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April 2, 2013
Industrial and graphic designers Massimo and Lella Vignelli are giants in their field. (You may know them for any number of instantly recognizable design objects, from the New York City transit signage and subway map to printed posters for the Salone del Mobile fair in Milan.) Massimo Vignelli is also a man of many words, most of them quotable ("There is no design without discipline. There is no discipline without intelligence."). Throughout their decades-long career, Vignelli Associates have completed a dizzying array of work—some of it which may surprise even the most ardent Vignelli follower. Here are seven designs that deserve as much recognition as a certain sans-serif font employed in a certain subway system.
Saint Peter's Church in Manhattan New York
Interiors of Saint Peter's Church in Manhattan on Lexington Avenue at 54th Street. Massimo and Lella also designed silver pieces for the altar, a square concrete font with paschal candle, a tree of candles, and the organ case.
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Architectural Record design by Vignelli
Vignelli designed every issue of Architectural Record magazine for a few years in the early 1980s. In typical Vignelli fashion, the design was based on a grid system to ensure consistency and continuity of design.
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Saratoga modular seating system by Vignelli for Poltronova
Saratoga modular seating system designed in 1964 for Italian company Poltronova.
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Standardized version of Bodoni typeface
A new, standardized version of the Bodoni typeface. Vignelli refined this Bodoni to set specifically with Helvetica, since he couldn't find a Bodoni with the same size and proportions. He and Lella also designed a table with the same name: "Here is an example of interaction between one field of design and another. I call this the Bodoni Table, because the Bodoni typeface has big thick vertical strokes and very thin serifs, just as you see in this table."
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Unigrid modular system
The United States' National Park Service collateral (which won the US Presidential Design Award in 1985). The Unigrid is a modular system meant to save costs by predetermining everything from "paper size to graphics to cartography and illustration."
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Massimo Vignelli grid graphic design Cats Dogs guidebook
Also consider also Vignelli Associates' Cats and Dogs guidebooks from 1985.
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Massimo Vignelli Artemide Dallas New York interior design showroom lighting
Bonus round: James Turrell-like neon of the old Artemide store in Miami from 1987. Vignelli Associates also did the interior design for the Italian lighting company's Dallas and New York City showrooms.
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Massimo and Lella Vignelli's interior design for SD26 restaurant in New York City includes fiber art by Sheila Hicks.

At the age of 78, Massimo Vignelli designed the interiors for Manhattan Italian restaurant SD26 with his wife and partner Lella. Of his first New York City restaurant design, Vignelli said the point was "seduction": "It’s like high heels: It’s not to get higher, it’s to feel more seductive." The Vignellis tapped longtime friend, artist Sheila Hicks, to create fiber art for the interior, which adds an element of tactility to the sleek space. 

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Saint Peter's Church in Manhattan New York
Interiors of Saint Peter's Church in Manhattan on Lexington Avenue at 54th Street. Massimo and Lella also designed silver pieces for the altar, a square concrete font with paschal candle, a tree of candles, and the organ case.

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