Bobby and I were talking earlier today about how much we both like 56 Leonard, a high-rise apartment tower designed by Herzog & de Meuron for Tribeca. The skyscraper is an increasingly disorganized mass of luxury apartments that I would never have been able to afford, but would have still enjoyed looking at. The project would have added to the diversity of the manhattan skyline– but sadly– the recession yanked down this project like it was a wonky stack of Jenga pieces. Luckily, we can still watch the sweet video (by Tronic Studio) from a time when everything was coming together for the project instead of falling apart.
You may already be familiar with Orazi’s work; I know one of my thoughts the first time I perused her site was “how have missed this?” She has an aptly-named site, thingsyoucanbuy.co.uk, where you can… buy the Corb’ cards along with other prints and posters of her work.
Last summer, I volunteered to design and (help) build the set for a local youth theatre production. Even though I knew almost nothing about scenic design going into the production– still don’t– I had a blast. I was asked and volunteered this year to design the set for another show that occurs simultaneously with an arts festival in my small town and am currently sketching and researching a little bit more about sets. One of the things I’ve come across is the set, above, developed by the MIT Media Lab for the opera Death and the Powers. The opera, which premiered in Monaco in September and opens next week in Boston, was composed by a member of the Media Lab: Tod Machover. You may have seen his talk at TED.
The opera begins with robots trying to understand what death means; the robots then come to life and sing for several hours about interplay and struggles between technology and spirituality. An excerpt from the NYTimes review asks: “Can we store who we are in such a way that we will continue to inhabit the earth long after our bodies have turned to dust? How many gajigabytes make up a life?” Abstract questions demand abstract scenography, and the robots and giant digital set pieces for this production look amazing (the photos above are from here). I’m a little biased, but I tend to judge productions based on the design of the performance just as much as the talents of the actors. The novelty of Death and the Powers is that the robots are so integral into the action of the opera that they become performers, themselves.
Seeing pictures of the recently completed Holmenkollen Ski Jump is thrilling. For you, it may just be exciting; its completion doubles the number of ski jumps worth knowing about (the other ski jump was designed Zaha Hadid and completed in 2002). But, for me, the jump’s completion is thrilling because it’s something I worked on actually realized. For real.
I was involved with the early stages of this project way back in 2007 when I worked for Julien De Smedt. Let me be clear: I was not at the top of the totem pole, but I did help render, model and diagram the project as it moved from the schematic design phase into the design development phase. The project survived economic and political pressures, maturing into a landmark for both Julien’s practice and the city of Oslo. The jump just finished hosting the Nordic World Ski Championships day-before-yesterday and I’d like to think all the people that skied down the ramp were jumping for joy.
If you set out to design a sleek, contemporary home to show off some of the unusual stuff you’ve collected over the years, you might not expect to arrive at an A-frame. A-frames are a simple structural idea that peaked in the states maybe 40 or 50 years ago in vacation homes. William O’Brien, Jr. has dusted off the structural system by adding bends to the plan and pushing the top off-center, creating something familiar yet refreshing. The interior surface of the wall pulls away from the frame to create opportunities for storage or display, which, for a collector, can be the same thing.
And none of this house is real yet. I tend to dislike photorealistic renderings, but these images by Peter Guthrie are really phenomenal; they exaggerate the mood of the house without distracting from it.