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Hot to Cold: Bjarke Ingels Group’s ‘Architectural Odyssey’ Bound for National Building Museum

Danish Expo Pavilion 2010_Image by Iwan Baan_01
Designed by BIG with ARUP and 2+1, the Danish Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 featured a pool filled with fresh water from Copenhagen’s harbor. (Photo: Iwan Baan)

Bjarke Ingels is becoming quite the Beltway insider. Over the summer, his Copenhagen- and New York-based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) transformed the atrium of the National Building Museum into a giant (read: BIG), crowd-pleasing plywood maze and within a few weeks he was back in Washington, D.C. to unveil something even BIG-ger: a $2 billion master plan for the Smithsonian Institute’s historic southern campus alongside the National Mall. Washingtonians won’t have to wait long for their next fix: BIG returns to the National Building Museum next month with a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process behind its own globe-spanning projects.

Opening January 24, Hot to Cold: An Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation will take visitors “from the hottest to the coldest parts of our planet and explores how BIG´s design solutions are shaped by their cultural and climatic contexts.” There will be oodles of three-dimensional models (more than 60 to be suspended at the second-floor balconies of the museum’s Great Hall) and collaborators galore. Among those interpreting the 20 BIG projects to be featured in the exhibition are photographer Iwan Baan, filmmakers Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, and Stefan Sagmeister, who is designing the accompanying catalogue.

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At New Cooper Hewitt, a Room of Maira Kalman’s Own

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An installation view of Maira Kalman Selects at the newly reopened Cooper Hewitt and Kalman’s illustration of Andrew Carnegie’s music room. (Photo: Matt Flynn, courtesy Cooper Hewitt)

The wait is over: today at the stroke of 11 a.m. the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum reopens its meticulously restored doors to the public, revealing the results of a four-year, $91 million expansion. Among the first of ten inaugural exhibitions and installations that visitors will encounter is the exquisitely presented Maira Kalman Selects, in which the author, artist, and designer has brought together 40 objects from the Cooper Hewitt, other Smithsonian institutions, and her own personal collection in a presentation that is at turns haunting and whimsical.

Ranging from calligraphy samplers and a stepladder to Gerrit Rietveld‘s Zig Zag chair (“He took things to their elemental line,” says Kalman of the Dutch designer. “He was rigorous–but had a sense of humor.”) and lemon-hued leather slippers from 1830 that give Dorothy’s ruby pair a run for their money, the artifacts suggest the moments in a life, from birth (a vintage edition of Winnie the Pooh) to death (Lincoln’s funeral pall). The piano in the corner is a nod to the the high-ceilinged yet intimate space’s origins as Andrew Carnegie‘s music room, and a tasseled ribbon points like an arrow to a pair of striped pants resting on the piano bench. Encouraging a second look is a small white placard, lettered in Kalman’s distinctively dreamy handwriting: “Kindly refrain from touching the piano and Toscanini‘s pants.” Bravo, Maira.

Hello, Aquilops! Paleontologists Discover Wee Dinosaur with Face of Eagle, Heart of Gold

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Aquilops_headThe Triceratops, with its cranial ornamentation and herbivorous habits, has long outshone the other -topses and -sauruses that make up the family commonly known as horned dinosaurs. That’s all set to change with the discovery of the 108-million-year-old skull of an Aquilops. With a freshly coined name that conjures a fossil-heavy water park, this creature was the stocking stuffer of dinosaurs: roughly the size of a small cat, Aquilops is estimated to have been two feet long and to have weighed a mere three pounds. The name is a reference to its eagle-like face (“aquila” is Latin for eagle, “ops” is Greek for face), distinguished by spike-like cheekbones and a distinct upper beak bone. An artist’s rendering suggests a certain resemblance to former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg.
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New Museum Offers Gift That Keeps On Giving: Tattoos by Amanda Wachob

amandaGive ’til it hurts this holiday season, by bestowing the gift of a tattoo session with Amanda Wachob. The Brooklyn-based artist (pictured at left, inflicting ink upon an unsuspecting orange) has partnered with New York’s New Museum to offer a dozen tattoo sessions as part of her “Skin Art” project. For $500 ($400 for museum members), Wachob will tattoo the human canvas of your choice with one of 23 unique designs chosen from a menu of colorful abstract squiggles and brushstrokes she created exclusively for the museum. The experience will be made all the more indelible by a special edition of prints, 20 per session, that visualize the tattoo process: Wachob has worked with neuroscientist Maxwell Bertolero of UC Berkeley to develop colorful ways of capturing the unique time course and voltage levels of her tattoo machine as it inks. We hear sessions are going fast, so e-mail store [at] newmuseum.org to reserve a session.

