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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:

Hopscotch Design Festival Kicks Off in Raleigh

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The inaugural Hopscotch Design Festival gets underway today in Raleigh, North Carolina. Attending gratis on the strength of their ways with terse verse are Sophia Hitchcock and April Siese, the winners of our contest sponsored by the paper-savvy people at Moo.com. We’ll also be sending out prizes to our three runners-up: Julianna Thomas, Nancy Parisi, and Maura McDonald. Congratulations one and all. And now, without further ado, the winning haikus:

By Sophia Hitchcock, a motion graphics designed based in Raleigh whose haiku was inspired by Hopscotch presenter Annie Atkins
Muted palette, dusted cover
forgotten beauty
quietly revealed.

By April Siese, a writer, editor, and photographer based in New Orleans:
lines intersect from
elements of style and space
more after the big jump

In Which the Smithsonian Is Yarn-Bombed

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If you’re spending this Labor Day weekend in our nation’s capital, stop by the Smithsonian Castle, which, along with the surrounding gardens, is presently ensnared in a thicket—approximately six miles worth—of cherry red yarn. The yarn bombing, revealed today (after two weeks of work by some 120 volunteers) and up through Tuesday morning, is a crafty way to draw attention to the Chiharu Shiota exhibition that opens tomorrow at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The Japanese artist has used 350 donated shoes and four miles of the same shade of red yarn used in the knit-splosion to create an installation that amasses personal memories of lost individuals and past moments. “The threads are woven together,” Shiota has said. “They become entangled. They tear. They unravel. They are a mirror of the emotions.” As for the fate of the post-bomb yarn, the Freer|Sackler is open to ideas: tweet your craftiest suggestion(s) to @FreerSackler or post on the museum’s Facebook page.

Last Chance: Write a Haiku, Win a Pass to the Hopscotch Design Festival

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Time is running out to be tersely poetic and craft the haiku that will win you a free pass to the Hopscotch Design Festival, which runs September 3-4 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The designtastic new companion to the Hopscotch Music Festival boasts a speaker line-up that includes OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu, Kai-Uwe Bergmann of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Casey Caplowe of GOOD, Alexander Isley, and other inspiring figures in the worlds of graphic design, user experience design, urban planning, technology, architecture, and more.

To be eligible to win one of the two run-of-the-festival passes ($150 each) that we’re giving away thanks to Moo.com, write a haiku—we’ll take the standard five-seven-five syllables—about the Hopscotch Design Festival presenter or session you’re most interested in seeing. E-mail your minimalist poem to unbeige@mediabistro.com with the subject “HOPSCOTCH” by 10 p.m. EST tonight (Wednesday, August 27th). Winners will be notified within 24 hours.

Mark Your Calendar: Hopscotch Design Festival

passesPerhaps you’ve heard of the Hopscotch Music Festival, which Spin likens to “South by Southwest minus the infestation of industry vermin and the clumsy bluster of corporate partyzillas.” Now in its fifth year, the Raleigh, North Carolina-based bandstravaganza is expanding its disciplinary boundaries—to the world of design. The inaugural Hopscotch Design Festival will take place September 3-4 in downtown Raleigh, with a speaker line-up that includes OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu, Kai-Uwe Bergmann of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Casey Caplowe of GOOD, Alexander Isley, and other inspiring figures in the worlds of graphic design, user experience design, urban planning, technology, architecture, and more.

Want to go? Thanks to Moo.com, we’re giving away two run-of-the-festival passes (valued at $150 each). To be eligible to win one, write a haiku about the Hopscotch Design Festival presenter or session you’re most interested in seeing. E-mail your minimalist poem to unbeige@mediabistro.com with the subject “HOPSCOTCH” by 10 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 27th. Winners will be notified within 24 hours.

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.

Now Read This: David Zwirner’s Pop-Up Bookstore Returns

zwirnerbooksWhen the good people at David Zwirner e-mailed us with news of the gallery’s fifth annual summer pop-up bookstore, we briefly considered keeping the news to ourselves, so great is our obsession with admiration for many artists in the Zwirner stable (Luc Tuymans! Marlene Dumas! Richard Serra!). Somehow, we’ve managed to suppress our selfish impulses to let you know that for two weeks only—right this minute through Friday, August 1—Zwirner will offer up deals galore on a selection of rare and out-of-print books, signed artist catalogues, DVDs, and more. The David Zwirner Pop-Up Bookstore, hosted with ARTBOOK | D.A.P., will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and you know we’ll be there bright and early to ensure first dibs on anything and everything related to Michaël Borremans. OK, and we’ll probably hoard all the Neo Rauch stuff, too. Because all’s fair in love and pop-up bookstores.

The David Zwirner Pop-Up Bookstore is located at 525 West 19th Street in NYC.

Frieze Taps Barber and Osgerby’s Universal Design Studio to Design London Fair

frieze art fairNow in its eleventh year, Frieze London is getting a new look. This year’s fair, which runs October 15-18 in leafy Regent’s Park, will be designed by Universal Design Studio. The creative consultancy, founded in 2011 by designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby to focus on architecture and interiors, takes over from fellow Londoners Carmody Groarke, who handled the fair’s architectural aspects (read: supercool megatent) for the last three years. Frieze has previously employed Caruso St John (2008-2010), Jamie Fobert (2006–2007) and David Adjaye (2003-2005).

“The architecture and design of the fair have always been an important part of our identity,” say Frieze founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover. “This year we were drawn to Universal in particular due to their work on interiors and focus on materials. As some of the best designers working in this area, their lateral thinking has been demonstrated by some of their great furniture and even their design for the Olympic torch. We’re really looking forward to them bringing this sensibility to Frieze.” Among Universal’s recent projects are Google Web Lab at London’s Science Museum, exhibition design for Vitra’s Vitrahaus exhibition, and both the interior and exterior of the London outpost of the Ace Hotel.

Chicago Getting Its Own Architecture Biennial

chicago archWatch out, Venezia. The Windy City is getting a biennial of its own. Announced this week, the Chicago Architecture Biennial—billed as the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America—is set to open October 1, 2015 in and around the Chicago Cultural Center. The three-month-long event, presented by the City of Chicago and the Graham Foundation, will be funded through private donations (BP has already chipped in $2.5 million).

“Chicago is the birthplace of modernism in architecture and every architect in the world knows our city’s history of innovation in the field through the work of architects such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe,” says Graham Foundation director Sarah Herda, who will serve as artistic director of the Biennial with architect, writer, and curator Joseph Grima. “The Biennial will place Chicago, once again, at the forefront of the architectural imagination.”
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