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Archives: January 2008

Ian Schrager and Bill Marriott Rock the New Edition

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Back in June we posted the rather disturbing announcement that Ian Schrager was teaming with Bill Marriott to create a new line of hotels based on the broad concepts of “colors” and “chandeliers” (their quotes, not ours). Whaddaya know, it all panned out as planned and today, the team announced not only the name, but several planned locations, including two in our fair City of Angels:

Marriott and Schrager declined to say exactly where in downtown and Hollywood the hotels would be, but they are expected to open in about three years and have about 200 rooms apiece.

They would be part of the new Edition chain — as in, the Los Angeles Edition. Other Editions are planned in Paris, Madrid, Costa Rica, Miami, Washington, Chicago and Scottsdale, Ariz.

“We’re going to use a lot of different designers and each one will be totally different,” Schrager said.

But beyond hand-picking designers, we’re not sure how much Schrager is going to be pumped into these properties. A third party developer will build and own the hotels, with Marriott operating them just like their other hotels. “I’ll try to give it its ethos and lively bars and restaurants,” says Schrager. Well, hey, at least he’s going to try.

T+L Design Awards Honor the New Museum and Geishas With Smeared Makeup

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No real surprises in the Travel + Leisure design awards, judged by Agnes Gund, John Hoke, Richard Lambertson, Renee Price, Hani Rashid, David Rockwell and Yeohlee Teng, and moderated by Chee Pearlman. The New Museum aces yet another critical review, with a nod for best museum. The Nam Hai in Vietnam gets best resort, and the Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street is best hotel. The troubled National Stadium, Beijing wins for for public space and Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle gets a well-deserved nod for cultural space. Zaha Hadid‘s cable car stations in Innsbruck get best transportation. Design Champion is Amanda Burden, commissioner of City Planning for NYC. Something called the iPhone gets best travel gadget.

But there is one surprise, at least to us: Philippe Starck‘s Katsuya Hollywood as best restaurant. Not that it’s not nice-looking in a knives suspended in Lucite kind of way, but it’s simply the second location in a chain (the original location’s in Brentwood, many more are planned). Plus, the design makes it a bit difficult to actually eat there. Most of the chairs are un-sit-able (T+L calls them ‘simple,’ they obviously didn’t subject their rears to them) and the ambiance isn’t exactly appetizing, as the arty shot above from our pals at Eater LA will illustrate. The good news is that the blood-red lipstick dripping all over the place helps to remind you to order your Kobe beef rare.

Contract Honors Freelon, Moser at Interiors Awards

freelon.gifContract magazine, which focuses on commercial interiors, has named Philip G. Freelon (at right) of The Freelon Group, as its 2008 Designer of the Year. Looking globally, the magazine selected Moira Moser of Hong Kong-headquartered M Moser Associates as its 2008 Legend.

Last Friday, the magazine also recognized the winners of its 29th Annual Interiors Awards. Surprise, suprise, good ‘ol Gensler took home the prize for best large office (for its work for advertising firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty). In the hotels category, Jeffrey Beers International won for The Cove Atlantis Resort (hmm, surely we need to do an in-depth UnBeige profile of this property?). Where restaurants and retail were concerned, it was the age-old combination of prime beef and dancing shoes, with Bentel & Bentel Architects winning for Craftsteak New York and burdifilek for its Capezio store in Toronto (we detect a certain Hadidian flavor, but see for yourself). Read about more award winners on Contract‘s website, but be warned, it’s going to make you want to apply for a job at Bartle Bogle Hegarty–not to mention crave a juicy steak and a new leotard.

What Would Craft Not Publish?

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Ever-vigilant Rob Walker has published a piece killed by Craft after the magazine claimed it might be seen as “anti-religious.” Anti-religious crafts have always been fascinating to us, so we took a peek at Jean Railla‘s essay. “What Would Jesus Sell?” is named after the new Morgan Spurlock documentary, about the anti-consumerist Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping. The bizarre thing is, besides the title and one paragraph describing the film, there are no religious references whatsoever (and not even a list of Jesus-condoned purchases, unfortunately). What there is, however, is a questioning of the Buy Handmade Pledge, reported by Walker and elsewhere earlier this year. And what we think lodged the knitting needle in a Craft editor’s behind was this:

But I can’t help thinking: Isn’t shopping, no matter how wonderfully crafty and politically correct still, well, shopping? Can you escape the so-called sin of consumerism by buying handmade? Isn’t the whole point of modern crafting Do It Yourself–not Buy from Someone Who is Doing It Themselves? Not to be a total hypocrite; I shop Etsy and artisan crafters as well as buy the crap from China just like everyone else. It’s just that I see a new trend, which is moving away from crafting and towards consuming. What’s next? “Hip Craft” aisles at Wal-Mart?

According to Walker, late last week Craft changed its tune, saying the article was axed as a “matter of timing and space issues” (might we mention that Railla wrote this piece for her regular column, ahem). We’d say the real reason for the cut was that Railla’s piece was a little too anti-craft.

Windy City to Get Icy Museum

ice.jpgThat’s right, dear reader, if you guessed that today’s UnBeige Secret Word is “ice,” you may have won a lifetime supply of Creamsicles! Not to be outdone by its neighbors to the north, Chicago is gearing up for its own ice-themed public art project. Friday will usher in the Museum of Modern Ice (and doesn’t its acronym, MoMI, sound like the name of a cuddly, diminutive polar creature?), a month-long outdoor festival in the city’s Millennium Park. Among the highlights will be a 95-foot-long, 12-foot-tall wall of ice created by artist Gordon Halloran and located just behind the park’s Anish Kapoor “Cloud Gate” sculpture.

