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Archives: September 2010

Event-o-rama! MCNY, Cooper-Hewitt to Explore Design at Home and Abroad

Whether you’re more interested in the wallcoverings favored by Jeffrey Bilhuber or Smart Design’s latest triumph on the sustainable syringe front, we’ve got a symposium for you. The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and GE kick things off tomorrow with “Why Design Now? Solving Global Challenges,” a conference that will explore the role of design in solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Held in conjunction with the museum’s ongoing National Design Triennial exhibition, the day-long event will bring together thought leaders, scientists, and designers to share their expertise on how design can accelerate innovation and improve efficiency and scalability of solutions to address urgent global needs.

The in-person confab reached capacity faster than you can say “Richard Saul Wurman” (the TED Conference founder who will be giving the keynote address), but our friends at Core 77 will be livestreaming the entire event here, and we’ll provide tasty, bite-sized updates via Twitter. So call in sick to work and spend your Friday listening to Gravity Tank founder director Chris Conley discuss designing products for everyday lives (scheduled for 10:50 a.m. EST), and don’t miss your shot (zing!) to hear Smart Design’s Dan Formosa and Eric Freitag‘s present a case study on the Cimzia Prefilled Syringe (2:50 p.m.). Also on tap: moderated discussions about green design (9:50 a.m.), international design (11:30 a.m.), and healthcare reform (3:10 p.m.) featuring panelists including Pentagram partner and 2010 National Design Award winner Lisa Strausfeld, Parsons dean Joel Towers, and the Cooper-Hewitt’s own Ellen Lupton and Bill Moggridge.

Things take a turn for the domestic on Saturday, October 2, as the ever more fantastic Museum of the City of New York holds its fourth annual Home Design in New York event. Presented in partnership with the New York School of Interior Design and Taconic Builders, the symposium will explore some of the city’s great residential spaces with the help of interior design luminaries such as the aforementioned Mr. Bilhuber, Albert Hadley, and Amy Lau. Donald Albrecht and Judith Gura will moderate the afternoon’s proceedings as speakers including James Zemaitis of Sotheby’s and Anthony Victoria, an expert in 18th century European furnishings (bring on the commodes!), each focus on a particular New York space and discuss its importance in design history—or just why they really, really like it. Learn more and reserve your space here.

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Is the $2.7 Million Donation to the Milwaukee Art Museum a Sign Corporate Money Will Start Flowing Again?

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While we continue to hear stories like yesterday’s news of the Indianapolis Museum of Art firing its security staff to save money, the Field Museum forced to cut jobs, or earlier this month finding the Seattle Art Museum asking to borrow $10 million from its endowment to help pay its bills, finally here’s something in the opposite direction that’s hopefully a sign of things to come. This week, the Milwaukee Art Museum announced that the department store chain Kohl’s has donated $2.7 million to help continue a program for children, one it originally helped fund and launch two years ago. This new money is the largest donation for educational initiatives the museum has ever received. While great for this individual museum, following two years of severely depleted corporate donations, from which money once poured like an open faucet that museums heavily relied upon, Kohl’s gift to Milwaukee is sure to perk some interest in seeing if this is just a one off benefit or a larger indicator that struggling corporations are starting to loosen up the purse strings again to support cultural institutions.

Art Institute of Chicago Launches iPhone/iPad App for French Impressionism Collection

The Art Institute of Chicago would likely really prefer that you stop talking about their lawsuit against the engineers who built the new Modern Wing and instead focus on their new iPhone/iPad app. Like the SFMOMA, who was the first museum to come out with an offering for the iPad earlier this year and the many others like it in phone form, from the Tate to the Venice Architecture Biennale, the AIC’s new app is a tour, specifically of its French Impressionism collection, which includes pieces like Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” and Renoir’s “Two Sisters” among others you may have seen featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The app features what you’d expect, from narrated tours, videos, scans of the collection, more detailed descriptions, and so on. It was developed by a company called Toura, who seem to have begun carving out a nice spot for themselves in the museum and art market, having already previously designed apps for the Hirshhorn, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the Pace Gallery. The AIC’s app will cost $1.99 for the iPhone and Android and $3.99 for the iPad version, which might provide some drop off on users who are used to being able to download these from museums for free (like at the Tate and SFMOMA), but also surely is at a price point where, after paying the $18 entrance fee, isn’t too much more to throw in for the whole experience.

Steve Jobs Demolishes Historic Residence, Prepares for New House Designed by Apple Store Architects

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Early last spring, you might recall our reporting on the ongoing trials and tribulations surrounding Apple CEO Steve Jobs‘ sixteen year struggle to demolish the George Washington Smith-designed home he bought in 1984 and build something new on the Woodside, California property. At last we left it, preservation groups had managed to block Jobs’ request from the city to the tear down the house, resulting in more court appointments. Since then, Jobs has finally won his battle, with the groups dropping their suits and the city offering him the permits he originally won more than six years ago before the latest issues began. Now that the original house has come down, Gizmodo has an incredibly detailed look at the new house plans. True to form, while the house is gigantic (coming in at close to 5,000 sq. ft.), it’s set to play into Jobs’ less-is-more standards he’s put into the technology company he runs. What’s more, the site reports that the architecture firm hired for the residential project is responsible for several of Apple’s most famous stores, including its celebrated Fifth Avenue shop in New York. And now that construction has begun, this will likely be the last time you see anything of the house until years from now when its sold and in 2102 when another billionaire buys it and has to fight preservation groups who want to keep it around.

Wanted: Superstar Graphic Designer

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Ready to show off your incredible aesthetic? Here Media is looking for a new graphic designer to become a part of its in-house creative services team in New York.

