542 West 22nd St.
Through February 11, 2012
Dating back to the 17th century, Mobilier National is the institution specifically dedicated to decorating the French Republic’s official palaces and residences, at home and abroad. For the first time in America, Demisch Danant presents more than 20 rare commissions realized in the 1960s by the Atelier de Recherche et Création (ARC), a program launched by Mobilier National to promote a distinctly French contemporary style in decorative arts and design. With research and design development subsidized, these pieces were meant to be commercially produced in limited quantities. Many of the ARC creations have become icons of modernity, including Pierre Paulin’s famous designs for President Georges Pompidou’s private apartments at the Palais de l’Elysée and the President’s Desk (1968) by Henri Lesêtre (above).
Guy Horton, a frequent contributor to AN, here adds his thoughts on the still-steaming controversy over MVRDV’s twin towers.
MVRDV’s design for what they call The Cloud, a twin high-rise with a connecting “cloud” above the waistline, has resulted in an blitz of negative criticism. Americans who have never heard of the Dutch firm are now phoning and emailing threats and condemnation non-stop—some are personal threats aimed at individuals. They have even been called “Al Qaeda lovers.”
The small world of classicist architecture in America–where many former Postmodernists found refuge after the dial of taste turned away from jokey historical references and pasted-on pediments–is working overtime to rehabilitate the 70s and 80s stylistic counter reformation. First was the recent conference, “Reconsidering Postmodernism,” organized by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which brought out many of the movement’s old stars for presentations, chats, and a lot of hand wringing. Today, the Chicago-based Richard H. Driehaus Foundation announced that Michael Graves was this year’s winner of the $200,000 Driehaus Prize.
Adding to his pop culture resume (appearing on the Simpsons, designing a hat for Lady Gaga, starring in a documentary) Frank Gehry has designed the official poster for the 54th Grammy Awards, which takes place in February. It appears that Gehry simply placed the Grammy trophy in front of a collection of models at his office, leaving the question, can you spot any specific projects? If so leave a comment. We’d like to see Gehry’s interpretation of the iconic gramophone made of his signature curving titanium forms. Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, said in a statement, “Frank’s exemplary creative accomplishments through a variety of artistic platforms have been inspirational. We are honored to work with such a well-respected talent who has served as an influential figure within the arts on a global scale.”
Coincidentally, Gehry will be designing sets for the LA Philharmonic’s production of Don Giovanni at Disney Hall this May. The Philharmonic is nominated for a Grammy this year for its performance of Brahms Symphony Number Four.
City Planning hasn’t missed a beat since celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Zoning Amendment with a conference in November that brought together zoning czars from academia, business, and government to discuss challenges ahead for planning in New York City. On Monday, Amanda Burden of the City Planning Commission (CPC) announced a new Zone Green initiative making it easier —at least zoning-wise—for sustainable upgrades of residential and commercial buildings across the city.
Singapore’s largest private property developer, the Far East Organisation, is the latest client of the Amsterdam-based architect UNStudio. The project in question is The Scotts Tower, a high-end residential building with the ambition to achieve “vertical city planning”–a concept perhaps inevitable in evermore crowded Asian cities. According to Ben van Berkel, UNStudio principal, the project is to “create neighborhoods in the sky; a vertical city where each zone has its own distinct identity.”
It must have been a rough day at MVRDV’s Rotterdam offices after their newly unveiled Cloud tower set to be built in Seoul, South Korea went viral in a bad way. MVRDV envisioned two towers shrouded in pixelated mist, but others saw the image of a plane hitting the World Trade Center in New York, half a world away. MVRDV released the following statement on their Facebook page along with an early conceptual drawing showing the inspiration for the tower, in a much more literal cloud:
A real media storm has started and we receive threatening emails and calls of angry people calling us Al Qaeda lovers or worse.
MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11, it was not our intention.
The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper. It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, the design was not meant to provoke this.
Check out all of the renderings over here. What do you think? Is this too reminiscent of the Twin Towers? Do you see a cloud or an explosion frozen in time?
The opening of “The Architecture of Indifference” last Thursday at Ralph Pucci’s Gallery 9 brought together the worlds of fashion and design in the manner that only this showroom can. The event launched a new line of mannequins from the company called “Guy,” with sultry poses suggesting last call at a bar in Buenos Aires. Any doubt as to Pucci’s inspiration for this collection was put to rest by the a tango performed by Walter Perez and Leonardo Sardella, who ambidextrously shifted roles in dancing backwards. The diversion almost threatened to distract from the fiber-based designs of Dana Barnes, but, of course, that’s nearly impossible to do.
Seoul’s Yongsan International Business District, a new district designed to lift the city’s architectural appeal as an international business destination, is filled with wild promises: the world’s second tallest tower (‘Dream Tower’) to be completed by 2016, the Libeskind-designed, 28-trillion-won ($22.6-billion) ‘Dreamhub’ project, and now MVRDV’s The Cloud.