Mark magazine is a platform for the practice and perception of architecture at the dawn of the third millennium. Since its launch in 2005, the magazine has proven to be a timely, visual, non-academic publication full of first-hand information from creative people. Mark has a radically international perspective, shining its spotlight on starchitects and new talent alike. The magazine explores the boundaries of architecture and anticipates the industry's future.
A concise history of Mark:
December 1997: Frame
The first issue of Frame hits the stands. Founded by Robert Thiemann and Peter Huiberts, the bimonthly interior-design magazine quickly becomes a successful, trendsetting periodical.
November 2004: X-Section
When the demand for Frame tops 20,000 copies an issue, plans for a second magazine, with a focus on architecture, go into motion. Working title: X-Section. Design sketches: Joseph Plateau.
January 2005: Mark
Elsewhere in the land of architecture media, Archis – a highly regarded magazine long associated with the Netherlands Architecture Institute (which lost its singular identity in a 2013 merger) – tumbles into bankruptcy. Archis editor Arthur Wortmann joins Frame Publishers to work on the new magazine. On 31 January, its makers decide that its name will be Mark (‘a spot that stands out from its surroundings’). Design sketches are made by Joseph Plateau.
May 2005: Office
A corner of Frame Publishers’ office in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam, is vacated to make room for Mark’s editorial staff: Robert Thiemann, Arthur Wortmann and Pernille Jensen. Mark is to be a 240-page quarterly with a radical international perspective, a non-academic tone and a graphic design by Machine.
December 2005: First Issue
High points of the first issue include a portrait of Enric Ruiz-Geli’s outfit, Cloud 9; an interview with photographer Charlie Koolhaas about shooting OMA’s Casa da Música; a series of architect-designed treehouses; a feature on Pyongyang; and a review of Lucky Drops by Atelier Tekuto, the first of countless Japanese houses to fill the pages of Mark, each seemingly more innovative and eye-popping than its predecessors.
Photo Roemer van Toorn
March 2006: Website
Mark’s website, designed by Fluid, goes online.
September 2006: Lesley Moore
Early issues of Mark get a wave of positive reactions, chiefly from designers, skaters and graffiti artists. The response from architecture circles is far more reserved. ‘The form overwhelms the content,’ reports a well-respected architecture historian. Beginning with Mark 4, the formula is modified: less graphic punch, a handier size and weight, more emphasis on recently built projects, and six magazines a year instead of four. Graphic-design studio Lesley Moore (Karin van den Brandt and Alex Clay) replaces Machine, and reinforcing the editorial staff since May is David Keuning, previously a mainstay of Dutch magazine De Architect.
June 2008: Award #1
Having designed ten issues of Mark, Lesley Moore wins the European Design Award for ‘best magazine’ In the words of the jury, Mark is ‘a truly 21st century magazine’.
Photo Lesley Moore
August 2008: Relocation
Frame Publishers moves from its crowded office on Lijnbaansgracht to a new building designed by Rudy Uytenhaak in Amsterdam-South. Storeage is responsible for the interior design.
Photo Daniel Nicolas
December 2008: Mainstudio
Mark brings Mainstudio (Edwin van Gelder) on board to design the magazine, beginning with issue #17. The dynamic, light-hearted feel that has characterized Mark gives way to a more sophisticated, mature quality. A new digital edition of Mark makes its debut.
April 2009: Award #2
Mainstudio’s design for Mark wins the Golden Cube for editorial design from the Art Directors Club of New York.
Photo Edwin van Gelder
November 2009: Elephant
Mark welcomes a little brother: Elephant, a quarterly magazine on contemporary art and visual culture, another Frame Publishers’ product. (In 2016, Elephant was sold to Laurence King Publishing.)
February 2010: Piracy
Hard evidence confirms rumours that have been flying around for some time: illegal copies of Mark are being printed in China. Articles from old issues are scanned and compiled into new collectors’ editions, which are sold for prices far lower than the cost of an authentic issue. Not surprisingly, Bert de Muynck’s article revealing this practice does not appear in any subsequent illegal edition.
June 2010: New Website
Mainstudio designs Mark’s new website.
August 2010: China
An official Chinese edition of Mark becomes available, beginning with issue #27. (The contract with the Chinese publisher continues until Mark 41 has been printed, after which it is not renewed.)
