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Archives: August 2012

Ten Things to Read Over Labor Day Weekend

With precious little summertime left and that daunting stack of books still awaiting your “summer reading” attention, we’ve compiled this list of ten quick yet delightful online reads that will keep you busy while we spend the holiday weekend in Fashion Week prep mode (i.e., napping, binge-watching obscure documentaries, and multiple visits to the Reed Krakoff store). Until Tuesday, design fans!

♦ Whimsically grim storylines? Check. Dour yet dancerly protagonists? Yup. Eve Bowen examines “A Treasure Trove of Edward Gorey” and lives to tell about it. (New York Review of Books)

♦ Galliera, the Paris Museum of Fashion, is closed for renovation until the fall of 2013. That didn’t stop Lynn Yaeger from paying a visit. (T: The New York Times Style Magazine)

♦ LACMA’s plan to open a show featuring Robert Mapplethorpe’s gay sadomasochistic photographs two weeks before Election Day proves we’ve come a long way—maybe, writes Robin Cembalest. (ARTnews)

♦ Meanwhile, LA cops have declared war on street artists. (LA Weekly)

♦ With his first solo exhibition in 12 years opening next week, Futura gets reflective. (Interview)

♦ Whatever happened to digital art? Claire Bishop discerns the “subterranean presence” of the digital in the analog-loving art world. (Artforum)

♦ “I prefer buying things and figuring out where to put them later than regretting not buying them,” says designer Christian Louboutin. Peek inside his barn-cum-shoe archive, which houses 8,000 pairs and counting. (WSJ. Magazine)
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Mediabistro Course

HTML Basics

HTML BasicsStarting November 24, work with an experienced web developer to code and design your own webpage! In this course, Laura Galbraith will teach you how to understand the basic structure of HTML, identify the most commonly used tags, create webpages with images and hyperlinks, and create a basic CSS. Register now!

In Brief: IKEA to Launch Hotel Chain, Restoration Hardware CEO Resigns, Fab Teams with Blu Dot


Blu Dot’s Real Good Chair, Medium Strut Table, and Perimeter Light, part of a custom color collaboration with Fab.

• Perhaps envisioning the day when the globe will be saturated by Ektorp sofas, IKEA is diversifying. The company’s real estate development arm is building an IKEA village, “Strand East,” on 26 acres in London. Expect underground parking and plenty of meatballs. Meanwhile, those who can’t score one of the 1,200 new homes in IKEAville will soon be able to spend the night in an IKEA-owned hotel. The company plans to build 100 hotels across Europe, according to a Reuters report. Rather mysteriously, the budget chain will contain no IKEA furniture. The first hotel is expected to open in Germany in 2014.

• And if those room vignettes in the IKEA catalog appear more alien than usual these days, you’re not losing your Ekenäs. In a move to cut costs and get more bang for its Boksel, the company is increasingly using 3-D graphics to fill its pages. “This year 12% of IKEA’s content for the Web, catalog, and brochures were rendered virtually,” notes Jens Hansegard in the Wall Street Journal. “That number will increase to 25% next year.” The army of photographers, carpenters, and set designers that produce the IKEA catalog (in 62 different versions in 43 countries) are being retrained to apply their skills to spaces that do not exist.

• Just when Restoration Hardware was firing on all cylinders with its ersatz Axel Vervoodt vibe, even heeding the call of urban dwellers for chunky armchairs fit for tiny apartments, chairman and co-CEO Gary Friedman has stepped down from his posts after an internal inquiry into an intimate relationship he had with a 26-year-old female employee. Carlos Alberini is now the sole CEO as the company prepares for an IPO. As nonexecutive chairman emeritus, Friedman will continue in an advisory role as he starts a new “incubator” company with ties to Restoration Hardware.

• In cheerier news, our friends at Fab have cooked up a unique partnership. Tomorrow the flash sale site will unveil seven furniture pieces from Blu Dot in exclusive custom colors. “Fab is offering Blu Dot design staples in bright orange, black, gray, and crisp white—that’s right, ladies and gentlemen: we’re one step closer to ridding the world of boring beiges,” noted a post on the company’s blog. Available through September 29, the pieces include a desk, tables, and a loopy floor lamp. We’re partial to the mod seating: shipped flat and folded into sturdy shape along laser-cut lines, Blu Dot’s Real Good Chair ($120) lives up to its name.
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Seven Questions for Airbnb Co-Founder Joe Gebbia

