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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.”

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Favorite Thing: Jack Headphone Stand

Nancy Lazarus journeyed to the Javits Center for the summer 2014 edition of NY NOW, the Market for Home + Lifestyle (formerly NYIGF) as the UnBeige judge for the Bloggers’ Choice Awards, which highlights “urgent, odd, and delightful design” from among the more than 150 exhibitors in the Accent on Design category. Here’s her pick.

jackWhile scouring the Accent on Design aisles of the NY NOW trade show, which wraps up today, we came across a product that literally stood out: the Jack Headphone Stand, our choice for the Bloggers’ Choice awards. Designed by Brooklyn-based ModProducts (a.k.a. ModKo), the Jack Headphone Stand is the optimal storage and recharging station for headphones and small mobile devices when it’s high time for a digital break. It’s made from polypropylene and rubber in orange, yellow, white, or gray, to fit the color scheme of any desk or night table. All wires remain hidden behind a cable pass-through, leaving you with a clutter-free space. The Jack will make its first stand at retail in time for the holiday shopping season.

Have a suggestion for our next Favorite Thing? E-mail unbeige@mediabistro.com.

Design Students Compete for World Sneaker Championship Title

pensole beltIt started with 30 carefully selected design students from 16 countries. Divided into eight design teams, with three footwear designers and one color and materials designer in each, they took an original design idea from concept to finished design over the course of four weeks as competitors in the World Sneaker Championship. Part footwear design master class and part sneaker smackdown, the event is organized by Pensole, the footwear design academy founded in 2010 by Nike veteran D’Wayne Edwards, and after Friday’s presentations to industry pros, the finalists (in eight categories and for eight sponsoring brands) have been chosen. Head to the online home of Sports Illustrated by 6 p.m. EST Wednesday to cast your online vote for the overall winning design as the finalists head to Vegas to present their designs at the FN Platform trade show. The big winner, to be announced late Wednesday, will be presented with the coveted (and pencil-studded) Pensole World Sneaker Championship belt (pictured) and the possibility of seeing their design sold at retail.

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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LACMA to Honor Barbara Kruger, Quentin Tarantino

(Barbara Kruger)Any number of lines from the films of Quentin Tarantino (perhaps the Pulp Fictional: “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character” or “Personality goes a long way”?) would look swell sprawled out in Futura Bold Italic by Barbara Kruger. The artist and the filmmaker will come together on November 1 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as the honorees of its 2014 Art+Film Gala, the museum announced today. Further upping the Gucci-backed fete’s cinematic koan quotient will be Leonardo DiCaprio, who is chairing the event with LACMA trustee Eva Chow.

In other exciting film-related LACMA news, the museum is prepping the first major retrospective of the work of Pierre Huyghe. The exhibition, which is being “designed as a single, extraordinary environment,” opens November 23.

Pictured: Barbara Kruger, Untitled (You Are A Very Special Person), 1995

SVA to Honor Tom Geismar with ‘Masters Series’ Retrospective

(Art Beach)It’s a good year to be Tom Geismar. He and partner (and fellow graphic design legend) Ivan Chermayeff are the 2014 recipients of the National Design Award for lifetime achievement, but even before they pick up their chunky glass asterisks at the Cooper Hewitt’s awards gala in October, Geismar will get the retrospective treatment at New York’s School of Visual Arts. A panel of his peers has selected Geismar to be the 2014 SVA Master Series honoree, joining a roster of past laureates that includes Chermayeff, Saul Bass, Steven Heller, Duane Michals, and Paula Scher. In addition to his logo designs for the likes of Mobil, Chase Manhattan Bank, National Geographic, PBS, Rockefeller Center, Univision, NYU, and Xerox, the exhibition will feature personal works, books, and student projects from Geismar’s own collection.

“The Masters Series: Tom Geismar” opens August 25 at the SVA Chelsea Gallery in NYC.

Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, James Turrell Among National Medal of Arts Recipients

medal_bigBillie Tsien and Tod Williams are heading to the White House. The architects are among the just-announced recipients of the 2013 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. “Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions,” reads the official citation. They will receive their Robert Graham-designed medals (pictured) from President Obama at a ceremony in the East Room on Monday afternoon.

Williams and Tsien will be joined by fellow 2013 medalists artist James Turrell, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, director and Dreamworker Jeffrey Katzenberg, representatives of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, writer Maxine Hong Kingston, musical theater composer John Kander, novelist, poet, and essayist Julia Alvarez, musician Linda Ronstadt, and arts patron Joan Harris.

