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Graphic Design: Project Projects

Manhattan-based Project Projects may be a graphic design studio, but it works in all dimensions, on the page and off. Founded by Prem Krishnamurthy and Adam Michaels in 2004, the firm designs everything from books and architectural signage to websites and museum exhibitions.

 

Project Projects is helmed by Rob Giampietro (on left), Adam Michaels (on right), and Prem Krishnamurthy (not pictured).

When Krishnamurthy and Michaels met through a friend in late 2003, they both had degrees in graphic design, occasional day jobs at magazines, freelance gigs for nonprofit organizations, and an “aversion to more commercial practices,” says Michaels. Three months later, they decided to start their own firm, aiming to “eke out a living doing obscure and intelligent design work” related to culture, art, and architecture. The firm now numbers six, including a third principal, Rob Giampietro. In 2009, Project Projects was named a finalist in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards.

Their projects include the Steven Holl book 'Urbanisms: Working with Doubt.'

“We’re happiest in a situation where we can work holistically across all platforms,” says Michaels. For Fast Trash, an exhibition about Roosevelt Island’s pneumatic-tube waste-disposal system, they designed the exhibition’s archival website, typography, and layout, and even helped curate the show’s contents. For architect Steven Holl, they designed two books, his website, and an identity system (logotype, business cards, stationery).

They also designed two books for the Princeton Architectural Press' new series Inventory Books.

Though their work is diverse, “there’s often an element of the ready-made and an archive aesthetic,” says Michaels, who spent days with Krishnamurthy poring through old files at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive while designing the 560-page book MATRIX/Berkeley, chockablock with newspaper clippings, photographs, and archival documents. “Getting very deep into content allows us to create a much more informed design.”

Here's a peek at 'Above the Pavement—The Farm!,' the second title in the Inventory Books series, which explores the intersection of architecture, urbanism, and food.

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    Young Designers

    Branching out and doing your own thing is a brave and bold move at any time and any age. That said, the 21 visionaries we profile here—–designers 
of interiors, graphics, architecture, exhibitions, furniture, landscapes, 
and communities both online and off—–are all younger than 40 and are building their careers in the United States during an economic recession. Their mediums range wildly, from high-end residential town houses 
to urban postindustrial landscapes, but what they all share are uncommon tenacity and highly personal approaches to blazing their own paths. We’ve found editors who reinvented themselves as unconventional bloggers when their magazine shuttered; community activists who are transforming foreclosed houses in Detroit into models of environmental sustainability; and designers who’ve built burgeoning furniture companies in their own backyards. Neither an exhaustive compendium nor an exclusive best-of list, this roundup is a sampling of rising stars whose work continues to catch our eyes and imaginations.

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