Thursday, October 25 2007
Thursday, October 25 2007
Join us for a historic evening with two pioneers of Modernism, Wim Crouwel and Massimo Vignelli. In conversation with Alice Twemlow, the designers will share the anecdotes and insights that frame their iconic work and explain why, to them, design is not a career; it’s a way of life.
Wim Crouwel, Dutch graphic designer, exhibition designer, museum director and educator, established his first freelance design practice in Amsterdam in 1954. In 1963 he became one of the five founding partners of Total Design, so called because it was the first multidisciplinary design studios in the Netherlands. During the sixties and the seventies he was responsible for many of the posters, catalogues, and exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. From 1985-1993, Wim was director of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. In 1967 he launched his New Alphabet within the Quadrat-Print series of journals published by Pieter Brattinga and his printing firm Steendrukkerij De Jong. This radical typographic experiment proposed new letterforms as a response to new technology. It was commissioned by Olivetti for a new typewriter font and although completed it was not released at the time due to changes in technology. The basis of all Wim’s work is a strong underlying grid system, his typefaces being a logical extension of this grid. Within the last two years The Foundry in London has digitalized and marketed four of Wim’s typefaces.
Massimo Vignelli, Italian designer of graphic and corporate identity programs, publications, architectural graphics, exhibitions, furniture and products of all kinds, has lived and worked in New York for the past four decades. Massimo studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano from 1950 to 1953 and later trained at the Universita di Architetttura in Venice. His first professional position was as a designer of glassware for Venini, and from 1958 to 1960 he taught design at the Institute of Design, Chicago, while his wife, Lella Vignelli worked for architects, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. In 1960, the couple returned to Milan and founded the Lella and Massimo Vignelli Office for Design and Architecture. Four years later, Massimo began creating graphics for the Container Corporation of America, and designed its new logo. In 1965, with Bob Noorda and Jay Doblin he founded Unimark International, a design consultancy originally based in Milan. Soon after, The Vignellis moved to the U.S. and in 1966 Unimark established a New York office, specializing in corporate identity. In 1971, Vignelli Associates was established and subsequently designed corporate identity programs for Knoll, American Airlines, Bloomingdales, Xerox, Lancia, Cinzano, and Ford Motors. Massimo also turned his attention to designing furniture for Sunar, Rosenthal, Morphos and Knoll, including the Handkerchief Chair and Paper Clip table for Knoll. Some of the most well-known work of the Vignellis includes directional signage for the New York and Washington, D.C. subway systems.
Alice Twemlow is the chair of a new MFA program in Design Criticism at the School of Visual Arts, which launches in the fall of 2008. Alice writes about design for publications including Design Issues, Design Observer, Good, Eye, I.D., New York Magazine, Paper, Print, The Architect’s Newspaper, and Varoom. She is the author of What is Graphic Design For? (Rotovision, 2006), StyleCity New York (Thames & Hudson, 2005) and has contributed essays to Jonathan Barnbrook’s monograph, Barnbrook Bible (Booth Clibborn, 2007), Looking Closer 5: Critical Writings on Graphic Design (Allworth Press, 2007), ELSE/WHERE: MAPPING (Design Institute, 2006), and Why Not Associates 2 (Thames & Husdon, 2004). She has directed several design conferences, including “Voice: AIGA National Design Conference 2002,” and “Being Here: Craft and Locality in Graphic Design,” held in Berlin in 2004, and co-directed “Looking Closer: AIGA Conference on Design History and Criticism.” Alice has an MA in Design History from the program run by the Royal College of Art and the V&A Museum in London, where she is currently a PhD candidate.