Supergraphics - LAb[au]

Graphic design in public and private spaces

released by: Unit Editions Editors:
Tony Brook & Adrian Shaughnessy
release: October 2010

featuring: weather.tower, permanent illumination Brussels Dexia Tower
by LAb[au]

book about:
Supergraphics is a new book surveying the growing trend for graphic design on a monumental scale. At a time when designers' canvases are shrinking and they are increasingly concerned with the miniature - the screens of hand-held devices, for example - there is a counter swing in favour of the gigantic, as designers turn their attention towards the more expansive real estate of walls, interiors and the built environment - even loors and walkways. All over the world, typography, illustration and signage are appearing on buildings, public spaces, construction site hoardings, the reception areas of hip advertising agencies, commercial and retail interiors, hotels, clubs and cultural venues.

Supergraphics aims to chart this explosion, but also to show that despite their stylish modernity, graphic murals are not a new phenomena. With the aid of essays, commentaries and mouth-watering visuals, this is a book that shows what happens when graphic designers, illustrators, interior designers, and architects work together. It's a big book about bigness.

Supergraphics is the name of an architectural movement from the 1960s and 70s that saw architects


attempt to 'remove solidity, gravity, even history' by the simple act of applying paint and graphics to the interior and exterior surfaces of buildings. The result was an eruption of dazzling graphic imagery that used scale, chromatic verve, and visual sleight-of-hand to achieve aesthetic and social aims. As one architectural writer noted: '... niches of architects and designers began experimenting with Supergraphics to emulate the spatial effects of architecture. These designers distorted perspective with stripes and arrows, emphasized wayfinding and movement sequences with surface designs, joined community groups to paint illustrative graphics over blighted buildings, and played with scale by using billboarding tactics.' Supergraphics - Transforming Space: Graphic Design for Walls, Buildings and Spaces chronicles the early days of Supergraphics, and looks at work by leading contemporary practitioners - a significant number of whom are women. It concludes with a glimpse into the future by analysing the work of a new generation of digital artists and tech-savvy architects who are de-materializing buildings with the aid of computer technology, and in so doing, unwittingly keeping alive the original utopian intentions of the pioneers of Supergraphics.

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