Client: OzArt on view at Ledger
Location: Bentonville, AR, United States
Completion date: 2022
Michel Rojkind and Callaghan Horiuchi + Marlon Blackwell Architects
Mayer of Munich
Among the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas, the town of Bentonville is dedicated to becoming the mountain bike capital of the United States. Situated along winding rivers and never-ending forests, dozens of bike paths have been thoughtfully constructed in the surrounding hills. It thereby made perfect sense for the town’s Ledger office building — designed by Michel Rojkind and Callaghan Horiuchi + Marlon Blackwell Architects — to provide people the option to bike right up to their office, thanks to a seven-floor wraparound ramp. “Now is Better,” a permanent mosaic installation by the nationally awarded designer, Stefan Sagmeister, features ninety-five critters carrying gemstones along the ramp up toward the building’s rooftop terrace, where they are neatly deposited to form his favorite phrase: Now Is Better.
The design brief stated that the ramp design did not need to be too closely tied to way finding, but should allow for a more open design interpretation that featured something unique to the Ozarks. The artist wanted to depart from common forms in architectural settings like murals, windows and flooring. By designing discreet objects, with unusual shapes and sizes, that the visitors encounter overtime, Sagmeister combined a traditional material with an unconventional and inventive installation solution that draws on local landscape and species.
Sagmeister was asked to design a graphic identify for the ramp for this new six-story, bikable, mixed-use building with 230,000 square feet of hybrid workspace. The zigzagging bike ramps rise gradually along the buildings’ exterior incline. He visited Arkansas to get a better sense of the project. Bentonville is a pretty town with excellent restaurants, sophisticated murals, as well as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Momentary, an art gallery exhibiting contemporary work. The nearby Ozark Mountains became a focal point for his work. Biking through the Ozarks, there is an abundance of critters along the way. He wanted to recreate this experience along the bike ramp, greeting visitors with an inspirational message at the top of the building. Sagmeister selected creatures native to the area, with illustrator Raxenne Maniquiz drawing up each one.
Stefan Sagmeister is a renowned Austrian-born US based contemporary graphic designer and typographer. He is the co-founder of the famous design firm, Sagmeister & Walsh, which he established in partnership with Jessica Walsh. His intriguing and provocative designs redefined the status of graphic designers. Some of his notable designs are showcased on the album covers of The Rolling Stones, Pat Metheny, David Byrne and OK Go.