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architecture

Quote of Note | Daniel Libeskind

Daniel_Libeskind“People used to say, ‘Why don’t you design products also,’ and I would say, ‘I am designing buildings, big projects.’ Then one day a company asked me to design a door handle, and I started laughing because it is the smallest object. But I kept thinking about it and suddenly I had a revelation—why not? I mean, it is something that is part of everyday life. So I said, ‘Sure I’ll design the door handle.’ And I did, and I thought that was it. Then months later I was asked to design a door. And I had this other revelation—first I had the door handle, then a door, then you have to open the door. Then suddenly I realized what an incredible thing I had come across, something that I had never thought about. And that’s how I began designing all type of objects. Large or small, all the things that have to do with design are things we have to use everyday. From there grows the whole idea of the environment. I was lucky to come across these opportunities. And like Frank Lloyd Wright said, ‘To design a chair it is as difficult as to design a city.’”

—Architect Daniel Libeskind

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Hagy Belzberg, Paola Navone Among New Members of Interior Design Hall of Fame

(Iwan Baan)7
An interior view of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, designed by Belzberg Architects. The subterranean building, topped by an insulated roof of green-landscaped park ground, has received LEED Gold certification. (Photo: Iwan Baan)

Interior Design magazine is gearing up to add four members to its Hall of Fame: Hagy Belzberg of Santa Monica-based Belzberg Architects, architects David Lake and Ted Flato of San Antonio-based design firm Lake|Flato, and Paola Navone, the shape-shifting Italian architect, designer, art director, interior decorator, critic, teacher, exhibition organizer, and self-described “little bit of an anthropologist.” Andrea Woodner will receive a special leadership award for her work as founder and board president of the Design Trust for Public Space, an incubator that transforms and evolves the New York City landscape with city agencies and community collaborators. They’ll be honored at a gala on December 3 at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where the inductees will join the storied ranks of ID Hall of Famers such as Thierry Despont, Frank Gehry, Albert Hadley, and Andree Putman. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Council for Interior Design Accreditation and the Alpha Workshops. Meanwhile, in a first for the magazine, the December issue of Interior Design will be dedicated to Hall of Famers (150 members and growing) and how they have shaped the design world.

Quote of Note | David Chipperfield

(Mattias Kunz)“There are no indigenous materials anymore. You can find yourself in Italy being offered Indian marble because it’s cheaper, and that’s…it’s just very confusing. Or else the marble is Italian, but it’s being sent to India to be cut, and then shipped back to Italy. It means that unless you’re up in the Swiss mountains, or in the Cotswolds in England, where there are pre-described architectural languages that you should clearly respect, it’s a conceptual rather than practical issue. I do think it’s the case that because of industrialization and globalization everything is gradually starting to look the same, and the question is how can you stop buildings looking like each other? We just made a small office building (pictured) by the railway lines at King’s Cross in London, where they’ve recently dismantled the cast iron gasometers. I was inspired by all that Victorian architecture, which led to us making the columns from cast iron, which is actually a fantastic material. So in one sense, it’s a predictable and arbitrary connection to history, which is not necessarily right or wrong, but it’s a clue as to why you make a building different to others.”

-Architect David Chipperfield in an interview in The Travel Almanac. Chipperfield’s “Sticks and Stones,” an exhibition-cum-renovation prologue goes on view October 2 at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

Watch: At Home with Pablo Bronstein

Why settle for an ordinary vacation home when you can have a “baroque event”? Frieze recently visited artist Pablo Bronstein—who you may recall from the mythical architectural history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that he conjured in 2009—on the east coast of Kent, England, where he is embracing a “mid-century, slightly granny” aesthetic and the “pleasurable mess” of baroque architecture. “I think that it has no shame,” he says. “Baroque architecture does everything it possibly can to appeal, to amuse, to impress, to show off, to seem heavy or grand or important. It’s really sort of desperate architecture.” Watch Bronstein discuss art, architecture, taste, and the playful pathos of postmodernism.

Mark Your Calendar: Open House New York

(Mikiko Kikuyama)Whether you live in the NYC area or need an excuse for a fall visit, check out Open House New York weekend on October 11 and 12. The event, now in its twelfth year, invites the public to explore architecture, design, and cultural sites throughout the five boroughs. Among the more than 200 sites that will open their doors (many typically closed to the public) are the 425-square-foot “Manhattan Micro-Loft” atop an Upper West Side brownstone, the meticulously restored Williamsburgh Savings Bank building at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, and Kickstarter’s new Brooklyn headquarters, located in the remnants of the historic Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory. Listings of all OHNY Weekend sites will be posted on the OHNY website on September 30, and reservations can be made beginning at 11 a.m. on October 1. Be quick, because once the event guide hits newsstands on October 2 as an insert in Time Out New York, the waitlists—and disappointments—are bound to follow.

