Rushing water, DNA helices, stop-motion footage of a city at night. Put ‘em together and what have you got? A generic brand video. Royalty-free stock footage purveyor Dissolve.com seized upon the formula outlined by Kendra Eash in a recent piece for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and brought it to life in this amusing short, made entirely with stock footage and narrated with an avuncular twang by Dallas McClain.
Cover yourself in Jackson Pollock‘s inky drips, schlep your stuff under the cover of Warholian camouflage, and wear the creative feats of Keith Haring on your feet—all for less than the price of admission to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The institution has teamed up with Japanese fast-fashion chain Uniqlo on a line of wearables printed with images from works in the MoMA collection, including details from two of Pollock’s 1950 works on paper that have been transposed to cotton t-shirts, a tote bag covered in a collage of Basquiat drawings, and a bandanna featuring Warhol’s tomato-red can of Campbell’s soup from 1962. The Uniqlo at MoMA collection, part of the retailer’s SPRZ NY (“Surprise New York”) project, is now available at at the MoMA Store as well as Uniqlo. Nothing is over $50.
“From the very beginning we decided—my co-founders and I—that we would never sell, never go public. We viewed Kickstarter as a public trust. This is a place of opportunity for anyone to make their thing happen, and it’s our job to be the stewards of it and to honor it. We were looking at growing this into a living, breathing cultural institution that’s there to represent the interests of everybody. And we think the best way to do that is to be a privately held, independently controlled organization—and that’s exactly what we are.”
-Kickstarter co-founder and CEO Yancey Strickler in an interview with Charlie Rose for Bloomberg Businessweek.
Hoefler & Frere-Jones is no more, the namesake duo having been torn asunder by disagreements (over ownership stakes in the powerhouse type foundry) that in January escalated to a lawsuit that had the design world combing through court filings. What remains is one last glimpse into their 15-year partnership: Font Men (below). The short film was made by New York-based Dress Code for AIGA to celebarate H+FJ’s 2013 AIGA Medal, and earlier this month was selected for SXSW.
The competition that spotted Stefan Sagmeister, James Victore, and Mike Mills when they were but wee design/art powerhouses-to-be is back. Behold Young Guns 12, the Art Directors Club‘s international, cross-disciplinary, portfolio-based competition to identify the young creative vanguard. By “young,” they mean 30 or under, and by “creatives,” they mean those doing great things in graphic design, photography, illustration, advertising and art direction, environmental design, film, animation, video, interactive design, object design, and/or typography. What’s so special about Young Guns? It recognizes an individual, and considers a body of work, not a single ad or design. Also, you get a really cool cube if you win. Young Guns 12 is open to ADC members and non-members worldwide. A jury of past ADC Young Guns will select the 50 winners. Ready to take your shot? The deadline for entries is April 7.
“As architects, we often talk about the concept for something, and that’s interesting because I’ve never heard anyone walk into a building, drop to their knees, and say, ‘Whoa, what a fucking great concept.’ It just doesn’t happen. For us, the concept takes the form of a question. The question can be kind of mysterious or funny. The question can be dangerous. But the best questions, as any child will tell you, are questions that lead to other questions. And so what does that mean in terms of architecture? One of the questions we ask ourselves is, who are making things for? Obviously we’re making them for people. People are not abstractions. We can’t always predict what people do. Do as we design we’re asking, what range of reactions can we expect? The open nature of the design allows people to connect with each other in a civilized manner, even if they seek challenges.”
-Craig Dykers, a founding partner of Snøhetta, in an interview that appears in the March 24 “design issue” of Bloomberg Businessweek. Dykers will be lecturing this evening at Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.
Smile and say “neo-plasticism”! President Obama, Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel, Mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte with Mondrian’s Victory Boogie Woogie. (Photo courtesy Gemeentemuseum Den Haag)
As the HQ of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court (among other globe-spanning, peace-making organizations), The Hague is known more for tribunals and arbitration than as a hotbed of art and design, but the Dutch city—the third largest in the Netherlands—is quite the trove of masterpieces and exquisite museums, and boasts a city hall designed by Richard Meier (and don’t even get us started on Scheveningen!). Those visiting this week for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit got a taste of the North Sea city’s charms. President Obama found time between defcon-themed discussions to pop into the Art Deco-style home of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, which owns the largest collection of work by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, and took in the museum’s “Mondrian & De Stijl” exhibition. Joined by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel, and mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, Obama admired Mondrian’s final painting, Victory Boogie Woogie (1944), and, according to the museum, declared it “fabulous.”
