When talking to Florent Morellet, don’t call it the Meatpacking District. For the eponymous owner of now-closed diner/bistro Florent on Little West 12th Street, it’s the Meat Market. Well before SoHo House and long before Pastis, there was Florent, the subject of a new documentary by David Segal, Florent: Queen of the Meat Market. I found out about the New York opening of the film while showroom hopping on Green Street last week. At Kartell, the perfectly bouffant-ed Darinka Chase encouraged me to try out Philippe Starck‘s Magic Hole. Before slinging chic plastic, Chase spent twenty years as hostess at the downtown den of dining debauchery. She vividly recalls how preservationists met at the restaurant in an effort to preserve the district. “At the time people did think it was kind of nuts, like landmarking the city dump,” she said.
While many of you –our loyal readers–were partying it up in New Orleans at our AIA New York State party, we were being honored in New York! The Historic Districts Council presented the paper with its Friend in the Media Award at their 12th annual Grassroots Awards in the spectacular in the garden of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn Heights. I was honored to accept the award for our very hardworking staff on Murray Street.
Meanwhile, Ibex, AIANY, YKK, and the Ceramic Tiles of Italy hosted their shindig in New Orleans…
If you’re in DUMBO this week and catch a glimpse of a shirtless man hanging off a tree, don’t freak out. VAMOS Architects has curated an installation of photographer Robert Holden’s series The Treehouse, as part of New York Photography Week. The large-scale photographs depict semi-nude members of a rainforest commune, set against industrial buildings, rooftops, and scaffolding in DUMBO.
Missing Parklet. Who would steal a parklet? The Oakland Local spotted a worried Facebook page for Actual Cafe whose parklet, pictured above, disappeared last week. San Francisco is the city that invented the parklet concept–transforming parking spaces into extensions of the sidewalk–and we hear they’re quite popular, so what gives? The cafe has security footage of the early-morning incident.
Celebrating CityGarden. St. Louis’ much acclaimed urban sculpture park, CityGarden, has been awarded ULI’s 2011 Amanda Burden Open Space Award, named for NYC’s Planning Commissioner who sat on the selection jury. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the garden topped projects in Portland, OR and Houston to claim the $10,000 prize.
Chatham Scratched. DNA reports that plans to transform Chinatown’s Chatham Square at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge have been put on hold. The $30 million project would have reconfigured the busy confluence of seven streets to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, but with other construction projects already clogging the area, the city didn’t want to make matters worse. Funds will be used for other Lower Manhattan projects instead.
Directing Traffic. Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has penned a feature-length article on the future of transportation for the Wall Street Journal. In recounting the good, the bad, and the ugly of transportation policy, Puentes calls for innovation and sustainability along with increased access to boost the economy.
Heavenly highways. No, this isn’t a preview of the Rapture (whose marketing graphics leave much to be desired)–it’s a series of time lapse photographs of the quotidian take-offs and landings of airplanes, courtesy of Lost At E Minor.
Out of Gas. Sunday Zipcar drivers take note: when the current lease runs out, the Gaseteria-turned-BP at the corner of Lafayette and Houston Streets in Manhattan will become the site of a new “super-secret five- to seven-story commercial loft development with luxury retail” reports The Observer.
Pro “Roberta Moses.” In her article “Anatomy of a Take Down,” Karrie Jacobs of Metropolis deftly deconstructs the critical pile-on around DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-Khan and her transformation of New York City’s streets. If Jacobs were mayor, she says, she’d throw Sadik-Khan a ticker-tape parade.
Two-wheeled Commute. Happy National Bike to Work Day! Dissuaded by inclement weather in the northeast? For inspiration, check out Street Films’ video–after the jump–of Lucette Gilbert, in her “very late 70s,” who has been getting around New York by bike since the transit strike of 1980.
Italian lighting design firm Foscarini filled their Greene Street showroom with a dynamic, winding installation called Foscarini Evolution during ICFF week in New York. Artist Marc Sadler composed the installation of individual Tress lamps–made of resin-coated fabric strips–connected end to end. The pulsing red strands created a distinctly interactive experience.
“The installation shows how light can convey emotion and form space,” said Veronica Carniello of Foscarini. The showroom will now undergo a renovation and open again at the end of the year. Carniello said the company plans to feature rotating installations featuring Foscarini lighting products so the showroom will take on the qualities of an art gallery.
TEN Arquitectos have shared renderings of a museum project that Enrique Norten is working on in the historic center of Puebla, Mexico. The Amparo Museum sits in the heart a colonial quarter and though building envelope will retain its old world charm, a very new world facility will emerge inside.
Seattle architecture firm Miller Hull, a past winner of the AIA national Firm Award, may be best-known for their work in the Pacific Northwest, but they’ve also been active in San Diego for the last seven years. Now the firm is finally opening an office in the city, giving them a physical presence and simplifying things for their architects and for clients.
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Polycarbonate sheets become an interactive bench, part of Fort Mason Center’s upcoming SEAT exhibition.
San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center will be the stage for an outdoor chair show set to open June 23. Called SEAT, the yearlong exhibition is being curated by artist and landscape designer Topher Delaney, of Seam Studio, and will include work by more than 40 designers, artists, and architects. Each team was given a site on the former Fort’s 13-acre waterfront campus, which now serves as an arts and culture venue. As one of the invited participants, San Francisco-based Nilus Designs is preparing an interactive piece called W.E.T: West End Terminal, an anthropomorphic bench created with carefully stacked strata of clear twin-wall polycarbonate.
There’s nothing that’ll kill the buzz on your birthday faster than rumors of the Rapture coming on the same day. But we think John Chase, the beloved urban designer of the City of West Hollywood, would have handled it in stride. Chase, the oft-celebrated “King of Public Space,” was a tremendously outspoken presence in planning and politics and was responsible for transforming the scruffy city into one with attractive public spaces that are both progressive and respectful of the city’s past.
To remember the late urban designer, de LaB, a group of Chase’s friends, family, co-workers, and collaborators, is leading a walking tour on the anniversary of his birthday, Saturday, May 21, across the city. Architects and city leaders will guide the participants through various projects and share their memories of Chase and discuss his urban spaces. Stops include Formosa 1140, Plummer Park, The MAK Center, Habitat 825, Holloway Park Veteran’s Memorial, Sierra Bonita Affordable Housing, 8140 Sunset Boulevard, and West Hollywood City Hall, among others. The tour will conclude (hopefully with the world still intact) with drinks at one of Chase’s favorite places in the city, Barney’s Beanery.
Big Deals. It’s a week of very big deals in NYC as The New York Times reported that Condé Nast signed on the dotted line to move in to One World Trade, and The Wall Street Journal broke the story that The Palace is under contract to be sold to Northwood Investors for $400 million. While across town at The Plaza, the drama continues to unfold with news that landlord Miki Nafti is stepping down and the Oak Room is closing.
Grad Towns. With commencements commencing, many would rather forget that college grads are having a pretty hard time finding work. But a recent search for the ten best college towns from Kiplinger made job opportunities in the college towns part of the criteria. NYC came in first, despite the “sky high rents,” Charlotte and Baltimore followed with their relatively low cost and robust growth.
Open Call. The AIA has announced that My Architect Barbie needs a house. Through the contest to “design a house that meets her guidelines” architects may find the client surprisingly demanding, “With more than 125 careers, I need a spacious office,” says the eight- inch wonder. A big back yard needs to accommodate all her pets, including the giraffe.