News — 16 Oct 2007

Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam presents TM – City, a three-dimensional installation based on the work of graphic designer Richard Niessen (b. 1972). 

It is modelled on the idea of the city, with its ground plan, layered complexity, architecture and logistical structure. The urban environment can also be viewed as a pulsating organ and provides Richard Niessen’s inspiration. 

TM stands for ‘Typographic Masonry’. Sources of inspiration that can be detected in 

TM – City include the poster designer A.M. Cassandre, artist Eduardo Paolozzi and graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo – all honoured by having streets named after them. 

Richard Niessen’s graphic design work is an ode to ornamentation. His apparently organised chaos is captured in a complex system of layered decoration. In Niessen’s work, ornamentation is not a matter of superficial decoration, but an integral part of the whole. By stacking and ordering typographical elements, he creates interweaving linear patterns that have virtually no equivalent anywhere else in the Dutch graphic design field. His highly consistent approach betrays a love of Byzantine and medieval manuscript illumination and is characterised by an exuberant blend of typography, calligraphy and visual images.

Last year Niessen collaborated with Esther de Vries on the design of the Stedelijk Museum’s Annual Report 2005, chosen as one of the best Dutch book designs of 2006. In Germany, the Stedelijk annual report also received an award designating it one of the best designed books in the whole world ('Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt'). 

Niessens collaboration with artist Jennifer Tee has led to interesting results in the recent past. In 2004 they produced the catalogue Evoleye-Lands-End – a co production with equal roles for Tee and Niessen. This catalogue was the start of more projects to come. For the conference hall of the city council of Amsterdam Zuid-Oost the artists designed a work in which the skyline of cultures is presented and the whole is formed by an architecture of letters. For the square of the Amsterdam Zuidas they designed an extensive floor pattern. Richard Niessen also created several type faces, amongst them Tartan, File Sharing, Constellation and In Progress.

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