- 27th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno 2016
BB ‘Cedric Price Works’ is the first publication of a significant overview of Cedric Price's work. You will discuss your involvement in its conception at the Biennial Talks. Can you introduce Cedric Price?
WD & ZK Cedric Price (1934 –2003) was a British architect whose practice encompassed teaching, writing and exhibition-making. Though relatively few of his projects were realised in built form, his work, in the form of drawings, collages, models, talks and magazine articles reveals a remarkable mind that considered architecture as temporal, dynamic and impermanent. Author and editor Samantha Hardingham writes in her introduction to the book: ‘It has been said that Cedric Price’s greatest construct was Price himself. Not just his personal appearance, but every aspect of his practice – the operation of his office, his relations with clients, his development of individual design briefs and his teaching – all were uniquely crafted details in a rich and deeply complex career. The first thing to bear in mind when contemplating Price’s work is that his central field of enquiry was what he called ‘anticipatory design’, an approach that is concerned with the importance of defining a question rather than solving a problem – on the basis that architecture is too slow for problem-solving – and which produces architecture that is specifically designed to expect change. The architectural historian Royston Landau dubbed this way of considering architecture ‘a philosophy of enabling’, and traced its invention back to Price.
Price was one of the few exceptions to this desire to build ever-lasting monuments. When asked if his Interaction Centre should be listed he replied that ‘it does not interest me to have it saved… It was made on the condition that it had a 20-year lifespan, and it’s beginning to look like it has run over its time.’’
BB How did you get to work on this publication? What were the challenges?
WD & ZK Samantha Hardingham teaches at the AA and started work on the project in 2009. In collaboration with the book’s co-publishers, the Canadian Centre for Architecture Montreal, who hold the majority of Price’s archive, as well as the Cedric Price Estate in London, Samantha gathered and edited the content over a period of five years. In late 2013 we met with Samantha to begin reviewing the material and to discuss design ideas – this involved much discussion about how to capture the spirit of Cedric’s practice while at the same time trying to establish some distance and objectivity in how the archive is presented. We were particularly interested to understand the genealogy of other architects’ monographs and complete works to better understand the strategies and techniques employed.
Samantha and the Cedric Price Estate were also interested in materiality from the outset and we collectively arrived at decisions which we hope impart a certain Pricean sensibility to the look and feel of the book. The challenge was mostly Samantha’s – it was a Herculean task to write, edit, negotiate and select from what people may not realise is a huge body of work. For us, there was balance to be found in being sensitive and respectful towards the material, while still letting the surprise, delight and mischief of Price show through.
BB Cedric Price is known among the architects for his visionary proposals, socially-minded approach to architecture, his ideas of flexibility and change. How does Cedric Price inspire you as graphic designers?
WD & ZK Price embraced the ephemeral, often making use of everyday materials through projects that are surprising both in their own right, but also in the ways that they prefigured the contemporary processes of design.
It’s also worth noting that Price was a prolific maker of printed matter, which he used throughout many of his projects – rubber stamps, badges, postcards and posters were produced to support and communicate the work, and he liked to be heavily involved in many of his magazine article layouts, notably the Architectural Design supplements, which feature in the second volume of the book.
BB You are both part the AA Print Studio, an in-house design studio of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. What does your involvement with the AA entail?
WD & ZK The Print Studio consists of a small team of editors and designers involved in the production of books, catalogues, exhibition design, posters, invitations, pamphlets and myriad ephemera to support and disseminate the activities of the school. This involves dialogue not only with the tutors and students based in Bedford Square, but also a broad cohort of practitioners who pass through the AA. We both contribute to the public programme in the form of organising lectures and exhibitions, and in 2008 established an imprint of AA Publications called Bedford Press.
BB Can you introduce Bedford Press and talk a bit about the kind of books it publishes?
WD & ZK Bedford Press was initiated at the AA in 2008 as an imprint that seeks to develop contemporary models of publication practice, building upon the school’s renowned legacy of independent publishing. Bedford Press publishes books which are situated at the intersection of architecture, visual art, graphic design and theory, drawing on the cultural activity of the AA, alongside partnerships and collaborations with other institutions, organisations and individuals. Recently we have published titles by Giovanna Silva & Chiara Carpenter, Gustav Metzger, Emma Smith, Jack Self & Shumi Bose, Jon Sueda and Joseph Grigely, with forthcoming books by Ryan Gander and Bas Princen.
