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Posts Tagged ‘Hitler’s’

Beijing’s Olympic Development Feels a Little Too Familiar For Some

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The wildest dreams of the Chinese government will soon be realized as they near completion on the new downtown made exclusively of stadiums, each topped by no less than a dozen high-rise hotels, ringed by bars wrapped in restaurants encased in malls, and connected by gigantic bathrooms filled with acres upon acres of stalls, and so many sinks, mind you, that each person will have one per hand. Or so it seems when reading stories like this Newsweek article about Beijing development in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. Some say it’s like Paris, when Baron Haussmann realigned the tiny streets into les grands boulevards. But some can’t help but see hints of another city that hosted the games not too long ago–something Mia Farrow has already courteously pointed out to us.

That’s just not true, says the architect Albert Speer Jr., son of…uh, yeah, that guy:

For others, Beijing’s radical rebuild smacks of totalitarian-power architecture, akin to the grandiose but unrealized blueprints of Albert Speer, Hitler’s favorite architect. But Albert Speer Jr. disagrees. The younger Speer–also a prominent German architect–recently redesigned a central eight-kilometer-long strip running from the center of the Forbidden City north to the new Olympic green. Mandated by imperial feng shui masters, this has been Beijing’s heart for centuries. Speer says his scheme is a paean to the city’s tradition, not a power trip–despite being “bigger, much bigger” than his father’s “megalomaniac” design for New Berlin.

So Speer Jr. is into ‘bigger, much bigger,’ but not ‘megalomaniac big.’ Because there is a difference.

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Tucker Viemeister Covers Everything

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Apparently Tucker Viemeister has been stricken with a terrible affliction: The Curse of Being Able to do Everything. His dad, legendary industrial designer Read Viemeister could also do anything (“And not just because he’s my dad,” he said). And yes, Tucker is named after the car–which his dad worked on. No pressure, right?

At his latest gig at Studio Red at the Rockwell Group (named for the soda, not that other RED) they’re working on everything from a frightening-sounding Coca-Cola Wellness Center to the Coke Cruiser, which is like an ice cream truck on a Segway. He says working at the Rockwell Group is like being in the Village People. We bet David Rockwell is the cop.

But back to being cursed. Le Corbusier was cursed. Da Vinci was cursed. Hitler was especially cursed, says Viemeister–he was a brilliant designer of SS uniforms, a Volkswagen, imposing architecture, and of course that pretty effective logo–but he was also cursed in a different way.

Viemiester himself has been single-handedly cursed by literally “good design”: he did the OXO Good Grips and can’t live it down. So what does a cursed man do? Choose “multi” over “total”. Take chances, for more choices. Cross-pollinate. And so, from the man who can do everything, a really good new idea:

We don’t have any good rituals for Martin Luther King Day, he says. So on January 15, eat lunch with someone from another race. The civil rights movement was all about integrating lunch counters and lunch with anyone is a good thing.

Viemeister also wins Best Designed Presentation for the conference, with slides that zipped by with continuity that made us feel like we were swooping through an IMAX-sized screen. He’s currently tied with Stanley Hainsworth for Best Hair.