2 × 4 / Design Series 3
“ 2 × 4 is a leader in this ideological shift. Its irreverent, critical methodology moves branding and environmental design into new areas at once contextual and avant-garde. ”
From May 13 through November 27, 2005, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) presents the exhibition 2×4 / design series 3, showcasing works by the New York–based graphic design firm 2×4. Organized by Joseph Rosa, the SFMOMA Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, design series 3 is the Museum’s third annual exhibition devoted to emerging talents in the fields of architecture, graphic design, and industrial design. The objective of the series is to identify and provide exposure for artists and designers at the forefront of their disciplines who have not yet had solo museum exhibitions. A small-format catalogue wilL accompany the presentation.
After spending years designing custom wallpapers, Knoll Textiles invited us to design a collection of vinyl wallcoverings and woven upholstery fabrics for their 2005 season.
We came up with two design collections: Chatter and Field Theory. Both collections share a similar methodology: create pattern out of simple, mundane graphic elements.The Chatter collection is composed entirely of punctuation. Pause uses commas and periods, Plus is made entirely of plus signs, and Command uses only exclamation marks to make repeating patterns. Field Theory uses one form — an extruded box — in three different scales to create diverse effects. Urban is a grand scale pattern with dynamic forms. Exurban, a long strings of the boxes with moderately varied extrusions, and Suburban a houndstooth of repetitive boxes.
2 × 4’s two new collections of wall coverings and upholstery for KnollTextiles recall the Pop movement of 1960s. The “Field Theory” collection features geometric patterns based on three simple spatial conditions: city, suburb, and “the space within.” The “Chatter” collection, which references the digital stream of electronic transmissions—e-mails, chat rooms, instant messaging — is based on the letterforms of basic punctuation marks.
Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center is a museum and cultural center located in Louisville, KY. We were asked to create a visual facade for the building using one by two ceramic tiles in nine custom colors. The design of the facade uses photographs by Howard L. Bingham of Ali, with the portrait broken into rough pixelated images. Up close, the portraits become a pattern; at a distance, the tiles resolve into dramatic large-scale portraits of Ali.
2 × 4's facade design for the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, scheduled to open in 2005, utilizes strong, colorful, and imaginative images to convey the bravado of the world's greatest heavyweight boxer. A series of latger-than-life portraits of Ali wrap the exterior of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects' windowles four-story structure. Rather than attaching banners or photographs to the facade, 2 × 4 has integrated the forty-foot-heigh images into the very skin of the building, composing the graphics from ceramic tiles in a limited selection of colors. Seen from afar, the tiles form a recognizable montage of Ali imagery; on close viewing, the arrangemnet breaks down into an abstract mosaic of color.
Environmental Graphics & Media
2 × 4/design series 3 highlights 2x4’s striking reinvention
of wallpaper as an avant-garde design medium, as evidenced
by its environmental graphics for Prada’s Epicenter in New York. Created as part of the store’s experimental retail space and intricate multimedia element, 2x4’s two-hundred-foot-long graphic installation stretches the full length of the dramatic Rem Koolhaas–designed space and can be replaced easily, permitting change with each season.
In its premier incarnation the gigantic expanse of wallpaper featured a garish collage of banal and pornographic images cut into small pieces and superimposed by a floral pattern. A continually shifting field, the dynamic surface was visible from the street as a continuous, abstracted floral motif; in the store it could be read as individual images; and in close proximity the pattern broke down to individual pixels. Also on view will be a selection of video clips and animation commissioned by Prada and dispersed amid store merchandise on various-size plasma screens.
From 1994 to 2004
2 × 4’s work has received honors from organizations and publications such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the Smithsonian National Museum of Design, Graphis, Print, and Communication Arts, and it is part of SFMOMA’s permanent collection. A prolific design critic and esteemed educator, founding partner Michael Rock has been a contributing editor at I.D. magazine and held various design fellowships worldwide including at the Jan Van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht, the Netherlands. He is the recipient of the 1999–2000 Rome Prize in Design from the American Academy in Rome. Rock is a professor of design at the Yale University School of Art and holds an M.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design.
This microsite is design by Cooper Kao
at California College of the Arts for Interactive 2 taught by Mindy Seu
. This is not an official website for SFMoMA and 2 × 4.
2 × 4 / Design Series 3
May 12 – November 27, 2005
Friday–Tuesday 11 am–5:45 pm
Thursday 11 am–8:45 pm
Closed on Wednesday
Adults $10 | Seniors $7 | Students $6
Thursday 6–8:45 p.m. | HALF PRICE
The first Tuesday of each month | FREE