Here’s more about the ice wall from a press release:

One side, visible from Michigan Avenue, echoes the city’s renowned skyline. The other side–full of color, complexity, and variety–is meant to be interactive and seen in close proximity. Inspired by a glacial wall in its final stages of movement toward the ocean, the installation will evolve over time with natural and planned changes, encouraging visitors to return frequently to observe the activity.

The “Museum” will also feature an abstract, multicolored ice painting by Halloran. Where? On the park’s ice rink of course. And yes, visitors will be welcome to skate on it.

Public Art Ice-Breaker: A Frozen Car Thaws in Michigan

frozen car model.jpgFrozen cars are nothing new in Houghton, the town on the western side of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that is home to Michigan Tech University. But even the most frigid conditions don’t imprison autos in massive blocks of ice. For that, you need artists.

Enter Mary Carothers and Sue Wrbican, a couple of RISD graduates (now professors of photography at University of Louisville and George Mason University, respectively) who have collaborated on art projects since 1994. Next week on the Michigan Tech campus, they plan to unveil their latest project: a 1978 Chevy Nova frozen into a block of ice (a model is shown above). As the car thaws through the spring, Carothers and Wrbican will document its demise and interact with those who come to see the project.

Making a car popsicle in northern Michigan may sound easy, but it’s quite an undertaking, as the artists’ Frozen Car blog makes clear. After towing the gutted car to campus, they parked it in a car-sized container built by local high school students. The artists then began gradually filling the container with water, leaving it to freeze into icy layers.

“The frozen car points to the classic struggle of culture versus nature,” says Wrbican, who also notes how the automobile has stood for freedom and power in American culture. And the artists’ choice of model was deliberate–the ’78 Chevy Nova being one of The Big Three’s last true “gas guzzlers.” On their website, Carothers and Wrbican also compare their project to another freezing scheme: “The act of freezing references ‘cryonics,’ a procedure which hypothetically preserves a diseased body until a cure is found.”

The Hermitage Back in Talks With Rem Koolhaas

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Well it certainly takes them long enough to get all the paperwork in order and make things click. You might recall that, back in June, we were talking about Rem KoolhaasAMO was in talks with the Hermitage about retooling the whole historic museum to bring it more up to date and speak to a wider audience. But that was just all hypothetical plans. Now it’s being reported that the Hermitage has finally pulled the trigger on the deal and will be bringing Koolhaas and his cronies in to class up the joint. Well, sort of. It still sounds like it’s more a plan than, you know, actual hammers and nails and turning Litta Madonna into an interactive video game. Here’s a bit:

A joint AMO/Hermitage team will begin work to refine the museum’s global agenda, its urban and architectural programming, and its curatorial strategies over the next 12 months.

A joint statement says the team will assess the institution’s ‘global mission, national position and urban situation, as well as its relationship to the city of St Petersburg.’

The ideas will then be tested via the curation of one of the museum’s permanent exhibitions, the design of a temporary exhibition and an urban design project, before the final publication in 2014 of a Hermitage masterplan and an associated exhibition.

Designing Identity Packages for Drug Runners

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This writer is in the process of hunting for houses right now and coming to the realization that, even with the markets as sad as it is now, he can afford roughly a closet and half of a light bulb. Luckily before things got to desperate and he was forced to start hanging around in an alley outside a local hospital, offering to sell a kidney or two, we found this story: “Fake FedEx Trucks: When the Drugs Absolutely Have to Get There.” It concerns the recent appearance of what looks to be normal corporate vehicles, which are, in fact, mobile drug stashes dummied up with very realistic branding. What’s more, authorities have found that whoever is doing all of these vehicle wraps is landing around $6,000 per car. So if you’re in need of quick cash and you think you can redraw the Wal-Mart logo pretty well, here’s your meal ticket. Oh, but, we should also mention that you run the risk of going to jail.

AIA Announced Winners of Young Architects Awards

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Hot off their unveiling of the 2008 Honor Awards and then their announcement that they wanted to keep staying in the public consciousness as long as they possibly can, the American Institute of Architects has just released its recipients of the 2008 Young Architects Awards. Because its focus is on “young,” meaning they aren’t all bidding on projects alongside Frank Gehry, we hadn’t heard of most of them, but Architectural Record has the complete list and all of their individual bios. If you want to start your morning off in a lousy way, realizing how much of your life you waste away eating boxes of Pop Tarts and watching cartoons while these people are out hustling, this is the list for you. Here’s from the intro, before all their info:

Call it a “top 10″ list, of sorts. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today announced the names of 10 individuals that it is recognizing with its 2008 Young Architects Award. These honors go to architects who have made significant contributions to the profession early in their careers; professionals who have been licensed 10 years or less, regardless of their age, are eligible…The AIA will bestow the awards at its National Convention and Design Exposition in Boston this May. The Boston Society of Architects nominated five of this year’s 10 winners.

Kathy Halbreich On Her New Life at the MoMA

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Back in March you might recall that we reported on Kathy Halbreich‘s unexpected departure from her spot as Director of the Walker Art Center. Then later, in October, she decided to make the jump over to the Museum of Modern Art. Now that she’s there, enjoying all the perks of being an Associate Director of a big city, major American institution, Art Info got the chance to sit down with her recently and talk about what’s been going on and how she’s enjoying the new gig, largely the freedom she has that she didn’t at the Walker. Here’s some:

It sounds like all of the good parts of a museum director’s job without any of the bad parts.

Yes. I can shed a lot of the things that directors have to do, like worrying about the shop or the restaurant, or all of those things that make a museum director’s job immensely complex. At MoMA I can actually focus on the art and the artists, and on the curators and educators and administrators. I might even organize a show occasionally!

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