The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research has officially launched our new logo! What follows is a description of where each of the letters comes from in the history of Cranbrook or the location on the campus!
The (first) C in Cranbrook is from the logo George Gough Booth created for the Cranbrook Press in 1901, three years before he and his wife Ellen established their estate in Bloomfield Hills.
The Cranbrook Press (1900-1902) was founded by George Booth in the attic of the Detroit Evening News Building. Booth emulated the work of William Morris and his Kelmscott Press, not just in design but also in the level of hand-craftsmanship.
The (second) C in Center is part of the logo that the Academy of Art’s legendary designer Katherine McCoy created for Cranbrook Educational Community in the 1990s, itself a nod to Eliel Saarinen’s original 1932 design.
Katherine McCoy and her husband, Michael were the co-chairs of the design department at the Academy from 1971 – 1994 and taught both 2D and 3D design, with Katherine teaching 2D and Michael teaching 3D. Over the years McCoy designed a variety of material for Cranbrook, a highlight being the educational community’s branding, (pictured above) including quarterly magazines, catalogs, and posters. Sasha, the designer of the Cranbrook Center for Collection and Research logo, is a graduate of the Academy and studied with Katherine McCoy.
The (third, and final) C in Collections is drawn from the architecture of the Institute of Science, specifically the window frames of the Light Lab that marks the entrance to the 1998 addition designed by Steven Holl.
The addition was intended to extend the circulation of Eliel Saarinen’s original gallery design, including the Hall of Minerals and the Hall of Man. Holl utilized a U- shaped passage (or a C-shape, if you ask me) in response to Saarinen’s U-shaped design and allowed for multiple paths to encourage visitors to explore the museum from a myriad of potential paths. This C-shape can be seen in the shape of the public entrance to the Institute, and in the details such as the door handles (pictured above).
The R in Research can be found in the magnificent Peacock Gates that celebrate the pedestrian entrance to the Cranbrook School Campus from Lone Pine Road.
The gates were designed by Eliel Saarinen for Cranbrook School (1927). They were fabricated by German born craftsman Oscar Bach. Bach was one of the most technically skilled and commercially successful figures in the field of decorative metalwork during the first half of the 20th century. Bach also produced several other works for George Booth including the clock in the Cranbrook Campus dining hall, the treasury door at Christ Church Cranbrook, and the decorative downspouts on the exterior of Cranbrook House.
Collectively these four interlocking letters represent Cranbrook’s founding family, the Center’s three main programmatic divisions (the Academy of Art, Institute of Science, and Cranbrook Schools), and a century of our history. More than just our initials—they form a logo that represents how the Center hopes visitors will see and experience our mission, programs, and the Cranbrook community as a whole. I have worked hard to develop programs alongside my colleagues at the Center and the Archives that will continue to grow and flourish in the future.
Although this logo is making its debut at the Center for Collections and Research, I am saying my farewell as I head to Kansas City, Missouri to embark on a new journey as Assistant Curator of Architecture, Design, and Decorative Arts. My experiences here at Cranbrook have been formative in my understanding of the breadth and reach that a single institution can have (as indicated in the links above which I encourage you to explore). It has been a life-changing experience to be able to live and work on such a beautiful campus with such a rich history, deeply rooted in encouraging the education of all minds (young and old) to explore arts, science, and architecture.
Although I think about the many opportunities I have had while here, and the projects I have contributed to, the largest undertaking was the research and preparation for the exhibition and accompanying catalog Simple Forms, Stunning Glazes: The Gerald W. McNeely Collection of Pewabic Pottery (which is on view until August 28th!).
My other projects took me across the campus, high and low, to attics, basements, and more, giving me an unforgettable knowledge of Cranbrook and its history. In writing this and saying my goodbye I realize it is not the things I have done here, or the mark I have made, but the mark that has been made on me forever by Cranbrook that will live on, much like our new logo.
–Stefanie Kae Dlugosz-Acton, Collections Fellow 2014-2016, Center for Collections and Research