The coming Labor Day weekend may find you jetting off to an island paradise, hitting the highway for a road trip, or seated in a comfortable yet chic chair, trying to make some readerly headway with Vogue’s 916-page September issue (worth the $5.99 cover price for Amaranth Ehrenhalt‘s charming Giacometti tale alone!). If you’re still stuck in binary hotel-or-a-friend’s-place travel mode, consider upgrading with an alternative: Airbnb (née AirBedAndBreakfast.com). The San Francisco-based startup, which has raised $120 million in funding, recently reached 10 million nights booked and has amassed a massive, fun-to-browse menu of unique spaces worldwide. Joe Gebbia is the graphic and product design mind behind the company, which he co-founded in 2007 (with Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk). The RISD alum took time away from his holiday weekend preparations to answer our seven questions.

Give us your elevator pitch: What’s Airbnb?
Airbnb is a trusted online marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. From a private room to a private island, we offer an entertaining and personal way for travelers to unlock local experiences and see their surroundings through the eyes of a local.

What led you and your co-founders to create the company?
In October 2007 the rent increased on our San Francisco apartment. The timing couldn’t have been worse—my roommate, Brian, and I had recently left our jobs to become entrepreneurs. We knew that a prominent design conference was coming to town, and that all the nearby hotel rooms were booked solid. We decided to rent airbeds in our apartment to designers attending the conference, and provide them with a unique and quintessentially local experience. As it turned out, a lot of people were looking for this type of accommodation, so we brought on Nate to be our third co-founder and we started to expand. In 2007 we had two airbeds, and three employees. Now, just four years later, we have over 200,000 listings in over 26,000 cities in 192 countries and 10 offices in 9 countries.
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People Who Like Art Are Better Than People Who Don’t, Study Finds

Pat yourself on the back, UnBeige readers, because finally we have proof that you’re a superior bunch. It’s not simply reading here that makes you a better person but your love for art and design. According to a new study, people with an active interest in the arts contribute more to society than those with little or no such interest. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) used data from the General Social Survey—conducted since 1972 by the National Data Program for the Sciences—to analyze how arts exposure (defined as attendance at museums and dance, music, opera and theater events) and arts expression (defined as making or performing art) are related to traits of social responsibility.

“Even after controlling for age, race, and education, we found that participation in the arts, especially as audience, predicted civic engagement, tolerance, and altruism,” said Kelly LeRoux, an assistant professor of public administration at UIC and principal investigator on the NEA-funded study, in a statement issued by the university. LeRoux and her team correlated 2,765 randomly selected adults’ survey responses to arts-related questions to their responses on altruistic actions such as donating blood, giving directions, or doing favors for a neighbor, and looked at “norms of civility” including participation in community groups and charitable organizations. They also looked at responses related to social tolerance. “If policymakers are concerned about a decline in community life, the arts shouldn’t be disregarded as a means to promote an active citizenry,” added LeRoux, who plans to repeat the study with 2012 data.

Watch This: Tim Barber Goes Native

Pause for a moment to join New York photographer Tim Barber on an urban skateboard adventure in this dreamy wisp of a film from Native Shoes. The Vancouver-based makers of foam-injection molded-EVA (read: ultralight) kicks—we like the Jimmy boot in Shuttle Grey—tapped Barber for the first installment of “The Natives,” a series of shorts by Corey Adams and Alex Craig (Machotaildrop) that aim to “capture the spirits of a variety of humans across the world, each selected for their creativity, uniqueness, and innovation, showcasing what sets them apart from the other seven billion people on this planet.” New films spotlighting passionate people from Los Angeles to Budapest will be posted every two weeks on Nativision and YouTube.

Quote of Note | A. A. Gill on Wedding Dresses

“The first bride to popularize white wedding dresses was Queen Victoria. She was a tiny, round, plain girl with a nose like a claw hammer and less chin than a terrapin. Charitably, the best thing you could say for her on her wedding day was that she looked like an ornamental toilet-tissue cover. Before Victoria, brides wore what suited them. Red was a popular color; so was black. It’s universally said that all brides look beautiful. Every bride is told repeatedly that she is breathtaking, but white is an unforgiving un-color unless you’re a baby or a corpse. White is particularly bad on pale, pinkish people, but not quite as bad as on sprayed-orange people. The only girls who manage to look decent in wedding dresses are those who look great for a living and would look good in a trash bag or traction. Wedding dresses are a collective blind spot, an aesthetic dead zone. We are brainwashed to believe that a wedding dress is magic, that it has the ability to transform everyone into a raging, shaggable piece of hot, virginal, must-have, never-been-had gorgeousness. But, like all fairy spells, it only works for one day. In any other context, a wedding dress makes you look like a transvestite, which is presumably why the groom isn’t allowed to see it before it’s too late to change his mind.”

