NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

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Neshan 26

Design Today - 2

A Duet for Design ; A look into the works of R2 Design

Majid Abbasi

Porto, the second biggest city in Portugal, is one of the oldest European cities. It lies in the north of Portugal on the coast of the Pacific and is halved by the Douro River. The art and architecture of Neo-Classicism and Romanticism of the 19th and 20th centuries have made it one of the most scenic landscapes in the world. However, it has also been touched by modern art and architecture. Lizá Ramalho & Artur Rebelo founded R2 design studio in this city. This city is the symbol of the contingence between the last two centuries and today. Therefore, it was apt for this design duo to initiate the organization of the conference on the world contemporary graphic design of AGI 2010 congress in this city. Their collaboration started from the time they were students and worked on class projects and they have wafted their way to professionalism ever since. The concomitance of their study and career improvement could be the key to their success. Liza, upon completing her studies, won a scholarship to go on an expedition to visit a European studio. She met with Alan Fletcher who left an indelible influence on her professional life. Liza and Artur began their profession by working with a small theatrical group: Teatro Bruto. Each play had its own performance, poster and promotion. Both were the managers, curators and anything else. As they once said, they both took risks, criticized themselves, were dissatisfied, did overtime and that was all that mattered to them and pleased them.R2 has been working on a wide range of visual identity designs, posters and books, sign systems, installation and exhibition designs for cultural entities, museums, contemporary artists and architects for over 15 years. They pay special attention to the surrounding objects, materials and tools. They use concrete, animation, neon, florescent ink, type and also typography. The variety in their works results from avoiding a specific method. The poster I Love Távora has a structuralist typography and is a reference to urban architectural design while the poster Molly Bloom has a poetic and free air which is derived from the spirit of the work. Fernando Tavora, the architect from Porto and the founder of Architecture School of Porto, is known to be the most influential Portuguese modern architect. The expression I Love Távora has come from a project Tavora had been working on when he was a teacher.

He had put this expression on his teacher at the time. On the other hand, the two-hour monologue by Molly of Ulysses includes an inner feeling in a dauntless manner where the words are uttered in different paces, rhythms and states. The arrangement of Unfinished Trajectories which was displayed in Casa da Música was taken from the audience’s emotions and points of view and was rooted in Rem Koolhaas architecture. The poster AGI Open Porto 2010 is a different world of endless multiplication and patterned images of black and white. This tile mosaic forms have been regarded as an expression of native art in Portugal for the past five centuries. Cheap and ordinary materials are made into a beautiful and valuable work of art. This poster is the result of Portuguese culture and the process of creative design. In this poster, in addition to structural repetition, deliberate systematic mistakes can also be seen which signifies their favorite contrast, that is, a combination of ancient and modern motifs. The next year, the same experience was used in a colorful format to produce an animated logo for the 20th anniversary of the Publico newspaper which is well-known for its political independence. R2 applies the colorful re-expression and its transformation to letters as a different result. As they have claimed, they are far from computers and they try to experience everything through photography and other materials. They are surrounded by things they find. Lizá Ramalho and Artur Rebelo are both diploma graduates from Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. Later, they graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona in design. Since 1999, they have been organizing different workshops, lectures and educational seminars. On the one hand, they have won several internationally recognized awards such as international poster biennials and triennials of Tehran, Trnava, Chaumont, Hong Kong, Brno and Type Directors Club of New York and on the other hand, the experienceof taking part in juries in recent years has introduced them as a professional duo to the world of graphic design. The two R letters are the initials of their surnames which also builds their studio title. Since 2007, they have both been members of Alliance Graphique Inetrnationale (AGI).

Majid Abbasi

is design director of Studio Abbasi active in the international community, based in Tehran and Toronto. He leads a variety of design projects for start-ups, non-profits and educational organizations worldwide. Majid actively contributes to the international design scene as an instructor, jury member, curator and writer. He has been editor-in-chief of Neshan, the leading Iranian graphic design magazine since 2010. Majid has been members of Iranian Graphic Designers Society (IGDS) since 1998 and Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) since 2009.

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