This month marked the Los Angeles debut of the Architecture & Design Film Festival. We dispatched writer Brigette Brown to take in a few of the 30 flicks on offer along with the program of talks and panels. The five-day festival kicked off with If You Build It, a documentary that follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller as they lead a group of high school students in rural North Carolina through a year-long design-build project, and wrapped up on a similar note, with a closing panel entitled “Hands-on, Ground-up: Community and Design/Build.”
The Los Angeles Theater Center, an early-nineteenth century bank turned theater, was the setting for the inaugural L.A. edition of the Architecture & Design Film Festival. (All photos courtesy ADFF)
“Hands-on, Ground-up,” the final program of the Architecture & Design Film Festival in Los Angeles, left the audience wondering how we, as community members, designers, architects, and structure aficionados, can collaborate and build more. How can we push ourselves back into building and problem solving away from the computer, getting our hands dirty?
Architecture critic Mimi Zeiger moderated a panel of seasoned minds in the architecture and design/build field: Steve Badanes (pictured at right with festival founder and co-director, Kyle Bergman) professor of architecture and director of the Neighborhood Design Build Studio at the University of Washington; Jenna Didier, founder of experimental design and exhibition space, Materials & Applications; and, Dave Sellers, founder of Sellers and Company Architects. Though each panelist approaches the topic of design/build differently in their practices—professor, architect, artist—they each showed how small steps within design culture can help guide American culture to a more hands-on way of living.
“Why is it important to talk about design/build right now?” Zeiger asked to kick off the discussion. This simple “why should we care?” question shaped the conversation that followed. “A day’s work usually involves staring at a screen, pushing around a bar of soap, and maybe answering a few emails and sending some texts,” said Badanes. “So, you don’t really get the satisfaction that you’ve accomplished anything. When you make things, it’s really visceral…you have the satisfaction that you’ve made something.” The panelists agreed that design/build is about getting back in touch with making things. Using a hammer, painting columns and, as Sellers said, “having the oldest lady you can find make [you] blueberry pies” to eat on site are what architecture and design should be about.
“Firmness, commodity, and delight.” These are the three words—cribbed from Vitruvius, who considered “firmitas, utilitas, venustas” to be the fundamental principles of architecture—that appear on the Louis Sullivan-inspired bronze medallion that is awarded to each laureate of the Pritzker architecture prize. This year the coveted hardware goes to Shigeru Ban, who’ll receive it along with $100,000 at a ceremony at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on June 13.
Ban is the seventh Japanese architect to receive the prize, which has previously been awarded to Toyo Ito, Kenzo Tange, Fumihiko Maki, Tadao Ando, and SANAA’s Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. “Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful,’ said Ban upon learning that he had been selected as the 2014 laureate. “I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing—not to change what I am doing, but to grow.“ Ban’s latest stateside project, a new building for the Aspen Art Museum, will be unveiled this summer.
“In early 2002 I presented a lecture at the Design Indaba conference in South Africa, then newly free and celebrating liberation from eons-old social oppression and apartheid, extreme enforced inequality. The theme was ‘Can Design Feed People?’ The question wasn’t literal but was intended to pose the bigger question—what role can design and designers play today? Because we do not work in a vacuum. Design is not an innocent bystander. It is deeply integral to to the mechanisms of the social construct….We need to take more risks. As risks are no longer taken, minority interests become extinct and individual tastes are ignored. Just as governments limit the scope for intellectual and political debate, we don’t notice that the walls are moving inward and we no longer notice how shallow the cultural water. Vacuous top 10 lists fill our in-box and news feeds, cats, dinners, and prayers the rest. For mass communication, mediocrity is the goal, homogeny and vanilla the outcome.”