PIN-UP , the biannual magazine of architectural entertainment is now in its 19th issue. Based in New York, the magazine has previously covered themes such as “Bourgeois Shenanigans”, “Milan” and “Post-Normal” and in this edition focusses on “The Great Indoors”. Redesigned by their recently appointed art director Erin Knuston, the magazine pulls off the rare feat of putting across equal value in its contents and aesthetic. On the release of the new edition, we spoke with Erin and PIN-UP editor in chief Felix Burrichter.
PIN–UP is described as a magazine of “architectural entertainment.” Could you elaborate on this, and what your thinking was when working out what the magazine should be?
Felix Burrichter: PIN–UP , at its core, is a magazine for architecture, a discipline not commonly considered “entertaining.” Our goal is to create a platform that brings to the fore the elements of architecture that can be equally interesting to architects as those outside the profession. That includes where architecture intersects with art, design, and occasionally fashion; but unlike general culture publications we maintain a distinct architectural voice and viewpoint in the treatment of these seemingly disparate subjects.
"The built environment and its interiors are where most of our lives unfold, whether public or private"Felix Burrichter
This issue is on “The Great Indoors”, is this the first with an overarching theme?
FB: Each issue of PIN–UP usually has an underlying theme, like “Post-Normal”, “Flamboyant Restraint”, “Serious Fun”, or “Bourgeois Shenanigans”. Sometimes they’re also city-themed, with examples including Los Angeles, Berlin or Milan. But never has a theme been so generously splattered across the cover as “The Great Indoors”. That was a decision made with our new art director Erin Knutson as we move into the third evolution of PIN–UP ’s design.
As a theme, “The Great Indoors” is a classic gift that keeps on giving. After all, the built environment and its interiors are where most of our lives unfold, whether public or private, and this issue [reflects that].
How did you go about the re-design, did you look at the PIN–UP archive or focus more on the here-and-now of this issue’s editorial direction?
Erin Knutson: The very idea of a “pin-up” is that it is a work in progress or a sketch meant to provoke conversation. A pin-up delivers provocative ideas in an improvisational, playful, raw form. Felix and I decided early on to approach the new design as an evolution of what had come before, rather than a total redesign.
We wanted to make sure we kept an uninterrupted conversation with prior art directors Dylan Fracareta and Geoff Han, and did so by continuing the tradition of using the Arial typeface – a rule they made a long time ago which is the restriction that keeps on giving. We kept the size but then worked on reinterpreting the various editorial sections based on the issue’s themes. This play between preserving some traditions but making them present will continue to allow for PIN–UP to change and evolve with each new issue.
"Designing a magazine is not unlike building rooms in a house. Each room, or magazine section, is part of a stage where we sequence a story through multiple acts – or a tour of the home."Erin Knutson
The design seems very much responsive to the features. Do you see elements changing with each issue? Some of the text and titles almost feels like birds-eye views of townscapes and towers.
EK: Yes, absolutely. PIN–UP has always been interested in collage and cacophony and the new design will push that even further. Each section has a different visual language, but they all relate to the larger theme of the issue. Like gestalt, the parts make the whole.
It is important to me that the design and the editorial philosophies are in harmony, so it was fitting that my first issue was “The Great Indoors”: designing a magazine is not unlike building rooms in a house. Each room, or magazine section, is part of the stage where we sequence a story through multiple acts – or a tour of the home.
We used theatres and interiors as a starting point for both the editorial and the design of this issue, letting them play out in different ways in each section. For example, the pages in the features section were set up using architectural rendering software, allowing each page to be the backdrop for the mirrored titles and caption cubes in the foreground. For the design stories we literally improvised the titles while spinning the paper, to create a sort of choreography of typography, not unlike the way one moves through interior spaces with other people.
Could you elaborate on your use of the quote from As You Like It , “All the world’s a stage” in your introduction to the current issue?
FB: This was inspired by an interview I did with Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, the youngest partner of Rem Koolhaas’s architecture firm OMA. Ippolito is interested in architecture as a stage, for art, for music, for fashion, for life. It ties directly into the idea that our lives unfold mostly indoors, and the spaces we create ourselves are stages for our own lives, both public and private.
The line from As You Like It is over 400 years old, and much has changed since then, not least of all the fact that we now also live in a parallel digital space. But fundamentally we’re all trying to make the best of being the actors on a stage with a largely improvised script.
What are your plans for the magazine moving forward?
FB: Live long and prosper.
About the Author
Billie studied illustration at Camberwell College of Art before completing an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. She joined It’s Nice That as a Freelance Editorial Assistant back in January 2015 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis.