In researching the use of graphic design in architecture, I came across an interview with Jennifer Sage, principal of Sage & Coombe. The firm has done a lot of work in and around New York. In an interview discussing the use of graphic design in the firm’s projects, Sage explains that graphics can provide a “big statement with a tighter budget.” Not having enough of a budget to create an expressive architecture, Sage & Coombe have turned to graphic messages to give identity to a space.
Sage & Coombe aren’t the only architects working with graphic design. Consider the work of Morphosis (who have worked with graphic designer Rebeca Mendez on several occasions), OMA who have collaborated with 2×4 and Petra Blaisse, and the older work by Coop Himmelb(l)au. Have they used graphic design to cover up one of the weaknesses of architecture?
There is no doubt that Gropius’ diagram was a false and elitist hierarchy of design. But with tight budgets, has architecture lost its ability to stand alone?