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David Rockwell Brings NYC to LA in Oscars Greenroom

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How do you luxe up a windowless room in the bowels of Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre? Architectural Digest poses this question to one designer each year as it creates a backstage lounge for the Oscars. The task of creating the AD Greenroom (the 12th!) for the 2014 Academy Awards (the 86th!) went to David Rockwell. Having perhaps exhausted his interest in Hollywood Regency and cinema magic through his work on the on-stage proceedings, Rockwell looked to New York City loft living as inspiration.

Faced with the equivalent of a basement studio, he focused on “urban simplicity, but married with film glamour.” The latter came in part from actress Susan Sarandon, who helped select works from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences archive that line the walls: on one side, a wall of screens powered by Rockwell LAB software display digital images from socially conscious, Oscar-winning, and Oscar-nominated films, while on the other side, 14 framed works features images from classic screwball comedies—one of Sarandon’s favorite genres.

Architecture & Design Film Festival Heading to Los Angeles

ADFF_IF YOU BUILD IT_photo Brad einknopfThe Architecture & Design Film Festival is heading West. After years of celebrating the creative spirit of architecture and design through a dynamic line-up of features, documentaries, and shorts in cities including New York and Chicago, the festival will debut in Los Angeles with a 30-film slate as well as a program of panel discussions and Q&As, a pop-up bookshop, and other design-related events. The five-day event kicks off March 12 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center with Patrick Creadon‘s If You Build It, which 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.

Other highlights include the world premiere of TELOS, a film on maverick architect Eugene Tssui, and the U.S. premiere of In The Midst of Things, which explores the life and work of Portuguese architect Manuel Tainha. And local flavor abounds: the L.A. programs includes The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat (which includes interviews with the house’s current owner, actress Kelly Lynch) and Levitated Mass, a fascinating tale about the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s two-story, 340-ton granite boulder that was moved from a quarry in Riverside, California to the museum site on a 105-mile journey that spanned 10 nights and crawled through 22 cities and four counties on a football field-long transport vehicle.

Pictured: A still from If You Build It. Watch the trailer below.
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New York Ceramics Fair Spotlights Contemporary Feats of Clay

We asked writer Nancy Lazarus to throw herself into the New York Ceramics Fair. Here’s her well-sculpted roundup:

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Rainbow Luster Bowl (2006), made by Haggerty Ceramics.

“With the resurgence now of porcelain and ceramics, it’s not old-fashioned love, it’s eternal love,” said designer Alexa Hampton, who was joined by fellow designers and ceramics lovers Kitty Hawks and David Scott on a panel co-sponsored by the New York School of Interior Design at the New York Ceramics Fair, held last week in the Grand Ballroom of the Bohemian National Hall.

Museum exhibits devoted to ceramics have also heralded the medium’s revival, including recent and upcoming shows at New York’s Museum of Art and Design and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ceramics have a long history, alternately associated with ancient rituals, children’s crafts classes, and hippies, but haven’t always been perceived in high regard.

Ceramics are now recognized as a multi-dimensional art form, as the designers pointed out. “One of the beautiful aspects of ceramics is its deep, entrenched history of usefulness,” noted Hampton, adding that one can delve into ceramics in interiors or in doses by being a collector.

Both Scott and Hawks are ceramics collectors, and Scott described the pursuit of such objects as a compulsion. Still, he noted that not every piece has to be precious. Hawks agreed that provenance is not always necessary and said ceramics preferences and tastes can be quirky.
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New York City Ballet Taps JR for Art Series

JR_Art Series_NYCB_EyeJR is coming to Lincoln Center. The French artist, who rocketed to global fame following his 2011 TED Prize win, has created works inspired by the New York City Ballet as part of the NYCB Art Series inagurated last year by the Brooklyn-based artist team known as FAILE. JR photographed around 80 NYCB dancers, and their images will be used to create a large-scale installation that will be displayed in various areas of the David H. Koch Theater, the ballet company’s Lincoln Center home. An enormous image featuring all of the dancers—and spanning some 6,500 square feet, according to NYCB—will be displayed on the theater’s promenade and serve as the centerpiece of the installation. Tickets are now on sale for three special Art Series performances that will take place on January 23, February 7, and February 13, with all tickets priced at $29.

