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MoMA moves to Queens. MoMA moves forward

In 1999, the Museum of Modern Art made the bold decision to tear down and rebuild its 53rd St museum. In the interim, a $35 million renovation of a Swingline Staples factory would become the Museum’s temporary home: MoMA QNS. The first entrant in what would become the progressive, art-centric neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens, MoMA QNS brought a dynamism to the museum through exciting programming and the innovative architecture of Michael Maltzan. The identity, designed to capture the energy of the new the MoMA while similarly referencing the iconic identity of the past, would frame all messaging for both internal and external audiences during the three year lifespan of QNS.

An immense amount of thought went into the art direction. For example, all imagery portrayed people moving left to right, directionally the same on a map as people moving from Manhattan to Queens: the overarching communications objective our campaign.

Dimitri Jeurissen, Partner

When we developed the name, we had to convey first and foremost that the museum had moved to Queens. What better way to signify movement than to reference the language of airport naming, i.e., JFK, LAX…

Geoff Cook, Partner

We presented a communications system for the exhibitions whereby we would crop the artwork and present the key information in the body of image. Our argument was that the mind has the ability to “complete” an iconic artwork, so why always feel obliged to show it? Needless to say the curators had heart attacks and the concept was killed.

Dimitri Jeurissen, Partner

We worked with Michael Maltzan and his team on the seamless integration of the identity and signage into the architecture. What most people don’t know is that we labored two months to create a custom system of pictograms that were coherent with the visual language of the brand identity.

Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director & Partner