[Editor's note: One big news design conference already in 2009 (Malofiej) and another coming up (SND in Buenos Aires). The "subway" map above (view PDF) shows the presenters at Malofiej thru the years and the topological relationships between "lines" and presentors (nodes). The video and text below preview the SND conference. Thanks Larry!]
Republished from Mauricio Gutierrez Deputy Design Director/Features, Detroit Free Press
If you’re thinking that SND Buenos Aires could be a good conference to attend in 2009, put in your vacation request ASAP! Buenos Aires is piping hot. Has anyone counted how many stories on the city have run in The New York Times lately? A lot.
And for a good reason. I went there a few weeks ago and can give you a sneak peek at what you may see while you’re there enjoying the Workshop.
First, clear your calendar for at least a week: you’ll need the time. After flying ten or more hours, you’ll want time to relax and stroll around the city’s many neighborhoods.
At first, the city’s charms underwhelmed me. It’s a big city with big city problems: pollution, traffic, dog poop. But look past all that and you’ll find a great place, one inspiring and show-casing design.
Just walking around the city, I saw some of the best use of color, particularly around the neighborhood of La Boca — (for soccer fans) home to the Boca Juniors stadium where Maradona played — with its multicolored homes and shops. And don’t forget the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s White House but in a nice pink hue. How great is that? An explosion of colors.
The amount of visual stimulation is surprising. From fantastic architecture to well designed stores, from colorful facades to ornate signs, there’s so much to take in. Among the amazing things I saw were hand-painted signs. Not your average signs, these were full of color, great typographical sense, and fanciful designs. They’re a unique artistic expression called “fileteado porteno,” an art form that started as a way to identify carts at the market. It was then transferred to other vehicles. Now you see it everywhere, from menus to McDonald’s. I love its naive simplicity and bought a sign painted by an artisan in San Telmo, an up-and-coming neighborhood with an art fair and flea market on Sundays. Though you can find many street vendors and artists selling signs in the fileteado style, each shows various skill levels. By far, the best sign painter was Marcelo Arias. His trace and color sense were fantastic. I also bought a book on the subject, “Fileteado Porteno,” by Alfredo Genovese to learn more about its history and current use. When you’re in Buenos Aires pick up a copy of the book, it’s an indispensable reference book for any designer.