Work on What You Love: Bruce Mau Rethinking Design
The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition celebrating the achievements of a renowned designer and author. Work on What You Love: Bruce Mau Rethinking Design encompasses a wide range of innovative work, from book and branding designs to strategies for countries, corporations and universities, as well as collaborations with filmmakers, artists and writers. It is the first exhibition to explore Mau’s provocative and influential design thinking, focusing primarily on the last ten years and including current projects along with others based on his work as creative director of Bruce Mau Design (1985-2010). In conjunction with the exhibition, Collab, the Museum’s friends group for modern and contemporary design, will present Mau with its Design Excellence Award on November 20, 2015.
The exhibition focuses on key design principles that Mau created for his consultancy, Massive Change Network, which he founded in 2010. These principles, twenty-four in total, offer a kind of working toolbox, intended to demonstrate the power of design to generate positive change in any arena. Nine of them are examined in the exhibition, illuminating Mau’s thinking in the form of graphics, objects, videos, and digital interactives.
Mau’s principle First Inspire: Design is Leadership, Lead by Design is represented by examples of his work with an interdisciplinary design program he founded in concert with the School of Design at Toronto’s George Brown College.The principle We Are Not Separate from or Above Nature is reflected in technical drawings, concept books, and architectural photography from his program development for Biomuseo, the Museum of Biodiversity in Panama City, Panama. They show how the designer conceived the new interpretive galleries in the building created by architect Frank Gehry. This section will come to life through a multimedia panorama that tells the story of Panama’s rich biodiversity.Mau’s Design the Invisible principle is highlighted by the “Live Positively” global sustainability platform for Coca-Cola International (2009) and Coca-Cola’s collaboration with Pennsylvania-based furniture company Emeco. Manufactured out of upcycled plastic bottles, Emeco’s “Navy 111 chair”composed of 111 Coke bottles, is surrounded by production photography, video, animation, and other materials conceived for the project.The exhibition will also debut a model and prototype drawings demonstrating the principle Design the Platform for Constant Design, and his ongoing collaboration with Freeman, a leading international event production company for art fairs and trade shows.Mau’s work in Guatemala showcases his principle, Begin with Fact-Based Optimism, and will include video documentation of his “¡GuateAmala!” project as well as the “Culture of Life” campaign.The power of design from a purely aesthetic standpoint is featured in a grouping of works illuminating Mau’s Compete with Beauty principle. Work from Mau’s annual report for the Austrian lighting company Zumtobel is exhibited alongside Mau’s related series of glass objects and prints.Two hundred books mounted on the entry wall convey the broad range of Mau’s innovations in book design over the past 30 years. Included are publications that Mau has designed or authored in collaboration with artists, architects, art galleries and museums, from Rem Koolhaas and Frank Gehry, to Gagosian Gallery and the Getty Research Institute. Award-winning volumes include S, M, L, XL (The Monacelli Press), LifeStyle (Phaidon), and Massive Change (Phaidon), as well as the celebrated ZONE BOOK series.Finally, to demonstrate the principle Quantify and Visualize: Seeing is Believing Mau will introduce the design of Personal BlackBox. The display will include a “Digital Mirror” designed to reveal how much of any individual’s personal data can be made available on the web. Personal Black Box refers to an enterprise wherein personal data can be protected and managed by the individual.
Bruce Mau workshops
In conjunction with the exhibition, Mau will demonstrate his design thinking in workshops centered on the Massive Change principles, offered by the Museum in collaboration with Next City, and partnering with cultural organizations including Fleisher Art Memorial, Penn Praxis at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and Taller Puertorriqueño.
Collab Student Design Competition
This year’s competition will challenge college students to create a personal brand identity in response to Work on What You Love. Students will design a personal logo, a website homepage, graphic icons for social media channels, messaging, and a 3-dimensional object that represents their brand. All entries are judged on evidence of research, originality and creativity, and the level of craftsmanship. The recognized designs will go on display at the Museum from November 16-20, 2015. Visitors will be able to cast their votes for the “People’s Choice Award.” Winners will be presented at the Collab Design Excellence Awards Lecture. Judges for this year’s competition include Alan Jacobson, Founder of Ex:it Design Strategy and J2 Design Partnership; Alina Wheeler, author of Designing Brand Identity and design coach; Jedd Davis, Chief Operating Officer at Publicis Heath Media; Josh Goldblum, Bluecadet’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer; and Ken Carbone, Co-Founder of Carbone Smolan Agency in New York City. The Student Design Competition is chaired by Dr. Roberta Gruber of the Collab Board.
Kathryn Bloom Hiesinger, The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator European Decorative Arts after 1700
This exhibition is made possible by Lisa S. Roberts and David W. Seltzer. Additional support is provided by Collab—a group that supports the Museum’s modern and contemporary design collection and programs.
Exhibition production and coordination services are provided courtesy of Freeman.
The Collab Design Excellence Award Gala is generously supported by Morgan Stanley. The Collab Student Design Competition is generously supported by Poor Richard’s Charitable Trust.
About Bruce Mau
Bruce Mau (Canadian, b. 1959) is the co-founder of the Massive Change Network, LLC and Bruce Mau Live, LLC, based in Chicago. He has collaborated with many of the world’s leading institutions, corporations, heads of state, entrepreneurs and artists during a career spanning 30 years. Mau has used his design method to lead projects with Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, MTV, Herman Miller, MoMA, Seattle Public Library, Panama Museum of Biodiversity, New Meadowlands Stadium, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Disney Imagineering, Arizona State University; the countries of Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, United Kingdom, Denmark; and Frank Gehry, Claes Oldenberg, Larry Gagosian and Rem Koolhaas, among others.
Collab is a collaboration of design professionals supporting the modern and contemporary design collections and programs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A volunteer committee founded in 1970, Collab is dedicated to enriching the Museum’s collections with outstanding examples of mass-produced and unique designs, and to making the collections accessible to the general public, students, and the design community. Now among the most important in the country, the design collections of more than 2,500 objects range from appliances and furniture to ceramics, glass, posters, wallpapers, and lighting.
Collab Gallery, Perelman Building, Tuesday through Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
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