Designing for a specific space can be a challenge, but try designing a chair predestined to become a contemporary statement in the newly-refurbished Weston Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford, which has commissioned only its third new chair in 400 years. Earlier this year, three partnerships—Amanda Levete and Herman Miller, Barber Osgerby and Isokon Plus, and Matthew Hilton and SCP Ltd—were shortlisted to compete for the prestigious prize, which has officially been awarded to Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby with Isokon, for their low, round-backed design.
Noted Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi now has a travel fellowship in her name. Jane Hall, founding member of Assemble, a Stratford, UK–based architecture and design collective, has been selected as the inaugural winner of the British Council’s Lina Bo Bardi Fellowship that will allow her to travel to Brazil this year to study Bo Bardi’s work for six weeks this fall.
Hall, an architectural assistant at Studio Weave, will investigate how society, culture, and the idea of “Brazilianess” influence the country’s contemporary architectural practices. The fellowship is part of the British Council’s Transform series—a sequence of arts programs between the United Kingdom and Brazil leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Dutch firm Mecanoo’s latest civic building represents a new era in library design. The new Library of Birmingham in the UK replaces the former James Hardin–designed central library, a brutalist concrete structure. The new library is a sleek expression of the evolving nature of education and learning in the 21st century. The modern, metal-clad structure houses a variety of services, including a multimedia center, two cafés, a music library, a performance space, green outdoor terraces, a shop and a gallery. The design vision is that the space will offer culture and entertainment, as well as learning and information.
The 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale‘s emphasis on active workshops, networking and “research” projects rather than architectural set pieces often plays as live performative tableaus. The public focus of the exhibition is indeed an elevated stage in the city’s Praca da Figueira (Square of the Fig Tree) where architects are performing plays, encouraging civic engagement with public performances, and programming research workshops. Performance is also the operative scheme in another triennial initiative, The Institute Effect, that takes place the city’s Museum of Design.
I wrote in my first post from the Lisbon Architecture Triennale Close, Closer that it’s the first international exhibition that does not need or even want outside visitors. The exhibition’s organizer and head curator, Beatrice Galilee, downplays installations and object-making in favor of active workshops, networking, and “research” projects aimed primarily at residents of the Portuguese capital.
The rise of 3D printing, the design and creation of objects using a material printer, is currently hindered by accessibility. Few own personal printers or know where to go to use one. However, according to Lara Piras of PSFK, commercially viable 3D printing is now a possibility with Netherlands-based 3D Hubs. The online company allows at-home designers to connect with locals who own 3D printers, arrange for payment for the printing of their creations, and then receive their material products, ideally without leaving their community.
The Lisbon Triennale, Close, Closer, is the first architecture exhibition that does not need, nor even want outside visitors. In recent years, the relevance of the international exposition in a defined physical boundary has been questioned, given the energy and expense (particularly in Venice) involved in putting the event together and the ubiquity of digital display and information dissemination. Why not, many people argue, just do the whole thing on line and open it up to the whole world rather than forcing visitors to trek to expensive cities and countries? Lisbon’s Close, Closer will have a tremendous online presence, but, more to the point, the curators of the exhibition, under the overall guidance of British curator Beatrice Galilee, have downplayed expensive formal installations in favor of workshop, networking, and research projects.
Chicago-based architect Jimenez Lai, principal of Bureau Spectacular, has been awarded the first BPC Debut Award for architects under 35. Lai is known for his bold, formally-inventive work, which he describes as “cartoon narratives” that “swerve into the physical world through architectural installations models, and small buildings.” He is the author of Citizen of No Place and an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Selected from a pool of more than 180 entrants, Lai’s work was recognized for its “original design thinking and pursuit of critical ideas.” The prize comes with a modest monetary award of 5,000 euros.
Australia has developed a tantalizing approach to curb humankind’s carbon footprint. Since the country signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2007, it has been actively fighting to moderate air pollution and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020. Australia continues to adopt mainstream tactics such as cutting down on deforestation and land clearing, and has recently revealed a new technology that promises to turn carbon emissions into green building materials.