Eileen Gray Documentary to Debut at Architecture & Design Film Festival

eileen grayThe Architecture & Design Film Festival returns to New York next month with a slate of more than 25 designtastic films that will screen at Tribeca Cinemas. Kicking off the five days of cinematic pleasures on October 15 will be the world premiere of Marco Orsini’s Gray Matters, a documentary about designer and architect Eileen Gray.

Pay no heed to the clunky title; the film is a historical, scholarly, and cinematic investigation of Gray’s life and career—well beyond the headline-making $28 million auction sale of her Dragons chair. Orsini and his crew followed Gray’s own travels, from the Irish countryside to London, from Paris to the Riviera, and drew upon never-before-seen footage and candid interviews with scholars, curators, auctioneers and collectors, including four living peers and collaborators of the artist. Here’s the trailer, best enjoyed while relaxing in a concrete modernist villa:

New Architecture Prize Honors Year’s Best Public Library: Australia’s Craigieburn

Craigieburn Library

You need only browse a Candida Höfer monograph to realize that Denmark knows good libraries. It’s a strength that the Danish Agency for Culture—in partnership with Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects—has seized upon to create a new award recognizing the best public library of the year. The inaugural winner, announced earlier this month in Lyon, France (bibliothèque country!), is Australia’s Craigieburn Library, located in Hume City, Victoria and designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp.

The Aussie institution bested fellow nominees in the United Kingdom (the Library of Birmingham, designed by Mecanoo Architecten), the Netherlands (De Boekenberg, a.k.a. Book Mountain, in Spijkenisse, designed by MVRDV), and Denmark (Copenhagen’s Ørestad Bibliotek, designed by KHR Arkitekter). The judges settled on Craigieburn because it “distinguishes itself as a significant modern construction with a strong, recognizable architectural concept” and “with its open and flexible space…creates a democratic meeting place, open to diversity and interaction.”

Merrill Elam, Jeanne Gang Among Winners of New ‘Women in Architecture’ Awards

(Timothy Hursley)

There’s a new set of design honors up for grabs, and those with a Y chromosome need not apply. Architectural Record is recognizing the design leadership of women architects with its Women in Architecture Awards, which will be presented on October 9 in Manhattan following the magazine’s Innovation Conference. The five inaugural recipients, selected by an independent panel of architects, scholars, and critics, and announced this week, are:

  • Design Leader, honoring an architect with significant built work and influence: Merrill Elam of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
  • New Generation Leader, honoring an architect who is rising in the profession: Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang
  • Innovator, honoring an architect who has made a mark in innovative design, materials or building type: Sheila Kennedy of Kennedy & Violich Architecture
  • Activist, honoring an architect who has used her skills to design for social change, effect the public realm or perform pro bono work: Erinn McGurn of SCALEAfrica
  • Educator, honoring a professional who has helped the advancement of women: Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, former dean of the University of Miami’s School of Architecture

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First Look: Top Architects Share Selfies with Elle Decor

selfies
From left, selfies from Lise Anne Couture and Hani Rashid; Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Christoffersen; and Sou Fojimoto.

elle_decor coverThe ides of August are nearly upon us and with them the September issues. Among the first to hit newsstands is Elle Decor, which is seizing its twenty-fifth anniversary moment not to look back in reverie (the magazine did that earlier this year in charming video form) but to focus on the future. The just-published anniversary issue, fronted by a creamy Upper East Side living room designed by Steven Gambrel, features a look at the next twenty-five years of design and catches up with a range of leading architects via their selfies and Instagram posts. Japan’s Sou Fojimoto poses before a mound of cardboard boxes and architectural models, Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture of Asymptote Architecture grin under a sculptural light fixture, while Bjarke Ingels and BIG partner Thomas Christoffersen appear to have snapped their selfie in the midst of a rainforest excursion.
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Smells Like…Architects! Sneak Peek at New Scent from Arquiste

architects club

Lions travel in prides and coyotes in bands, while owls gather wisely in parliaments and crows take flight in murders that are only occasionally bloody. But what is the appropriate collective when referring to architects? A pilaster of architects, perhaps? Or a cantilever? A keystone, maybe, or a spandrel? Mexican-born, New York-based Carlos Huber has settled on club, presumably the kind for belonging to rather than brandishing. The architect-turned-fragrance entrepreneur, who holds a master’s in historic preservation from Columbia, is preparing to launch the latest addition to his Arquiste line of scents: “The Club of Architects,” a woody-vanilla blend created by perfumer Yann Vasnier. The fragrance, now available for pre-order from the fine-smelling people at Aedes De Venustas, is meant to evoke a group of architects gathering in days gone by for a drink (or six) in the Fumoir Bar at Claridge’s in London. Think Art Deco splendor—dark woods, leather, velvet—meets gin fizz, a splash of citrus, and peals of laughter at jokes in which curtain walls figure prominently.

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