Mau’s moment

Rating: NNNNthis latest creation of toron-to's Bruce Mau Design studio is as audacious as it is delicious. The Sudbury-born international.

Rating: NNNN

this latest creation of toron-to’s Bruce Mau Design studio is as audacious as it is delicious. The Sudbury-born international design star drops names — Frank Gehry, John Cage, Michael Snow, Rem Koolhaas — like crazy, making no bones about the healthy size of his ego. But humility also shines through. After all, design is more important than the designer.A self-described manifesto, Life Style is also pure eye candy, with 624 pages printed in full colour and offering the BMD team a chance to let loose, experiment and publish a showpiece of their work.

And not just the triumphs. Mau and crew include prototypes of rejected proposals — like a Universal Studios logo that never flew — along with successful brand-identity projects.

Local outfits including !ndigo (books, music and more) and the AGO (an acronym that’s eclipsed “Art Gallery of Ontario”) are given equal weight with international coups like the corporate identity for Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum and design work on the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, a project of Canadian-born architectural giant Gehry.

And, of course, there are the literary designs for New York imprint Zone, where Mau first caught the attention of the international design world in the mid-80s.

Life Style also presents BMD’s deep philosophical musings on everything (design-related) from Marshall McLuhan to Photoshop in a series of essays edited by Kyo Maclear with cultural theoretician Bart Testa.

With Life Style, Mau firmly positions his studio at the forefront of the international design community. But even with its international success, BMD remains very much a Toronto production.

Anyone involved in the local art or design scenes is bound to have crossed paths with someone who’s worked with Mau in the past 15 years — I spotted five friends and one-time classmates on the BMD studio timeline. On that count alone, it’s a must-have.

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