Mark Your Calendar: Art Spiegelman and Phillip Johnston’s Wordless!

wordlessTry as we might, we can never get enough of Art Spiegelman—in the unlikely event that you disagree, treat yourself to a copy of Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps (Drawn and Quarterly). That illuminating and illuminated volume also functions as a catalogue of sorts for the Spiegelfest on view through March 23 at New York’s Jewish Museum. The outside-of-the-box comics/art fun moves from the page to the wall to the stage on Saturday, January 18, when BAM presents Wordless!. Billed as “an innovative hybrid of slides, talk, and musical performance,” the work was created by Spiegelman and jazz composer Phillip Johnston as a commission for the Sydney Opera House. Tickets are going fast. Prepare for the evening of multisensory stimulation with this Spiegelvideo from the Jewish Museum:

Mark Your Calendar: A John Waters Christmas

Kitsch Kringle is coming to town. ‘Tis the season for John Waters to regale audiences with tales of twisted traditions and real-life holiday horror stories. The filmmaker, author, and hitchhiker is on the road with “A John Waters Christmas,” his one-man show of yuletide lunacy. This week Waters’ sleigh alights in New Orleans, Nashville, and Atlanta, before two weekend dates in New York City (at Stage 48). “There’s no way you can really avoid the steamroller of Christmas. But I do have advice for every kind of way it’s coming at you,” he told The New York Times recently. “I get into everything in the show, from Christmas music to Christmas movies to what you should give to how to deal with parents who are abusive at Christmas. I also tell the audience what I want.” Spoiler alert: A Myron Stout drawing, Visconti’s ascot, and Brigid Berlin‘s prescription bottle of Obetrol, the diet pills of Andy Warhol. We’re asking for a galley of Carsick, Waters’ upcoming book, slated for publication in June by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Ursula von Rydingsvard to Present Biomedical Research Prize

(Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times)
Ursula von Rydingsvard in front of Ona, her 19-foot-high cast-bronze sculpture at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. (Photo: Piotr Redlinski/The New York Times)

On a crisp October Monday in the year 2000, a persistent ringing shattered the predawn silence at the New York home that the scientist Paul Greengard shares with his wife, the sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. “Paul muttered something like, ‘What jerk is calling at five in the morning?’” recalls von Rydingsvard with a gleam in her eye. Their daughter, staying in an adjoining bedroom, picked up the phone to drowsily greet a stranger with a Swedish accent—calling from the Nobel Prize Committee. Greengard was soon wide awake.

Later that day, the couple’s young grandson clutched a bouquet of yellow tulips and led a family procession through the gates of the Rockefeller University, where Greengard has been Vincent Astor Professor and headed the laboratory of molecular and cellular neuroscience since 1983, and onto a hastily planned university-wide celebration. It was during this happy walk to Caspari Hall that Greengard told von Rydingsvard of his idea to use his Nobel winnings—approximately $400,000—to create another prize, one that would recognize the accomplishments of women in science and be named in honor of his mother, Pearl Meister Greengard.
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Finnish Line: Designers Discuss Spirit of Marimekko

The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum recently kicked off “Design by Hand,” a new series focused on the craftsmanship, innovations, and merits of contemporary global designers, with an evening that spotlighted Marimekko. We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to get an inside look at the Finnish design house, renowned for its original prints and colors.

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Marimekko’s Jussarö cotton fabric, designed by Aino-Maija Metsola, is part of the Helsinki-based company’s new Weather Diary collection. Below, Sami Ruotsalainen’s teapot uses the Räsymatto pattern designed by Maija Louekari.

teapotWhile the name Marimekko is based on “Mari” a girl’s name, and “mekko,” the Finnish word for dress, to its legions of worldwide fans it stands for fond memories and cheery graphic prints. The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum recently hosted an event featuring three Marimekko designers: fashion and textile designer Mika Piirainen, ceramics and product designer Sami Ruotsalainen, and print designer Aino-Maija Metsola. While each designer offered a unique insider’s perspective, selected themes surfaced that shed light on the brand’s impressive longevity:

Potpourri of patterns: “While Marimekko is known for bold designs, it’s not all about massive prints, it’s also about contrasts,” Piirainen said. “We’re crazy about dots, and circles are the friendliest shapes in the world. We’re crazy about stripes, too,” he added. Flowers and their textures are also popular motifs, even black and white solids. Recently these designers have also turned their focus to smaller prints.

