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Archives: October 2012

Acconci Studio Named Design Miami’s 2012 Designer of the Year

This just in: Brooklyn-based architecture and design collaborative Acconci Studio, founded in 1988 by Vito Acconci, will be honored as Designer of the Year at this year’s Design Miami, (December 5-9 in Miami Beach). Awarded to a designer or studio “that has made a mark on design history, pushing the boundaries of the discipline through a singularly innovative and influential vision,” the honor has been bestowed in previous years on the likes of Zaha Hadid, Konstantin Grcic, and David Adjaye.

Among the perks of winning Designer of the Year is the opportunity to whip up a large-scale installation. These commissions have typically consisted of site-specific, temporary installations for the fair iself, but now Design Miami is setting its sights on projects that will be both permanent and public. Acconci Studio will get the ball rolling with “Klein-Bottle Playground,” the Moebius strip-style climbing structure in the above rendering. Originally developed for the “Art for the World” program, as part of a touring exhibition of experimental recreational equipment and toys for refugee children, it will be permanently installed in the Miami Design District in 2014. The structure was inspired by the German mathematician Felix Klein, whose “Klein Bottle” had no identifiable “inside” or “outside.” Acconci Studio’s playground-ready riff will consists of a series of tubes extending out from and into a central sphere, allowing children to climb in, through, and on top of it.

Ai Weiwei Rocks Gagnam Style, Guest Edits New Statesman

Over the past several months, Ai Weiwei and his legal team have continued to fight the tax evasion charges that saddled him with 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) in fines. The artist recently lost his second and final appeal. “We’ve been making a lot of effort getting our evidence, documenting our company’s financial activities,” he told CNN on the day of the latest court ruling. “And the court didn’t really show any hard evidence today to convict us. They’re openly violating the law by infringing on tax payers’ basic rights and ignoring lawful requests time and time again.” Nonetheless, Ai’s work—and play—continue apace. A video (below) shows him rocking Gagnam style dance moves in a pink t-shirt that he occasionally accessorizes with handcuffs. On a more serious note, Ai served as guest editor for the October 18 issue of the New Statesman, the London-based political and cultural magazine. “This special issue, on China, its complex present and its future challenges, is written by Chinese authors and activists and showcases work by Chinese photographers,” said editor Jason Cowley. “It is the New Statesman, made in China.”

Quote of Note | Tomas Maier on Fragrance

This symbol [perfume] is becoming very important for us. I’m working now on projects that are for 2018. The Eau Légère is coming out now. Then there’s men, there’s the bathroom [products]. It’s never-ending. I only like a scent that remains, something that is around forever. I hate that in the world of perfume there is permanently something new coming out–another new bottle or another bright packaging. And I hate when I go to the airport duty-free–now that I’m in that category, I always go through the duty-free–I hate the walls, when all of the packaging is different. I can’t stand it. There are very few people who have a strong vision and strong lineup. All of that takes a lot of thought and consideration. But it’s fascinating, the collaboration…to meet noses and to work with those people. Every time, I always tell our partner Coty Prestige that I have to meet eight to ten noses. It’s interesting always. That’s a fascinating universe.

You know, lots of men like our scent for them. I’m kind of bummed because now Barneys sells the scent of Serge Lutens, the parfums. Before you could only sell the eau de toilette. I distributed it for years in my store, but the parfum you could only buy at the Palais Royal; I liked the idea that you couldn’t get it. That it was very hard. And it eliminated that everybody smells the same.”

-Tomas Maier, creative director of Bottega Veneta, in an interview with

Design Jobs: Neiman Marcus, Bloomberg, Bedford/St. Martin’s

This week, Neiman Marcus is hiring a senior graphic designer of media, while Bloomberg needs a design director. Bedford/St. Martin’s is seeking a graphic/web designer, and Washingtonian magazine is on the hunt for a photo 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.

In Brief: Buckyball Takes Manhattan, $100 Million for Central Park, Tesla Museum, iPad Mini Debuts

• Public art meets Buckminster Fuller’s brand of “energetic-synergetic geometry” in “BUCKYBALL” (pictured) by Leo Villareal. The new sculpture goes on view tomorrow in New York’s Madison Square Park thanks to the Mad. Sq. Art program, which has previously commissioned works by artists such as Jessica Stockholder, William Wegman, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. Villareal’s nested geodesic spheres are lined with 180 LED tubes arranged in Fullerene formation, with individual pixels along the tubes that can display 16 million distinct colors at the direction of custom software. You have until February 1, 2013 to catch a brain-bending BUCKYBALL light show in the park.

• And speaking of leafy urban refuges, Central Park is $100 million richer thanks to John Paulson. The hedge funder (and park lover) announced yesterday that he is donating $100 million to the Central Park Conservancy. According to The New York Times, it’s the largest monetary donation in the history of New York City’s park system—and possibly the nation’s. And lest you suspect a bid for Paulson Plaza, nope. Nothing in the park will bear his name.

