Mies van der Rohe’s Allzweck alphabet reconstructed
Mies van der Rohe & James Stirling: Circling the Square” at RIBA's London headquarters explores the what-could-have-been's of the historic site where Number 1 Poultry by James Stirling, Michael Wilford & Associates stands today. During the 1960s, architectural patron and developer Lord Peter Palumbo commissioned Mies van der Rohe to design the unrealized and hotly debated Mansion House Square for the very same site. Now on display at 66 Portland Place through June 25 “Circling the Square” examines both significant architectural schemes along with never-before-seen objects and drawings – yet there is more to it and typography is involved.
“We have drawn a bespoke version based on Mies’ letters with some elements of English vernacular alphabets” explains Mathias Clottu to It’s Nice That of the renowned architect’s set of sans-serif extended capital letters which inspired him to bring this new typographic project into the limelight. Van der Rohe’s Allzweck alphabet which was used on correspondence and to annotate his blueprints has been redrawn by Studio Mathias Clottu.
“The result is a more regular set of capitals but keeps some of the more drawn characteristics found in the Allzweck. Its weight is in between a regular and a medium font… We have redrawn three variants of numerals for the graphics of the exhibition: the Allzweck extended numbers relate to Mies van der Rohe’s scheme; regular weight is used in a document related to the public debate; and sans-serif non-lining numbers for the James Stirling’s scheme” he adds.
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