Individual inspirations and influences: “It’s important that inspirations for products are close to you so people know there are emotions behind them,” Metsola said. Finland’s islands in the archipelago, seasonal weather patterns, and vegetation form the basis of much of her work, such as her “Weather Diary” aquarelles or “Midsummer Magic” collections. Piirainen is also influenced by nature, and takes photos during his travels to Lapland and Australia. For Ruotsalainen, food and items of everyday life impact his designs.
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Reading the Tea Leaves: Starbucks Debuts Teavana Concept Store in NYC

Always thirsty for hot new markets, Starbucks is betting big on tea. The coffee giant recently spent $612 million to acquire Atlanta-based Teavana Holdings, and is not letting its newest subsidiary steep. We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to see what’s brewing at the first-ever Teavana concept store, complete with tea bar, a “curated” loose leaf tea section, and tea-inspired foods.

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(Photos courtesy Starbucks Corporation)

Teavana is a twist on beverages, and changes the idea of how people think of tea,” said Chanda Beppu, strategy and business innovation director for global tea at Starbucks. It’s also designed to broaden how customers think about the brand.

Starbucks acquired Teavana and its more than 300 retail locations in December 2012, and last week unveiled the first “Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar” on Manhattan’s Upper East Side (on Madison Avenue at 85th Street). With an assortment of 100 Asian-inspired flavors and a coveted location near Museum Mile and Central Park, Starbucks is also looking for New Yorkers, tourists, art lovers, runners, and passersby to warm to the concept store. “We’re still learning,” said Starbucks chief creative office Arthur Rubinfeld during Wednesday’s press preview, “and we’ll see how much of a community gathering spot this becomes.”

For Starbucks, it’s all about local relevant design, and textures are key, added Rubinfeld. Starbucks’ creative director of global design, Liz Muller, led a tour of the multifaceted venue, divided into distinct sections. “Here we wanted to create a tranquil, calm, zen-like ambience,” noted Muller. “Tea is the speaking point, and the store is in the background.”

“At the entrance visitors are greeted by a wall of teas,” said Muller. “As they continue inside, they’ll see an illuminated countertop and a menu board on the left side. Wall graphics include hibiscus lit in color, with wallpaper in muted tones. The solid wraparound countertops are made of recycled oak wood, and we used lower club seating for guests. The food case is like a jewel box, taking a European approach,” On the far side of the entrance is a colorful merchandise display.
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International Center of Photography Kicks Off Robert Capa Centenary

(David Scherman)Robert Capa (né Endré Friedmann) was born 100 years ago yesterday, and the International Center of Photography will spend the next year celebrating, so you have plenty of time to whip up a “Falling Soldier“-themed cake.

The legendary photojournalist’s work will be the subject of “Capa in Color,” opening at ICP on January 31. This first exhibition to look at Capa’s color work across his entire career will present over 100 color images that he made from 1941-54, from World War II to his trip in the U.S.S.R. with John Steinbeck, to images of Picasso, Humphrey Bogart, and Ingrid Bergman, to the last images he took in Vietnam in 1954. “Part of the goal of the 100th celebration is to reveal the richness and depth of the Capa Archive at ICP,” says Cynthia Young, curator of ICP’s Capa Archive, which recently received a $117,500 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences. “Recovering his color photography is part of that work and the discovery of his voice on the 1947 radio recording almost single-handedly brings him to life in a way we have never experienced before.”

Sure, his famous D-Day photograph haunts all of our dreams, but what did Capa sound like? Wonder no more: the ICP has released the only known recording of the his voice, a 33 1/3 rpm microgroove recording was discovered on eBay. It’s Capa’s October 20, 1947 appearance on Hi! Jinx, a national program on NBC radio that was created in 1946 by Jinx Falkenburg and Tex McCrary. Here’s that segment—”Bob Capa Tells of Photographic Experiences Abroad“—digitized for your 21st century listening pleasure.

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