January 2008

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1 Hans Brinker campaign
With all this talk of saving the planet it’s good to see that some people have been quietly operating on reduced carbon emissions for years – even if they didn’t quite realise it at the time. Amsterdam’s Hans Brinker Hotel, typically candid about the lack of luxury that awaits guests inside, has recently jumped aboard the CO2 debate, courtesy of a new campaign from its long-term creative collaborators, communications agency KesselsKramer. On researching its eco-credentials, the hotel discovered that it had in fact been “Accidentally Eco-Friendly” since opening its doors in 1970: there are no lifts (see poster, 1), air-con is provided via a simple ‘window’ device and the staff won’t wash any of your dirty towels unnecessarily (or at all). KK produced a short film, newspaper (spreads shown, 2&3) and a series of posters to ensure that the Hans Brinker can stand alongside the multitude of brands keen to trade-in on their apparent eco-awareness. Writer: Dave Bell. Art director and photographer: Angela Lidderdale. Strategy: Matthijs de Jongh.

2 Guess Who?
Israeli illustrator Noma Bar depicts the faces of the famous using only a few lines, colours and drawn objects. But the key to the success of the London-based artist’s work is how the objects he assembles to create each face immediately relate to the particular person in question: evoking their personality, reputation or, even, their ideology. Hence two twisting missiles imply the familiar specs of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (shown, 4) and the merest of red lines with the Tory logo bring out the über-stern profile of Margaret Thatcher (6). A selection of Bar’s greatest hits have been collected together in Guess Who? The Many Faces of Noma Bar (out this month) and what’s particularly revealing is just how hard-hitting his simple arrangements can be. No stranger to a controversial image, Bar’s Michael Jackson has the outline of a small child for his eyes and nose, while the unmistakable face of George W Bush is made wholly from a stylised version of an infamous photograph of a tortured Abu Ghraib prisoner. Just as you’re remarking how cleverly he’s summed up Nick Hornby’s visage (using a record player), Bar throws in a Vladimir Putin, made solely from a test-tube pouring chemicals into an opened hand. Bar’s understanding of pictograms, as well as his wickedly satirical eye, mark him out as one of this century’s most exciting charicaturists. Guess Who? is published by Mark Batty Publishers, £12.95.

3 a5 Light and Motion
Paul Swift has a fun job. He’s a “precision driver” and can, presumably, drive fast cars extremely precisely. But his skills don’t end there and have, in fact, just been used to help create a series of limited edition prints in praise of Audi’s a5. Under the creative direction of Peter Saville, who was asked by the Audi Channel to create an artwork that used the car as a tool of expression, the project resulted in a series of five stunning images (four shown, 7-10) and a short film, a5 Light and Motion. The film follows Saville’s creative process, ending up at Battersea Power Station, where Swift’s driving skills were shot by photographer Johnny Carr. The resulting work, created by the white headlights and red rear lights of the a5 as driven by Swift, is also on show as a series of lightboxes housed at the Audi Forum on London’s Piccadilly. To see the finished images (and possibly win a set) and also an edited version of the film about the project, check out audi.co.uk. The full length film can be seen on the Audi Channel (Sky 884). Light and Motion by Peter Saville with Johnny Carr and Paul Swift. Agency: BBH. Planning and production: Lucy Nebel, Deanne Wilson, Sarah Martin, Nick Stringer and Paul Stacey.

4 London Transport Museum
Design has been placed quite literally at the centre of the reopened LTM, with a new exhibition space (detail shown, 13) dedicated to showing the wide range of artwork, signage and posters (Abram Games’ efforts from 1976, 11, and 1947, 12) commissioned by London Transport over the years. The influence of pioneers like Harry Beck, Frank Pick and Edward Johnston is duly recognised but the new-look museum also celebrates the future, too, with its fantastic Connections screen (by Ralph Applebaum Associates and Paragon Creative) displaying live data feeds of the city’s traffic flow and maps of people’s journeys across the system. While visitors can, of course, clamber over many of the exhibits (even ‘drive’ a modern tube), anyone with an iota of interest in design will enjoy walking via the innovative World Cities transport gallery (by Conran Design Group), through the banks of posters, to the final outstanding collection of LT’s graphic and architectural output.