Martha Schwartz’ Hillside Mountain Range

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Fengming Mountain Park features a series of metal pavilions imagined as abstracted mountains. (Terrence Zhang)

Fengming Mountain Park features a series of metal pavilions imagined as abstracted mountains. (Terrence Zhang)

Illuminated steel pavilions mimic Chinese peaks.

The hillside site of Fengming Mountain Park, in Chongqing, China, presented Martha Schwartz Partners with both a practical challenge and a source of inspiration. Asked by Chinese developer Vanke to design a park adjacent to the sales office for a new housing development, the landscape architecture and urban planning firm quickly gravitated toward the metaphor of a mountain journey. “That’s why in the plans you see a zig zag pattern” to the path leading down to the sales center from the car park, said associate Ignacio López Busón. Steel pavilions scattered along the walkway pick up on the theme, taking the form of abstracted mountain peaks. “That’s something the client really liked,” said López Busón. “Once the idea was clear, it was all about developing the shape of them, and trying to make them look special.”
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Bright public art installation to light up New York City’s cold, dark winter

Art, City Terrain, Design, East, Lighting, Newsletter
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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New York Light and the Flatiron Building. (Courtesy INABA)

New York Light and the Flatiron Building. (Courtesy INABA)

The summer is officially over, folks. The beaches are closed, the sun is switching to its seasonal, part-time schedule, and your coworkers are drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes again. There is no ignoring an inevitable truth: winter is coming and there is nothing you can do about it. Well, if you live up north that is. You could move to Florida, but beyond that, there is nothing you can do about it. For those of us stuck in New York City this holiday season, it’s not all bad news. We will soon be able to feast our frostbitten eyes on a new public art installation in front of the Flatiron Building.

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Obit> Mildred “Mickey” Friedman, 1929–2014

mickey friedman was a ceelbrated design director, design curator, and editor of Design Quarterly. She died September 3, 2014. (courtesy walker art center)

mickey friedman was a celebrated design director, design curator, and editor of Design Quarterly. She died September 3, 2014. (courtesy walker art center)

Mildred Friedman, the longtime design curator of Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center and a prolific architectural author, died Wednesday at her home in New York City. She was 85. Friedman, whose friends called her “Mickey,” ran the Walker for 21 years with her husband, Martin, who was its director. Together they made it “America’s leading design museum,” according to a tribute from Architectural Record on the occasion of the couple’s “retirement” in 1990. Read More

Urbana’s Shape-Shifting Parking Garage Facade

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Urbana Studio designed an interactive aluminum facade for an existing parking structure at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. (Serge Hoeltschi)

Urbana Studio designed an interactive aluminum facade for an existing parking structure at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. (Serge Hoeltschi)

Folded aluminum panels deliver the illusion of movement to passersby.

During their recent expansion, Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis approached Urbana Studio with an unusual request. The hospital wanted the Los Angeles-based art and architecture firm to design an interactive facade for a recently completed parking structure. “With Indianapolis’ really extreme weather patterns, we gave a lot of thought to: how can we make something that’s interactive but won’t be broken in a year?” said Urbana principal Rob Ley. “Unfortunately, the history of kinetic facades teaches us that that they can become a maintenance nightmare.” Urbana’s solution was to turn the relationship between movement and the object on its head. Though the aluminum facade, titled May September, is itself static, it appears to morph and change color as the viewer walks or drives by.
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Vintage Glass Blocks For Sale For a Good Cause

Art, Design, National
Thursday, August 21, 2014
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The glass blocks. (Courtesy unearthedgallery)

The glass blocks. (Courtesy unearthedgallery)

AN recently got word of 1,500 vintage glass art blocks that are up for sale over on Etsy. These slabs won’t just add color to your home or garden, they will represent a donation to a great cause as the seller, the Unearthed Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin, is donating 15 percent of its proceeds to Heifer International.

More info after the jump.

