Awards Program Celebrates Active Design Around the World

Awards, East
Friday, May 23, 2014
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(Bernstein Associates)

(Bernstein Associates)

The Center for Active Design celebrated its first annual Awards Monday night with gathering at the “WeWork” space, The Lounge, on Lafayette Street. The celebration followed the “Fit City 9” conference earlier in the day at the New School.

Founded in 2013, the Center for Active Design (CfAD) continues the work started under the Bloomberg administration to effect change in the built environment that promotes public health. In addition to its work promoting the Active Design Guidelines, the Center this year gave several awards to built projects that exemplify the principles espoused in the guidelines. A jury including the Center board chair (and former DDC Commissioner) David Burney, Signe Neilson (landscape architect and chair of the NYC Public Design Commission), Christine Johnson Curtis (Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Health andf a CfAD board member) and AN‘s editor-in-chief William Menking, selected 4 projects for awards, with two honorable mentions.

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Brooklyn Bridge Parks Opens New Pier and Beach

The ribbon cutting.

The ribbon cutting. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The opening of a new pier and beach at Michael Van Valkenburgh’s Brooklyn Bridge Park this week marks the halfway point in the transformation of the celebrated 85-acre site. Local elected officials and community leaders—including Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver—appeared on the new Pier 2 to mark the occasion. They used words like “amazing” and “unbelievable” to describe the new six acres of space, but didn’t need much help selling the project.

Continue reading after the jump.

Review> 2014 Tribeca Film Festival Addresses Multiple Levels of Displacement

East, Review
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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Scene from Love is Strange, directed by Ira Sachs.

Scene from Love is Strange, directed by Ira Sachs.

The recent 2014 Tribeca Film Festival screened a remarkable number of films on displacement. People were displaced from their homes—often forced but sometimes voluntary—for financial reasons, discrimination, landlord harassment (or irritation), and natural disasters. In the film Below Dreams, which takes place in New Orleans, a character says “Everybody needs a room.” Here are a few seekers.

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Superdesk Strikes Back: Clive Wilkinson’s Undulating Design Tickles the New Yorker

Architecture, East, Eavesdroplet
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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(Courtesy New Yorker; The Barbarian Group)

(Courtesy New Yorker; The Barbarian Group)

It’s hard enough for west coast firms to make it into architecture publications, but Clive Wilkinson has made it into the vaunted pages of the New Yorker. In the “Talk of the Town,” writer Nick Paumgarten describes Wilkinson’s thousand-foot-long, resin-topped “superdesk,” which he designed for New York ad agency Barbarian Group in Chelsea, as “swerving around the giant loft space like a mega slot-car track.” Barbarian calls the desk “4,400 square feet of undulating, unbroken awesomeness to keep people and ideas flowing.” In fact the desk even played a major role in a recent company party, and Paumgarten wondered if the desk itself might be taking on human characteristics: “One got a sense, after a while, that the superdesk might be capable of consciousness, that it was observing the humans as they heedlessly laughed and flirted and left glasses of wine on its carapace, and that it might be developing longings and resentments, or plotting its revenge.”

The Energetic City: Design Trust Calls on Designers to Create Connected Public Space

The Energetic City. (Courtesy Deutsch NY)

The Energetic City. (Courtesy Deutsch NY)

On Monday, dozens of designers, planners, and community organizers packed the amphitheater at the newly opened LEESER-designed BRIC House in Brooklyn‘s rapidly-growing BAM district. The attendees were there to hear the details of the latest Request For Proposals (RFP) from the Design Trust for Public Space, The Energetic City: Connectivity in the Public Realm.

The Design Trust has launched pivotal projects before, like their Five Borough Farm that is helping to redefine urban agriculture in New York City. This time, the group is seeking new ideas for public space and, according to a statement, “develop new forms of connectivity among the diverse people, systems, and built, natural, and digital environments of New York City.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Product> Furnishings from New York City’s ICFF Expo

East, Product
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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bludot_Swish-Modern-Console-Desk-White-Ash-White

Swish Desk by BluDot. (Courtesy BluDot)

At ICFF 2014, mature design reclaimed the stage. With other exhibit opportunities for up-and-coming designers—WantedDesign and Sight Unseen Offsite, along with the Industry City venue in Brooklyn—established manufacturers set the tenor of the show this year. Further cementing the show’s place near the top of the trade show hierarchy, many of the exhibitors that displayed their wares at Salone del Mobile in Milan a few short weeks ago were also present in New York. Here are six products that stood out to AN among the rows of exhibitors.

