Graphic identity, exhibition graphics, posters, environmental graphics,

books, merchandise 

2012

 

‘The Venetian stencil street signs or Nizioletti don’t prevent you from getting lost in the labyrinth, but they do comfort you or allow you to get lost in the most elegant way. They speak to you not in an Italian but a Venetian dialect – “Calle” rather than “Via”. Given their frequency, that they don’t irritate or disturb is a measure of their visual properties – they must be the most beautiful of city sign systems (the v-incised Bath street names defined by light and shade alone follow closely behind). The stencil text is contained in a white plaster panel – Nizioletti means “white sheet or cover” – roughly framed in black. The text is also painted black, but this black like so much in Venice has undertones of blue, a prussian blue (the blue used in blueprints) or a deep black water. To the passer-by the white rectangle often appears to be positioned in alignment with the interior ceiling ribbed with beams. The sheets which stack like sails when there’s lots to say, expand and contract to fit the content. There’s a hierarchy in size, the larger type of a sestiere (district) would sit above a smaller bridge name. The black blue text switches to brick red for key directional signs (and to a more recent reflective yellow). These point with a beautiful arrow, whose head is spliced from its own tail, leaving the bony silhouette of a vorticist fish.

These forms were irresistible to me when David Chipperfield, the Director of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, invited my studio to create a graphic identity for “Common Ground”. The body of work spanned across four publications, exhibition graphics, signage, posters, printed matter and more uniquely banners for bridges and wraps for Vaporettos. The theme Common Ground celebrated interconnected architectural culture and explored the things architects have in common, from the conditions of practice, to influences, collaborations and histories.’ (John Morgan, Eye magazine). Read more.