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Drink Champagne, Design Tiny Chair, Repeat

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Two of our favorite things—Champagne and chairs—come together in a festive contest from the bubbly furniture fans at Design Within Reach. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: create an original miniature chair using only the foil, label, cage, and cork from no more than two Champagne bottles (glue is the only permitted adhesive). Entering is the easy part. Simply snap a photo of your tiny, fizzy throne and upload it here. A panel of Champagne-loving chair experts, including DWR Founder Rob Forbes and Brooklyn-based design studio Egg Collective, will judge the chairs in an event on February 11 at DWR’s SoHo studio, and three winners will receive DWR gift cards: the first-place prize (a $1,000 gift card) will cover the cost of a Prouvé Standard Chair, in which you can sit and sip more champagne to celebrate. Drink fast, because the deadline for entries is Thursday, January 12.

Quote of Note | James Welling on Publishers’ Logos

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“In the early 1970s the most cited writer in Artforum was the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty. So I sought out Merleau-Ponty’s books published by Northwestern University Press. After some struggle I realized I couldn’t make sense of his ideas. But I came to love his publisher’s distinctive interlocking arrows on the front cover, and the interior layout and typeface. So I looked for other books published by Northwestern. When I was in New York I’d visit Papyrus Books near Columbia University and spend the evening reading philosophy and poetry in the aisles. Then I’d carefully select one volume to buy. Like Northwestern’s arrows, each publisher had a distinctive, memorable logo. Vintage Books had a fiery, anthropomorphic sun on its spine; Hill and Wang’s logo comprised interlocking black letter initials; George Braziller’s clean serif-type name locked down the title page; Grove Press placed a funny Y on the spine. Each publisher’s logo held the promise of an exciting and difficult intellectual journey.”

—Artist James Welling, a professor in the department of art and the area head of photography at the University of California, Los Angeles, in “A List of Favorite Anythings,” which appears in the winter issue of Aperture

Wanted: Photo Editor to Go Hollywood

Ready to go west, young photo editor? Here’s your chance (and you don’t even have to leave New York). Bonnie Fuller‘s pop culture news hub Hollywood Life is looking for a photo editor to join its entertainment-obsessed team in NYC. The position includes star-studded photo research and collaborating with red carpet-ready editors, along with resizing and retouching photos in preparation for online use. The ideal candidate is a Photoshop whiz with experience using media sites, photo agencies, and stock photography. Be ready to dazzle with your creativity and multitasking skills. Our interview advice? Bone up on box office stats and starlet scandals. Click to apply for this Hollywood Life photo editor job or view the latest Mediabistro design jobs.

The Hollywood sign was erected in 1923 as an ad for the Hollywoodland housing development. The above publicity photo for the subdivision’s groundbreaking appears in Leo Braudy‘s 2011 book The Hollywood Sign.

With Malformed, Give the Gift of Medical Oddities

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What do you get for the person who has everything (and anyone with the last name “Sedaris”)? A cache of formalin-preserved human brains, of course—or at least exquisite photos of them. Such is the creeptastic achievement of photographer Adam Voorhes and journalist Alex Hannaford‘s Malformed, new from powerHouse Books. The book lingers on the sulci and gyri of human brains assembled by the Austin State Hospital—né the Texas State Lunatic Asylum—and traces the sordid history of the collection. The normal and abnormal specimens were languishing in a storage closet at the University of Texas when Voorhes came upon them in 2011 while on assignment for Scientific American. He and Hannaford soon discovered that the current collection is about half the size of the original. “It’s a mystery worthy of a hard-boiled detective novel,” notes Hannaford, “100 brains missing from campus, and apparently no one really knows what happened to them.”

Stereotank Drums Up a Winner for Times Square Valentine Heart Competition

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Architects Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente march to the beat of a different drummer. Their Brooklyn-based firm, Stereotank, specializes in designing and constructing “inhabitable sound instruments and installations” as part of a broader exploration of the relationships between space and sound. This cross-discplinary approach was music to the ears of the judges for the Architectural League of New York’s invited competition to design the 2015 Times Square Valentine Heart, besting six other design proposals.

Come February, Stereotank’s HeartBeat (rendered above) will be realized as a public art installation celebrating Valentine’s Day in Times Square. The massive heart glows to the rhythm of a strong, deep, and low frequency heartbeat sound that changes its rate as visitors approach, move around, and engage with it by playing various percussion instruments and joining the base rhythm of the heartbeat. “Love is about sharing and being ‘in tune’ with somebody, so it is the creation of music, a concert is a combined action where the performers are also ‘in tune’ creating harmony, say Ertorteguy and Valente. “HeartBeat orchestrates Times Square’s unique, active, flickering atmosphere.”

