Set to open in June of 2013 in the rising city of Nanjing (pop. 6.5 million) in China, the Sifang Art Museum will be a 30,000-square-foot space devoted to contemporary design and architecture. Designed by Steven Holl, the museum is part of the Contemporary International Practical Exhibition of Architecture, a privately financed project that will also include a convention center and 20 villas each with a unique design by architects like Ai Weiwei and David Adjaye. The new identity of the museum has been designed by Singapore-based Foreign Policy Design Group.
Set within the gentle terrain of Laoshan in Nanjing, the architecture of Sifang Art Museum is a well-constructed mix of harsh angularity with an elegant appeal whereby the asymmetrical structure hovers in space. Every view angle yielding a different trapezoidal perspective; the collateral system adopts the trapezoidal form. The Chinese saying — Strength within Gentleness — is inspired by bamboo — the material and form used for landscaping and parts of the structure. This underpins the brand identity, describing the gentle landscape where in old China, scholars and artists took recluse to master their craft or refine their thinking. The demure that also balances the masculinity of the architecture. White, is also a canvas a museum would function as.
— Foreign Policy Design Group description
I’m going to guess that the previous logo was designed when the overall project was first conceived and before any architectural renderings were done, because that is one crazy-angry logo. As usual, Foreign Policy Design Group’s work taps into the overall essence of a subject to create an edgy (almost literally) and sophisticated logo and identity system that demands its own attention. The thin, monospace characters (in both languages), loosely spaced, stacked, and colored in only stark black pay homage to the architecture of the museum without resorting to a typical solution of museums of using the silhouette of its building. The approach is further enhanced in the stationery, where each item has one angled edge, reminiscent of either the central staircase or any of the archways in the museum. Between the museum itself and the identity, there is no reaction other than I want to go to there.