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Archives: January 2013

In Brief: RIP Balthazar Korab, Copycat Construction, Elbaz Maquillage, Ballet Buzz


Balthazar Korab’s 1988 photo of the Sydney Opera House.

• Architect turned photographer Balthazar Korab has died at the age of 86.

• Elsewhere in legendary architectural photographer news…be sure to pick up a copy of Ezra Stoller, Photographer, new from Yale University Press. The book’s co-authors, Erica Stoller and Akiko Busch, will discuss the man, the myth, the photos on Wednesday evening at the New York School of Interior Design. Purchase tickets here.

• EPCOT-style ersatz architecture is all the rage in China, but to what ends? Edwin Heathcote considers copycat construction as in his Financial Times review of Bianca Bosker‘s Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China (University of Hawaii Press).

• Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz is bringing his trademark brand of whimsy to cosmetics. His collection for Lancôme debuts in June. Comment dit-on madcap?

• “Symmetry and balance can be the best friends of lust and tenderness.” And other lessons from Brancusi‘s “The Kiss,” as revealed by Nicholas Fox Weber for ARTnews just in time for Valentine’s Day.
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Joey Shimoda Named Contract Designer of the Year, Michael Graves Honored as Legend

Contract magazine has named Joey Shimoda (pictured) its 2013 Designer of the Year, praising the Los Angeles-based architect and designer for the “quality and breadth of his design work, his ability to transform the mundane, his consistently strong client relationships, and the respect he garners in the profession.” With the motto “extra superfino,” 13-year-old Shimoda Design Group has completed projects ranging from interior architecture to “building rejuvenation” for clients such as Steelcase, Rolex, and MTV Networks.

Also honored this morning at Contract‘s 34th annual interiors awards, held at New York’s Cipriani 42nd Street, was Michael Graves, who received the 2013 Legend award for lifetime achievement. (Graves is a past Contract Designer of the Year, having clinched that title back in 1981.) Among the projects that bested the competition in 13 categories are INNOCAD’s Vienna office for Microsoft, complete with gleaming silver slide; the Bentel & Bentel-led transformation of the public areas in the Grand Hyatt New York; Rockwell Group’s Untitled restaurant at the Whitney; and Wuhan Pixel Box Cinema, a pixel-themed, 95,000-square-foot movie theater in Wuhan, China, designed by One Plus Partnership.

Friday Photo: Crocodile Eating Ballerina

“My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse, and entertain,” said Helmut Newton, who succeeded on all three counts with “Crocodile Eating Ballerina,” in which a member of Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal company is swallowed by a crocodile. The 1983 photo is an enduring crowd pleaser, whether in digital reproduction (Instagrammers and Pinterested types can’t get enough of the image) or analog–an original gelatin silver print fetched $31,250 at Phillips a few years ago. A signed platinum print is among the 50 photographic portrayals of nudes up for sale in Artnet’s “Fifty Shades” photography sale, an online auction that also includes works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, and Chuck Close. Bids will be accepted through the morning of Thursday, January 31.

Dieter Roth and the Chocolate Factory


Scrumdiddlyumptious. Chocolate busts of artist Dieter Roth in progress at Hauser & Wirth’s new downtown NYC exhibition space. (Photos: UnBeige)

Willy Wonka and Sigmund Freud would surely have agreed that making 385 chocolate busts of one’s father is not something that can be rushed. And so, with the late Dieter Roth‘s “Selbstturm” (Self Tower) barely half full of chocolate casts, his son, Björn, agreed that the makeshift kitchen–think plywood, a quartet of hot plates, aluminum stockpots, rubber molds–and the young people painstakingly producing them would become part of “Björn Roth. Dieter Roth,” the major exhibition that this week inaugurated Hauser & Wirth‘s massive downtown space, designed by Annabelle Selldorf.

“We didn’t have time to finish the chocolate tower,” said Björn, 51, standing before the bustling kitchen installation at Monday’s press preview. “So we decided that we would keep it all going until we’re finished.” Conceived by Dieter in 1994, the tower consists of a 16-foot-tall steel frame slotted with glass shelves on which chocolate busts of the artist are displayed, all facing, featurelessly, in the same direction. “Normally this is not a theme of the piece, but I like that it looks a bit like a skyscraper,” added Björn, who arrived in New York last month with his twentysomething sons Oddur and Einar to create the exhibition. “The thing is, it’s impossible to make a tower like that with cheap chocolate. You need first-quality, because otherwise it’s not stable. It will break.” He walked over to a stack of large white boxes stamped “E. Guittard“–for another family business, that of the Guittard Chocolate Company–stuck his hand in the one on top, and popped a morsel of dark chocolate couverture into his mouth. “Go ahead and taste it,” he invited. “It’s the best kind.”

