Collab: Four Decades of Giving
Modern and Contemporary Design
Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
Through Fall 2012
Few art institutions have design collections to rival the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s, thanks to the support of Collab, the Group for Modern and Contemporary Design at the museum. Since its founding in 1970, Collab has been an enthusiastic partner in the acquisition and promotion of modern and contemporary design. Spanning the history of design from 19th-century industrial arts to contemporary works, the collection showcases the history of design presented chronologically. From modernist furniture design by Charles and Ray Eames and Scandinavian designs by Alvar Aalto to post-modern designs of Ettore Sottsass (above), and contemporary work by Frank Gehry and Philippe Starck, these works showcase the unique support that Collab has given to the museum’s collection.
The Future is always a draw, especially if it comes with fresh croissants and coffee. And so some hundred or more AEC industry types showed up this morning for a smartly-packaged and wide-ranging keynote and panel called “A View from the Future,” organized by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. The opening talk was by Edie Weiner, president of futurist trend consultants, Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.
The reviews are in and now it’s time to book a ticket and check out the new Barnes Foundation museum in Philadelphia designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. I took a road trip over the weekend and was struck by the amount of texture and richness of the materials used throughout. The carved limestone, deep wood tones, and burlap seem to take cues from Barnes’ superb African mask collection. Regardless of where one comes down on the controversial move to the Ben Franklin Parkway, there is no denying the level of detail and workmanship that went into the project.
On the night of June 3rd, 2012, Tom Fruin’s newest sculptural artwork, Watertower, was installed on a rooftop near the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO. The colorfully constructed Watertower features approximately a thousand pieces of foraged plexiglass mounted on a steel skeleton. The monumental patchwork of colored glass also includes an interior and exterior ladder and an operable roof hatch. The great amount of plexiglass used for the piece, which measures 25 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter, was collected all throughout New York City. The use of recycled materials is not new to Tom Fruin Studio, as Watertower is the fourth scavenged artwork of the “Icon” series dedicated to creating tributes to the world’s architectural and sculptural icons using reclaimed materials. Read More
BOFFO is an arts and culture non-profit fostering collaborations between artists, designers, communities, and theorists to inform and engage the public in participatory arts programs. In late May, it launched a show house at a Lower East Side public school building turned apartment house, called The Madison Jackson. It turned out to be a clever draw getting people to a neighborhood that is lower and farther east than more popular sections of the LES. I speak from familiarity as I live in a perch overlooking the venue. The glam show house is unusual for a neighborhood comprised largely of public housing blocks next to tall towers that formerly were union cooperatives and as close to socialist housing as we’ve had in NYC.
One Day on Earth Benefit Screenings
June 1 to 7
The Quad Cinema
34 West 13th Street
between 5th and 6th Avenue
On October 10, 2010 (10.10.10), 19,000 filmmakers around globe shot the daily life unfolding around them. Their subjects ranged from people, to plants to bugs to the heavens. Over 3,000 hours of collective footage was edited down into one hour and 45 minutes, and the result is a stunning cinematic snapshot of our world today: the rhythms of nature and life (in that 24-hour period 363,000 babies were born), quotidian human habits, and the rites of passage in different civilizations.
It would seem that the the once humble blue stone, quarried in New York State, is getting some renewed respect. We recently saw it cleverly cladding 41 Bond by the design-build firm DDG Partners, now artist Nobuho Nagasawa it calling attention to it underfoot in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Nagasawa’s installation elevates an everyday visual experience to the level of art, namely tree shadows on a Brooklyn blue stone sidewalk.
Facebook was aflame this morning with new renderings by HWKN (Hollwich Kushner) for Fire Island’s notorious Pavilion, the entertainment complex that burned down last November. In January, it was reported in The New York Times that Diller Scofidio + Renfro were signed on to do the master plan for the marina, of which the Pavilion sits at the center and serves as the social hub.
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An in-progress look at the new transit hub’s massive skylight
After funding cuts and subsequent delays since construction started in 2005, the much-anticipated Fulton Street Transit Center is finally taking shape in Lower Manhattan. The $1.4 billion project will connect eleven subway lines with the PATH train, the World Trade Center, and ferries at the World Financial Center. In collaboration with artist James Carpenter, Grimshaw Architects designed the project’s hallmark—a 60-foot-tall glass oculus that will deliver daylight to the center’s concourse level. The hyperbolic parabaloid cable net skylight supports an inner skin of filigree metal panels that reflect light to the spaces below. AN took a look at the design’s progress with Radius Track, the curved and cold-formed steel framing experts who recently completed installation of the project’s custom steel panels:
Lauretta Vinciarelli was a quiet but powerful presence on the New York architecture scene since the 1980s when she began producing “imaginary architectural settings” of buildings and landscapes. I considered it a great honor to be invited to her Soho loft to look and talk about her latest work 10 years before her death in 2011. It’s too easy as an architectural journalist covering the daily rough and tumble of urban architecture to get jaundiced about the profession, but Vinciarelli’s extraordinarily beautiful and quiet drawings and paintings remind me why we still believe in the power and hope of great architecture.