Design Jobs: Cynthia Rowley, Queens Library, Solomon Page Group

This week, Cynthia Rowley is hiring a graphic deisgner, while the Queens Library needs a digital designer is looking for a director of design and branding, and  is on the hunt for a Sunday features photo editor. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

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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.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Infographics (But Were Afraid to Ask)

daniel zeeviReady to respond to requests of “Show me the data!” with more than a sad little bar graph? The Mediabistro mothership is now recruiting would-be data visualizers for an online course in infographics that can “engage an audience in your brand, cause, or mission.” Guided by digital communications pro Amanda McCormick, whose resume includes projects with New York City Ballet, Bitly, and Bertlesmann, students will get up to speed with online tools (we’re looking at you Many Eyes) and develop a robust spec for a data visualization. The infographical fun starts January 20. Learn more here.

Quote of Note | Simon Doonan

stripes“Is there anything more jarring than a red poinsettia bursting forth from a pot wrapped in green foil? Red and green are an objectively gruesome combo. Oh, don’t get all dolly defensive! When was the last time you bought a red-and-green couch or a red-and-green floral pantsuit? Simply because it’s the holidays, we are drowning in shades of rouge and leprechaun. It’s time to rebel. Let’s take back the silent night.”

Simon Doonan commences his call for a monochrome Christmas in “Enough with the Red and Green,” his latest column for Slate

Hot to Cold: Bjarke Ingels Group’s ‘Architectural Odyssey’ Bound for National Building Museum

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Designed by BIG with ARUP and 2+1, the Danish Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 featured a pool filled with fresh water from Copenhagen’s harbor. (Photo: Iwan Baan)

Bjarke Ingels is becoming quite the Beltway insider. Over the summer, his Copenhagen- and New York-based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) transformed the atrium of the National Building Museum into a giant (read: BIG), crowd-pleasing plywood maze and within a few weeks he was back in Washington, D.C. to unveil something even BIG-ger: a $2 billion master plan for the Smithsonian Institute’s historic southern campus alongside the National Mall. Washingtonians won’t have to wait long for their next fix: BIG returns to the National Building Museum next month with a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process behind its own globe-spanning projects.

Opening January 24, Hot to Cold: An Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation will take visitors “from the hottest to the coldest parts of our planet and explores how BIG´s design solutions are shaped by their cultural and climatic contexts.” There will be oodles of three-dimensional models (more than 60 to be suspended at the second-floor balconies of the museum’s Great Hall) and collaborators galore. Among those interpreting the 20 BIG projects to be featured in the exhibition are photographer Iwan Baan, filmmakers Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, and Stefan Sagmeister, who is designing the accompanying catalogue.

At New Cooper Hewitt, a Room of Maira Kalman’s Own

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An installation view of Maira Kalman Selects at the newly reopened Cooper Hewitt and Kalman’s illustration of Andrew Carnegie’s music room. (Photo: Matt Flynn, courtesy Cooper Hewitt)

The wait is over: today at the stroke of 11 a.m. the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum reopens its meticulously restored doors to the public, revealing the results of a four-year, $91 million expansion. Among the first of ten inaugural exhibitions and installations that visitors will encounter is the exquisitely presented Maira Kalman Selects, in which the author, artist, and designer has brought together 40 objects from the Cooper Hewitt, other Smithsonian institutions, and her own personal collection in a presentation that is at turns haunting and whimsical.

Ranging from calligraphy samplers and a stepladder to Gerrit Rietveld‘s Zig Zag chair (“He took things to their elemental line,” says Kalman of the Dutch designer. “He was rigorous–but had a sense of humor.”) and lemon-hued leather slippers from 1830 that give Dorothy’s ruby pair a run for their money, the artifacts suggest the moments in a life, from birth (a vintage edition of Winnie the Pooh) to death (Lincoln’s funeral pall). The piano in the corner is a nod to the the high-ceilinged yet intimate space’s origins as Andrew Carnegie‘s music room, and a tasseled ribbon points like an arrow to a pair of striped pants resting on the piano bench. Encouraging a second look is a small white placard, lettered in Kalman’s distinctively dreamy handwriting: “Kindly refrain from touching the piano and Toscanini‘s pants.” Bravo, Maira.

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