BMW Guggenheim Lab: Identity

Graphic identity for BMW Guggenheim Lab, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 2011. Project curated by David van der Leer and Maria Nicanor.

BMW Guggenheim Lab was “a mobile laboratory about urban life that began as a co-initiative of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the BMW Group. From 2011 to 2014, the Lab traveled to New York, Berlin, and Mumbai. Part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space, the Lab’s goal was the exploration of new ideas, experimentation, and ultimately the creation of forward-thinking visions and projects for city life.”

As graphic designers of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, our initial task was to create a strong visual identity system. The Lab’s word-mark was designed as a persistent component of its identity. It expresses a fundamental characteristic of the project: it is a collaboration between the two important organizations. The typography of the word-mark shows how the two prominent brands, each set in its own corporate typeface, lend their visual identities to the “LAB.”

If the word-mark was intended as a static, reliable seal, then the role of the variable Lab logo was to be more expressive of its ideas (and ideals): in fact, it is just a visible part of a larger participatory system. The logo itself was constructed as an empty text frame; its substance would be contributed by the people. On the Lab’s website, visitors were invited to submit their thoughts on the theme of the Lab directly to the logo. The appearance of the logo constantly changed to reflect changes in the content, which would show diverse opinions in a wide range of languages in real time.

BMW Guggenheim Lab