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Archives: September 2008

Bono’s Trash Bin Sells for $30K at Charity Auction

vipp helena bono.jpgRemember when earlier this month, we told you about that charity auction of Vipp trash bins customized by everyone from Mario Batali and Mario Buatta to Jenny Holzer and Dale Chihuly? The event succeeded in raising thousands for the Food Bank for New York City and Chernobyl Children’s Project International. Bono‘s bin alone sold for an impressive $30,000 in the live auction. But the U2 frontman did more than doodle for a good cause; his bin (pictured at left, with auction organizer Helena Christensen) contained unpublished lyrics off of U2′s next album, including a tribute to Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday. (Which makes us feel terribly inadequate: we just FedExed him a Carvel cake.)

Click “continued…” for photos from the star-studded evening at Winston Wachter Fine Art Gallery, where Vipp trash bin customizers including Karim Rashid, Celerie Kemble, and Jason Miller turned out for good clean fun in support of a couple of good causes.

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Former Martha Stewart CEO Susan Lyne Has Brand New Bag

susan lyne.jpgIt’s a designer bag, and she got a hefty discount. Former Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia CEO Susan Lyne recently announced that she will become CEO of Gilt Groupe, by far the best in a growing breed of members-only online sample sale sites (other include ideeli, Editors’ Closet, Top Secret, and Rue La La). In January, Gilt Groupe entered a savvy partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), which led to the CFDA’s endorsement of the site’s ability to “distribute excess inventory and overstock in a discrete and efficient manner” and sales of CFDA member-designed merch from seasons past, with some of the proceeds benefiting the CFDA Foundation. Earlier this week, amidst financial market floundering of historical proportions, Gilt swiftly sold out of last season’s Chloé (departed designer Paulo Melim Andersson‘s sailing-inspired spring collection for the French house). Our sister blog, FishbowlNY, talked with Lyne about her transition from MSLO to Gilt. What’s the common thread? Branding!

Every great consumer-facing company starts with a brand promise to its customer: this is what we will deliver; this is how we will make your life better, or easier, less complicated, more fun. Each job I’ve held had a different core customer and a different brand promise. The key is never forgetting who you serve and what they count on you for.

More Info (and Photos!) on Koolhaas’ Prada Transformer


Heading back to a story from the other day about Rem Koolhaas‘ latest job with Prada, we turn to Sfilate, who not only has both more information on the building of the Prada Transformer, the ever-shifting building/art space, but a concept illustration and four drawings of the place from each perspective to boot. And after seeing them, we can safely tell you, dear readers, that Rem and Miuccia are getting ready to build a death ray. You can’t tell too much from the images, and they try and pass it off as a film projector in the illustration, but it’s clearly a death ray. A death ray in the shape of a tetrahedron and with very few walls that actually connect, as far as we can tell anyway. Still, even if the two of them do become our supreme leaders, holding the world hostage with this insidious device, at least it’s kind of cool looking. Here’s a bit:

The form of the Transformer is derived from a Tetrahedron and when rotated each side facilitates a different cultural program. Each of the four programs will function on unique steel framed shapes including a hexagon, a cross, a rectangle and a circle. Thus, over the course of the exposition, floors will become walls and walls will become ceiling.

Prada Transformer will be realized with the support of LG Electronics, Hyundai Motor Company and Red Resource

Is the New Pentagon Memorial Too Fixated on Numbers?


While we’ve all been wrapped up with the trouble over the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania and the slow progress of the new World Trade Center site, designers Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman seem to have quietly rolled out their work on the now-completed Pentagon Memorial two weeks ago. Unfortunately, Slate critic Witold Rybczynski thinks the memorial misses the mark. Described as 184 individual markers (or “memorial units”) arranged by order of age of the victims, with an accompanying wall that rises and falls using their ages as well, as well as numerous other filters used to specify who these people were and where they were when they died, Rybczynski finds the whole thing too statistical and more like one big graveyard, instead of having something to say about what happened there. He also doesn’t believe that the memorial was built well at all:

The evening I was there, although the memorial was barely two weeks old, a crew of maintenance workers was painstakingly removing stones and debris that had made their way into the pools — most of the walking surfaces are composed of loose gravel. Memorials are traditionally made out of granite, marble, or bronze, not only to last “forever,” but also to convey a sense of perpetuity. On that score, the Pentagon Memorial seems more like an art installation than a monument for the ages.