• Over in Long Island, a web-based campaign has succeeded in raising $1.3 million to preserve the laboratory of scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla. Fire up your Tesla coil and listen to the Science Friday interview with Matthew Inman, who spearheaded the crowdfunding effort to rightfully honor the man he describes as “the greatest geek who ever lived.”

• In other geektastic news, the iPad Mini is upon us. Thinner and considerably lighter than the third-generation iPad, it’s perfect for those with little arm strength: Apple touts it as “a revolutionary design you can hold in one hand.” To flummox your buying decision, the company chose the same day to announce the fourth-generation iPad. Both new models go on sale next Friday, with the iPad Mini starting at $329 and the iPad 4 starting at $499.

• If you want our advice, liquidate your tiny tablet device fund and hit the Madeline Weinrib sample sale, which runs from today through Sunday at ABC Carpet & Home in New York. The sale will include the designer’s vibrant handmade carpets, pillows, fabrics, furniture, fashion, and accessories, all reduced by 40% to 70%. Because ikat beats iPad any day.

Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ on View at MoMA

Edvard Munch‘s haunting rendition of a hairless figure on a road under a yellow-orange sky has appeared on many a t-shirt, tote bag, and cheeky Happy 50th Birthday mug. It has been riffed upon by countless New Yorker cartoons and a beloved John Hughes film. Today the artwork begins a six-month visit to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where it will be exhibited along with a small group of Munch prints. The artist created four versions of “The Scream” between 1893 and 1910, and this 1895 pastel is the only one remaining in private hands. Those hands probably belong to Leon Black, who is said to have been behind the winning $107 million bid at a Sotheby’s sale in May. Commissions brought the final price to $119.9 million, a new world record for any work of art at auction.

Why Orgies Trump Bacchanals and Other Lessons from Metropolitan Museum Director Tom Campbell

This year’s TED Conference was a doozy, in large part due to “The Design Studio” session organized by guest curators Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell. Among the engaging creative types they convinced to take the TED Stage (temporarily adorned with Maira Kalman illustrations for the occasion) was Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In his TED Talk, now available online, Campbell reveals why an orgy is preferable to a bacchanal, his eureka moment with tapestries, and why nothing compares to the presentation of significant objects in a well-told narrative: “what the curator does, the interpretation of a complex, esoteric subject, in a way that retains the integrity of the subject, that unpacks it for a general audience.”

At National Design Awards, Ross Lovegrove Gets Political


Fresh from seeing his UFO hung from the rafters of France’s Gare de Lille-Flandres, Ross Lovegrove beamed himself over to New York for the Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Awards gala. The London-based designer, dressed in a horn-buttoned wool ensemble that gave him the dapper and vaguely menacing bearing of an Austrian nobleman (and even the Thom Browne-clad audience members a run for their sartorial money), was on hand last Wednesday evening to present the “Design Mind” award to Janine Benyus, but couldn’t resist presaging his praise for the biomimicry pioneer with a not-so-stealth political endorsement. Upon taking the stage, he advised the crowd that he would need to speak from prepared notes and readied his reading glasses. “I’ve got rather a lot to say here tonight,” said Lovegrove as he slowly unfolded a large piece of paper, prompting emcee Paula Zaha to question whether origami was afoot. After a bit more unfolding, he revealed that his “notes” happened to be written on the back of a bright blue “Obama for President” poster to the whoops, chuckles, and applause of the crowd. Added Lovegrove, “I just couldn’t print the Romney one. I couldn’t.”

Inside Scoop: Dwell Partners with American Society of Interior Designers

Dwell is looking inward for its latest partnership. We hear that the shelter magazine-turned-bicoastal media empire will announce tomorrow that it’s teaming up with the American Society of Interior Designers. With a membership that includes around 18,000 practicing interior designers and 10,500 students, the trade group will move its national conference to Dwell on Design, which caps off Dwell Design Week in Los Angeles. The leaders of 500 ASID chapters nationwide and board members of the organization will join the eighth annual installment of modernism-infused home tours, product demos, and presentations, set to begin on June 21, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Quote of Note | Peter Schjeldahl on Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei’s “Colored Vases” (2007-10) and “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn” (1995/2009), at the Hirshhorn Museum.

“How can you know for sure that you’re free? You do or say something, and, if nobody punishes or muzzles you, you are free to that extent. Such seems the logic of Ai’s continual testing of the permissible in China. Considered in one way, he is a freelance clown bidding for status as an entitled court jester. Considered in another, which I expect to prove decisive, he embraces the serious destiny of either a historical hero, if the walls that he rams come down, or a historical martyr, if they don’t. Any verdict on his art will be incidental to the fateful outcome of his life. But, since a judgment is in order, here’s mine: Ai Weiwei, the artist, is good enough.”

-Peter Schjeldahl on the Ai Weiwei retrospective, on view through February 24, 2013 at the Hirshhorn Museum, in the October 22 issue of The New Yorker