Watch the ceremony live on Monday at 3:00 p.m. EST here.

Steven Holl, Martial Raysse Among Praemium Imperiale Laureates

Steven HollThe Japan Art Association has announced the winners of the twenty-sixth Praemium Imperiale, the international arts prize established “in memory of His Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu to celebrate the human spirit as expressed through the genius of the world’s artists.” The 2014 laureates are Steven Holl (architecture, pictured), Martial Raysse (painting), Giuseppe Penone (sculpture), Arvo Pärt (music), and Athol Fugard (theatre/film).

Each winner receives 15 million yen (approximately $150,000 at current exchange rates) and a ticket to Tokyo, where they’ll collect their medals in an October 15 ceremony headlined by Prince Hitachi of Japan, who Wikipedia describes as “currently fourth in line to the Chrysanthemum throne.” This year’s crop of Praemium Imperiale laureates joins a roster of artists that includes everyone from Frank Gehry and Jasper Johns to Ingmar Bergman and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Artists are nominated for the prize through international committees in each of the five fields that make recommendations to the Japan Art Association’s board of trustees, which ultimately selects the winners.

Wes Gordon, Tanya Taylor Among New Crop of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists

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From left, looks from the fall 2014 collections of Wes Gordon and Tanya Taylor.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue have announced the new crop of finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund initiative. Now in its eleventh year, the program provides financial support and business mentorship for emerging designers. Among the past winners are Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang,and Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler. The 2014 finalists are:
• Edie Parker – Brett Heyman
• Eva Fehren – Eva Zuckerman
• Gigi Burris Millinery – Gigi Burris
• Grey Ant – Natalie Levy and Grant Krajecki
• Orley – Matt Orley, Alex Orley, and Samantha Florence
• Paul Andrew – Paul Andrew
• Ryan Roche – Ryan Roche
• Simon Miller – Daniel Corrigan and Jake Sargent
• Tanya Taylor – Tanya Taylor
• Wes Gordon – Wes Gordon

The finalists were selected by a committee of fashion power players that includes Vogue‘s Anna Wintour, whose tireless championing of the initiative has resulted in similar prizes across the globe, and CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg. Over the next few weeks, the group will meet with each of the finalists to review their current collections and conduct in-depth interviews (with $300,000 up for grabs, there’s no pressure) before embarking on site visits to their design studios (again, no pressure). A design project with Maybelline New York. is in the works, and a Fashion Fund Finalists’ fashion show is planned for October is Los Angeles. The winner(s) will be announced in New York City on November 3.

Hennessy and Pratt Reunite for ‘Wild Rabbit’ Competition

Writer Nancy Lazarus hops over to Pratt Manhattan Gallery for a creative collaboration between Pratt Institute and Hennessy V.S.

Eduardo Palma
Pratt MFA student Eduardo Palma’s winning project, an interactive poster. (All photos: Pratt Institute/Peter Tannenbaum)

Pratt Institute once again teamed with Hennessy for the “Wild Rabbit” contest. The third annual competition challenged nine Pratt students from six creative disciplines to create works of art based on Hennessy’s M.O., “never stop, never settle,” symbolized by the constantly striving bunny brand icon. A panel of seven industry judges recently viewed the works at Pratt’s Manhattan Gallery and selected the top three winners, who will fly to Los Angeles next week for an event where their works will be on display in conjunction with the launch of a Shepard Fairey-designed bottle of Hennessy V.S. Multi-layered approaches marked the common themes for the winners, though they hailed from different geographic areas and interpreted the assignment differently. Here’s a look at the winning projects.

Eduardo Palma_1First place ($10,000): Eduardo Palma (at right), from Bogota, Colombia, MFA in communications design
His wild rabbit: Impacting culture through language
Es Mejor ser Rich que Poor (“It’s better to be rich than poor”) is the statement on Palma’s wall-size poster, set in Friz Quadrata. The surface layer shows a Latin American map in the tones of American currency, divided into cutouts of heavy cardstock.

Palma invited viewers and judges to remove the postcards, uncovering another saying, Plata or Plomo (“Money or Lead”). The quote is from Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, who enforced a bribes-or-bullets program. The bottom newsprint layer shows images in red, yellow, and blue—the colors of the Colombian flag—and depicts Escobar becoming Donald Trump.
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