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Archives: October 2012

Amidst Storm Recovery, a Wave of Megadeals: Disney Buying Lucasfilm, PVH Ponies Up $3B for Warnaco

First comes the epic storm and then comes the…mega-mergers? Less than 24 hours after a sizable chunk of the country was plunged into watery darkness, the Walt Disney Company announced its plan to acquire George Lucas‘s Lucasfilm in a stock and cash deal valued at $4.05 billion. Included in the deal are rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and Lucasfilm’s post-production powerhouses Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound.

So how did the deal-savvy Disney execs (see also: Pixar, Marvel) get to the magic number of $4.05 billion? “Our valuation focused almost entirely on the financial potential of the Star Wars franchise, which we expect to provide us with a stream of storytelling opportunities for years to come delivered via all relevant platforms on a global basis,” said Disney CFO Jay Rasulo in a statement that included news of the company’s plan to release Star Wars Episode 7 in 2015, with more feature films to follow under the watchful eye of Star Wars “brand manager” (and soon-to-be Lucasfilm president) Kathleen Kennedy.
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Architect Lebbeus Woods Dies at 72

Yesterday, as we were wielding a Maglite and, at one low point, muddling through at 33.6 kbps per minute, we learned of the death of visionary architect Lebbeus Woods. He died Tuesday morning at the age of 72. Word came via a tweet from Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times. “Woods had been fading for some months, sadly, but he kept teaching to the end,” added Kimmelman in a follow-up message. “Died in his loft in his sleep.” Steven Holl confirmed the report late yesterday.

Born in Lansing, Michigan, Woods worked with Kevin Roche at Eero Saarinen and Associates before turning to independent, conceptual work that took the form of drawings, models, and installations. Earlier this year, Woods announced that he would no longer be blogging on a regular basis. In a final mid-August post entitled “GOODBYE [sort of],” he mentioned a new book project that was then “soak[ing] up” his time and energy. “It is not a compendium or collection of earlier work, but rather a new piece of work in itself, having to do with how World War Two shaped the architecture of the later 20th century,” wrote Woods. “The ideas are fresh and the writing brand-new. Oh, and it’s not a picture book. I’ve never done anything like it.”

Quote of Note | Luc Tuymans

“I stopped painting temporarily at the end of the 1970s/beginning of the 80s, because it was too suffocating, too existential, and it didn’t leave room for distance. And then by accident I started to work with Super 8, then Super 16, and in the end 35mm, which is very expensive, so you have to think carefully about what you’ll film. And then coming back to painting, my whole knowledge of the visual was informed by things that are nothing to do with painting: closeups, how you edit an image. The first painting I made after was ‘La Correspondance’ [1985; pictured], which is a highly conceptual image. So, for sure, that’s a big influence.”

-Luc Tuymans, in an interview with Martin Herbert that appears in the October issue of ArtReview. “Luc Tuymans: The Summer Is Over” opens soon at David Zwirner in New York. An exhibition of the artist’s work inagurated Zwirner’s London gallery earlier this month.

Christian de Portzamparc’s One57 Gets Turn in Hurricane Sandy Spotlight

Ze crane! The flaccid crane at One57, slated to be the tallest residential property in Manhattan.

Sandy came, she saw, she conquered–and she made a global megastar out of a building project that already had garnered plenty of buzz among New York real estate mavens and architecture buffs: One57, Extell’s 1,000-foot mixed-use tower designed by Christian de Portzamparc. On Monday afternoon, as the storm winds strengthened, the crane at the construction site buckled with a boom that those in the vicinity at first mistook for a thunder clap. Cut to a frightening shot of the crane’s top portion dangling like a limp tree limb and poised to plummet 90 stories below to the Manhattan thoroughfare of West 57th Street.

On TV, the injured crane and the luxe tower-in-progress got almost as much airtime as drenched, windbreaker-clad correspondents and, as coverage wore on and darkness set in, provided rain-pelted reporters with a few moments of respite from the cameras. CNN’s Piers Morgan located a “crane expert” and then pressed him to concur that a total collapse was imminent. Donald Trump chimed in on Twitter. There were no mentions of Portzamparc (or of Tomas Juul-Hansen, who is masterminding One57′s interiors), only of the “several billionaires” that had already purchased condos in the 95-unit building. Meanwhile, the crane is hanging in there. “Our hope is that tomorrow they’ll be able to find a way to pull it in, and then cable it to the building so it’s not going to fall,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a press conference today.

Design Jobs: McMurry, Cambridge University Press, Neiman Marcus

This week, McMurry is hiring a senior art director, while Cambridge University Press needs a promotions designer. Neiman Marcus is seeking a senior graphic designer, and Interval International is on the hunt for a graphic designer. 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.

