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Flexform Hosts A Crowd of "Graphaholics"

At Flexform in New York last night, Interior Design editor in chief Cindy Allen called a packed crowd of designers, architects, and industry professionals to order with an enthusiastic question: “Who here is a graphaholic?!” Interest duly piqued, the 100 guests took their seats for a presentation on the intersection between architecture and graphic design.

Richard Poulin, founder and principal of Poulin + Morris as well as professor at the School of Visual Arts, began the talk by paraphrasing his recently released book Graphic Design + Architecture: A 20th-Century History. “Man has always had a need to identify, dedicate, and consecrate his own space, whether we look at the early cave paintings at Lascaux or the modern graphics of today,” says Poulin.

Poulin walked the audience through a history (albeit a very abridged one) of graphic design's heated discourse with architecture. Briefly mentioning early influences such as the Pantheon and the Piazza Campidoglio, the presentation quickly moved to the modern era. Poulin was quick to point out that graphic design was originally viewed as a detriment, a tainting of architecture. Fortunately, contemporary ideas have moved past that.

Joan Krevlin, fellow panelist and partner at BKSK Architects, points out that “the layering of graphic design and architecture together brings new meaning to both disciplines.” Resulting collaborations have brought us icons like Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center.

Click through the slideshow to see event photos as well as highlights from the presentation. If you still can’t get enough, get your hands on Poulin’s book, which James Polshek of Ennead Architects calls “a virtual Jules Verne design voyage around the world.”

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