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Chicago Placemaking Festival Aims to teach Old Places New Tricks

Art, City Terrain, Midwest, Urbanism
Friday, August 15, 2014
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(Metropolitan Planning Council)

(Metropolitan Planning Council)

In a few short years, the term placemaking has migrated from wonky urban planning circles to neighborhoods across the country—that communities come together around public space is no groundbreaking observation, but when successful the idea can be revolutionary on a local scale.

So hopes Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council, who this weekend will sponsor “Old Place New Tricks,” a bid to “activate” neighborhoods from Englewood to Ravenswood with public space interventions that range from a “healthy eating happy hour” to “Selfie Sunday.”

More info after the jump.

Pictorial> New photos illuminate Cleveland’s “AHA!” festival of lights

“The Global Rainbow” in Cleveland by artist Yvette Mattern. (frank lanza)

“The Global Rainbow” in Cleveland by artist Yvette Mattern. (Frank Lanza)

Last week AN plugged an event that aimed to turn downtown Cleveland into a festival of lights. Sure enough, colorful projections flooded the walls of downtown cultural institutions while a massive rainbow arched over the city and iridescent discs of rainbow light saw curious Clevelanders clambering about.

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This Weekend> Giant rainbows and iridescent pools light up Cleveland

Art, Lighting, Midwest, News, On View
Friday, August 8, 2014
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Jen Lewin's "The Pool" (Jen Lewin Studio)

Jen Lewin’s “The Pool” (Jen Lewin Studio)

Through Saturday night, a public art project by LAND studio is turning Cleveland’s downtown malls into canvases for light displays including sweeping rainbows, iridescent discs, and high-definition projections. “Light Up Cleveland!” runs August 7–9 and is sponsored by a slew of companies and nonprofits. You can see a map and full schedule of events on ahacle.com.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Chicagoisms at the Art Institute of Chicago

Architecture, Art, Design, Midwest, On View
Thursday, August 7, 2014
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(Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

(Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

Chicagoisms
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ilinois
Through January 4, 2015

Chicagoisms is an ongoing exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago that focuses on key historical principles—“Chicagoisms”—that went into creating and shaping the city that we know today. The exhibition was put together by architectural theorist Alexander Eisenschmidt and art historian Jonathan Mekinda working with designer Matt Wizinsky.

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Shigeru Ban-Designed Aspen Art Museum Opens With A Bang, Literally

Architecture, Art, Newsletter, Southwest
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
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Workers were still putting the finishing touches on the building when it opened to members and the press. (Courtesy AAM)

Workers were still putting the finishing touches on the building when it opened to members and the press on Saturday, August 2. (Courtesy AAM/David X Prutting)

On Saturday, August 2, I had the opportunity to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony and member’s opening of the new Aspen Art Museum (AAM), designed by this year’s Pritzker Prize winner, Shigeru Ban. The event took place at the tail end of AAM’s annual ArtCrush festival, which gathers artists, art collectors, curators, gallery owners, celebrities, and philanthropists from around the world to celebrate contemporary art and raise money for the museum through an auction.

Continue reading after the jump.

Department of Buildings Approves Aby Rosen’s Plans for 67 Vestry

67 Vestry in Tribeca. (Courtesy CARLOS CHIOSSONE)

67 Vestry in Tribeca. (Courtesy CARLOS CHIOSSONE)

In yet another round of preservationist vs. developer, it appears developer has won again. This time, the fight took place at 67 Vestry Street in Tribeca—the site of an 11-story palazzo building that came to life as a warehouse for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company in 1897. 

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Bittertang Farms’ organic amphitheater sprouts from straw in Lake Forest, Illinois

Buru Buru amphitheatre at the Ragdale Ring in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Bittertang Farms)

Buru Buru amphitheatre at the Ragdale Ring in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Bittertang Farms)

Work wrapped up this summer on Bittertang Farms’ installation at Ragdale, the nonprofit artists’ community in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, and true to its plans the straw amphitheater springs forth from a lush hillside in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Continue reading after the jump.

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