How Design Books Played Pivotal Role in Steven Heller’s Marriage Proposal to Louise Fili

(Photo: UnBeige)

Among the highlights of this weekend’s inaugural Designers and Books Fair was Debbie Millman’s on-stage conversation with Steven Heller and Louise Fili. Perched on a Florence Knoll two-seater in an auditorium at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the pair discussed everything from the difference between a logo and a brand (“about $500,000,” according to Fili) to the joys of miniature mannequins (“I love these things,” enthused Heller, who credits the couple’s 2002 book on the subject with nearly pricing him out of the mini-mannequin market. “These are sculptures of commerce, raw commercial art.”). Millman’s well-constructed questions touched on many aspects of their nearly 30-year union, including Heller’s marriage proposal. It will come as no suprise that books played a critical role in his popping the question.

Picture it: summertime, Italy, the early ’80s. Fili and Heller were staying in Tuscany, and kept bumping into two of their design-savvy friends, Paula Scher and Henrietta Condak, who were staying nearby. “It became this game, because we were all on a search, out to get the best stuff in Italy–the best books–before anyone else did,” explained Fili. One day, she and Heller arrived at Florence’s Centro Di with just 30 minutes to spare before the bookshop closed for lunch. They noticed that Scher and Condak had also just walked in. “I saw the look on Steve’s face, because he knows this is not a good thing, when he has competition,” said Fili. “So he had to get away from them as fast as possible and get to the books.” A bit of small talk ensued: How’s the trip? What’s new? Heller saw an exit strategy. “Oh, we’re getting married,” he told Scher and Condak, before making a beeline for the books. “He left me to explain,” said Fili. “I didn’t even know what I had to say about it yet, because I didn’t really have any details.” But all’s well that ends well. Added a grinning Heller after Fili had told the tale, “I got the books and I got the dame.”

HGTV to Build Life-Sized Gingerbread House at Mall of America

At the Mall of America, bigger is better. In addition to 520 stores and 50 restaurants, the 4.2-million-square-foot complex is home to a towering LEGO robot, a giant green sea turtle (among the 10,000 creatures at the Sea Life Aquarium), and a roller coaster known as the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge. The holiday season inevitably brings a new crop of outsized attractions and this year, design is in the mix as HGTV readies its Holiday House, a life-size gingerbread manse that will debut in the mall’s rotunda (hang a right at the 44-foot-tall Christmas tree) on the day after Thanksgiving. No word as to whether actual gingerbread is involved, but the house will host a steady stream of demonstrations, meet and greets, and other events with the likes of Genevieve Gorder, Vern Yip, Carter Oosterhouse, and Sara Peterson, editor-in-chief of HGTV Magazine. Even Scrooges with no interest in the house’s thrice-daily “spectacular holiday light show” can stop by on the way home to have purchases gift-wrapped by HGTV elves.

Google Celebrates Bob ‘Happy Little Trees’ Ross

Google is doing its part to distract the country from the hurricane set to pummel its eastern flank. Today visitors to the web giant’s U.S. homepage are greeted with a Google Doodle honoring the late Bob Ross, born seventy years ago today. The fuzzy-haired host of PBS’s The Joy of Painting promised—in a soothing voice—that “All you need is the desire to make beautiful things happen on canvas.” His “wet-on-wet technique” armed amateurs with a two-inch brush and plenty of encouragement to daub snow-peaked mountains and “happy trees” onto canvases pre-soaked with liquid paint. “Within one hour of touching the brush to canvas for the first time, my students have a total, complete painting,” Ross told The New York Times in 1991. “I really believe that if you practice enough you could paint the ‘Mona Lisa’ with a two-inch brush.”

Kenny Scharf Collaborates with Kiehl’s for Charity

Following its colorful collaborations with Jeff Koons and KAWS, Kiehl’s Since 1851 has teamed up with Kenny Scharf. The L’Oreal-owned apothecary brand has launched a limited-edition collection of its famed Creme de Corps that features label artwork by the artist. Better still, Kiehl’s is donating 100% of the net profits from U.S. sales to RxArt, which brings contemporary art to healthcare facilities, as part of a broader effort to raise $200,000 for children’s charities worldwide. The lavishly labeled lotion is available in three sizes (come on, pop for the one-liter megabottle), and prices start at $29.50. “Continued use for 10 days will provide a skin texture heretofore unattainable,” promises Kiehl’s. Not in the market for moisturizer? Snag Scharf’s “Squirt” (pictured), a signature character that he’s made available in collectible form for the project.

Friday Photo: The Calm Before the Storm

(Photo: Philip MacCarthy)

With a megastorm on the horizon for the country’s East Coast, we present this calming fall foliage break. “A Perfect Fall Day” by Philip MacCarthy has been declared the winner of Rhode Island Monthly’s “I Luv RI” photography contest and appears in the November issue of the magazine. “I took the photo a few years back when I moved here from San Diego, after being in what some would say the best weather in the United States, and realized there is something heart warming, rejuvenating, and serene about fall in Rhode Island,” said MacCarthy, who lives in Warwick and snapped the photo at Indian Lake in South Kingstown. “Everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”