A sidewalk in France adds a bounce to your step. Atelier Raum Architects recently released their streetscape intervention La Ville Molle in Bourges, France, part of the city’s 5th annual Biennale of Contemporary Art. During their 2010 artist residency at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges (ENSA), the architecture firm developed the urban design project in conjunction with La Box, the ENSA student gallery, and the FRAC Centre (Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain).
Situated in a medieval town square, the raised patch of cobblestone vacillates under spectators’ shifting weight. The installation is intended to alter the pedestrians’ urban experience and sense of gravity while the buoyant surface juxtaposes the apparent strength of a cobblestone plaza with the instability of walking on a balloon. Thus, the design demands contemplation on whether the traditional French city should embrace contemporary design as its modernization. (Via noquedanblogs.)
Now you’ve got another date to look forward to next month besides July 4. The city of Los Angeles has officially declared July 16, 2011, which would have been John Lautner’s 100th birthday, John Lautner Day. That event will kick of the John Lautner Turns 100 Series, created by the John Lautner Foundation, which will feature a ridiculous amount of exhibitions, film screenings, home tours, symposia and receptions. By the way, if you haven’t visited a Lautner house before, you better do it now. A full list of activities below, and here. Read More
Red Carpet Collection
InterfaceFLOR’s new Red Carpet Collection includes three floor patterns designed for a range of corporate interiors. The Reduce pattern (pictured) is a linear design, while the Redesign and Redeliver have sheared and carved motifs that add dimension. Each is available in 32 neutrals in addition to bold red. Tiles contain up to 38 percent post-consumer recycled content and are installed with glue-less TacTile connectors, which prevent tile movement and curling.
Presenting to the community board has got be one of the toughest parts of an architect’s job. The mood in the room at last night’s CB2 meeting for St. Vincent’s Campus Redevelopment Project was cantankerous at best. The public scoping meeting, one of the first steps in the review process, gave an overview of the building massing on the site and delved into environmental impacts. Time for community input was scheduled to follow the developers’ presentations, but that didn’t stop the crowd from shouting down Perkins Eastman’s Frank Gunther and FX Fowle’s Dan Kaplan. As Kaplan worked his way through his presentation he was interrupted with shouts of “Soulless architecture for soulless people.” They were no kinder to Gunther, who discussed several details of the O’Toole renovations, including the removal of the ceramic tiles. Gunther said the tiles were not original to the building’s facade, which was concrete.
Lori Bookstein Fine Art
138 Tenth Ave., New York
Through June 25
The architect Louis Kahn drew inspiration from his travels, both in foreign lands and closer to home. A new exhibition brings together drawings, watercolors, pastels, and oil paintings Kahn made between the late 1920s and the early 1950s during trips around the United States, Canada, Europe, and Egypt. From New England churches to Egyptian rock quarries, the collected works offer Kahn’s interpretation of diverse landscapes and cityscapes, like Coastal Village, No. 2, Isle Madame, Nova Scotia (1936), above. In the exhibition, Kahn’s artwork is contextualized with his postcards and other travel ephemera.
Among the triumvirate of Save Detroit schemes (urban farming, attracting artists, and right-sizing the city), cultural projects in some ways seem most challenging given the city’s dire circumstances. Located in a formerly abandoned bank building, the new Kunsthalle Detroit will showcase multimedia and light-based artworks, a smart strategy given the comparatively low cost and ease of presenting such work. The museum opens tomorrow with an exhibition titled, “Time and Place,” featuring works by Bill Viola, Tim White-Sobieski and ten other artists. “This museum brings the best in contemporary multimedia art as catered to the local population,” said founder Tate Osten, in a statement. “It is ultimately a revolutionary action, bringing international art forces to Detroit. In the near future we envision multimedia and light projects splashing from within the museum onto the streets of Detroit, making life and art inseparable.” Kunsthalle Detroit is located at 5001 Grand River Avenue, and will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
AOL’s New Offices Are Snazzy: Fast Company has a slideshow of interior shots of AOL’s new offices in Palo Alto. The space was designed to be bright and collaborative. “This being a tech company, naturally, it’s got a game room, too,” writes Suzanne LaBarre. The interiors are the work of Studio O+A, which has designed offices for other Internet companies like Yelp, Facebook and PayPal.
