Hello, and welcome to this week’s Design Diary, a collection of five projects from across the world that have impressed us this week.
Pioneer of postmodern design and AIGA medalist Ed Fella has a new exhibition up on Monday at FISK gallery in Portland, Oregon, exploring the bridge between his professional and personal projects over his long career. Trained as a commercial artist, and after having worked in advertising for many years, Fella went back to school at Cranbrook to get his MFA in design at the age of 47. As a freelance designer, he developed the style he’s now known for: cluttered, deconstructed mixtures of high and low culture, and frank rejections of “good” design. As designer Lorraine Wild once put it, “[Fella] introduced ambivalence and ambiguity, the multiple meanings of design as text and subtext, and that graphic designers are really artists.” See some of his works from the new show, entitled “Some Odds to No End(s),” below.
As once-students and now-teachers at art schools, Leigh Clarke and Tim Hutchinson have long been fascinated with collecting posters made at the institutions. “It was a casual accumulation at first, from stacks of discarded printed material in the dusty cupboards and plan chests of many institutions across the UK,” the pair explains. Now people bring posters to them; they’re up to 400 archive posters and growing. Lo-fi, quickly and cheaply produced, these posters stretch back to the 1950s and show the issues that were galvanizing students at the time. Now Clarke and Hutchinson are showing their collection at Liddicoat & Goldhill Project Space in Margate, UK.
At Berlin Fashion Week last week, photographer and designer Tobias Faisst launched an initiative called Motif that sees a highly impressive roster of creative studios design a range of one-off backpacks. The products were auctioned off online with all of the proceeds going to Streem, an art and culture street magazine that supports the homeless in Berlin. The auction ended this Tuesday, but you can still see on the site patterns by the likes of Traum Inc., Grilli Type, and Maximilian Mauracher.
“L.A.’s most unlikely art world celebrity is known simply by one name: Norm.” So begins Artsy’s article on Norm Laich, who for three decades has executed the work of conceptual designers for their L.A.-based exhibitions. His work includes text-based art, wall paintings, and installations—everything from Stephen Prina’s Monochrome Painting (1998–99; recreated 2018) to Mike Kelley’s office conference rooms. His work and demeanor has made him famous within the city’s art circles, counting John Baldessari, Lawrence Weiner, and Meg Cranston as fans (the latter compared him to Prince). And now he has an exhibition of his own: “This Brush for Hire: Norm Laich & Many Other Artists” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles—a survey of “world-renowned artists and one indispensable assistant.”