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contests

Surface Brings Back Avant Guardian Photo Contest

(mario testino)Surface magazine’s Avant Guardian contest is back—and better than ever. Among the tantalizing opportunities up for grabs in the competition (returning after a few years’ hiatus) is the chance to share an issue with the man, the myth, the Mario Testino, who is fronting the October Surface in honor of his upcoming “Alta Moda” exhibition at Dallas Contemporary.

“The contest is all about nurturing rising talent—from getting entrants’ work in front of an exceptional jury, awarding free studio time to produce an original spread in the magazine, and exhibiting their work to a crowd of influencers in New York and Miami during Art Basel,” associate editor Aileen Kwun tells us. Among those who have signed on to judge the submissions are architectural photographer Iwan Baan and Johan Lindeberg of BLk DNM. Entrants may submit a portfolio of up to ten images in one of five categories (fashion, architecture, portraiture, fine art, and technical/still life) before the July 24 deadline.

Photo: Mario Testino

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Fab Launches ‘First Things First’ Open Call

first thingsFab knows a thing or two about fresh starts. After a period of explosive growth fueled by hundreds of millions in funding, the design flash sale site imploded—itself. A massive restructuring that halved its employee count and winnowed down a product assortment that had ballooned to include pepperoni pizza t-shirts and Jesus kites has left the company leaner, meaner, and with a designer—Kiel Mead—in a leadership role. One of Mead’s first initiatives as executive vice president of Fab is “First Things First,” which invites designers across disciplines to submit ideas for “the first product that makes a house a home.” Selected items will be shown in New York in May, as part of Fab’s presence during NYCxDesign, and could eventually be put into production by the company. Submissions are due by March 21.

Christoph Niemann, RISD’s Rosanne Somerson Among ‘Doodle 4 Google’ Contest Judges

2013 winner
The 2013 national Doodle 4 Google winner was 17-year-old Sabrina Brady from Wisconsin.

christoph-niemannPut on your inventor’s helmets and break out the fancy Prismacolors, kids, because the Doodle 4 Google contest is back with a new doodling prompt: “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place…” (Magical video glasses is probably too on the nose).

“Our theme this year is all about curiosity, possibility, and imagination,” notes Google, which has run the annual competition since 2008. Students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in U.S. schools are invited to complete that sentence in the form of a redesign of the Google logo. The winning doodle will be animated and featured, for one glorious day, on the search giant’s homepage, and the lucky doodler receives a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Among this year’s illustrious guest judges are artist, designer, and author Christoph Niemann (pictured) and Rhode Island School of Design interim president Rosanne Somerson, who are joined by the likes of Lemony Snicket, LEGO robotics designer Lee Magpili, and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, directors of The Lego Movie. Start dreaming and doodling now, because all entries must be received by March 20.

Drink Champagne, Design Tiny Chair, Repeat

champagne chairs

Two of our favorite things—Champagne and chairs—come together in a festive contest from the bubbly furniture fans at Design Within Reach. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: create an original miniature chair using only the foil, label, cage, and cork from no more than two Champagne bottles (glue is the only permitted adhesive). Entering is the easy part. Simply snap a photo of your tiny, fizzy throne and upload it here. A panel of Champagne-loving chair experts, including David Weeks, the dapper and effervescent gentlemen of Rich Brilliant Willing, and design journalist Pilar Viladas, will judge the chairs, and three winners will receive a DWR gift card. Drink fast, because the deadline for entries is Tuesday, January 14.

Ready the Creamed Corn! Canstruction Returns to New York

Gensler WSP Flack + Kurtz - CAN’s Best Friend
Can’s Best Friend. Koons meets canned goods in this entry by Gensler and WSP Flack + Kurtz.

Ever dreamed of recreating a Richard Serra sculpture with tomatoes from the pantry? Erecting a monumental tribute to Alexander McQueen’s armadillo heel using only canned peas and elbow grease? What about constructing a truly giant giant panda that can feed hundreds? Teams from top architecture and engineering firms will prove that they can do it, and for a good cause. The international charity competition that is Canstruction returns to New York City this month and with it the opportunity for teams of architects, engineers, and students they mentor to design and build giant structures made entirely from unopened cans of food—all of which are ultimately donated to City Harvest.

For its twenty-first go-round in Gotham, Canstruction has lined up 26 teams representing the likes of Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Arup, Gensler, and HOK. Their carefully stacked creations will be judged in categories that include Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, Structural Ingenuity, and Most Cans. The works will be on view at Brookfield Place from October 31 through November 13. Visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable foods that will be donated along with the cans used in the competition to City Harvest.

