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Quote of Note | Snøhetta’s Craig Dykers

dykers“As architects, we often talk about the concept for something, and that’s interesting because I’ve never heard anyone walk into a building, drop to their knees, and say, ‘Whoa, what a fucking great concept.’ It just doesn’t happen. For us, the concept takes the form of a question. The question can be kind of mysterious or funny. The question can be dangerous. But the best questions, as any child will tell you, are questions that lead to other questions. And so what does that mean in terms of architecture? One of the questions we ask ourselves is, who are making things for? Obviously we’re making them for people. People are not abstractions. We can’t always predict what people do. Do as we design we’re asking, what range of reactions can we expect? The open nature of the design allows people to connect with each other in a civilized manner, even if they seek challenges.”

-Craig Dykers, a founding partner of Snøhetta, in an interview that appears in the March 24 “design issue” of Bloomberg Businessweek. Dykers will be lecturing this evening at Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.

De Stijl Got It: President Obama Visits Mondrian Works in The Hague

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Smile and say “neo-plasticism”! President Obama, Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel, Mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte with Mondrian’s Victory Boogie Woogie. (Photo courtesy Gemeentemuseum Den Haag)

As the HQ of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court (among other globe-spanning, peace-making organizations), The Hague is known more for tribunals and arbitration than as a hotbed of art and design, but the Dutch city—the third largest in the Netherlands—is quite the trove of masterpieces and exquisite museums, and boasts a city hall designed by Richard Meier (and don’t even get us started on Scheveningen!). Those visiting this week for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit got a taste of the North Sea city’s charms. President Obama found time between defcon-themed discussions to pop into the Art Deco-style home of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, which owns the largest collection of work by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, and took in the museum’s “Mondrian & De Stijl” exhibition. Joined by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel, and mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, Obama admired Mondrian’s final painting, Victory Boogie Woogie (1944), and, according to the museum, declared it “fabulous.”

At Architecture & Design Film Festival, a Look at Building Communities

This month marked the Los Angeles debut of the Architecture & Design Film Festival. We dispatched writer Brigette Brown to take in a few of the 30 flicks on offer along with the program of talks and panels. The five-day festival kicked off with If You Build It, a documentary that follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller as they lead a group of high school students in rural North Carolina through a year-long design-build project, and wrapped up on a similar note, with a closing panel entitled “Hands-on, Ground-up: Community and Design/Build.”

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The Los Angeles Theater Center, an early-nineteenth century bank turned theater, was the setting for the inaugural L.A. edition of the Architecture & Design Film Festival. (All photos courtesy ADFF)

27_ADFF_LA_2014-(22)-Kyle-Bergman_Steve-Badanes“Hands-on, Ground-up,” the final program of the Architecture & Design Film Festival in Los Angeles, left the audience wondering how we, as community members, designers, architects, and structure aficionados, can collaborate and build more. How can we push ourselves back into building and problem solving away from the computer, getting our hands dirty?

Architecture critic Mimi Zeiger moderated a panel of seasoned minds in the architecture and design/build field: Steve Badanes (pictured at right with festival founder and co-director, Kyle Bergman) professor of architecture and director of the Neighborhood Design Build Studio at the University of Washington; Jenna Didier, founder of experimental design and exhibition space, Materials & Applications; and, Dave Sellers, founder of Sellers and Company Architects. Though each panelist approaches the topic of design/build differently in their practices—professor, architect, artist—they each showed how small steps within design culture can help guide American culture to a more hands-on way of living.

“Why is it important to talk about design/build right now?” Zeiger asked to kick off the discussion. This simple “why should we care?” question shaped the conversation that followed. “A day’s work usually involves staring at a screen, pushing around a bar of soap, and maybe answering a few emails and sending some texts,” said Badanes. “So, you don’t really get the satisfaction that you’ve accomplished anything. When you make things, it’s really visceral…you have the satisfaction that you’ve made something.” The panelists agreed that design/build is about getting back in touch with making things. Using a hammer, painting columns and, as Sellers said, “having the oldest lady you can find make [you] blueberry pies” to eat on site are what architecture and design should be about.
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Livingly Media to Upgrade Lonny

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In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do series, we interviewed Livingly Media’s VP of content, John Newlin. Newlin is in charge of three sites: Zimbio (pop culture), StyleBistro (fashion), and Lonny (interior design).

Lonny launched in October 2009 as a lifestyle and home decor online magazine. It includes DIY tips (one recent article: How To Make Your Own Throw Pillows), interviews with designers, and plenty of gorgeous photos for inspiration. And soon, Newlin revealed, readers can expect a major upgrade:

Right now, we’re redesigning Lonny. It was one of the first so-called “digital shelter” sites, offering PDFs of print publications. We’ve since moved away from that format of replicating magazine pages. Because of mobile, we’ve decided to change direction and build the next thing in this shelter category. On mobile phones, Lonny is hard to read. The new Lonny will launch this spring.

