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Archives: March 2009

LVHRD Promises Non-Conference ‘Heavy on the Non, Light on the Conference’

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All work and no play makes for a dull design conference, and so the decidedly non-dull folks at LVHRD set out to plan a “non-conference.” They redoubled their efforts in the wake of Rick Poynor‘s stirring call to arms (“Design Conferences: Isn’t in Time We Demanded More?“) published last year in Creative Review. “After reading [that] article…our team at LVHRD knew that if we were going to throw a non-conference it was going to have to be really heavy on the non and pretty light on the conference,” notes the LVHRD website. “And that’s exactly what we’ve set up.” The event, dubbed WRK/PLY, takes place this Saturday in New York City, and tickets (or TCKTS, as the case may be) are available here.

What to expect? Seven hours, six speakers, and one open bar. “I’m a little nervous, honestly, and excited,” said LVHRD co-founder Doug Jaeger, a panelist at this evening’s New Frontiers of Graphic Design panel discussion. “I don’t really know what’s going to happen. And that’s a good thing.” The WRK/PLY speakers were chosen for their success in blending play into their work lives, which involve everything from architecture to music: dress code (architecture and design), Chris Rubino (art and photography), Steve Hindy (culture and lifestyle), Gavin McInnes (media and technology), 88-Keys and Izza Kizza (music and performance), Rebecca Turbow (fashion and style). Added Jaeger, “I’m describing it as four years of college squeezed into one day.”

Paul Graham Wins Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

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(Photo: Paul Graham)

Paul Graham has won the 2009 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for a shimmer of possibility (steidlMACK), his 12-part book inspired by Chekhov‘s short stories. Presented annually by The Photographers’ Gallery and sponsored by Deutsche Börse group, the prize recognizes a living photographer who has made the most significant contribution (through an exhibition or publication) to photography in Europe over the past year. Dazed & Confused co-founder Jefferson Hack presented Graham with the £30,000 (approximately $43,000) prize at a ceremony yesterday evening in London. The artists that joined Graham on the shortlist—Emily Jacir, Tod Papageorge, and Taryn Simon—each received awards of £3,000.

Graham, 52, is a British-born master at capturing quotidian America. He has described his earliest photographic forays as an adapted “amalgam of [William] Eggleston and Robert Adams…together with the classic British obsession with Social Critique” and is currently the subject of a solo exhibition on view through May 18 at the Museum of Modern Art. “a shimmer of possibility sees Paul Graham pushing the photographic medium in many ways—through his acute observation of ‘bare’ life and diagnosis of the mood of contemporary America through its smallest details,” said Photographers’ Gallery director Brett Rogers, who chaired the jury. “Few photographic projects ever reach this level of subtlety, sensitivity, and complexity.”

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AFL-CIO May Bail Out Long Dormant Chicago Spire

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Not everything is entirely gloomy in the world of designing and building big buildings. Remember Santiago Calatrava‘s Chicago Spire, which has now existed for quite some time as a big gaping hole? The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trusts have breathed some new life into the project that most had perceived as forever deceased, a memory forgotten as soon as that big hole got filled in. Now the union group is in talks with the developer to see if they might inject some badly needed funds into the project and start construction and planning back up again; the payoff being that the entire workforce would be union from top to bottom, as well as a nice thing to bring up in the bidding process should Chicago land the 2016 Olympics. Here’s a bit:

Discussions between the trusts and Irish developer Garrett Kelleher began in January, but the talks are in the “embryonic stage,” said Tom Villanova, president of the Chicago and Cook County Building Trades Council, which represents 24 trades locally.

“The main thing is jobs,” Villanova said. “We can use our own funds to benefit members. The Spire is going to be five years of construction, which is just phenomenal for us. It’s thousands of jobs.”

Gehry Gives Up on Atlantic Yards

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Continuing with Frank Gehry‘s worst start to a month in the last little bit, what with the Beekman Tower getting chopped in half and finding new leaks in Ontario, in a section of this interview with The Architects Newspaper, it looks like Gehry has finally come to terms with the “on hold” Atlantic Yards project never being finished:

The Corcoran Gallery in DC, the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn — I don’t think it’s going to happen. There are projects underway that are being threatened, and may not be completed. That would be devastating to me. Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles is also on hold.

Though while he sounds pretty bummed about it, he did quickly mention thereafter that he is looking forward to this:

…now we’re working on the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum in Paris, and that’s exciting. It’s a pretty big building, bigger than Disney Hall.

Let’s see that that one gets built, okay everyone? Don’t we already all feel bad enough for the guy?

Sydney Holds Public Memorial for Jorn Utzon

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As you likely recall, architecture legend Jorn Utzon, who famously designed the iconic Sydney Opera House but never saw it completed, passed away last year at the end of November. Yesterday marked the first big public acknowledgment of Utzon in Sydney at a memorial service held for the architect. Memories were shared of working with him, “New Zealand’s Paul McCartney” Neil Finn came in to perform a few songs, as did the pianist Paul Lewis and many members of the Australian Opera and Sydney Symphony. But perhaps the most touching moment was this:

Lorna Morrison, from Kirrawee, was among hundreds who had posted tributes on the Opera House website and was chosen to speak as a representative of the public.