Ryan McGinness Creates Artwork for National Coming Out Day

rm artwork 3

An activist named Sean Strub convinced Keith Haring to donate his now-famous image of a person dancing out of a closet for National Coming Out Day, which takes place annually on October 11. This year marks the 25th anniversary of that image, and the Human Rights Campaign is celebrating with a colorful new commission: the organization invited New York-based artist Ryan McGinness to create new artwork symbolizing National Coming Out Day.

“I’m proud to follow in the footsteps of Keith Haring,” says McGinness. “I developed three final images and invite you to vote for the one you like the best.” Voting closes at midnight on Thursday, and the design with the most votes will be released as a t-shirt on Friday.
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And the Winner Is…Chrysalis: Grayish Green Triumphs in Farrow & Ball’s ‘My Colour’ Contest

Slumbering Lepidoptera for the win! A vaguely ectoplasmic, creamed pistachio hue known as “Chrysalis” has triumphed over a highly pigmented field of finalists to win Farrow & Ball’s “My Colour” contest, in which fans of the quirky-luxe purveyor of paint and wallcoverings submitted inspired and inspirational colors that would play nice with the likes of F&B’s “Elephant’s Breath” and “Churlish Green.”

The celadon-meets-Slimer shade emerged at the top of a field of some 800 entries, narrowed to 20 impressive finalists that included colors such as “Jodhpur Blue” (think Yves Klein goes to India!) and “Federal Pink,” a complexion-enhancing match for the rosy newsprint favored by the Financial Times. “It is a beautiful grey/green shade, almost shagreen, which makes a lovely modern neutral,” says winner Samantha Mansell, who will receive 10 gallons of paint in Chrysalis, inspired by the pupa casing of the monarch butterfly. “The sculptural shape of the chrysalis with its gold details also makes it look like a precious piece of jewelry. Natural, stunning, and simple.”
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Farrow & Ball Crowdsources ‘Inspirational’ Paint Colors: Vote for Your Favorite

There is paint, and then there is Farrow & Ball, whose pigment-rich, tightly edited palette includes colors—make that colours—such as “Mouse’s Back,” “Dead Salmon,” “Arsenic,” and a creamy hue known simply as “Clunch.” On September 9, the company will reveal nine new paint colors, and in anticipation of the debut announced the “My Colour” competition: a chromatic crowdsourcing exercise that has since been narrowed down to 20 finalists.

Will the dusky blue of “Old Boat” best the fizzy grapefruit that is “Pink Paloma”? Can “Colonel’s Mustard” knock out (Mrs.) “Peacock Blue,” with the “Vintage Lantern” or a shot of “Absinthe”? Is one of our favorites, the dark blueish, greenish grey inspired by the United Nations charter too close, both in hue and peaceful spirit, to F&B’s existing “Hague Blue”? Hurry up and cast your vote–the winner will receive 10 gallons of their inspirational color, which may or may not end up in a future F&B palette. Voting closes at midnight, and the winner announced on Friday.
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Jamie Isenstein Triumphs in Creative Time Sandcastle Contest


(Photo by Derek Schultz / Courtesy Creative Time)

Armed with bubbles, ice, and Sexy Sex Man, Jamie Isenstein emerged triumphant in Creative Time’s artist sandcastle competition, held earlier this month in Far Rockaway, Queens and judged by an esteemed panel that included Shelley Fox Aarons, Waris Ahluwalia, and Klaus Biesenbach. Isenstein’s “Disappearing Sculptures,” which positioned a live saxophonic nod to the world’s favorite careless whisperer and other ephemeral delights (bubbles, ice) atop three plinths of sand, bested the creations of competing artists such as David Brooks, Sebastian Errazuriz, Ghost of a Dream (Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom), and Natalie Jeremijenko to take home a “gold” shovel and $500. Rounding out the top three were Esperanza Mayobre, who hoisted the silver shovel for her sculpted raft (an oblique commentary on immigration), while Duke Riley bagged bronze for a replica of a White Castle drive-through that may have made it to the top of the list by virtue of the free White Castle burgers provided to hungry judges.
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Jean Pigozzi Asks, ‘What’s Your Sign?’

Jean Pigozzi (pictured) is an eccentric millionaire with a sharp eye for contemporary art and a weakness for loudly patterned shirts. He needs your help. Pigozzi is expanding his wild and crazy menswear line, LimoLand, with a Zodiac-themed collection, and is looking for a few—OK, a dozen—out-of-this-world astrological designs. Submit your most “original, quirky, and colorful” concepts by the end of the month, and esteemed judges including Pigozzi and Barneys creative director Dennis Freedman will pick their favorites.

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