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Archives: June 2010

Dwell Comes to Life at Dwell on Design

Attendees check out the IQ Haus at Dwell on Design.

Dwell on Design, the magazine’s signature trade show, took place this weekend in Los Angeles. This year’s event was focused on the environment—eco design, green living, and sustainable food.

Dwell’s corner of the massive LA Convention Center was filled with an art installation curated by designboom, interior design vendors, pre-fab houses, and two stages for presentations and discussions about design innovation and sustainablility. The most popular spaces, however, were the outdoor living exhibits—green patches that simulated backyards, with plant life, outdoor lounge chairs, and hammocks swinging from leafy trees.

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SO-IL’s Pole Dance Opens Up at P.S.1


Back in January, we told you that Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu of the firm Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (or SO-IL for those on the go) had won P.S.1‘s 11th annual Young Architects Program courtyard commission. Six months later, here we are, with this past weekend marking the opening of Pole Dance, their temporary space loaded up with connected bungees and gigantic, 25-foot-tall poles, along with hammocks, misters and rain collecting plants. Should you have missed it, SO-IL put up this great site showing off their plans for the project, construction photos and descriptions about the concept. From there, you’re also able to log on to their mobile app that will allow you to trigger various elements at the courtyard in person. Julie Iovine of the Wall Street Journal was there at the pre-opening party for the space, talking to Liu and Idenburg about the project. Here’s a bit about its origin:

“We began with the idea of our fragility,” said Ms. Liu, “and showing people how our every action has an impact on destabilizing everything else in a ripple effect.”

“And then there’s the virtualization of our lives,” added Mr. Idenburg. “We do everything online. That virtualization is the reason we stopped taking as much care about our physical surroundings. ‘Pole Dance’ is a metaphor for this weakness in us.”

Detroit Institute of Arts Prepares to Deaccession Little Bighorn Flag


With the economy coming back bit by bit, we haven’t heard as many controversial museum deaccessioning stories as we had last year when they seemed to pop up every few weeks (most high-profile with New York’s deaccessioning bill, the Orange County Museum of Art‘s sneaky moves, and LACMA‘s defensive push). But now the Detroit Institute of Arts has revived the talk with news that they’re planning to auction off a flag that was at General Custer’s Little Bighorn battle. Held by the museum since 1895 (when it was purchased for $54), it’s believed that the flag could fetch somewhere between $2 million to $5 million when it goes on the block sometime this fall at Sotheby’s, the Detroit Free Press reports. The museum’s argument for the sale is that they don’t feel they have the ability to exhibit it properly, while also mentioning that it’s spent most of its time on loan after they bought it more than 100 years ago. The opposition raises the usual argument that collections shouldn’t be sold off to pay bills (the museum promises it won’t, but has also had difficult financial times over the past couple of years) and historians who aren’t happy to see any piece of historical connection to Michigan possibly fall into the hands of a private collector and disappear. So while maybe not likely to rage into a fiery debate as the great 2009 deaccessioning battles, it’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out (and how much the flag goes for).

An Official Ruiling Brings Back Richard Rogers vs. Prince Charles


It feels like ages since we’ve talked about the Prince Charles vs. Richard Rogers debacle. Arguably the architecture story of 2009, the news dragged on and on from June until around December, first when the anit-modern Charles managed to knock Rogers off the Chelsea Barracks project in London by complaining straight to the developers. That led to all sorts of other controversies, like the news that he’d also tried pushing away Jean Nouvel, which was followed by calls for investigating the Prince himself and his Foundation for the Built Environment. Whew. Now, after a welcomed six month break, the fight has returned with a ruling from the country’s High Court over the issue. Although not a total victory for Rogers and the company responsible for his now defunct plans, as the court said damages could be paid by the Qatari royal family who backed out of the deal, they won’t be receiving the original amount they’d asked for. However, the judge in the matter did speak ill of Prince Charles, saying his involvement was “unexpected and unwelcome.” This, of course, has spawned a million op-ed pieces in the British press, from the Guardian‘s couple worth reading, the Telegraph‘s pro-Prince piece, and the one with our favorite title, the Daily Mail‘s “Secret Web of the Black Spider Prince.” Here’s a couple of quotes, first from Richards on the ruling:

“I hope that this judgement demonstrates that similar interventions should be considered far more seriously before they are made in the future,” he added.