She told how her mother, Enid, had worked in the London office of the engineering firm Ove Arup & Partners in the 1960s, using an early computer to calculate how many tiles were needed for those famous sails.

Keen to see the building in which she had played a part, Enid Morrison came to Australia for a holiday in 1970 and never left. She died last year, a month before the architect, and her daughter gave thanks to Utzon’s building as without it, she would not be here.

Alexey Brodovitch’s Recession-Minded Rocking Chair

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(Photos: Sotheby’s)

Did you know that legendary art director Alexey Brodovitch dabbled in furnture design? Behold this plywood, rope, and metal rocking chair, one of his entries in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1948 International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design. Organized by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., who directed MoMA’s industrial design department from 1940 until its merger with the department of architecture eight years later, the competition sought furniture designed to “fit the need of modern living, production, and merchandizing.” Out of more than 3,000 entries received from all over the world, Brodovitch’s rocking chair took third prize ($1,250) in the seating category and went on to be exhibited alongside the work of designers such as Charles Eames. One model of this chair is in MoMA’s permanent collection, and another will be auctioned by Sotheby’s on Friday in New York during its 20th Century Design sale. Estimated to sell for between $8,000 and $12,000, it’s no longer “low-cost,” but it is just about what Brodovitch’s prize money would be worth in 2009 dollars.

Yum!: Thomas Schlesser, Philippe Starck among James Beard Award Finalists

james beard award.jpgYes, dear readers, there is a design angle to the James Beard Foundation Awards, the ultimate in foodie honors. Among the many prestigious—and possibly chocolate-filled—medallions doled out annually by the New York-based foundation are those for restaurant design (Tadao Ando won last year for Morimoto in New York City) and restaurant graphics (2008 saw Robert Louey Design take home the award for its work for Chicago restaurant Sepia).

This year, Thomas Schlesser of Design Bureaux (a finalist for both The Publican and Bar Boulud) will battle it out with Philippe Starck and friends (The Bazaar by José Andrés) in the restaurant design category, while JNL Graphic Design (also for The Publican, which really must be something to see), Korn Design (The Corner Office), and Steven Solomon (Terroir) are finalists for restaurant graphics. Winners of the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards will be announced on May 4 at a Lincoln Center ceremony hoted by chef/mogul Emeril Lagasse, actor Stanley Tucci, and Iron Chef Cat Cora (full disclosure: Iron Chef gives us terrible nightmares). “Definitely gonna use the awards night to pimp our t-shirts,” noted Solomon on his blog. “I have a Howard Johnson’s-colored blue text on orange ‘Terroir T Shirts Still Only $19′ that I am gonna wear with a pink tuxedo.” Click “continued…” for more details on the restaurant design and graphics finalists.

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Tare Lugnt Delivers Third Issue Through Tattoos

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Speaking of magazine design, as much money and time that Complex spent on their latest cover has nothing on the newest issue of the Swedish magazine Tare Lugnt who put together a Stefan Sagmeister AIGA poster-esque piece of work, designing and printing their whole third issue on human skin via tattoos (found thanks to the good people at PSFK). Granted, it wasn’t a tome like the fall issue of Vogue or anything, coming in at just three pages, all readable on their site, if you speak Swedish — and you really should learn, since they went to so much trouble to publish it (there’s also a video about the process therein). Though if you do speak the language and you do wind up reading each of the pieces, we ask you, for the sake of these editors, clearly the toughest in the industry, to please, please ignore any typos you might find. That’s hard enough to hear about after something goes to print. Has to be extra difficult when you have to walk around with it on you for the rest of your life.

Behind the Scenes for Complex‘s 3D Captured Kanye West Cover

Before it arrives on the newsstands, here’s a great clip and some additional shot from Complex magazine concerning their latest cover and feature inserts, with Kanye West 3D photographed by his frequent collaborator, director Chris Milk. It’s a really interesting process, seen previously in motion for Radiohead‘s House of Cards music video (some behind the scenes for that one is here).

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Queens Museum of Art Offers Up New York City for Sale

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If we told you that you could buy an apartment in New York for $50 or an entire building for just a few hundred more, you would likely punch us in the face. As we do not like being punched in the face, we will instead clarify that initial statement. In a clever act of fundraising (found by way of I Like), the Queens Museum of Art has decided to start an “Adopt-A-Building” program using their famous Panorama of the City of New York exhibit, a gigantic modeled replica of the greater New York City metropolitan area, built in 1965. Throw in a few bucks for the building you live in, spend a few more for your old schoolhouse, or even throw down some big money and grab something like the Empire State Building. It’s a great idea, one that’s much more fun than, say, bricks out in front of the building or those usual staples. Here’s to hoping they’re successful and lots of people become pretend property barons, thus finally making their parents pretend proud of them.

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