BB This edition of the Brno Biennial responds to the metamorphoses and the state of contemporary graphic design; its multitude, variety, vagueness and apparent superficiality. Can you identify some of the basic parameters, current themes or motivations of contemporary graphic design?
WD & ZK We see design as a way to participate in a conversation about what culture looks like, what it means and how it has come about. It is through the ephemeral elements of design: images, words, code and signs that we give meaning to things. The AA Print Studio is unique in that it is situated at the center of the Architectural Association – a school and a nexus where ideas about contemporary culture are constantly being formulated and reformulated. Placing design in the midst of this iterative flux of ideas seems like an accurate reflection of contemporary design. Price’s championing of the temporal, dynamic and the impermanent share an uncanny resemblance with the ‘agile’ workflows embraced by tech and the hyper-accelerated lifespan of information – qualities which are quickly seeping into the way we work as designers.
Wayne Daly is a London-based graphic designer, focusing primarily on publishing, editorial and visual identity work. Recent projects include the catalogue for Hayward Gallery’s major exhibition Carsten Höller: Decision (2015); Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist’s The Age of Earthquakes for Penguin (2015); and the visual identity for artist Sean Lynch’s Irish pavilion Adventure: Capital at the 2015 Venice Biennale. He is co-founder of Bedford Press, a publishing imprint at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, which publishes books and e-books at the intersection of architecture, visual art, graphic design and theory. Collaborators include artists Gustav Metzger, Joseph Grigely, Emma Smith and Can Altay, architects Kersten Geers, Jack Self and Shumi Bose, and photographers Giovanna Silva and Bas Princen. Bedford Press has exhibited numerous times at international book fairs, including the New York Art Book Fair at MoMa PS1, LA Art Book Fair at MOCA and Miss Read at KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin. He has contributed texts to the journals AA Files, The National Grid and A Circular, and lectured at various British and international schools and institutions including the Royal College of Art, Werkplaats Typografie, Whitechapel Gallery, the Architectural Association and the American University of Beirut. In 2015 he was an invited consultant to the Swiss Federal Office of Culture for the appointment of the designer for the 2016 Most Beautiful Swiss Books exhibition and publication.
Short interviews with collaborators of the 27th Brno Biennial, authors of its exhibitions, jury members and Biennial Talks speakers.
Interviews and graphic design: Radim Peško Radim Peško (1976) is a graphic designer based in London. He works in the field of type design, editorial and exhibition projects. In 2010 he has established his RP Digital Type Foundry that specializes on typefaces that are both formally and conceptually distinctive. His work includes identity for Secession Vienna, typefaces for identities of Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Aspen Art Museum, Fridericianum, Berlin Biennale 8, various work for the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Bedford Press London or a long-term collaboration with artist Kateřina Šedá. He has lectured at many schools including Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam, ÉCAL Lausanne, HFK Bremen, KISD Cologne, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon, Sint-Lucas Ghent, University of Seoul. Since 2011 he is part of the curatorial board of the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno., Tomáš Celizna Tomáš Celizna (1977) is interested in graphic design in connection with new technologies. He is a founding partner of design studio dgú in Prague (2001 to 2005), recipient of J. W. Fulbright Scholarship (2006), and holds MFA in graphic design from Yale University School of Art (2008). He currently lives and works independently in Amsterdam. Collaborations include, among others, OASE Journal for Architecture, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Since 2011 he is a lecturer in graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, and a member of the curatorial team of the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno., Adam Macháček Adam Macháček (1980) is a graphic designer. Following studies at the AAAD in Prague, Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and ÉCAL in Lausanne, he co-founded in 2004 studio Welcometo.as in Lausanne and is a member of 201∞ Designers collective. His work includes publications, exhibition catalogues, illustrations and identities. Collaborations include, among others, the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Théâtre de Vevey (seasons 2003–2012), Galerie Rudolfinum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Chronicle Books, Editions Pyramyd, Museum of Czech Literature, Brno House of Arts, California College of the Arts, Airbnb. For Brno Biennial he initiated and organized exhibitions Work from Switzerland (2004) and From Mars (2006, together with Radim Peško). Since 2011 he is a member of the curatorial team of the International Biennial of Graphic Design in Brno. He lives and works in Berkeley.
Translation and copy editing: Alena Benešová, Kateřina Tlachová
Production: Miroslava Pluháčková
Printed by: Tiskárna Helbich s. r. o.
Print run: 2000
Published by the Moravian Gallery in Brno, 2016