The president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) said after hearing the court evidence it appeared the prince had brought “inappropriate pressure” on the planning process.

“Behind-the-scenes influence would have been a huge hurdle to consider. No individual should use their position in public life to influence a democratic process such as planning,” Ruth Reed said.

Thus far, Charles himself hasn’t made an official statement on the matter, though his spokespeople have briefly said that the Prince is free to say what he wants, as is every citizen of the UK.

Yves Behar Prepares Exhibitions for His Curatorial Debut, ‘TechnoCraft’


Not that any of the previous couple of years were too shabby, but 2010 is shaping up to be Yves Behar‘s year. He’s made eyeglasses for students in Mexico, had a high-profile roll out for Puma, his underwear continues to be popular, and he even made a cleaning robot. Now he’s moving slightly out of his product design wheelhouse and branching out into curating. Opening July 9th, Behar will make his curatorial debut at San Francisco Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with an exhibition called “TechnoCraft,” which “explores how the boundary between the role of the designer and the consumer is disappearing.” Here’s more description:

…the exhibition traces the current trend in design away from fixed objects toward open “design platforms” that invite people to participate in the creative process. Selected works span the spectrum from intentionally collaborative (such as platforms where individuals can customize their products) to outsider hacks, where “finished” products are adapted or modified by the user. Special attention is paid to the intersection of technology and craft that encourages an unprecedented level of user participation with profound implications for the future of design and experience making.

For a sneak peak, Aric Chen over at Paper got an early look at the exhibition and reports on all how the ambitious project all comes together in the space.

CFDA Inducts 26 New Members

Looks from the fall 2010 collections of L’Wren Scott (left) and Robert Geller (right), two of the newest members of the CFDA

The Council of Fashion Designers is freshening up. The trade association tasked snappy dresser Michael Bierut of Pentagram with updating his original CFDA logo and recently debuted a spatially tweaked version that spells out the organization’s full name below the distinctive acronym. Meanwhile, the CFDA has renewed its ranks with the induction of 26 new members, including 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner and runner-up Sophie Theallet and Monique Péan, CFDA Fashion Incubatees Waris Ahluwalia and Bibhu Mohapatra, Erickson Beamon’s Karen Erickson and Vicki Beamon, and luxe handbag artist Sang A Im-Propp. In addition to ready-to-wear designers such as L’Wren Scott and Pamella DeVos (of Pamella Roland), the list of new members includes those who design for mainstream brands including Ann Taylor (Lisa Axelson) and the BCBG empire (Lubov Azria). CFDA executive director Steven Kolb described the Class of 2010 as “a talented mix of creativity.” They’ll be feted at an October party at the Park Avenue apartment of Vera Wang, a member of the CFDA’s board of directors who can give the newbies tips on how to become a lifestyle brand. We’ve posted the full list of new members below.

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Guggenheim Books Andrew Bird and Beirut for Summer Concert Series


Fresh off the big success of having Animal Collective and artist Danny Perez team up and host an event, the Guggenheim has announced “Dark Sounds,” a summer concert series that will pair a handful indie darling musicians with their Haunted: Contemporary Film/Video/Performance exhibition. Running one per month, they’ve invited hot shots like Andrew Bird and the band Beirut to come play in the late-evening, with their doors opening a couple of hours ahead of time to allow visitors to take in the exhibit. So maybe not as immediately connected to specific work as the Animal Collective experiment was, it should still be an interesting time. If you can get tickets, of course, which will likely go absurdly fast. Here are the important details:


July 15, 2010: Beirut
August 5, 2010: Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller
September 3, 2010: Cinematic Orchestra


$25 members, $30 nonmembers
Limited capacity. Advance online ticket sales only at tickets go on sale June 24 for members and June 25 for nonmembers. Dark Sounds membership packages are available.

