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Tweet Seats: Blu Dot Plays Musical Chairs on Twitter

Love directional furniture but can’t make it down to Design Miami, which opens today in a vast tent adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center? Vent your frustrations through a game of Musical Chairs–with a virtual twist. Beginning this week, Blu Dot is bringing Musical Chairs to Twitter, giving players the chance to tweet their way to a free Hot Mesh Chair (pictured). As for the music, the Minneapolis-based maker of modern home furnishings partnered with creative agency mono and Tim Cretella and Brittany Yates of the band Doppio (those are their songs you’ll hear just before scrambling for a seat). Ready to play? Head here and then prepare to tweet that round’s secret phrases. Survive all four rounds of each game to win a chair.

Name a Planet! Spacey Startup Uwingu Creating ‘Baby Book of Planet Names’

This week a team of sharp-eyed astrophysicists announced their discovery of a new planet: a young, cold, and roguish type that refuses to orbit any star. They’ve named the sunless planet…CFBDSIR2149. While this is an improvement over “Uranus,” it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. An astronomy- and space-focused startup is seeking to end this squandering of planet-naming opportunities with its first commercial project. Uwingu–”sky” in Swahili–is challenging the people of Earth to create a “baby book of planet names” for the 160 billion or more planets astronomers now estimate inhabit our galaxy, the Milky Way (cut to image of delicious candy bars).

“You can nominate planet names for your favorite town, state, or country, your favorite sports team, music artist, or hero, your favorite author or book, your school, your company, for your loved ones and friends, or even for yourself,” suggests Uwingu founder and CEO Alan Stern, an aerospace consultant and researcher who formerly directed all science program and missions at NASA. Each nomination costs 99 cents, with proceeds going to create a private sector fund for space projects. Names can be up to 50 characters (latin letters only), from any language or culture, and “can be anything the average grandmother would be proud to hear her grandchild say.” A contest will determine the 1,000 most popular planet names in the database, which will be communicated to planet-hunting astronomers for consideration. Voting is now open (votes also cost 99 cents each). Among the early leaders are “Pale Blue Dot,” “Heinlein,” and “Ron Paul.”

SO-IL Wins Best Metaphorical Costume at Storefront for Art and Architecture’s ‘Critical Halloween’ Bash

(Photo: Naho Kabuto)

Cotton Balls. Man on the Moon. Picket Fence. Mayonnaise. You probably recognize these as some of Benjamin Moore’s palest paint colors. Brooklyn-based architecture firm SO-IL saw their potential as Halloween costumes. Principals Florian Idenburg (dressed as Gray Owl) and Jing Liu (as Marilyn’s Dress) led a group that included Indian White, French Manicure, Antique Lace, and American White to victory at Storefront for Art and Architecture’s “Critical Halloween: On Banality, On Metaphor” costume competition, held Saturday in Brooklyn.

An estemeed jury that included Princeton School of Architecture dean Alejandro Zaera Polo (dressed as a cosmonaut) and Charles Renfro (as a voting booth) awarded SO-IL the award for best metaphor of the night. Snarkitecture nabbed best urban metaphor for their sartorial ode to the Manhattan Grid, while Shan Raoufi and Greta Hansen received art props for their delightful On Kawara-style costumes (each sported a black sign in the artist’s signature typeface with Halloween’s date followed by their birth year). You can check out some of the most memorable costumes thanks to Domus, which is running an online competition through November 11. The winner(s) will receive a one-year subscription to Domus.

Friday Photo: The Calm Before the Storm

(Photo: Philip MacCarthy)

With a megastorm on the horizon for the country’s East Coast, we present this calming fall foliage break. “A Perfect Fall Day” by Philip MacCarthy has been declared the winner of Rhode Island Monthly’s “I Luv RI” photography contest and appears in the November issue of the magazine. “I took the photo a few years back when I moved here from San Diego, after being in what some would say the best weather in the United States, and realized there is something heart warming, rejuvenating, and serene about fall in Rhode Island,” said MacCarthy, who lives in Warwick and snapped the photo at Indian Lake in South Kingstown. “Everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”

Making a Case for Design: AIGA Names Winners of ‘Justified’ Competition

Earlier this year, AIGA put out the call for “stories that reveal the value design creates for clients, the public and, most especially, customers” for Justified, a new kind of competition. Hundreds of entries poured in—from design firms, in-house design departments, design entrepreneurs, and freelance designers—and a jury of top designers chaired by Terry Irwin, head of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design, has selected 18 exemplary case studies that serve as an effective tool to explain design’s value to clients, students, peers, and the general public. Five entries made the shortlists of all of the jurors: the Feed the Future Website, Make Congress Work!, Earth Lab: Degrees of Change, HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites, and CODA Experience Center. “In a challenging economic climate, articulating what we do has become more important than ever,” said juror Petrula Vrontikis, creative director of Vrontikis Design Office, in a statement issued by AIGA. “It is possibly the most useful skill we can master, allowing us to keep good clients and make purposeful (and beautiful) work.”

I Photoshop, Therefore I Am

kruger tweaked.jpgEnhance your resume and your vacation photos with the Mediabistro mothership’s online course in Adobe Photoshop, back by popular demand. In four short weeks (October 17 through November 14) you can get up and running on the program of programs—the subject of many an ethical debate—under the guidance of images whiz Rob Tannenbaum, a photo editor who has worked for The Martha Stewart Show and wields a master’s degree in newsroom graphics management.

