Written for the industry and the architectural graphic company Archigrafika’s clientele, Graphics For Architecture is a New Yorker coffee table must-have. Growing up in NYC, the author, Michael Gerbino, writes a personal preface that gives you a glimpse of what it was like to inhabit and work in the city in the ’80s as an artist/designer. His descriptions of his childhood haunt and transport you there, and the book contains many photographs and details of his “old neighborhood,” early projects, and personal pieces. He has received praise for his endearing personal stories woven into the pictures presented. This book is a compendium of a lifetime body of work to date and what has become known as the present-day company Archigrafika. The firm specializes in making architectural graphics functional works of art.
Gerbino is a risk taker. A big fan of the Beatles, he was drawn to John Lennon’s work in particular because of the personal nature of his lyrics. “It takes courage to share personal information,” Gerbino says, and he does so throughout his latest book, making the volume even more notable. He takes you to his childhood kitchen, smells wafting through the air, and artwork by his mother adorning every nook and cranny. What wouldn’t I do for a slice of his grandmother’s homemade pizza or read one of his mother’s poems?
After a friend successfully published their work, Gerbino said, “why not me, why not now?” and went on to craft tomes of unique artwork for several of his clients. The books are often displayed on their office coffee tables.
Graphics is for those who pay attention to detail and are quickly amused to discover the patterns and language used throughout the body of work represented by Gerbino. Christopher Wolfgang Alexander enthusiasts who produce living structures in the world feel right at home in the many spaces the firm Archigrafika has been commissioned to create, indoors and out.
Gerbino asks, “Why is it that most people are oblivious to the structures around them?” He posits that people become aware of their surroundings when a focal point gives them context to look closer, and graphics provide them that point. “Good graphic design anchors us in our environment,” writes Gerbino.
The book proceeds to take you on a tour of Archigrafika’s projects: buildings and spaces, national landmarks, exhibitions & installations, and finally, the logos they have developed.
The reader is transported to offices designed for the global firm Willis Towers Watson. You become the person showing up for a project in any of these offices and immediately know where you are on the map. The local vibe is palpable and imbibed in artwork, design, and signage throughout the creative space that lucky inhabitants call their offices.
The Global Signage Standards and Graphics Manual is published and revised by Archigrafika expressly for their client Willis Towers Watson and is highlighted in Graphics For Architecture. Deciphering the pages, one realizes the enormity of the project and what an actual focal point Archigrafika gives a company.
Get your copy to find out why you must visit Green-Wood in Brooklyn, what COFFEED is all about, and how the Salvation Army has restored dignity to people, or to view the fantastic work at The New York Foundling.
Gerbino’s most rewarding aspect of the project has been overhearing how people use the spaces that identify with the pictures. Being able to say, “I’ve been there,” even if they have the wrong city, unites people, starts conversations, and brings up warm memories.
To celebrate where you live and work, pick up an inspirational copy of Graphics For Architecture and transform your environs the Archigrafika way. Tutie’s Bar and Grill (and tchotchkes) may be long gone, but nothing is stopping you from creating your comfortable place and graphics for your firm or gracing your coffee tables with this glossy picturebook.
Graphics For Architecture: Archigrafika
By Michael Gerbino, Designer, and Jazz Aficionado
Visual Profile Books, 239 pp., $50
Miles Davis performs So What