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2019

FREESPACE

Company Atelier David Smith
Client La Biennale di Venezia (Client) and Grafton Architects (Curators)
  • Silver
    2 Design: Print - Integrated Graphics
Lead Designers
David Smith and Oran Day
Designer
Isabelle McCarthy
Motion Designer
Johnny Brennan
Grafton Architects Editorial Team
Emmett Scanlon
Grafton Architects Editorial Team
Nathalie Weadick
Grafton Architects Editorial Team
Alice Clancy
Head of Editorial Projects
Venice Biennale
Venice Biennale Web & Editorial Project
Nicola Monaco
Editorial Production Team
Metodo Studio, Venice
Lead Designers
David Smith and Oran Day
Designer
Isabelle McCarthy
Motion Designer
Johnny Brennan
Grafton Architects Editorial Team
Emmett Scanlon
Grafton Architects Editorial Team
Nathalie Weadick
Grafton Architects Editorial Team
Alice Clancy
Head of Editorial Projects
Venice Biennale
Venice Biennale Web & Editorial Project
Nicola Monaco
Editorial Production Team
Metodo Studio, Venice

The graphic identity for Biennale Architettura 2018 seeks to visualise and communicate the ‘generosity of spirit’ and universal ideals at the core of Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara’s FREESPACE manifesto.

The multilingual design concept for the FREESPACE identity visually references a number of historic, cultural, geographic and environmental antecedents – the typographic vernacular of the Futurist manifestos; the protomodernist structural innovations of Venetian opera and the distinctive columns of Arsenale/ Corderie and surrounding buildings.

The FREESPACE identity offers a suite of modular ’typographic stacks’ (that visually reference the environmental staining on the columns of the Corderie), to be used in conjunction with the FREESPACE grid (based on the format of classical Venetian opera). These elements (along with the typographic and editorial standards in the Exhibition, Participating Countries and Short Guide books) provided the visual toolkit for the design teams working on Biennale Architettura 2018.

In keeping with the universal and egalitarian ideals implicit in the title/concept, FREESPACE has been translated into almost 100 official languages. These approved translations are used to construct additional/alternate FREESPACE typographic illustrations/stacks, for use on various FREESPACE collateral.

Language was used as a “shorthand” to establish atereno commune or common ground between all of the participants (and visitors). In translating FREESPACE into each participants language we established a sense of “belonging” and a shared identity across all of the collateral produced. Ten variants of the poster was produced and other variants/multiples were created for core communications and promotional merchandise.

The FREESPACE grid offers a graphic counterpoint to and a visual anchor for the ‘typographic stacks’. However it also provides a system for organisation of information and for proportional division of any appropriate space – poster, page, screen, banner, etc.

The FREESPACE grid’s construction references classical Venetian opera’s populist three act format – as pioneered by proto-modernist composer, Monteverdi (1567—1643). This three act format was usually preceded by an introduction/overture and the acts we’re broken into a varying number of scenes (usually not exceeding 15 scenes per act).

The principal typeface used is Druk – it was chosen for its association with wood-block printing and the display types that would have been evident in flyposting and banners of historic manifesto’s. It also results in a style or aesthetic that is purposefully “unrefined”, familiar and commonplace.

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