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Architecture
Identity
.
Experience
.
Product

Blank is the new blank

Category
Architecture
Awards
European Design Awards. 2017
Visuelt. 2017
Visuelt. 2017

There is no such thing as either man or nature now, only a process that produces the one within the other and couples the machines together. 

— Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari

Fig 1.
Challenge

When the Moscow based architects Blank asked us to create their new visual identity and website, it also came with another intriguing request: Not only did they want us to develop an identity that reflected their body of work and their company, they wanted us to help them reach out to new and existing partners by highlighting their willingness to experiment and to innovate, communicating their attitude towards nature, process and architectural principles. This way the new identity needed to serve as a doorway into more cultural and intellectual projects.

Fig 2.

The icon is an abstract representation of two architectural expressions.

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Basic shapes. 

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Strict grid system

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From chaos to order

Being both environmentally aware and drawn towards the modern and the futuristic, it was clear from the outset that the new identity needed to reflect both the organic and the clear-cut technical, on printed matter as well as the digital surfaces, and we started early in the process to think of ways to infuse code with design and how to create visual links between modern architecture, experimental thought and nature.

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When constructing the logo, we focused on the name Blank as the idea of perfection, as in the quote by Samuel Beckett: 'At the end of the day, my last work will be a Blank piece of paper'. Furthermore, like Beckett, we intended this clean and proper foundation to contrast with the wild, untamable forces of nature and thought, illustrating how the functional must always emerge from a reduction of chaos to order. Simultaneously, this reduction implies an understanding of chaos that can only be obtained by relentlessly and ceaselessly venturing through it—which serves as a golden thread throughout the new Blank profile.

The straight and uncompromising aesthetic of the logo and the stationary makes room for a series of code-generated pieces that can be implemented in conjunction on both web and print.

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Line of Flight
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Pedestrian flow

One striking aspect of large scale public architecture is how it can affect the pedestrian flow around it, as it serves both as attraction and obstacle. Whether it is seen as one or the other might also depend of the time of the day, the month or the year, the rises and drops of temperature, as well as the characteristics of the adjacent structures and whatever else flows through or past. This notion was beautifully captured by Robert Musil, in his book The Man Without Qualities:

Even though the peculiar nature of this noise could not be defined, a man returning after years of absence would have known with his eyes shut that he was in that ancient capital and imperial city Vienna. Cities can be recognised by their pace just as people can by their walk.
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Hats in the Garment District by Margaret Bourke White

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Playtime by Jacques Tati

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From this we made an interactive canvas where particles are born with a start position and a target coordinate to reach, acting as pedestrians trying to make their way through a crowded area. By clicking and dragging you can construct buildings and see live changes as to how it affects the pedestrians and their plans to reach their destination.

Fig 30.
Look deep into nature

We created another generative piece inspired by the human mind's ability to observe patterns and structures in nature, with representational ideas of numbers, geometry, sequences and patterns. As far as science is a means of investigating and understanding, there is also that highly creative aspect of constructing with incomplete knowledge, building with what we have—in order to reach a sufficient proximity.

Now I was making my way through the garden. There was that strange light which follows a day of persistent rain, when the sun comes out and the sky clears too late to be of any use. The earth makes a sound as of sighs and the last drops fall from the emptied cloudless sky. A small boy, stretching out his hands and looking up at the blue sky, asked his mother how such a thing was possible. Fuck off, she said. — Samuel Beckett, The End (1946)

We wanted to illustrate this creative process of constructing with representational ideas by showing a process where a sphere is built by creating and joining triangles. We took the Albert Einstein quote "Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better" and tied it to the generative piece in a way that, for every character of the quote that gets typed, a certain amount of triangles will be allowed, and we will attempt to create a sphere from this limitation.

Fig 31.

All these experiments were implemented not just on the printed stationary, but also on the homepage of Blank's new website. The website will display a random generative header that changes on every user refresh.

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© 2018 Bleed