To learn more about Livingly Media, including how the company acquired more than 10 million photos for its archives, read: So What Do You Do, John Newlin, VP of Content at Livingly Media?

Design Jobs: National Wildlife Federation, OPERA America, Kaspersky Lab

This week, National Wildlife Federation is hiring a designer, while OPERA America needs a digital and print graphic designer. Kaspersky Lab is seeking a senior graphic designer, and Time Inc. is on the hunt for a designer (marketing) for Travel and Leisure. 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.

Shigeru Ban Wins Pritzker Prize

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“Firmness, commodity, and delight.” These are the three words—cribbed from Vitruvius, who considered “firmitas, utilitas, venustas” to be the fundamental principles of architecture—that appear on the Louis Sullivan-inspired bronze medallion that is awarded to each laureate of the Pritzker architecture prize. This year the coveted hardware goes to Shigeru Ban, who’ll receive it along with $100,000 at a ceremony at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on June 13.

Ban is the seventh Japanese architect to receive the prize, which has previously been awarded to Toyo Ito, Kenzo Tange, Fumihiko Maki, Tadao Ando, and SANAA’s Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. “Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful,’ said Ban upon learning that he had been selected as the 2014 laureate. “I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing—not to change what I am doing, but to grow.“ Ban’s latest stateside project, a new building for the Aspen Art Museum, will be unveiled this summer.

Quote of Note | Neville Brody

neville_brody“In early 2002 I presented a lecture at the Design Indaba conference in South Africa, then newly free and celebrating liberation from eons-old social oppression and apartheid, extreme enforced inequality. The theme was ‘Can Design Feed People?’ The question wasn’t literal but was intended to pose the bigger question—what role can design and designers play today? Because we do not work in a vacuum. Design is not an innocent bystander. It is deeply integral to to the mechanisms of the social construct….We need to take more risks. As risks are no longer taken, minority interests become extinct and individual tastes are ignored. Just as governments limit the scope for intellectual and political debate, we don’t notice that the walls are moving inward and we no longer notice how shallow the cultural water. Vacuous top 10 lists fill our in-box and news feeds, cats, dinners, and prayers the rest. For mass communication, mediocrity is the goal, homogeny and vanilla the outcome.”

-Designer Neville Brody in an interview that appears in the March 24 “design issue” of Bloomberg Businessweek

Twitter Along with UnBeige

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Famed literary critic Lionel Trilling once described Henry James as a “social twitterer.” Sure, he meant it as an insult, but it makes us feel better about having signed up to twitter ourselves. Look to the UnBeige Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute newsbites, event snippets, links of interest, design trivia, and our exclusive photo of Rem Koolhaas in mid-ponder (it makes for smashing smartphone wallpaper). The mediabistro.com tech wizards have added to the sidebar at right a handful of our most recent word bursts, but you can sign up to follow all of our twittering, and start twittering yourself at twitter.com.

Now Read This: Favelization

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Is the exotic Brazil that we see referenced and traded upon in contemporary film, fashion, and design real or imaginary? Or perhaps a little of both? These are among the questions addressed by author Adriana Kertzer in Favelization, a new ebook that is part of the DesignFile series launched last year by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Kertzer, a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Arts & Design, sets out to understand the ways in which specific producers of contemporary Brazilian culture capitalized on misappropriations of the favela (informal squatter settlements that grow along the hillsides and lowlands of many Brazilian cities) in order to brand luxury items as “Brazilian.”

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Different Strokes: Lichtenstein Sculptures Bound for Parrish Art Museum

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It was during a break in a college art history course discussion of Saussurean signifiers that we got to chatting up the dashing head teaching fellow, then in lukewarm pursuit of his Ph.D. After some good-natured banter about the arbitrariness of the sign, we ventured into more rational territory: “So, what are you writing your thesis about?” The color swiftly drained from his face and he stared at the ground before mumbling words that were only later discernible as “the sculptures of Roy Lichtenstein.” Everything turned out for the best, and the TF in question is now an associate professor at a leading research university, but to this day we can’t pass one of the Pop artist’s fiberglass houses or aluminum brushstrokes without feeling slightly queasy.

If anything can undo that association it’s the Parrish Art Museum. Next week the museum’s stunning new(ish) Herzog & de Meuron-designed home in Water Mill, New York will get its first long-term, outdoor installation in Lichtenstein’s Tokyo Brushtroke I & II (1994), part of a series of sculptures constructed mainly in the 1990s. The soaring, two-piece sculpture, made of painted and fabricated aluminum, tops out at 33 feet, taller than the museum itself: a monolevel extruded barn-as-studio made both rugged and stealth by cloudy concrete walls and a white corrugated metal roof. A temporary loan from collectors Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, Tokyo Brushtroke I & II will sit (in a cement brace) near Montauk Highway, acting as a colorful signpost of sorts for the Parrish.

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