Janelle Zara
Architecture & Design News

OBJECT LESSONS: Architecture & Design News

Russia Fires Commissioner of its Venice Architecture Biennale Pavilion Over Ukraine Comments

Grigory Revzin, an architectural historian, critic, and author of Russian Architecture at the Turn of the 21st Century, was fired from his post as commissioner of the Russian pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale on Monday, reports Moscow-based newspaper Kommersant. “The Ministry of Culture just called to inform me that this morning, Minister [of Culture] Vladimir Medinsky personally decided to fire me… There are three months left until the Biennale. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next,” Revzin wrote on Facebook. He also suggested that the decree is a response to an article Revzin penned on March 2 in opposition to Russia’s recent political machinations in Ukraine, ahead of its annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Though the Ministry of Culture has yet to confirm that it fired Revzin — or why — the dismissal comes in the midst of a state crackdown on domestic opposition journalists and media outlets. Continue Reading

MoMA’s Labrouste Retrospective was the Most Popular Architecture Show of 2013

The numbers are in and the results are a bit surprising: MoMA’s Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light” was the most-attended architecture exhibition in the world in 2013, reports the Architect’s Newspaper. The retrospective, curated by outgoing Chief Curator of Architecture Barry Bergdoll, drew 438,680 total viewers from March 10 to June 24 — 4,100 unique visitors per day, according to statistics compiled by The Art Newspaper. For comparison, the museum’s much-hyped Le Corbusier retrospective welcomed 405,000 visitors during its three-month run, a total of 4,010 a day; guest-curated by Jean-Louis Cohen, the MoMA retrospective was the first comprehensive survey of Corbusier’s oeuvre staged in North America. Contemporary audiences were slightly more moved by Labrouste’s experiments with Neoclassical forms and public space than by Corbusier’s lifelong interest in landscape, but both shows placed among the top 50 most-attended exhibitions of any kind worldwide for 2013. Pedro Gadanho’s curatorial debut at MoMA, “9+1 Ways of Being Political,” takes third place among architecture shows, with 2,594 visitors a day over the course of its eight-month run. MoMA may have dominated architecture shows in 2013, but 2014 promises different results: Last year’s fourth most popular architecture show, “Lebbeus Woods: Architect” at SFMOMA (2,287 visitors a day) opens at New York’s Drawing Center on April 17. [The Architect's Newspaper]

— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)

Image courtesy of MoMA.

Anselm Reyle-Designed Rugs and More to Debut in Milan

Anselm Reyle’s “Untitled,” 2012, hand-knotted rug Himalayan wool and silk

During Milan’s mega trade show Salone del Mobile, Gothenburg-based Swedish handmade rug company Henzel Studio is teasing its new “Henzel Studio Collaborations, Volume #1,” a collection of rugs by an impressive roster of designers: Anselm Reyle, assume vivid astro focus, Scott Campbell, Leo Gabin, Robert Knoke, Helmut Lang, Linder, Marilyn Minter, Jack Pierson, Richard Prince, Juergen Teller, and Mickalene Thomas. Each richly textured piece has been woven in Nepal using centuries-old traditional techniques.

While the collection’s official launch is scheduled to take place will be at Barneys during Frieze New York from May 9, the works of Reyle and Lang will be on view at Milan’s Temporary Museum for New Design from April 8 to 13. For those of you who won’t be heading to Italy next week, ARTINFO offers its own sneak peek below.

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Bird? Plane? It’s a House Made of Boeing 747 Parts

Talk about winging it: architect David Hertz, partner at the Studio for Environmental Architecture in Los Angeles, took on an unprecedented challenge by building a residence in the Santa Monica Mountains out of a discarded Boeing 747. “Standing on the property, I imagined a floating roof overhanging the site to allow unobstructed views,” he tells Blueprint Magazine. Asked by client Francine Rehwald to create a building of curvilinear forms that embraces views of the surrounding ocean, mountainside, and sky, Hertz — seasoned in adaptive re-use and repurposing industrial waste — developed an unorthodox solution. After dismembering the decommissioned plane, Hertz used its limbs to construct parts of the home’s roof, interior, and guesthouse. Continue Reading

How Skipping School Led Charles Renfro to Architecture

Learn the genesis of his career in just two minutes.