Blu Dot
Swish Desk

A split-level sliding top and drawer stretch the storage capacity of this neo-modern, white-ash desk. Legs in white or grey.

More after the jump

Want to Motor-Bike With Brad Cloepfil? Van Alen Has You Covered

East
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
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10-van-alen-auction

This Wednesday, the Van Alen Institute is throwing their very first Spring Party in New York City. Tickets to the benefit, taking place at the High Line Hotel, are still on sale, with a variety of price points from a standard party ticket to the high roller “Beaux-Arts Benefactor” costing $25,000. Happening alongside the party, Van Alen has partnered with Paddle8 for an auction of architectural experiences, and some of the world’s biggest names—from Iwan Baan to Richard Meier to Brad Cloepfil—have volunteered to potentially spend a little bit of their time with you. Swooning at the opportunities abounding in the auction, AN has rounded up ten of our favorite experiences up for auction we’d love to try.

Some of the more quirky lots up for bid include rummaging around Rem Koolhaas’ basement, Michael Sorkin’s whirlwind 20-minute tour of Manhattan, waking up for a 3:00a.m. breakfast with Hans Ulrich Obrist, and a Skype chat with Aaron Betsky. Each of these experiences carries an estimated value of priceless, so get over to Paddle8 (or download the app), and bid away to support the also-priceless Van Alen Institute. Bid early and often, as the auction ends on Friday, May 23.

Check out AN’s top 10 auctions after the jump.

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Port Authority Makes it Rain on Man from Spain: Calatrava Paid for Uncommissioned Work

03-santiago-port-authority-pay

The new Goethals Bridge, not designed by Santiago Calatrava. (Courtesy Port Authority)

According to a report in the Bergen Record, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey gave Santiago Calatrava, the renowned Spanish architect whose lust for gold is as vigorous as that of his conquistador forebears, $500,000 for two bridge designs that will not be built and to which Calatrava will retain the copyrights. Sound shady? Anyone who has had the opportunity to use the Port Authority Bus Terminal will not be surprised to find out that it is.

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Washington D.C. To Grow World’s Largest Urban Greenhouse

East, News, Urbanism
Monday, May 19, 2014
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Officials from BrightFarms inside one of the company's Pennsylvania facilities. (Courtesy BrightFarms)

Officials from BrightFarms inside one of the company’s Pennsylvania facilities. (Courtesy BrightFarms)

From junk metal and rubble to tomatoes and kale. That’s the plan for a vacant lot in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. located just under six miles from the United States Capitol building. Over the next few months, the 2.3-acre site, which has been covered in trash for years, will be transformed into the world’s largest urban greenhouse.

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“Urban Ballet” of Reclaimed Chairs Comes to Times Square This Weekend

Art, City Terrain, East, Urbanism
Friday, May 16, 2014
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Chairs like these will be on display in Times Square. (Courtesy

Chairs like these will be on display in Times Square. (Courtesy

This weekend, design firm Bade Stageberg Cox will transform Times Square with the help of nearly 50 reclaimed chairs painted taxicab yellow. The chairs will be arranged like theater seats and Times Square will be the stage. “As the plaza is occupied throughout the day, the chairs’ movement and rearrangement becomes a performance about the ways in which people inhabit the public realm and shape it to suit their needs,” said the firm in a statement. The installation is part of their Street Theater series, and coincides with New York City Design Week.

Curated or Crowd-Sourced? MoMA Taps into the Vox Pop via Kickstarter

East, Product
Friday, May 16, 2014
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Projecteo. Backed by 2,789 project supporters on Kickstarter. (Courtesy Kickstarter)

Projecteo. Backed by 2,789 project supporters on Kickstarter. (Courtesy Kickstarter)

Move over, Aalto vases and Eames coat racks: there are some fresh new works  available at the Museum of Modern Art Design Store. Sourced in partnership with Kickstarter, 24 products from 20 international designers are getting a shot at icon status over the course of four short weeks.

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Obit> Dr. Alan Friedman, 1942-2014

East, Obit
Friday, May 16, 2014
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Aerial view of the NY Hall of Science Playground, completed in 2007. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

Aerial view of the NY Hall of Science Playground, completed in 2007. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

We love all of our clients equally… but Dr. Alan Friedman we really, really loved. We should all be so fortunate as to work with someone as generous, curious, optimistic yet not unrealistic, trusting, and somehow always fun.

BKSK worked with him on two ambitious permanent outdoor exhibits (collectively the NY Hall of Science Playground) approximately ten years apart, and in between were tapped for various smaller tasks. So lightning, for us, struck more than once. The beginning of any project was, following that metaphor, electrifying.

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