Bibliothèque Design, just down the street a piece from Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, paid tribute to English engineering draftsman Harry Beck who in 1931 created the (now somewhat altered) present-day London Underground Tube map, uncommissioned, in his off-duty hours from the Tube’s Signals Office. As originally presented in Beck’s brief, Bibliothèque used only two colors, red for the Central line and black for the Northern Line, deleting those lines that require colors not loyal to the brief, leaving only a constellation of tentatively connected coordinates.
Beck’s radical proposal to create a stop-to-stop guide for Londoners rather than a geographically accurate representation of stop locations on a city map was seen as radical, even ridiculous, and was met with skepticism (like most good ideas). But the idea was posed to the public with a small pamphlet two years into Beck’s campaign and was, as they say, an instant classic.
Beck’s influence is recognized by graphic designers some seventy years later as a catalyst for user-friendly information design that followed its own instincts and logic, rather than cohering to established visual communication norms. A.A. Degani, in A Tale of Two Maps, suggested this year that Beck’s configuration of a “relaxed grid … which has a certain rhythm and charm” is “somewhat similar to the grid used by modern artists (such as Piet Mondrian’s painting Composition With Yellow, Blue and Red).”
Before such blue ribbons were awarded, Beck’s success with the Tube map alone boosted his confidence and conviction such that in 1951 he presented the Paris city government with a Beckified version of the Metro map he had drawn up in the late thirties, some fifteen years earlier. They thought the map scandalously radical and rejected it without public input — they weren’t to use a diagrammatic transport map until 1999. Poo poo, Paris! Beck’s iconic style is now the norm for transit and urban rail companies the world over.
Hats off to those who show up uninvited and reinvent the game.

Bibliothèque Design, just down the street a piece from Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, paid tribute to English engineering draftsman Harry Beck who in 1931 created the (now somewhat altered) present-day London Underground Tube map, uncommissioned, in his off-duty hours from the Tube’s Signals Office. As originally presented in Beck’s brief, Bibliothèque used only two colors, red for the Central line and black for the Northern Line, deleting those lines that require colors not loyal to the brief, leaving only a constellation of tentatively connected coordinates.

Beck’s radical proposal to create a stop-to-stop guide for Londoners rather than a geographically accurate representation of stop locations on a city map was seen as radical, even ridiculous, and was met with skepticism (like most good ideas). But the idea was posed to the public with a small pamphlet two years into Beck’s campaign and was, as they say, an instant classic.

Beck’s influence is recognized by graphic designers some seventy years later as a catalyst for user-friendly information design that followed its own instincts and logic, rather than cohering to established visual communication norms. A.A. Degani, in A Tale of Two Maps, suggested this year that Beck’s configuration of a “relaxed grid … which has a certain rhythm and charm” is “somewhat similar to the grid used by modern artists (such as Piet Mondrian’s painting Composition With Yellow, Blue and Red).”

Before such blue ribbons were awarded, Beck’s success with the Tube map alone boosted his confidence and conviction such that in 1951 he presented the Paris city government with a Beckified version of the Metro map he had drawn up in the late thirties, some fifteen years earlier. They thought the map scandalously radical and rejected it without public input — they weren’t to use a diagrammatic transport map until 1999. Poo poo, Paris! Beck’s iconic style is now the norm for transit and urban rail companies the world over.

Hats off to those who show up uninvited and reinvent the game.

Harry Beck Paris Metro Map


Photographer Bob Mazzer shot the Tube throughout the 20th century, capturing, mid-career, these iconic 70s and 80s snapshots in the London Underground of the universal intersection of how awesome it is to be young and how shitty it is to be young.

Photographer Bob Mazzer shot the Tube throughout the 20th century, capturing, mid-career, these iconic 70s and 80s snapshots in the London Underground of the universal intersection of how awesome it is to be young and how shitty it is to be young.


Rachel Garrard is one of the mystical creatures and thread charmers preparing your room in Ace London. 

Rachel Garrard is one of the mystical creatures and thread charmers preparing your room in Ace London. 


Happy birthday, Aldous.

Happy birthday, Aldous.


LONDON
Recent Central St. Martins graduate and fashion designer Mingki Cheng summons the otherworldly, futuristic and nostalgic in his creation of unprecedented textiles. London-based director Jeff Metal shot him at work in his studio on a collection that incorporates animal defense structures, sportswear and battered plastics.

LONDON

Recent Central St. Martins graduate and fashion designer Mingki Cheng summons the otherworldly, futuristic and nostalgic in his creation of unprecedented textiles. London-based director Jeff Metal shot him at work in his studio on a collection that incorporates animal defense structures, sportswear and battered plastics.


It’s so real. Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, opening this fall. You can even book a room.

It’s so real. Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, opening this fall. You can even book a room.


Cries of victory at this year’s Wimbledon — America’s Serena Williams, Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig and Scotland’s Andrew Barron Murray.



Photos by Getty, The Independent and The Irish Mirror.

Cries of victory at this year’s Wimbledon — America’s Serena Williams, Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig and Scotland’s Andrew Barron Murray.

Wimbledon

Photos by GettyThe Independent and The Irish Mirror.


SHOREDITCH, LONDON.
Brick Lane, by Boncoeur.

SHOREDITCH, LONDON.

Brick Lane, by Boncoeur.


Ace Hotel London Shoreditch — it’s alive and kicking. Open fall 2013.

Ace Hotel London Shoreditch — it’s alive and kicking. Open fall 2013.


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