Philly Set For a Makeover: Sometimes it seems like Philly is the East Coast city people love to hate on for its small size, poor public transit and high crime rates. That may change soon with a new comprehensive plan for the city that could include: “more open space, bike lanes and preservation efforts, as well as specific goals including an extension of the Broad Street subway to the Navy Yard, an east Market Street that can really be Philly’s ‘Main Street’, a waterfront lined with parks.”
NYC’s Lesson for LA: New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan blogs on how Los Angeles can learn from New York City’s Plaza program. It’s the quintessential showdown of cities: New York, a dense metropolis where most native-born teens don’t even have their driver’s licenses, and LA, a sprawling auto-centric city. There’s even a book called “New York and Los Angeles” that says so. Sadik-Khan’s piece is part of Streetsblog’s new series on how the best transportation practices in other cities can be adapted for LA.
Brownwashing Republicans: Grist has a list of 10 Republican politicians who are backtracking on pro-environment statements they’ve made in the past. The #1 offender is presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called for climate action in a 2008 ad for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. Earlier this year, he said, “”I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory.”
New Meteor Colors
To celebrate its 30-year anniversary, Carnegie is rolling out 71 new colors to diversify its classic Meteor fabric panels, which are also suitable for upholstery and wall coverings. Panels are woven of inherently flame retardant yarns and are Cradle-to-Cradle Silver certified. The new color options are grouped into four categories: primary brights (pictured), dusty hues, deep darks, and new neutrals.
Clodagh’s Natural State
Bentley Prince Street
In collaboration with design partner Clodagh, Bentley Prince Street will introduce a new version of its 80 percent wool flat weave carpet. Called Natural State, the basket-weave pattern incorporates Protekt soil and stain protection and is available in ten colors. All of the company’s standard broadloom products are certified to the NSF 140-2008 Sustainable Carpet Assessment Standard at the Platinum level.
Kravet has added its eco-friendly high-performance Crypton line to its new Guaranteed in Stock program. More than 145 fabrics will be shipped within 24 hours of an order, ensuring project timelines stay on track. Made with 50 to 100 percent recycled fiber content, all fabrics pass a 50,000 double-rub durability rating and are engineered to resist stain, moisture, mildew, bacteria, and odor.
Lahood Bikes to Work: The Transportation Secretary biked to work with other DOT commuters yesterday morning, as seen in this video. He wrote, “The route was safe and well-marked; we enjoyed some exercise; and we didn’t burn a drop of gas–which saved us some money.” Since taking office in 2009, the former Republican congressman has prioritized light rail development and overseen $600 million in TIGER II grants to projects that promote livability. John Norquist, president of the Congress for New Urbanism, tells us Lahood is the best Transportation Secretary this country has seen since Secretary Coleman under President Ford.
The High Line: “Economic Dynamo.” The New York Times reports “preserving the High Line as a public park revitalized a swath of the city and generated $2 billion in private investment surrounding the park.” The development of the High Line (the second section of which opens tomorrow) has spurred the construction of hundreds of deluxe apartments, art galleries, restaurants and boutiques nearby and the addition of 12,000 jobs, which more than make up for the $115 million the city spent on the park.
Can Detroit Come Back? With a dwindling population, low literacy rates and vacant housing, Detroit is one of America’s biggest underdogs. But the city’s woes also make it the perfect laboratory for experiments like Hantz Farms plan to create the world’s largest urban farm. OnEarth takes a look at the different ideas percolating in Detroit.
Anthony Weiner on Bike Lanes: Anthony Weiner’s getting some serious flack, but let’s not forget: he also hates bike lanes, says Transportation Nation. At a Gracie Mansion dinner for New York’s Congressional Delegation last June, Weiner told Mayor Bloomberg: “When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing? I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”