Indian officials have proposed that high-rises be built on the site of Edwin Lutyens-designed bungalows dating from the 1920s and 1930s, threatening Delhi’s colonial era architecture, according to the Guardian. Lutyens’ Delhi, a 3,000-acre zone containing the Mughal Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan, has endured monsoons, riots, and acid rain, but now many of the area’s government buildings, parks, and homes have met a new menace: a scheme to loosen planning limitations to permit construction of high-rise structures.
Underscoring the fragility of the economic recovery, the April AIA’s Architecture Billings Index dipped into negative territory for the first time in nine months. The slump to 48.6 was significant, down from 51.9 in March (any score above 50 indicates positive growth).
“Project approval delays are having an adverse effect on the design and construction industry, but again and again we are hearing that it is extremely difficult to obtain financing to move forward on real estate projects,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, in a statement. “There are other challenges that have prevented a broader recovery that we will examine in the coming months if this negative trajectory continues. However, given that inquiries for new projects continue to be strong, we’re hopeful that this is just a short-term dip.”
The 25th edition of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) opened on Saturday, May 19, with approximately 500 exhibitors from around the world showing their wares to the design community. In addition to smaller designs studios from Brooklyn, New York to Portland, Oregon, international designers from Belgium, Spain, Italy, Norway, Japan, and Haiti were also onsite with all manner of interior products. The fair closes on May 21, and is open to the public on the final day.
A sanitary alternative to silk pendant shades, Two features 3Form’s Varia Ecoresin—made of 40 percent preconsumer recycled content—formed around a fabric layer for greater ease of cleanability. The pendant comes fully enclosed with top and bottom diffusers for LED components that also feature dimming capabilities.
Yesterday, AN reported on the incredible new entertainment complex that millionaire James Goldstein is building next to John Lautner’s Sheats Goldstein Residence in Beverly Hills. But even without an adjacent nightclub, the house often hosts splashy events, the most recent of which was the latest art/architecture installation that’s part of artist Xavier Veilhan’s Architectones series. As he did at Richard Neutra’s VDL House and Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House 21, Veilhan created several site specific installations for the site, ranging from a life size statue of John Lautner to a series of cords stretching over the home’s pool. The project was curated by architect Francois Perrin and organized by Galerie Perrotin.
Patrizia Moroso, art director at Moroso, recently chatted with AN about her impressions of ICFF, working with Patricia Urquiola, and the design house’s plans for New York Design Week.
What are your impressions of ICFF?
It is something very important for the U.S. and for New York. For me, around the fair and outside the pavilions, there’s a lot organized in town. The fair is growing. For example, Milan [Furniture Fair] has become so important these years. In Milano, we have something like 3,000 events around design week but this means that people are excited. Now, New York is becoming something like this. You have so much happening around it. The interest and the dialogue between the institutions and the companies and firms can carry on in and around the fair.
[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ]
When the author Bill Bryson moved back to the US from England he wrote a goodbye book entitled Notes from a Small Island. I was frequently reminded of Bryson’s analysis as I rode through Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. By comparison to these great open spaces England is neat and manicured, with everything in its place.
The small tourist hotspot of Belize, with its pristine Caribbean coastlines, lush rainforest, and ancient Mayan ruins, suffered a dramatic loss recently when one 2,300-year-old ruin was razed. The 100-foot-tall Nohmul Mayan Pyramid was bulldozed to create gravel fill for a road-building project, its hand-cut limestone construction visible as excavators tore into the structure. According to CNN, authorities in Belize will be conducting an investigation and, even though the ruin was on a privately owned sugar-cane field, criminal charges are likely.
In case you’ve missed it (and you certainly wouldn’t be alone), Los Angeles is voting for mayor tomorrow. And if you’re an architect, planner, or design lover, you probably want to know who will serve your interests. There are a number of resources, starting, of course, with the candidates’—Eric Garcetti’s and Wendy Greuel’s— web sites. You should also have a look at the AIA/LA’s groundbreaking candidates’ forums, moderated by city planning commissioner Bill Roschen and LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. Among so many other debates, another favorite was this one, hosted by KCRW radio host Warren Olney.
As Design Week descended upon New York City, AN sat down with Francesca Molteni, project manager for the Furniture by Gio Ponti collection, to talk about an exclusive line of furniture produced by Molteni&C, how the collection came to be, and an accompanying exhibition about the life and work of one of Italy’s most renowned designers.
How did the collection come about?
Paolo Scenti, the nephew of Ponti, had his uncle’s large bookcase in his photography studio while I was there for a visit, and a lightbulb went off; I wanted to produce his designs industrially. We started talking with the family and Salvatore Licitra, the Ponti archivist and grandson of Ponti, and started researching pieces from the past, mostly pieces from the ’50s and those from his home, as those were the ones he chose intimately. We also went to another archivist in Parma, where a university there is holding his art and architecture archives. Ponti was so prolifically productive; he left thousands of drawings, sketches, writings, and we had so much material from this we decided to launch an exhibition as well. I was smitten with the information because now you can see the real Ponti, not just his most famous work. It’s a more private view on his life and work—a wonderful occasion to closer to the man and the architect.