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No. 192: Inside Maira Kalman’s Greenwich Village Apartment, Sagmeister & Walsh Do-Gooder Merchandise, Ceramics by Nathalie du Pasquier + More

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Design Diary, a collection of five projects from across the world that have impressed us this week. 

For more along these lines (and so many others) follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

Yehrin Tong, Virago Modern Classics

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Virago Modern Classics, an imprint of the British publisher championing women’s voices around the world. To celebrate the occasion, Virago approached illustrator Yehrin Tong to design a series of 13 books by influential women writers throughout the ages, the likes of which include Angela Carter, Muriel Spark, and Zora Neale Hurston. The covers make use of Tong’s signature intricate patterns, to dazzling effect. Forgoing the traditional use of a box sitting over the pattern to create space for the typography (see: NYBR reprints), Virago art director Hannah Wood created a diamond template and gave Tong full reign to design within it. Looking very good.

Ladybeard, issue #3

The third issue of feminist magazine Ladybeard launched this week, with a couple of unexpected twists. The magazine underwent some significant design changes, but the biggest attention-grabbers are the issue’s dual covers. We’ll let Magculture’s Jeremy Leslie explain: “Each cover option features a full-bleed wraparound image by photographer Anton Gottlob; one an unretouched close-up of an older women’s mouth, a rare sight in magazine-land, the other a similarly tight crop of an arsehole, even rarer!”

As Leslie points out, the covers toy with our preconceived notions about what’s beautiful and what’s grotesque, cleverly re-repositioning the theme from the get go. But frankly the making-of story tops it all. Read it on Magculture.

Sagmeister & Walsh, Sorry I Have No Filter

Two years ago, Jessica Walsh launched the nonprofit Ladies, Wine & Design, and since then it’s seriously taken off, with chapters now in over 170 countries around the world. The organization mentors, champions, and fosters creative women through free events and meet-ups, with the hope that women will meet, share resources, and propel each other forward. Now, in the same vein as its Pins Won’t Save the World campaign—which raised over $100,000 for organizations under siege from the Trump administration—Sagmeister & Walsh bring us Sorry I Have No Filter. Profits from merchandise on the site go toward Ladies, Wine & Dine. Grab a “Shit Happens” crystal ball pin or a “Middle Finger” sticker— it’s for a good cause.

Nathalie du Pasquier, ceramics collection for Bitossi

Nathalie du Pasquier, co-founder of the Memphis group, has been steadily building up her own a multi-disciplinary practice since Memphis disbanded in 1987. Besides the stray project for American Apparel or HAY, she doesn’t tend to return to the industrial and textile design roots that brought her fame. But last month, we got a glimpse at another exception to the rule—this time in the form of a ceramics line produced by the Tuscan ceramics company Bitossi. A series of vessels resembling geometric, color-blocked totems, “echo the inanimate subjects of du Pasquier’s colorful paintings—themselves abstracted versions of the day-to-day objects with which she surrounds herself,” as Sight Unseen puts it. Read their interview with du Pasquier here.

Maira Kalman profile on The Cut

And if you haven’t already, head over to New York Magazine’s The Cut to read this longform profile of Maira Kalman. Writer  visits her Greenwich Village apartment, where he finds “a trio of fezzes atop an upright piano, some cold water in a carefully chosen minimalist drinking glass,” and ten suitcases in the middle of the living room, which are not for traveling. 

Alam writes, “I mention the suitcases because they are evidence that there is little distinction between Kalman’s actual and textual selves. Yet if her readers feel they know Kalman via her various hobbyhorses — cake, the American Founding Fathers, Proust, absurdly appointed historical rooms, fanciful hats — all they really know is these totems. There are those creatures of fashion and style who are little more than a collection of images and interests, sentient inspiration boards, and Kalman is decidedly not that (even if she loves painting pictures of shoes). I asked her to define her territory as an artist. ‘I think that it’s clear that it’s inquisitive, digressive, lyrical, humorous,’ she said. ‘There’s the duality of the sorrow of the moment and the joy of the moment, which I see very acutely all through the day.’”

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