If hired, you’ll be working the design and layout of promotional materials, advertisements, company branding, print collateral, on-air graphics and feature websites. You should have an impressive portfolio and be proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design, HTML, Flash and Mac OS.

Here Media isn’t really interested in how many years of experience you have — it’s more important to possess top-notch skills and an artistic eye. Of course, you need some working experience, preferably in TV, advertising or media. The gig is full-time and starts immediately, so don’t snooze on this. Interested? Apply, well, here.

Typographical Genius Matthew Carter Wins $500K MacArthur Fellowship


Matthew Carter, his Mac, and a capital “M” at home in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Courtesy the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Master type designer Matthew Carter is among this year’s cohort of MacArthur Fellows, announced yesterday by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Carter and 22 other individuals—including artist Jorge Pardo, biomedical animator Drew Berry, stone carver Nicholas Benson, and historian Annette Gordon-Reed—were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions. Each will receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached funding over the next five years. “My job is to make type that’s readable,” said Carter, 72, in a sun-dappled video interview with the Foundation. “Also, I want it to have some sort of quality that is mine.” In a career that has spanned four decades (from hot metal to the iPad), he has designed a whopping 60 typeface families and more than 250 individual fonts, along the way forging the belief that a good typeface is a good typeface, almost always regardless of the technology used to create it. And he has a way with evocative metaphors! “Like any industrial designer, what I produce has to work,” explained Carter. “There is a sort of struggle within the straitjacket of conforming to the conventions of the alphabet and yet not letting yourself get too depressed by these constraints.”

Indianapolis Museum of Art Overhauls Security, Lays Off 53 Staff Members

In an interesting move we’ll be curious to see play out and how it might influence other institutions across the country, this week the Indianapolis Museum of Art has undergone a major personnel change in their security department, firing more than thirty of its security guards and laying off 23 part-time gallery attendants in an effort, as the Indianapolis Star reports, “to save $600,000 annually.” To replace them, the museum will use reserve police officers who will be in charge not just of overseeing the museum security, but also its surrounding park and parking lots. And to replace the attendants, students from Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis will be used, earning less than the previous employees and working as part of a work study program. Clearly understanding that the news would be met with some concern, the museum has posted this entry on their blog, explaining the changes and why they were forced to make them. As one of the largest museums in the country, it will be interesting to see if this move, if successful, winds up influencing other organizations to make security changes of their own.

New Atlantic Yards Architectural Renderings Unveiled

More goings-ons with the ever-changing Atlantic Yards project, and surely more new material for Norman Oder‘s book about the development. New architectural renderings have just been released and they’ve been stripped down a touch since the original plans were unveiled back in early-September of last year. No more does the development include an office tower, with the NY Times reporting that the project’s developer, Bruce Ratner, saying that “there is little demand for office space today, and there may not be for years to come.” However, beyond the new New Jersey Nets stadium at the heart of the Yards, Barclays Center, it sounds like Ratner’s plans still include building residential buildings, construction starting as soon as eight months from now, which, given the still-gloomy economy, seems just as risky as building office space. Other newness in the plans include updated landscaping, green roofs, a new opening in the Barclays Center’s roof, and miscellaneous bits and pieces like benches and new video screens. SHoP Architects, who had been brought in shortly after Frank Gehry was kicked off the project and Elerbe Becket (now owned by Aecom Technology) was picked as his replacement, looks to be handling all of these updates to the development.

Richard Meier Returns to Product Design

With his industry very slowly inching its way back, resulting in extra time to focus energies elsewhere, like fellow starchitect Frank Gehry and his curating a ceramics exhibition, it just makes sense that Richard Meier would return to product design. Although best know for his work in architecture with buildings like Atlanta’s High Museum and Los Angeles’ Getty Center, he has a long history in product design, having designed furniture for Knoll, champagne cases for Dom Perignon, as well as wristwatches, interiors, and lots of things made of silver for the starchitect-friendly Swid Powell. Now Meier has teamed up with the Belgian firm When Objects Work (WOW) to design a handful of objects including candlesticks, glass bowls, and a candy dish, among others. All were debuted this past spring at the Milan Design Fair and will now be produced through WOW and reach retailers soon. Though we’re not sure yet where exactly they’ll be available, the firm’s site lists “Design Within Reach Collection,” so we know there’s a good chance that at least a portion of the collection will be going to them.

And very quickly, going back a spell, we’ve also learned that Meier is currently working with a former Knoll director in revisiting the aforementioned furniture he built for the company in the 1980s, and which should be available sometime next year. Should be interesting to see.

Paul Goldberger Looks at What the Starchitect-Heavy CityCenter Means to Las Vegas

When a new, much-talked about piece of architecture opens, you read about it right away from all the usual critics, gathering up all the details about what it looks like, how it fits into its surroundings, what it says about whatever its trying to say, and some bits and pieces about the architect and why they did what. Once you have all those facts and figures, you wait a couple of months before the New Yorker‘s resident critic, Paul Goldberger, to come in to give you the big picture. So while Las Vegas’ massive new CityCenter development has been open for a few months now and all that initial talk has died down, Goldberger has just filed this great piece for the magazine explaining what it all means. In short, he asks if bringing in a team of internationally-famous architects and designers, like a mall by Daniel Libeskind, interiors by David Rockwell, and sculptures by the likes of Maya Lin and Claes Oldenburg, can help the city move away from its perception as the epicenter of kitsch. We won’t ruin it for you, since you should consider it a treat to read anything the man writes, but the quick synopsis is, “No.” In the end, Goldberger offers, CityCenter falls into all the same trappings that have plagued the land of glitter, traffic and kitsch since near its very inception.

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