As part of an artist residency, Julia Taffe (Artistic Director at Aeriosa) collaborated with a team of architects at hcma to identify a set of compelling built and natural environments—through the process of an ‘urban scan’—that could be activated by a vertical dance performance. This process resulted in a set of data in the form of isometric and section drawings, information and location map. 
The goal was to share these findings—in an easy-to-distribute format—with building managers, city officials, and the wider vertical dance community to build momentum towards a Vancouver-based International Vertical Dance Festival. This constraint didn't get in the way of creating a brochure which felt as bold and extraordinary as the performance-art it was promoting. Every design decision was made to enhance the experience.

Vertical dance defies our understanding of gravity and orientation—a towering vertical “dance floor” in a wide-open expanse upon which dancers appear weightless. It’s a blend of beauty and rebel courage. The experience is awe inspiring! 

Using a full size press sheet (24 x 36 inches) that folds down (6 x 6 inches), the brochure accommodates ease-of-distribution while still allowing for a reading experience feels engaging and larger-than-life.
To recreate the agility and movement of Aeriosa’s dance expression, content is arranged both on-and off-grid, in varying orientations forcing the viewer to tilt their head or rotate the sheet.
Four pastels from Mohawk's Keaykolour range—a paper stock with natural tactility and structural integrity when folded—were chosen to represent the vertical ‘stage’.
Upon the pastel, textured backdrop the inks needed to represent the vivaciousness of the performers. A bold two-colour approach utilizing a fluorescent was inspired by the combined techniques of dance and rock-climbing to create suspended choreography. The UV inks perform a dance of colour across the sheet, occasionally overlapping and blending to create a third colour. Inks were tested through a series of draw downs to ensure that contrast between paper stock and ink colour allowed legibility.
ABOVE Concept sketch developed to sell the format to the client and internal team
Project completed while employed at
Concept design + creative direction
Nicole Bonnie Retief
Design support
Femi Coppi + Byron Theriault
Offset printing
Glenmore Printers
Gabriel Cabrera
Photography styling
Carl Ostberg
Photography art direction
Nicole Bonnie Retief
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