Meet the architect behind Kanye West’s 50-foot volcano, Los Angeles mansion, and design-savvy baby-proofing

Kanye atop a mountain on his Yeezus tour. (Peter Hutchins / Flickr)

Kanye atop a mountain on his Yeezus tour. (Peter Hutchins / Flickr)

Ironically, there are few surer ways to emerge from obscurity than to be hired by Kanye West. For Romanian architect Oana Stanescu, who designed a 50-foot stage-prop volcano for the rapper’s Yeezus tour, it meant finding a way to reconcile pop culture with utilitarian design.

Continue reading after the jump.

Painting Palmitas: Artists in Mexico cover an entire hillside village in one enormous psychedelic mural

(Courtesy Germen Crew)

(Courtesy Germen Crew)

Pachuca, Mexico is hoping a psychedelic mural can cement the transformation of a once crime-stricken neighborhood to a safer, more unified community. The government-sponsored urban renewal project, called El Macro Mural Barrio de Palmitas, coated over 200 hillside dwellings in a vibrant layer of paint with striking results.

Continue reading after the jump.

Arquitectonica’s newly opened zig-zagging tower in Miami is meant to reflect the rippling waters of Biscayne Bay

(Courtesy Arquitectonica)

(Courtesy Arquitectonica)

Miami-based Arquitectonica has completed a zig-zagging tower on booming Miami’s Biscayne Bay. The 42-story, luxury residence building was developed by the Related Group and has been dubbed the Icon Bay.

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Lucky Seven: See how seven famous architects rethought Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 Chair

Design, National, Product
Thursday, August 6, 2015
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big

(Courtesy Republic of Fritz Hansen)

In observance of the 60th anniversary of the Series 7 chair, furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen enlisted seven architects to re-envision the classic Arne Jacobsen design. Explaining the impetus behind the program, Jacob Holm, CEO of Fritz Hansen, said, “If we fall asleep on top of our heritage, design becomes museum items. And if that happens, it (design) no longer adds new value to the present time.”

The participating firms—BIG, Snøhetta, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Neri & Hu, Jun Igarashi, and Carlos Ott in association with Carlos Ponce de Léon—certainly created some eye-opening interpretations of the chair. The architects’ comments on their designs reveal their inspirations and intentions.

View the redesigned chairs after the jump.

For the Birds> Michael Graves’ last design for Alessi updated his Bird Kettle with a dragon

Design, International, Product
Monday, August 3, 2015
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9093REXLAZ

(Courtesy Alessi)

The last project Michael Graves completed for Alessi references one of his earliest creations for the company: The 9093 kettle, better known as the Bird Teakettle. To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the iconic piece, the late architect designed a new component for what’s being called the Tea Rex kettle.

In January 2015, Graves explained the development of this update.

More after the jump.

Open data from Transport for London spurs 3D axonometric plans of the Tube so passengers can mentally map their next trip

(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Now you can strategize your next rush-hour skedaddle through the labyrinthine London Underground ahead of time—and choose all the right shortcuts. Transport for London (TfL) has released a series of 3D axonometric maps of the world’s oldest tube network, following a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request by Londoner Georges Vehres.

View the maps after the jump.

Four Boston design firms fill the Rose Kennedy Greenway with art at the intersection of architecture

(Courtesy Design Biennial Boston)

Marginal by Landing Studio. (Courtesy Design Biennial Boston)

Through September 25th, emerging architects and designers are being celebrated in Boston’s 4th Design Biennial. The program features installations, created by four, jury-chosen design firms, exhibited along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

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Here’s what happens when Zaha Hadid and Pharrell get together to design sneakers

Design, National, Product
Monday, July 27, 2015
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zaha-adidas

(Courtesy Adidas)

From the strange bedfellows files: Musician Pharrell Williams has enlisted Zaha Hadid as a partner to rejuvenate a rather staid athletic shoe.

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Facades+ makes its Miami debut this September

IwamotoScott crafted a digitally-fabricated aluminum skin for a Miami Design District parking garage. (Courtesy IwamotoScott)

IwamotoScott crafted a digitally-fabricated aluminum skin for a Miami Design District parking garage. (Courtesy IwamotoScott)

Miami is hot right now—and not just because it’s midsummer. The city, which is in the midst of a building boom, is of necessity a model of sustainable building practices and extreme-weather preparedness.

Continue reading after the jump.

London skyline as battleground: Designers render 3D-printed chess pieces in the shape of iconic architecture

(Courtesy Skyline Chess)

(Courtesy Skyline Chess)

City skylines can seem at times like battlegrounds, with architects vying for superlatives of tallest, grandest, and bizarrest. Skyline Chess, founded by London-based designers Chris Prosser and Ian Flood, reimagines chess pieces as miniature models of the city’s landmark buildings.

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Ever heard of olfactory branding? Scent design and interior design intertwine to spur repeat purchases

The Carlyle NYC Lobby (Courtesy The Carlyle)

The Carlyle NYC Lobby (Courtesy The Carlyle)

That immediately identifiable department store scent isn’t your average vanilla musk Glade being pumped through an atomizer. Scent designers refer to home fragrance concoction as an exact science factoring in not only the inner workings of the olfactory sensors but neuropsychological responses to specific scents.

Continue reading after the jump.

Last year a labyrinth, now a giant ball pit: National Building Museum hosts indoor beach in its Great Hall

Design, East, On View
Monday, July 13, 2015
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(Courtesy Noah Kalina)

(Courtesy Noah Kalina)

The magnificent, four-story Great Hall of the National Building Museum is now a site for executing cannonballs, rolling on the floor laughing, and other acts of gleeful revelry. A giant ball pit filled with recyclable translucent plastic orbs cuts between the colossal Corinthian columns, bounded by an enclosure made from scaffolding, wooden panels, and perforated mesh all painted stark white.

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