2012 Olympics Designers Trying to Think of Everything


To be filed under “Huh. That’s interesting.” is news from the 2012 Olympics planning in London, where the Olympic Delivery Authority is trying to make the international event “the most inclusive and accessible so far.” They’re doing all the usual things like designing and building wheelchair ramps and different arrangements for restrooms to help cater to both the very young and the very old, all of which is nice and welcomed. But what we found particularly interesting is that they’re going the extra mile with religious considerations by making sure that most of the toilets in those aforementioned restrooms do not face Mecca, thus making it more welcoming to Muslims by observing their beliefs. How’s that for thinking ahead in the design planning? Elsewhere in London Olympic-land, here’s another interesting bit about how small design firms across the UK are meeting en masse to talk over their plans in bidding for design contracts and how they can clean up their shop to make sure they land the gig. And they’re pretty fastidious, those Olympic committees, as after they look at your portfolio, they also check out things like your firm’s turnover rate, level of diversity, and safety credentials. Something to keep in mind once we land 2016 here in Chicago (which we must!).

John Maeda Simplifies RISD Inauguration

maeda at risd.jpg

Earlier this month, the Rhode Island School of Design inaugurated computer scientist, artist, author, designer, and overall shape shifter John Maeda as its 16th president in a streamlined swearing-in ceremony that The Providence Journal described as “notable both for its brevity—the entire event lasted less than two hours—and for its roster of A-list guest speakers.” Those speakers included Congressmen, the mayor of Providence, keynote speaker Nicholas Negroponte of MIT, and Brown University President Ruth Simmons, who alluded to Maeda’s fondness for casualwear, quipping, “We’re all wondering what you’ll wear to your first meeting with your fellow college presidents.” The ProJo also commented on the “Maeda-esque touches” to the inauguration festivities:

During the ceremony, dozens of cloth banners—some printed with the phrase “Start Here,” others decorated with drawings and paintings—hung from the church’s second-story balcony. Organizers said the banners were meant to evoke both ship’s sails, a reference to Providence’s maritime past, and Tibetan prayer flags, a symbol of good luck.

Read a still-growing stream of messages posted to Maeda’s “Start Here” inauguration website and add one of your own here.

Previously on UnBeige:

  • John Maeda Finishes His Prep Before Taking Over at RISD
  • John Maeda Narrates His Field Trip to the Glass House
  • John Maeda’s Wife Bet Their Daughters He Wouldn’t Land RISD Gig
  • John Maeda Named RISD President

  • It’s a Small World After All, Reminds Nikon

    (Shirley Owens).jpgThere are no small photos, only photos taken of really small things with the help of a microscope. That’s the message of Nikon’s annual Small World Photomicrography Competition, now in its 34th year and a leading showcase for photomicrographers from an array of scientific disciplines (and anyone with some spare time and access to a microscope). The winners of this year’s competition will be announced October 15, but the sharp-eyed Nikon judges have narrowed down the top entries for online People’s Choice Award voting through October 10. All 20 of the featured entries are hovering between a rating of two to three on a scale of one through five, so this could be a close one. But we know which one would get Dame Edna‘s vote; the image above was taken by Dr. Shirley Owens, and while it may look like a trio of SimCity watermelons, it’s actually blobs of gladiola pollen under a fluorescent microscope at 2500x magnification.