Etsy Acquires Photo Collage App Mixel

The crafty types at Etsy are taking their love for collage to the digital realm by scooping up photo collage app Mixel and its team of mobile-savvy stars for an undisclosed sum. Created by designer Khoi Vinh and developer Scott Ostler, Mixel allows users to make, share, and remix collages with results that been described as both “gorgeous” and “highly addictive.” Vinh and his team sensed that they hit on their hands soon after launch. “We see a lot of activity at night, and a lot of activity on Saturday, too,” he said of early usage patterns. “So it’s very different from the Web, which many people will surf during work.”

Etsy is tasking team Team Mixel, which also includes Akiva Leffert and Roy Stanfield, with taking the online marketplace’s mobile platform to the next level. “Mobile visits on Etsy grew 244% in the past year, and right now they represent a steady 25% of visits year round,” noted Etsy creative director Randy Hunt in a blog post announcing the acquisition. “That’s not too shabby, but something quite astounding happened this past holiday season: almost one in three visits came from shoppers on their mobile devices. We expect that trend to accelerate, so doing more with mobile is one of our top priorities in 2013.”

Art21 Celebrates 100 Artists

This year our friends at Art21 are celebrating the big 100–that’s how many artists have appeared to date on its PBS Series Art in the Twenty First-Century, first broadcast in 2002. From Richard Serra talking tools in his Manhattan studio (from 2000, below) to Sarah Sze (artist #100, she’ll represent the United States later this year at the Venice Biennale) on the importance of improvisation and spontaneity during her installation process, the profiled artists are celebrated on Art21′s new “100 Artists” page–sortable by artist face, name, or order of appearance on the show. No word yet on who made the cut for season seven, but in the meantime, Art21 promises to release previously unpublished content from its archive as well as new material produced in collaboration with the artists–think films, interviews, artworks, and reading lists–throughout 2013.

Watch This: Eduardo Souto de Moura on Film

Another day, another smashing design-themed documentary! In Reconversão, director Thom Andersen trains his lens on Pritzker winner Eduardo Souto de Moura with a blend of old-school (think Vertov and Muybridge) techniques and eye-popping HD wizardry. Zooming in on 17 of the Portugese architect’s buildings and unrealized projects, and overlaid with his own words (via a guest voiceover), the film gives Souto de Moura–a master of the reborn ruin–the last word: “If there is nothing there,” he says in an on-screen interview. “I invent a pre-existence.” Keep an eye out for the documentary as it makes the festival rounds. We think it’s the perfect primer before delving into Phaidon’s forthcoming jumbo Souto de Moura monograph.

Design Jobs: Morgan Stanley, Kate Ryan, The Nation Magazine

This week, Morgan Stanley is hiring a senior visual designer, while Kate Ryan needs a production assistant. The Nation is seeking a creative director, and Wechsler is on the hunt for a design 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.

Hearst Plans Fashion Hackathon in NYC

The fashion world was rather slow to board the digital bandwagon, but we’ve come a long way from conversations about fashion and technology that began and ended with Hussein Chalayan‘s famous table skirt. Now anyone can purchase (and sometimes rent!) last season’s Naeem Khan at a hefty Gilt discount and pre-order next season’s Eddie Borgo baubles (from Moda Operandi), while emerging designers are flourishing everywhere from Etsy and ModCloth to Fab and AHAlife. With New York Fashion Week approaching, Hearst is seizing the app-frenzied moment for a Fashion Hackathon.

Beginning on the morning of Saturday, February 9, participating developers and designers (register here) will get to spend 24 hours coding away in the company’s breathtaking Norman Foster-designed midtown HQ to create “innovative fashion-focused apps and programs on API platforms from sponsors,” which include Hearst brands (your ELLE, your Harper’s Bazaar…), Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The grand prize winner, as determined by a judging panel of Hearst execs, tech industry gurus, and VCs will receive $10,000 and an internship opportunity. Surprise guest appearances–fingers crossed for that table skirt or better yet, a fresh-from-the-shows Glenda Bailey brandishing a tablet–are promised.

Quote of Note | Andrée Putman

“Having to do a hotel where I was given an almost incomprehensible [very tight] budget, so ridiculous, led me to black and white. I had to use the lowest priced tile in the United States. At first they brought me little pink tiles for the bathrooms. My voice trembling with despair, I asked if they came in white…They said yes! Suddenly I realized, that’s going to be horribly dull!…And in black? Yes…A-ha! We’ll do the bathrooms in black and white. A sort of potluck, with a nice metal washbasin and a few good lights…Suddenly, we had a really nice bathroom. The black and white label comes from there.”

-Interior designer Andrée Putman, who died Saturday in Paris at the age of 87

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