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Friday, April 04, 2008

Pentagram Papers

Pentagram Papers 37 presents Forgotten Architects, a look at 43 Jewish architects working in Germany before 1933. Exhaustively researched by "Haifa-born architect Myra Warhaftig—who died on March 4 at the age of seventy-eight—[she] spent twenty years piecing together the stories of these architects, publishing her findings in They Laid the Foundation: Lives and Works of German-Speaking Jewish Architects in Palestine 1918–1948 and, more recently, German Jewish Architects Before and After 1933—The Lexicon" [source].

[Cover of Pentagram Papers 37: Forgotten Architects | image source]

Pentagram's publication—both online and in print (available to Pentagram clients)—could be seen as a pared-down version of these other books that Warhaftig created. In the online version each of the 43 architects is given a short description and at least one image; some like Harry Rosenthal (below) were productive enough under difficult circumstances to warrant over ten images.

[Block of Flats by Harry Rosenthal, Berlin 1927. Photo: M. Hawlik | image source]

[Herbert Lindner Factory by Martin Albrecht Punitzer, Berlin 1932. Photo: M. Hawlik | image source]

The fact that this is the 37th of Pentagram's Papers, I couldn't help but wonder about the other 36. Searching the design firm's web site I found #35: Tin Tabernacles, a presentation of photographs of corrugated iron buildings by Alasdair Ogilvie.

[Cover of Pentagram Papers 35: Tin Tabernacles | image source]

This issue is particularly good timing, since last weekend I reviewed a book devoted to corrugated iron's history, its present, and its future. Many of these photos by Ogilvie have a familiarity that must stem from their inclusion in that book.

[Farmer house, now inhabited by sheep, Claerwen Valley, Rhayder. Photo: Alasdair Ogilvie | image source]

[Stable, Ullenwood, Gloucestershire. Photo: Alasdair Ogilvie | image source]

To go back before #35 means actually being able to hold one of these Papers in one's hands, not just scrolling through images on a screen. The Pentagram Papers collects the first 35 Papers and tucks the 36th in its back cover and is available at Amazon.

[Cover of The Pentagram Papers Book | image source]

According to their blog, "Since 1975 Pentagram has issued the Pentagram Papers, our limited edition series of booklets that examine 'curious, entertaining, stimulating, provocative, and occasionally controversial points of view' related to design. Published once or twice a year, the Papers have been distributed exclusively to our friends and clients." The range of topics covered, from brushes and brooms to "the vanishing slide rule" (as shown below), is rather varied, illustrating the extent of design's influence and role in history and in contemporary life.

[Paper 3: Brushes and Brooms. | image source]

[Paper 30: The vanishing slide rule. | image source]

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