EXD’11 Lisbon Design Biennale Opening Week
September 28–October 2
“Useless,” the theme of Lisbon’s the sixth design biennale organized by Experimentadesign, grew out of a desire to explore what the term “useful” means today. A number a guest-curated exhibitions form the backbone of the event: for Sidelines, design historian Emily King considers the motivations behind collecting art and objects, deploying Lisbon’s museums to display an eclectic series of private collections; in Utilitas Interrupta, Joseph Grima, editor of Domus, asks what abandoned infrastructure and its implements (above) say about our society. These shows run through November, but opening week highlights also include a series of lectures by design scene fixtures like Hans Ulrich Obrist and Zoe Ryan, as well as a specially organized film series.
Wulpen Community Center
Architect: Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu
Client: Flemish Government Architect
Location: Wulpen, Belgium
The Brooklyn-based firm Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO–IL) recently won a design competition for a community center located in Wulpen, a small, coastal town in Belgium. Their design transforms an unused schoolhouse into a community center with three distinct parts: a multipurpose room in the former two classrooms, a youth space in a garden, and meeting rooms in the original teachers’ house.
Of the 85 proposals submitted to a playground design competition hosted by Go Play!, few were as innovative as AnneMarie van Splunter’s RubberTree, which landed an honorable mention. The Dutch designer’s imaginative reuse of old car and motorcycle tires recalls the simplicity of children playing around a tree, inspired, in fact, by the rubber tree and its heavily exposed root system. Van Splunter sought to create a place where refugee children on the border of Burma and Thailand can be “rooted in solid ground.”
Beijing Design Week
September 26–October 3
Beijing Design Week, now in its second year, aims to change the catchphrase “Made in China” to “Designed in China.” The festival will bring together 30 local and international design firms for packed roster of events focusing on urban design and including Dutch artist/architect Daan Roosegaarde’s experiments with LEDs (above). Design Week will take over the whole city, staging happenings everywhere from the trendy 798 art district to Tiananmen Square, whose neighboring historic district will host pop-up shops and street art installations, to the site of the China Millenium Monument, where Paul Cocksedge will unveil an installation on October 1. This year London was invited to be Beijing’s “guest city,” and emissaries from the London Design Festival will translate some of their most successful ideas and activities into a new context.
File under: “Say What?” Retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has joined the jury for the Pritzker Prize. Prize organizers say the Justice has a long and demonstrable interest in architecture. Who knew? Also joining the jury is 2004 laureate Zaha Hadid. Is it just us, or does it seem strange for Zaha to be upstaged by a guy in a black robe known for his rigorous legal scholarship and even temperament? Read More
London Design Festival
September 17–September 25
This year’s theme for the London Design Festival is “Design from all Angles.” Home base for the event will be the main exhibition hall at the Victoria and Albert Museum, but design projects will also be scattered at 150 sites throughout the city. A three-story red oak latticework spiral called Timber Wave (above) will frame the V&A entrance; the installation is by Amanda Levete, who was recently commissioned to design the museum’s courtyard and expansion. Elsewhere: at St. Paul’s Cathedral, John Pawson creates an optical allusion that distorts distance and depth through lenses and mirrors; this year’s Size and Matterinstallation at the Royal Festival Hall, an annual event highlighting design and technology, is a collaboration between David Chipperfield and Arup, who are sandwiching reflective metal-coated fabric mesh between glass to explore translucent and reflective properties.
Helsinki Design Week
September 9–September 18
To warm up for its turn as the 2012 World Design Capital, the city of Helsinki will host a week-long design festival in September. A variety of sites throughout the city will be pressed into service, from public plazas to the Old Customs Warehouse. Architects and designers plan explore the relationship between the urban dweller and urban design. The exhibit I Am the City by the art and design collective, Ornamo 100, features Helsinki Throne (above) by interior designer Jouni Leino, and design think tank OK Do’s Museum of the Near Future transforms an unused office building into a library, bookstore, and public art studio. Design Week’s organizers trumpet Finland’s acclaimed education system, making architectural and design education practices a running theme throughout the week.
As we noted while visiting the Center for Architecture back in July, the Brazilian design scene continues to heat up. This week in Sao Paolo the BOOMSPDESIGN International Forum of Architecture, Design and Art is back for its fourth year. In addition to a series of symposia with international and native talent, this design week will also include on-the-street collaborative art and design projects.
Curator Roberto Cocenza has pulled together a diverse mix of talent from Tokyo to Miami. This year Studio Dror, Matali Crasset, Paul Clemence, Cat, Harry Allen, Chad Oppenheim, Mount Fuji, Jade Dressler, and Rene Gonzales will criss-cross the globe to join Brazilians Brunete Fraccaroli, FGMF, Glauco Diogenes, Guilherme Torres, Sergio Matos, and Zoe Melo. An exhibition of Karim Rashid’s work will also be shown, as will a multi-generational exhibition of Japanese architecture titled “reset .11.03.11 new paradigms.” BOOMSPDESIGN runs through September 2.
On Saturday, Icelanders celebrated the opening of the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. Designed by Henning Larsen, the building features a colorful, prismatic facade, developed in consultation with the artist Olafur Eliasson. The architects and the artist drew inspiration from basalt stone formations found along the Icelandic coast. The building has both a rugged power, and yet the colorful facade, which changes throughout the day according to light conditions, is inviting. Read More