After a particularly bad episode of bullying in the fourth grade, Charles Renfro told his mother he didn’t want to go to school anymore. “She asked me what I wanted to do, and I said ‘I want to go look at buildings’,” he says in the latest installment of “What Made Me,” a series of video shorts by T Magazine. Rather than send him back to class, Renfro’s mother obliged; she took him on a two-week tour of downtown Houston’s architecture, from Philip Johnson’s Bank of America Center to “kind of ridiculous commercial developments.” The tour struck a chord with 8-year-old Renfro, and turned out to be that formative (and heartwarming) moment that led to his becoming a principal at Diller Scofidio + Renfro. See the full video here.

— Janelle Zara (@janellezara)

Image via Azure

New York Design Week Adds an Avant-Garde Fair by Sight Unseen

After four years as a central event during New York’s still-fledgling Design Week, the NoHo Design District is sadly no more.

Forward/Slash Light, 2014, by Ladies & Gentlemen

“The real estate in the area really exploded,” explains Jill Singer, who, along with Monica Khemsurov, founded the design site Sight Unseen and launched the multi-site design event in 2010.

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Featherweight Champion: Benjamin Hubert’s Ripple Table Up for Best Design of the Year

Good design is not as much about reinventing the wheel as it is pushing the limits of how far you can go with it. Take Benjamin Hubert’s 2013 Ripple Table for Canadian manufacturer Corelam, for example, on view at the London Design Museum’s “Designs of the Year 2014″ exhibition that opened Wednesday. Lauded for its lightness — although its surface measures eight feet by three feet, the whole thing weighs 20 pounds — it’s not made of any space-age materials, but 0.8mm-thick sheets of laminated Sitka spruce plywood.

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Utopian and Dystopian Urbanism at Art Dubai, Courtesy of Bodys Isek Kingelez

Inside the Jumeirah Madinat where Art Dubai 2014 ran through March 22, an unbuilt model city stands past the displays of Cartier jewels, glistening inside turreted and domed displays cases inspired by Islamic architecture. Designed by the artist Bodys Isek Kingelez in 2000, the sculpture, titled “Maman Isek Mabo Bendele,” takes the form of an architectural model with an uncanny resemblance to today’s Dubai: candy-colored towers, miniature islands, and urban artifice abound. Continue Reading

Shigeru Ban Wins 2014 Pritzker Prize

Best known for his groundbreaking use of paper as a tool to build humanitarian relief in the immediate wake of disaster, 56-year-old international architect Shigeru Ban has been awarded the 2014 Pritzker Prize.

“Shigeru Ban is a force of nature, which is entirely appropriate in the light of his voluntary work for the homeless and dispossessed in areas that have been devastated by natural disasters,” announced Pritzker Prize jury chairman, the Lord Palumbo. “But he also ticks the several boxes for qualification to the Architectural Pantheon — a profound knowledge of his subject with a particular emphasis on cutting-edge materials and technology; total curiosity and commitment; endless innovation; an infallible eye; an acute sensibility — to name but a few.” His most iconic works include cathedrals, cabins, and a concert hall, all constructed from cardboard tubes in response to major natural disasters. He is the third Japanese Pritzker prize winner in the past five years.

— Janelle Zara (@janellezara)

David Rockwell Sparks the Conversation With His New Grill Design

David Rockwell, the architect behind the set of “Hairspray,” TED’s bespoke talk-oriented auditorium, and the carnivalesque layout of the Googa Mooga food festival, has always been a fan of designing spectacle with user experience in mind. The backyard barbecue seems to be no exception.

We’re also fans of those puck-sized dials.

Rockwell this weekend launched his David Rockwell by Caliber Grill, a large-scale product being billed as “the world’s first social grill.” At 60 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 36 inches tall, its design is meant to evoke a “ceremonial table,” according to its official release, but its most social feature is its disappearing lid. It glides into a canopy, allowing guests to gather 360 degrees around the flame—just as our cave-dwelling ancestors had always intended. “Cooking can now take center stage,” says Rockwell, and now the chef no longer has to be lonely.

— Janelle Zara (@janellezara)

Image via Caliber Grill