2004. CHART. IDENTITY PROJECT Madrid Abierto (451 Studio / published texts)


451 / Aitor Méndez y Fernando A. Cienfuegos

The text that follows was written in 2004 as justification for the graphic identity design for Madrid Abierto. As in other of our projects, there is a reflection on the client and another on the work process, in this case the process of preparing the explanations given to a client (or to oneself). These are often prepared after the design work, although presented to the client as the guidelines followed. In the best of cases, they are prepared at the same time as the design work, altering the latter and the latter altering the first as one goes along.

From this point of view, the premises set out are not the same and therefore lack relevance in obtaining a high quality project. The work can culminate in good or bad results regardless of these initial ideas and, in this case, we show how this initial inability does not get in the way of obtaining good results.


Public art has two things: art and the public. You might think “what a silly remark, it is public because it is in the fucking street”, and you would be right, although you could curb your language.

Thinking about this tricky issue, the idea of the public began to acquire a certain obsessive insistence.

Why? My psychiatrist might ask himself. And he would also be right in asking this question, after all that’s why he spent long summer hours knuckling down, missing out for ever on some of the most delicious moments of youth.

Let’s leave him alone to come up with the answer while we concentrate on our work. Hence, we see the public behaving as an individual, i.e., the public is one and always the same, just as the river is always the same, even if the water that runs through it is continuously changing.

This public, made up of undifferentiated individuals, of hidden identifies, is omnipresent, like God. Yes my friend, He is everywhere, or practically everywhere. He goes from one end to the other, strolling through the city or talking on the mobile, in the car or the underground, up and down or from the centre to the outskirts and, in the meantime, the little eyes of the undifferentiated individuals act like sensory organs scattered throughout the body like the suction cups of an octopus.

“What a disgusting example” you might think (if you haven’t, do so now before you go on).

It’s not that disgusting. Let’s show more respect for our public. It is a very smart public. It stretches its tentacles wherever it suits it. It establishes traffic flows with surprising speed to places where it can get goods or food for free. It is captivated by any commemorative plaque announcing the location of a work of contemporary art.

“O.K., but that definition is valid for the public in general and not just for our public art public”, you should be thinking. I take that but, for the moment, I will ignore it.

On another front, we have a suggestion by Jorge to use the letter A, present in the words “mAdrid” and “Abierto”, coinciding with the fact that the public space destined for the exhibition of the work is triangular shaped.

This outlandish idea, combined with our no less absurd obsession with the public, has established the basis for the work realised. Let this be a healthy example of reconciliation of interests between the client and the supplier.

Let this also serve as an example of how to produce a serious, fun graphic identify that meets the communication standards and exudes poetry (pity that we have to say this ourselves) from ludicrous, intuitive and contradictory bases.

“You’re going to drive me mad” you might say now.

I said the same to my psychiatrist and it cost me fortune.

Aitor Méndez.



451 is a group project produced by people working in different fields: music, graphic design, cinema, etc...

For some years, Aitor Méndez and Fernando Cienfuegos have been searching for new graphic languages which aspire to be a reflexion of contemporary thought systems.

For MADRID ABIERTO they have broken away from the classic idea of the stable, unchangeable logo in an attempt to evoke a certain atmosphere by relating the elements of identity in a different way in each case, and according to the expression desired at a given moment.






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