NEH Launches Open Competition for Design of New National Humanities Medal

As many installments of the Olympic Games have taught us, designing a good medal ain’t easy. The National Endowment for the Humanities is casting a wide net in its bid to freshen up the National Humanities Medal, the coveted yet less than dazzling medallion (pictured) bestowed by the President since 1997 to “individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to the humanities.” The diverse bunch of past recipients—including poet John Ashbery, former Metropolitan Museum of Art director Philippe de Montebello, art critic Hilton Kramer, and the Norman Rockwell Museum—have all received a text-heavy disk that lauds them, on an illustrated plaque floating atop a bed of what looks like tickertape, for “expanding our understanding of the world.” Think you can do better? Start sketching. Entries to the freshly launched National Humanities Medal Design Competition will be accepted until February 1, 2013. To be considered, designs must include the words “National Humanities Medal” and leave room on the back (at least 3 inches by 1.5 inches) for the name of the medalist to be engraved. The winner, to be selected by NEH chairman Jim Leach on the advice of a panel of judges (“selected for their expertise in the fields of art, sculpture, minting, and cultural management”), will be announced on April 15, and the new medal will debut at next year’s White House medal ceremony.

In Brief: I Spy a New Eye Site, Write Captions for Stan Lee, Exhibition A Pop-Up, Mo’ Millions for Mobli

“Valencia” (1961) is included in “The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker and the Institute of Design,” on view through February 24, 2013 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

• Feast your eye (well, eyes) on the new Eye magazine website. The London-based graphic design review’s overhauled online home incorporates the four-year-old Eye blog as well as an issue archive that goes all the way back the first issue in 1990. Look for more writing from the archives and many more images to be added in the coming months. Get a taste of the latest issue–#83–with Adrian Shaughnessy’s reevaluation of Herb Lubalin.

• Comics legend Stan Lee has turned to Facebook for some crowdsourced captions. Learn more about the contest from our sister site, Galleycat.

• Our friends at the art flash sale site Exhibition A are preparing to showcase their suitable-for-framing wares in the real world. On Saturday, the Exhibition A Pop Up Gallery will take over Half Gallery in NYC. Stop by between noon and 6 p.m. to preview and collect prints by the likes of Olaf Breuning, Les Rogers, and Jessica Craig-Martin. Not in New York? Peruse the latest crop of offerings at your leisure online.
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Futura Customizes Bottle for Hennessy, Mentors Pratt Students in ‘Wild Rabbit’ Competition

Futura with Pratt MFA students Macklen Mayse and Jonathan “Johnny Tragedy” Stanish.

Street artist Futura has splashed his signature colored helices on a bottle for Hennessy, following the LVMH-owned cognac house’s successful 2011 match-up with KAWS. This year’s project also included a partnership with Pratt Institute, where a group of eight art and design students and recent graduates were challenged to produce work that illustrates the “wild rabbit.” The theme is a nod to the creatures that dart about Cognac, France and represents a force that drives people from one success to another, according to Hennessy brand lore. Jeff Bellantoni, chair of graduate communications design at Pratt, served as the faculty advisor for the competition, for which Futura mentored the students as they created works that ranged from a hand-crocheted afghan rug made from 185 plastic bags collected over the course of a month (the work of MFA student Natalie Sims) to a glamorously shredded evening gown topped by a rabbit head mask and photographed in a series of idylls (by BFA student Sophie Hui-Ni). Stay tuned for the full scoop on the contest winners. In the meantime, here’s an up-close and personal look at Futura, courtesy of Hennessy.
(Photos from top left: UnBeige and courtesy Hennessy)

In Brief: Pizza Museum for Philly, Getty Images Creative Grants, Tino Seghal as Young Grinch

Montana’s Grinell glacier photographed in 2008 by Project Pressure, a non-profit that is developing the world’s first glacier atlas consisting of hundreds of images of the world’s retreating glaciers.

• Studies show that pizza tastes even better when consumed in the midst of pizza-related memorabilia, and so Philadelphians are in a for a treat with Pizza Brain. The pizza museum-cum-restaurant is the creation of Brian Dwyer, who owns the world’s largest collection of pizza memorabilia. NPR recently caught up with the pizza fanatic and his team as they put the finishing touches on the place. “We want this place to feel like [an] interactive art installation,” Dwyer told Elizabeth Fiedler. “Instead of just putting it all in a bunch of cases that are very linear and sterile, where you just kind of stare at it and say ‘There’s a thing’ and walk away, this is like, ‘Oh! What’s this little thing?…There’s a pizza face!’” His buddy Ryan Anderson had a slightly less ambitious goal: “All that I want is to not make this place look like an Applebee’s or a Hard Rock Cafe or a Cracker Barrel with ephemera just like stapled to the walls.”

• Photographers Linka Anne Odom and Klaus Thymann, alongside agencies Good Pilot and Mother London, have been selected as the recipients of this year’s Getty Images Creative Grants. The two teams will each receive $15,000 to cover the costs of developing new imagery to strengthen the communications of a non-profit organization they have chosen to support. Odom and Good Pilot are collaborating with D-Foundation to pursue a project that aims to recruit volunteers to increase effectiveness of medical care provided to vulnerable people in India. Meanwhile, Thymann and Mother London will visually highlight “global glacial history”: the photog will travel to Bolivia to document the fieldwork of Project Pressure and the impact of glacial retreat on the local population.

• In other Getty Images news, the sale of the photo giant is moving right along. Final bids, due Monday, August 6, are expected from Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners, according to a report from Reuters. The price tag could be as much as $4 billion.

• Can Tino Seghal turn questions into art? That’s the question posed by Lauren Collins in a profile of the artist that appears in the August 6 issue of The New Yorker. The story includes an interesting portrait of the artist as a young Grinch, describing an 11-year-old Seghal’s decision to cancel Christmas. “I wrote my parents a letter and said, I don’t want to be part of this Christmas thing,’” he told Collins. “I rejected my presents. This whole kind of Christian colonizing of what was a collective, pagan ritual—I’ve mellowed out a bit, but I was enraged, somehow, by that.”
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