] Seven Rulers
floorplan Palace of Typographic MasonryPALACE about
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The Masonic Lobby

Poster Seven Rulers, 2013
Poster Seven Rulers (detail), 2013
Poster Seven Rulers (detail), 2013

Seven Rulers

In the Summer of 2013, Richard Niessen invited a group of Dutch graphic designers to discuss the evolution of their craft. Holland in the late 1980s deserved to be called the Eden of graphic design, but since then, the mentalities and the tastes of patrons had radically changed...

Ever since this occasion, Niessen has kept pondering the ongoing mutation – not to say deterioration – of graphic design. To clarify his thoughts, he went back to one of the sources of the British Arts and Crafts movement, John Ruskin’s 1849 work, The Seven Lamps of Architecture. The “Seven lamps” Sacrifice, Truth, Power, Beauty, Life, Memory and Obedience were supposed to light the way for 19th century architects. Is it possible to transfer and re-interpret them in the context of contemporary graphic design?

The seven lamps have become seven instruments of measure, emblematic of Ruskin’s seven guidelines. Some of these may not have aged well, but the quotations from the original text, printed over the surface of the instruments, show that Ruskin’s main point remains valid today. Using those questions as new starting-blocks, Richard Niessen eventually built The Palace of Typographic Masonry.