    White House Redux Competition Winner Turns Over New Leaf


    “What if the White House, the ultimate architectural symbol of political power, were to be designed today?” That was the question posed in January by the Storefront for Art and Architecture and Control Group. Their White House Redux competition received nearly 500 submissions from over 40 countries, and the all-star jury (consisting of Beatriz Colomina, Liz Diller, John Maeda, Geoff Manaugh, Mark Wigley, and Laetitia Wolff) has picked the winners. First place goes to “Revenge of the Lawn” by J.P. Maruszczak and Roger Connah with Ryan Manning, a trippy set of 12 architectural snapshots that “aim to cast a new dream light on the un-captured moments of experience, both the political and the personal.”

    All of the winning submissions and over 100 other entries will be exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, from October 3 through November 8. The winning submissions are also now posted on the competition’s website, where you can vote for your favorite design. After the exhibition, the project with the most votes will be awarded a special “Popular Vote” cash prize, consisting of all the revenue generated by the website’s banner ($61.60 and counting). Meanwhile, check out the below video for a peek into the jury’s deliberations, which took place in May on the 45th floor of World Trade Center Building 7.

    Seven Questions for Print‘s New Editor-in-Chief Emily Gordon

    Emily_Gordon.jpgIt’s been an exciting year for Print. The magazine took home a National Magazine Award for general excellence and a Magazine of the Year silver medal from the Society of Publication Designers. Now it has a new editor-in-chief. Former managing editor and Emdashes founder Emily Gordon (pictured at right) has replaced Joyce Rutter Kaye in Print‘s top editorial post, and amidst the whirl of new responsibilities, she made time to tell us about her plans for the magazine, which is “just a few years younger than John McCain and a heck of a lot hipper,” and how her path to Print was paved by an eccentric Victorian-era literary superstar.

    1. What led you to Print?
    A keenly eccentric Victorian named Mrs. Favell Lee Mortimer led me to Print. The magazine’s then-managing editor, Todd Pruzan, published a piece in 2005 in The New Yorker about Mortimer’s bestselling 1850s-era travel books, and the paradoxically provincial life that went along with them. (One of my favorite details is that she washed her pet parrot with soap and water, and tried to teach her donkey to swim in the ocean.)

    I was so dazzled by Todd’s writing and his story of being so irresistibly drawn to a vintage book that he ended up scouring a British graveyard for the author’s headstone, and eventually republishing bits of her books into an anthology, that I wrote a post on Emdashes—a blog about The New Yorker I’ve done for nearly four years—raving about it. Todd and I began corresponding, and he sent me some issues of Print. I was struck by the gorgeous layout and the excellent writing and criticism—and by the fact that I, a hopeless magazine addict, had never read it before. Eventually, I contributed a review of the Complete New Yorker DVDs. The following year, my editor Jeremy Lehrer left the magazine to freelance, and I was hired to replace him as senior editor. Shortly thereafter, Todd went off to other things, and I became managing editor.

    Read on for Emily’s plans for the magazine and why Print (and print) is alive and well, both on paper and online.

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    Will Microsoft’s New Ads Successfully Sting Apple After All?


    One of our favorite commentators, Eric Karjaluoto, has returned in fine form over at ideasonideas to talk about a seemingly one-sided topic we’re, frankly, getting a little tired of hearing about: this week’s on-going discussions about the new Microsoft ads, particularly about the company’s newest series of spots which directly respond to Apple‘s “I’m a Mac” series. While most comments on many sites were vaguely, often reluctantly pleased with the two Jerry Seinfeld with Bill Gates spots, the general consensus surrounding Microsoft’s latest, featuring people from all walks of life, with a little celebrity mixed in to taste, saying, “I’m a PC!” was largely “Man, they sure dropped the ball on this one.” Yet Karjaluoto sees things a little differently and helps to stand up for those of us who use both platforms and find positives in each place. In the five second summary, he thinks Apple’s campaign has grown a bit long in the tooth, why Microsoft’s agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky knows what they’re doing, and why Apple might deserve a little picking on after some recent design struggles and acting a bit too much like an overlord (“looks more like Microsoft in the 90s”). Granted, it’s just an opinion, and we might not agree with everything Karjaluoto says, but it’s certainly well worth a read.