David Chipperfield Joins London Design Festival, Plans Shiny Glass Mini-City


A few weeks back, we told you that there were light-painting giant robots on the horizon for the late-summer’s London Design Festival. Now they’ve added a starchitect to the mix. David Chipperfield has been commissioned to create a project for the annual fest and he’s come up with an impressive one. In the same Size + Matter space Marc Newson was in last year, Chipperfield will be installing something called “The Space Between,” a temporary series of large glass boxes that will look a bit like a mini city. The festival’s organizers have also hired Paul Cocksedge to create an installation called “Drop,”which looks a bit like Chicago’s Millennium Park Bean. Here’s a bit on how Chipperfield’s project will be assembled:

Chipperfiedl is working with Sefar, leading manufacturer of architectural textiles and glass manufacturer Bischoff Glastechink (BGT). With a light source hidden in the base of each block, as day turns to night each will begin to glow and the towers’ solidity apparent in the day will fall away, encouraging a new relationship between the cityscape and the audience. The installation, on Southbank Centre Square, is overlooked by the various elevated walkways at Southbank Centre as well as the street and surrounding plazas. The total composition oscillates between a large still life and a small cityscape where the space in between becomes the protagonist in the balancing of mass and space.

James Franco’s First Solo Art Show Kicks Off at NY’s Clocktower Gallery


A return to the questions and confusions of “Is it art because it’s artistic? Or is the output itself irrelevant, but the ‘art’ is born from it being made by a celebrity?” Our brains are frazzled with these sorts of thoughts as the actor-turned-artist James Franco pops back up in the art scene with the opening of his first solo show, “The Dangerous Book Four Boys.” It opened on Wednesday at the Clocktower Gallery, the P.S.1-affiliated space, with none other than P.S.1 alum (and founder/former director) Alanna Heiss curating the show. We’ve seen a handful of images of it so far, but it’s difficult to make heads or tails of it from just photographs. Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal, who Franco had cozied up to earlier this year by writing an op-ed for them about his forays into the art world, sent out Erica Orden, who files this report about the show. However, even after reading it, you’ll probably still feel like the water’s a bit murky (though you might also have that same trouble seeing the whole thing in person, too). But who said art ever needed to have instant gratification? Here’s Orden’s quick synopsis of the show:

“The Dangerous Book Four Boys” addresses boyhood and the “sexual confusion” of adolescence, as Ms. Heiss put it. Short films focus on demolition, showing burning or bullet-riddled structures like a plastic toy home or a large wooden rocket (the exhibition contains originals or replicas of these). Another work explores a romantic encounter between “Star Trek” characters Spock and James T. Kirk.

Awkward Times for the Awarding of the BP Portrait Prize


A bit of tragic awkwardness at London’s National Portrait Gallery recently. The annual BP Portrait Prize was awarded this week at the museum to painter Daphne Todd for her piece, “Last Portrait of Mother,” wherein she depicts her mother in bed after she had just recently died. While her work is hauntingly beautiful and seems entirely worthy of the prize, it’s a rough time to be attached to the oil giant BP right now. There were protesters outside the National Portrait Galley during the award ceremony, many who weren’t just angry at BP for the ongoing spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but specifically that taking art funding from the company was reprehensible. While we’re certainly not pleased with what’s gone on with the spill, and the blame lies squarely on BP for causing this emotion in the first place, on purely a sympathetic personal level, it’s a tough break that Todd’s big win has been tainted by something outside of her control. But we’re sure the passage of time, and the £25,000 that comes with the award, will certainly help get her through. Also, as Art Info puts it, you have to give it to BP not to meddle with the judging, given the winner’s subject was death, something the company probably isn’t wanting to be any more attached to than it has to at the moment.