June 2011: Victory
An absolute pinnacle in Mark’s history is, of course, victory in the prestigious Toonkamer Table Soccer Tournament, an event held at the Pastoe Factory in Utrecht, where no fewer than 35 teams from the disciplines of architecture, interior design and product design go for gold. First prize, a designer RS Barcelona soccer table, is donated to the Department of Paediatric Oncology of the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam.
October 2011: Archizines
Mark is invited to take part in Archizines: ‘a showcase of new architecture fanzines, journals and magazines from around the world that provide an alternative to the established architectural press’. The first exhibitions are held in London at the Architectural Association and the Victoria & Albert Museum, respectively. The show also travels to Milan, Barcelona, New York, Berlin, Porto, Paris, Bratislava, Dublin, Osaka, Tokyo, Helsinki, Brussels and Santiago de Chile, after which the selection of participating magazines gets a complete overhaul.
Photo Valerie Bennett
November 2011: Frameweb.com
Mark, Frame and Elephant launch a common website, which treats visitors to new creative projects on a daily basis.
April 2012: Georgia
A team of graphic designers from Frame Publishers – Mariëlle van Genderen, Barbara Iwanicka and Cathelijn Kruunenberg – redesigns Mark. The new format includes a themed section, which in Mark 37 features new architecture in the Democratic Republic of Georgia. Our theme does not go unnoticed in that country, where architecture is still a political instrument: it’s not long before two gigantic reproductions of the magazine cover embellish the Parliament building in Tbilisi.
Photo Ernestien Idenburg
February 2013: Poland
The issue spotlighting Georgia is followed by our focus on architecture in Poland, which also stirs up emotions, leading to reviews and debates in the Polish press.
March 2014: Nomination #1
Of the 97 entries vying for the Geert Bekaert Prize for Architecture Criticism, an article by Thomas Daniell on OMA’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange, published in Mark 44, is among the final three nominees for the award, which ultimately goes to Aaron Betsky.
April 2014: Frame Store
Frame Publishers opens its very first physical store in Felix Meritis, an 18th-century canal house in Amsterdam. Inside the building, visitors find a pop-up shop over two floors. i29 intervened in the monumental Zuilenzaal interior with reflective partition walls. For sale are clothes, books, magazines and design objects.
Photo Ewout Huibers
June 2014: Mark 50
To celebrate our 50th issue, an open competition for a cover design is launched. We receive 540 entries from 48 countries. Efisio Nicolò Sabiucciu wins our hearts with his original and meticulously executed concept. He submitted a robust handmade object showing the ‘flesh and bones’ of a building, a work created specifically for the competition.
October 2015: This Is Not a House
Published by Rizzoli, this book is a Mark anthology of sorts: it holds a selection of 33 articles on the most inventive homes that first appeared in Mark.
April 2016: Photo Exhibition
The Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam invites Mark to curate a photo exhibition to support the main theme of the 2016 edition of the festival: Building Dreams and Nightmares. The show named ‘And… Action!’ Contemporary Architectural Photography features 20 photos that have previously been published in the magazine.
Photo Nichon Glerum
May 2016: Internship Milestone
We welcome Izabela Anna, our 20th editorial intern, in a long list that keeps getting longer. In the order that we made their acquaintance, say hello to: John Bezold, Jaclyn Spokojny, Stephen Killion, Karla Hammer, Shyn Cheah, Peter Dykes, Lorna Gibson, Fabrizia Veccione, Silvie Schaefer, Parvinder Marwaha, Ana Martins, Pulane Mpotokwane, François-Luc Giraldeau, Peter Smisek, Reed Miller, Evan Jehl, Laurence Ouimet-Vives, Melika Aghabeigi, Emily Downing, Izabela Anna, Campbell McNeill and Lauren Teague. We’re proud that several of them continue to contribute to Mark on a regular basis.
December 2016: Nomination #2
The second edition of the Geert Bekaert Prize for Architecture Criticism generates 45 entries. The article ‘Walls and Fences’ by Theo Deutinger and Stefanos Filippas, published in Mark 56, is one of five nominees. (The award goes to Mark Minkjan.) Deutinger has been contributing to every single issue of Mark since 2008. ‘Walls and Fences’ is the first article in a series about the architecture of terror, presented in a format inspired by the work of Ernst Neufert.
March 2017: mark-magazine.com
Six years after frameweb.com was launched, Mark celebrates a brand new website, with a move back to its original domain address and, once again, it is fully devoted to architecture.