-A. A. Gill, in “Can This Wedding Be Saved?” published in the September issue of Vanity Fair

Design Jobs: Coastal Living, The Washington Post, McMurry

This week, Coastal Living is hiring a designer, while The Washington Post needs a graphics director. McMurry is seeking a senior art director, and the Daily Journal Corporation is on the hunt for an art director. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Buck Status Quo, ‘Access Higher Level of Badass-dom’ with James Victore

Are you looking for an autumnal kickstart to reclaiming your creativity and conquering fear and self-doubt? Eager to embark on a frank, humorous search for meaning in both work and life? Ready to tap into the “gifted super badass” that lurks inside you? Step away from the self-help books, design fans, and spend a day with James Victore. The Brooklyn-based author, designer, filmmaker, and self-described ass-kicker (at the helm of a studio “hell-bent on world domination”) has cooked up Take this Job and Love It, a confab for anyone—designers, writers, artists, small-business owners, educators, presidential candidates—who wants to learn “how to light up their career and harness their power.” Coming from anyone else, this could sound corny, but Victore has spent his career pioneering a gutsy “your work is your gift” approach, in which meaning and purpose drive every decision. And it’s worked. The one-day symposium takes place on Saturday, September 29 at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Want to attend for free? Create a video explaining why, and you might just get your wish.
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Alan Brake Named Executive Editor of The Architect’s Newspaper

Big changes at The Architect’s Newspaper: an editorial changing of the guard will see managing editor Alan Brake (pictured) succeed Julie Iovine as executive editor on September 1. In a statement announcing the change, Diana Darling and William Menking, co-founders of The Architect’s Newspaper, praised Iovine’s “exceptional editorial leadership” and multi-faceted contributions over the last six years as she departs to focus on her own writing projects (she will continue to write a monthly column on architecture for the Wall Street Journal).

“We will miss her but are excited that a new generation of writers and editors under Alan’s leadership will rethink how we write about the world of architecture and design and deliver this content to the public,” added Menking. A five-year veteran of The Architect’s Newspaper, Brake launched the paper’s Midwest edition (one of three regional print editions). His writing has appeared in publications including Architectural Record, Metropolis, The New York Times, and Architecture, where he previously served as an editor. In the midst of the transition, Brake made time to discuss the paper, what changes might be in store, and what he did on his summer vacation—or lack thereof.

How do you describe The Architect’s Newspaper to someone who is unfamiliar with the publication?
We hope The Architect’s Newspaper is a useful, engaging, fun, and thought-provoking resource for architects and designers. People tell us we’re the design only publication they actually read—rather than just flip through for the pictures—so we have a very loyal print audience. It’s been satisfying to connect to a much broader audience online. We have a lot of ambition to expand online and will soon be adding a new e-newsletter or two.

Any new initiatives or features that we should watch for in The Architect’s Newspaper, in print or online, under your leadership?
I’d like to improve the way with tell stories visually, both in print and online. We hope to make some changes our website in the near future, and I want to make sure we’re using the best possible images in print. I also want to include more criticism, and to better showcase our critics.
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Friday Photo: Lucio Del Pezzo’s Reading Rainbow


(Photo: Wright)

The modern and contemporary design experts at Wright know that when the urge hits for a buttery leather sofa designed by Josef Hoffmann or a fractal-inspired Arik Levy chandelier, it can be awfully difficult to wait for the Chicago-based auction house’s next lovingly curated (and gorgeously catalogued) sale. Satisfy your design cravings instantly with Wright Now, a new online marketplace of great design ranging from classic pieces to exclusive one-offs—and a glass turkey (Toni Zuccheri for Venini). Among our favorites from Wright’s click-to-buy assortment, restocked regularly, is this 1970 set of “Arc-en-Ciel” bookends by Lucio Del Pezzo. From an edition of 500 by Plura Edizioni, the stainless steel and Plexiglas pair would be equally at home in a kid’s room, on the groaning gift table at a same-sex wedding, or under the tree this Christmas with a tag that reads “To: LeVar, From: Santa.”

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