Janelle Zara
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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Park Avenue Armory Will Revitalize its Tiffany-Designed Veterans Room

A historic photo of the Veterans Room at the Park Avenue Armory.

The Park Avenue Armory is beginning revitalization work on its Veterans Room – one of the only surviving interiors designed by Louis C. Tiffany and Co., Associated Artists, in the world. A monument of late 19th-century decorative arts, the Veterans Room will be reanimated through Herzog & de Meuron’s intervention, which will transform the space into a state-of-the-art room for intimate cultural encounters, including performances, recitals, lectures, and a range of other small-scale events. The project is expected to be complete in December 2015.

The work beginning on the Veterans Room marks the next phase in the ongoing $200-million renovation and restoration of the Armory’s five-story landmark building, which to date has included the Armory’s Board of Officers Room, and two period rooms on the second floor. Since being awarded stewardship of the building in 2006, the Armory has worked to transform its building into a groundbreaking cultural institution presenting outside-the-box artistic experiences within its historic and nontraditional spaces.

The room was initially built in 1880, and the current design team wants to retain its original feature while bringing the space decidedly into the 21st century. “What makes the Veterans Room different from all other period rooms of the Armory is its level of inventiveness and playfulness,” explained Herzog & de Meuron Senior Partner Ascan Mergenthaler. “It is a collage of diverse influences and inspirations, reflecting the collaborative efforts of an outstanding team of designers. Their approach on the decorative scheme goes beyond what was typical at that time and explores methods and means that are still fascinating today.”

In addition to advancements such as temperature regulation, the firm’s current work on the room will focus on the wallpaper, originally designed by Tiffany and Wheeler and removed in the mid-20th century, which will be reinterpreted in a conceptualized reconstruction; and the lighting, which will be upgraded in order to illuminate the space in its holistic quality, recreating and augmenting the radiance that was originally intended for the room.

“The Veterans Room is among the most significant surviving interiors of the American Aesthetic Movement—an opulent room resulting from the collaborative work of artists and artisans led by a young, visionary Louis Comfort Tiffany and including Stanford White, Samuel Colman, and Candace Wheeler. Our revitalization of this room brings into dialogue two of the most talented designers of the 19th and 21st centuries, Associated Artists and Herzog & de Meuron,” said Armory President and Executive Producer Rebecca Robertson.

— Anna Kats (@coldwarcasual)

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

R & Company Prepares to Open a Double-Header Spring Design Show

Custom Nest sculpture by South African designer Porky Hefer.

New York City design gallery R & Company will open two regional design shows simultaneously next week, devoted respectively to the work of Lina Bo Bardi and Roberto Burle Marx, and contemporary African designers. Both shows will be open March 24 through April 30. (more…)

Alberto Alessi Comments on Michael Graves’ Passing

Michael Graves, the postmodernist architect and designer who passed away yesterday at the age of 80, was a rare variety of polymath: he truly designed at all scales, and one of his most prolific areas of output was product design. In that realm, he was best known for his collaboration with Alessi, the Italian kitchenware manufacturer. Graves designed more than 150 products throughout the 1980’s, ’90s, and aughts for the Milan-based company — they include silverware, plates, cooking utensils, and more. Perhaps one of the most famous fruits of the collaboration is the Bells and Whistles Tea Kettle, which bears resemblance to Adolf Hitler, according to some reports. (more…)

Collective Design Fair Announces 2015 Exhibitors

The Collective Design Fair, which will realize its third installment at New York City’s Skylight Clarkson Sq from May 13 – 17, has announced exhibitors for its 2015 edition. Names from previous years figure prominently on the list: R & Company (New York) and kinder MODERN (New York) are both return exhibitors. Other dealers who previously featured prominently in the fair — Cristina Grajales Gallery (New York), for example, are absent from this year’s lineup.

A scene from Collective Design Fair’s first edition in 2013. (more…)

Maayan Strauss Parodies Kitchen Design Through Sculpture

The stretch of 24th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues is typical of Chelsea: galleries, former industrial buildings, and luxury residences. Yet the block that Andrea Meislin Gallery calls home has a somewhat less expected feature through February 28. The gallery’s storefront currently bears pointed resemblance to a kitchen/bath showroom, under the aegis of artist Maayan Strauss, whose “Seven Sinks” installation — a massive kitchen island with operating faucets installed inside — currently occupies its main street-facing room. Pedestrian passersby might well wonder if the gallery sells art or kitchen hardware. (more…)

Designer Rosanne Somerson Appointed President of RISD

The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence has concluded its search for a new president, and it turns out that the winning candidate has been serving as interim president all along. Furniture designer, writer, and editor Rosanne Somerson is the 17th president of the preeminent design institution in the United States, and also a 1976 alumna of the school and longstanding professor there.

Somerson has been interim president since January 1, 2014, and her permanent appointment to the position is effective immediately. She served as provost from 2012 through 2014, but was promoted to interim dean when former president John Maeda left in late 2013 to work for Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.


Chris Diemer Argues in Favor of Replica Furniture

Chris Diemer, who serves as president of replica furniture manufacturer Voga, took great offense when he read a certain op-ed on Dezeen — written by none other than Vitra president Tony Ash — arguing that “copyists are eating away at the creativity of our industry.” Incensed — his company is one of the highest quality reproduction manufacturers on the market — Diemer wrote an impressive retort. Below, we’ve selected choice quotes from his thoughtful reply (there are a great many), highlighting the significance of high-quality, low-cost furniture and the value of good design at all price points. (more…)

Alexander Wang Designs an $8,800 Beanbag Chair

Having imparted his normcore touch to supple black leather handbags, clothes, and neck pillows, fashion designer Alexander Wang is trying his hand at beanbag chairs. The creative director of Balenciaga and his own namesake label has created three pieces for Italian furniture manufacturer Poltrona Frau, and the resulting capsule collection is everything you’d expect from a designer who is already famous for producing luxury iterations of quotidian things. “It’s banal, an everyday item,” Wang tells Wall Street Journal Magazine about his interest in the beanbag chair. Naturally, his version comes in black shearling and leather options, and costs $8,800. (more…)

Design Days Dubai Announces 2015 Exhibitors

Design Days Dubai, the first and only limited edition and collectible design fair in the Middle East, returns to its tent at the base of the Burj Khalifa for its fourth — and largest — installment on March 16. The fair, which runs through March 20, will welcome a total of 44 exhibitors from 20 countries this year — the largest number of galleries to show at Design Days Dubai since its inception in 2012.


Ambra Medda Named Global Creative Director of 20th and 21st Design at Christie’s

Design curator and dealer Ambra Medda has been named as the Global Creative Director of the 2oth and 21st century design department at Christie’sreports Dezeen. The new appointment comes a year and a half after Medda launched L’ArcoBaleno, an online editorial platform and store for discovering and buying contemporary and historic design objects. “Christie’s is pleased to announce that Ambra Medda has been appointed to a new role as Global Creative Director, for the Department of 20/21 Design, based in London,” reads a statement from the auction house. (more…)