Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mies’s Modern in Chicago and a booklet by Michael Glass Design

The lead-in image shows the cover, last page with location map, and building list on the inside back cover.

This booklet, produced in 1986, is a kind of pocket catalog of architectural work by Mies van der Rohe that’s located in the city of Chicago. This 24-page booklet, which includes the cover, is a very fine example of solid editorial content with building descriptions by Wim De Wit and Catherine Ingraham. Terry A.R. Neff edited the copy. Most of the architectural photographs are from Hedrich-Blessing. The piece was designed by Michael Glass Design, Inc. of Chicago and published by the Museum Contemporary of Art, Chicago.

In the introduction, Lynne Warren writes, “Mies van der Rohe was not only one of the great architects of the 20th century; he was, because his work served as the paradigm of the Modern style, a figurehead around whom the aspirations and achievements of the Modern aesthetic could be analyzed and critiqued. This critique consisted of sometimes louder, sometimes quieter, complaints that the steel-and-glass towers of which Mies was responsible for filling the urban landscape were cold, austere, and inhuman. Recently the raucous forms and florid embellishments of what is called the postmodern style have brought out greater appreciation of the modern style’s simplicity and elegant beauty, and Mies’s contribution can be easily comprehended.”

Michael Glass’s piece captures the clarity of modern style architecture with a relatively simple one-column layout format with text typography set in Helvetica and justified. However, the last two pages indicated above deviates from the justified format as an anomaly with left alignment and ragged-right. The uppercase cover typography elegantly suggests and mimics the high-raise structure and linearity of Mies’s designed buildings.

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