Smithsonian Displays 3D-Printed Bust of President Obama

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Watch out, Madame Tussaud’s: the Smithsonian is stocking up on strikingly lifelike likenesses. President Obama is the subject of the first presidential portraits created from 3D scan data, and the works–including a 3D-printed bust and life mask–are on display through December 31 in the Smithsonian Castle’s Commons gallery. To create the eerily accurate bust, a Smithsonian-led team thoroughly scanned the President earlier this year using a Light Stage face scanner (courtesy of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies), handheld 3-D scanners, and traditional single-lens reflex cameras. The data and the printed models are part of the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, where they join less high-tech life masks, including one of George Washington created by Jean-Antoine Houdon and two of Abraham Lincoln created by Leonard Wells Volk (1860) and Clark Mills (1865).
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Jasper Morrison, Yoshio Taniguchi to Receive Isamu Noguchi Award

noguchiThe Noguchi Museum in NYC’s Long Island City announced today plans to honor designer Jasper Morrison and architect Yoshio Taniguchi with its Isamu Noguchi award. The honor was created earlier this year to recognize “like-minded spirits who share Noguchi’s commitment to innovation, global consciousness, and Japanese/American exchange,” according to the museum. Motohide Yoshikawa, ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, will present the awards at the museum’s annual spring benefit on May 19, 2015, part of a year-long 30th anniversary celebration. Helping to clinch the win for Morrison? His Noguchi-like blend of a “quiet respect for materials” with a “profoundly and purposefully cosmopolitan” approach. The inaugural winners of the Isamu Noguchi award, a Red Cube-inspired trophy created by Noguchi’s longtime fabricator Peter Carlson, were Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Pictured: Yoshio Taniguchi and Jasper Morrison (Photos from left: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Kento Mori).

Paul Chan Wins Hugo Boss Prize

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Paul Chan’s Master Argument, a 2013 work made from cords, shoes, and concrete, is currently installed at the Schaulager in Basel. (Photo courtesy Greene Naftali gallery)

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Hugo Boss announced last night that Paul Chan is the winner of the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize. He will receive $100,000 (plus a a terrific tetrahedral trophy, at right), and an exhibition of his work will be on view at the Guggenheim Museum come sping. Other artists shortlisted for this, the tenth Hugo Boss Prize were Sheela Gowda, Camille Henrot, Hassan Khan, and Charline von Heyl. Established in 1996, the biennial award “is conferred upon artists whose work represents a significant development in contemporary art,” according to Hugo Boss and the Guggenheim. Past winners include Danh Vo, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Emily Jacir, and Matthew Barney.
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Simplify, Soften, Enrich: Hella Jongerius on Redesigning KLM’s Business Class Cabins

As if you needed another reason to plan a trip to the Netherlands, Utrecht- and Berlin-based Hella Jongerius recently completed an overhaul of KLM’s World Business cabins. Writer Nancy Lazarus recently got the scoop on the project.

Hella Jongerius
(Photo: Oliver Mark Photo)

“Humans dream of flying, of floating, and we have extra time on planes. So I wanted to have a place where passengers can dream, be at home, have a craft feel, and a human touch,” said Hella Jongerius earlier this week at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). “For airlines it’s all about efficiency, but you also need tactility.” The Dutch designer, known for playfully integrating industrial design with craftsmanship, was interviewed by MAD drector Glenn Adamson on Monday evening in an on-stage conversation that focused on Jongerius’s redesign of KLM’s World Business Class cabins, a project she worked on for two years starting in 2011.

Working on high-end aviation design can be equally challenging and rewarding, according to Jongerius. “There’s lots of exhausting moments on planes when you can’t move around. But as a designer you can act and contribute to solving that situation,” she explained. “KLM was open to different approaches, and with business class we wanted to do extra things since it’s for luxury.” The interior redesign started with the curtains, carpets, and seat covers and expanded to include the seats. The new cabin rollout includes twenty-two 747s and fifteen 777 KLM planes.
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Cooper Hewitt Seeks Nominations for 2015 National Design Awards

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The soon-to-reopen Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has opened the floodgates, seeking nominations for the 16th annual National Design Awards, honoring excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement in American design. For just a short while, until Monday, December 8, you can hoist up your nominee picks in ten categories: Lifetime Achievement, Design Mind, Corporate & Institutional Achievement, Architecture Design, Communication Design, Fashion Design, Interaction Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, and Product Design. Nominate away!

Friday Photo: Paul Strand’s Place to Meet

(Paul Strand)
Paul Strand, Place to Meet, Luzzara, 1953 (© Paul Strand Archive/Aperture Foundation)

The Philadelphia Museum of Art reveals the fruits of its 2010 mega-acquisition of Paul Strand photographs in a stunning retrospective—the first in nearly fifty years—that spans from the breakthrough moment when Strand neared the brink of abstraction (his Porch Shadows of 1916 alone are worth the trip) to his broader vision of the place of photography in the modern world. On view through January 4, Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography highlights his 1953 project in the northern Italian village of Luzzara, where he set out to create a major work about a single community and captured this group of gentlemen meeting amidst spindly chairs and dynamic signage that includes a spirited rendering of geographically appropriate footwear.

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