A Torontonian project could hardly be any torontonier. First to mention here is the place it’s all about: Massey Hall. Founded 128 years ago as Massey Music Hall, the venue reflects on Canada’s industrial history, as it was initiated and largely financed by Hart Massey, heir to the famous farm equipment manufacturer. Built in an eclectic mix of Palladian façade (topped off by a nice Modern Style lettering) and Alhambra-inspired neo-moorish hall, the site quickly became a favorite meeting place for the citizens of Canada’s largest city with the events ranging from choir programs to political agitation in its early days. Later, up to 1982, Massey Hall served as the domicile of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (which did not exclude gigs by others).
From 2018 to 2020 the building underwent full-scale renovation works and amplification which fell in place well considering the restrictions for this kind of establishment during the Covid pandemic. The highly acclaimed works that led to a significant improvement of the acoustics and the restoration of architectonic detail true to the original were conducted by KPMB, an architect’s office located in – guess where? – Toronto.
Thirdly, and this is what this post is really about, a book was published in 2021, coinciding with the reopening of the hall: That Night at Massey Hall, initiated by David Binks. Binks assembled about 300 stories told by artists, staff on site, and audience members of shows held at Massey Hall, spanning almost 100 years in the history of music performance, the whole illustrated with lavish photographs. It is basically a book made by fans of the venue, for fans of the venue. It was published by A.B. Independent from, yes, Toronto.
The book was bound in Canada, printed in Canada and also designed in: Toronto, Canada. Responsible for the graphic design are Underline Studio who are, fourthly, just a 30 minutes bike ride away from Massey Hall. In their design they went much longer a path: either in two or three columns, the typography is set left-aligned which means a hell lot of work.
For the reading text, the website just as much as the book use Neue Montreal by Pangram Pangram, based in, gosh, Montréal, which hopefully will not spark civil war. The headlines reach even further, to mother Paris and Production Type’s Media Sans, designed by Jean-Baptiste Levée. Where messages ought to be loud, Media Sans is loud. Used as here, in a large variety of widths and in big to huge sizes, it’s the perfect pick to emulate billboards and venue lettering worthy of giants like Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash.