the concept captures the essence and total design philosophy of the building and using archival materials and illustration recognises and brings to light the significance of the site. These ideas link a variety of communications modes that included stationery set and brochure packs, signage, direct mail and display suite.

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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.

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