‘The Guggenheim’ by Hilary Ballon

11 May, 2013 by Victoria Love

'The Guggenheim' - Hilary Ballon, 2009.

Fig. X – ‘The Guggenheim’ – Hilary Ballon, 2009.
( bookcoverarchive.com)

This cover design is greatly inspired by the work of the artist it features, Frank Lloyd Wright. The concentric circle design reflects the nature of the building itself; the Guggenheim museum is built around a spiral gallery. Visitors ascend to the top floor before walking back down in the spiral, viewing the artwork. It is also highly influenced by the ‘Swiss’ or ‘International Style’ Movements, which were prevalent in the 1950s, in particular, the following poster by Joseph Müller-Brockmann. It has been labelled as his “most recognized, and most ripped off, piece of work.” (William Purcell, n.d.)

'Zurich Town Hall' poster by Joseph Müller-Brockmann, 1955.

Fig. Y – ‘Zurich Town Hall’ poster by Joseph Müller-Brockmann, 1955. ( www.designishistory.com)

Whilst the Guggenheim was being built in the 1950s at the same time as the ‘Swiss’ and ‘International Style’ Movements, Frank Lloyd Wright did not really follow either, rather he has his own ‘organic’ approach. Borrowing the visual iconography of two irrelevant design styles is a misleading choice by the designer; however, the cover remains evocative of the era and the building and works well.


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