Monthly Archives: May 2009

A sad day for branding, a sadder day for brandy – Osborne gets a makeover.

The Osborne group has announced that it will stop using the black bull as its corporate logo. The Sevilla-based group wants to signal its shift from being mostly a brandy and sherry producer to its current emphasis on products such as water, fruit juices and Iberico ham. It has commissioned a new corporate logo from a Madrid design studio, which is still under wraps and will be launched later this year.

While the fearsome 14-meter high bulls will remain dotted around the Spanish countryside, they will be even further divested from meaning. One more nail in the coffin for this iconic piece of Spanish advertising design, created in 1956 by Manuel Prieto of the Azor agency. The first bull, 7 meters high and made of wood, went up near Madrid in November of 1957. From the early 1960s the bulls were made of metal sheet and were 14 meters high. By the 1970s there were more than 500 bulls across Spanish territories, not just on the Iberian Peninsula but also in the Canary Islands, the Balearics and North Africa.

In 1988, new national transport legislation makes publicity billboards that are visible from the roads illegal, and the word Osborne that was written in red across the existing bulls is removed. By 1994 the Spanish government wants to bring them all down, but many autonomous communities, municipalities and pressure groups fight to save them. In 1998, the Supreme Court grants them mercy, stating that the Osborne bulls have moved beyond their original advertising meaning, having become part of the landscape and a Spanish cultural icon.

The Osborne bull has also left an interesting trail of political associations. As an icon of Spanishness it has been taken over by the conservative right, and prompted the design of  an alternative animal national icon by Catalan nationalists, in the shape of the Catalan donkey. No Heritage listing in sight for that one!

It was also used by Spanish soldiers posted in Irak, both on the national flag and to decorate the barracks.

There are currently 97 bulls left. And now that they are one of the great stories of Spanish graphic design, declared objects of National Heritage, film icons (in Bigas Luna’s 1992 Jamón, Jamón, the bull shares screen time with Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz),  Osborne wants to give them up, because they link the group too closely to its past as a sherry wine producer. Would Nike give up the swoosh? Would Macintosh give up the Apple? And all for the sake of branding bottled water and fruit juice?

The everyday comes to Santa Coloma. Local things for local history.

The Museo Torre Balldovina, a local museum in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, near Barcelona, has asked the town’s citizens to contribute everyday objects from the 50s, 60s and 70s. These will be catalogued by the Museum and will be shown in an exhibition this fall. So far, about a hundred pieces have been collected over a few weeks, ranging from typewriters to sewing kits.

La Vanguardia has a nice video with interviews of some of the donors who explain their relationship to the objects they have given. But I can’t embed it so go watch it here.

Madrid Furniture of the 50s and 60s – An Online Catalogue.

Luis M. Feduchi & Javier Feduchi. Room of Hotel Castellana Hilton, Madrid. 1953.

Luis M. Feduchi & Javier Feduchi. Room of Hotel Castellana Hilton, Madrid. 1953.

The Madrid Architectural Association COAM has a great resource for mid-century Madrid design: Catálogo de Muebles – Madrid de los 50 y 60. The online catalogue of images is based on the research carried out for two exhibitions on 1950s and 1960s design respectively, curated by Pedro Feduchi, which took place in 2005 and 2006. The images come from periodical publications such as Revista Nacional de Arquitectura, Hogar y Arquitectura, Nueva Forma, Temas de Arquitectura, and furniture manufacturers’ catalogues of the time period.

The database is organised by designers, pieces, interiors and trade catalogues, and there is also a keyword search option. The interface is not particularly smooth or user-friendly and it’s time-consuming to have to click on every individual entry to see a thumbnail of the image. Searching by item typologies seems to be the most effective option, as thumbnails are supplied. In any case the collection is structured in a clear way and the material is worth the effort.

[Thanks to Jordi Esteve].

Side-chair. Jose Dodero, 1961.

Side-chair. Jose Dodero, 1961.

Side-chair. Miguel Fisac, 1960.

Side-chair. Miguel Fisac, 1960.

T.D.C. Catalogue, 1956. Designs by Fernando Ramon Moliner.

T.D.C. Catalogue, 1956. Designs by Fernando Ramon Moliner.

Fernando Alonso Martinez & Francisco Muñoz Cabrero. Ceiling light, 1955.

Fernando Alonso Martinez & Francisco Muñoz Cabrero. Ceiling light, 1955.

Reading lamp for the Instituto Eduardo Torroja. Commercialised through Darro. 1959

Reading lamp for the Instituto Eduardo Torroja. Commercialised through Darro. 1959

A Choice of Revolutions – Surtido de Revolución

Surtido* presenta la exposición Surtido de Revolución; una muestra de los resultados del primer workshop de la plataforma, en íntima colaboración con el taller de cerámica Apparatu.

*La plataforma efímera e independiente para los jóvenes diseñadores del país

Inauguración 6 de mayo 19:30, Espai Rubik – c. Planeta, 5

todos los detalles acerca de la expo aquí.