December Design News: Gingerbread Modernism and Mid-Century Men’s Caves | Design

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Sometimes the imagination and skill involved in construction can blow your mind. It’s a privilege to be able to showcase two of these achievements this month in the news section: the Chapel of Sound in China that looks like a rock fallen from space and a gingerbread town designed to raise funds. for the UK Museum of Architecture.

Along with the awe-inspiring designs, we also have thoughtful construction with the individual in mind in the form of a bookcase designed to help you connect with your emotions and a never-before-seen installation by Ettore Sottsass, founder of the Memphis movement. , designed to give personal space.

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Building a brave new world

Chapel of Sound Concert Hall semi-outdoor amphitheater, a two-hour drive from Beijing Photography: Jonathan Leijonhufvud / Open Studio

China is in the midst of a construction boom that has made it the largest construction site in human history. With nearly half of the world’s construction work set to take place in this country alone over the next decade, the architects and builders who shape this skyline are paramount. A new generation of local architects are now replacing Western names as the creators of China’s most prestigious buildings. Not only is their new vision recognized internationally, their more sustainable practice is also helping the planet. An exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Reuse, renew, recycle: recent Chinese architecture, showcases this generation’s commitment to social and environmental sustainability – with the work of Zhang Ke, Pritzker Prize winner for Amateur Architecture and Aga Khan Prize winner, and his ZAO / Standard studio.

Reinventing cultural architecture, a book covering the work of Open Studio, is released this spring. This Beijing-based studio has just completed work on a concert hall called Chapel of Sound located in the shadow of the Great Wall. Open Studio strives to be in harmony with the environment in the design and materials used. His most famous work is the UCCA Dune Art Museum built on a beach in Bohai Bay. The Chapel of Sound is also elementary, built like a rock and open to the elements. Open Studio was founded by Li Hu and Huang Wenjing and their comments on their new work seem to sum up the new Chinese philosophy: “We are in a time when the question of our relationship with nature as human beings is more acute than never. Can we be humble enough to hear what nature whispers to us? We wanted to create something different, something meaningful.


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Ettore Sottsass’s bedroom in a bedroom

The Casa Lana space created by designer Ettore Sottsass exhibited for the first time at the Triennale Milano
The Casa Lana space created by designer Ettore Sottsass exhibited for the first time at the Triennale Milano Photography: Gianluca Di Ioia / Triennale Milano

Today we are familiar with the idea of ​​a man cave as a place where the male of the species can spend precious time alone. The same concept was present in post-modern mid-century Italian design, albeit in a somewhat more elegant incarnation.

In the mid-1960s, architect, designer and founder of the Memphis Ettore Sottsass group built Sala Sottsass, a “room within a room,” at Casa Lana, the Milanese home of a typographer friend. Sottsass was intrigued by the relationship between men, their needs and their rituals, and the inhabited space. Thus, the Sala Sottsass consisted of a wooden structure with sofas arranged to form a “protected space” for sitting, discussing and listening to music.

The project was never seen by the public, but the Sottsass Archives meticulously reconstructed it at Triennale di Milano, the Lombardy Museum of Design and Art. To accompany the installation, the Triennale organized three exhibitions throughout 2022 which will deepen the universe of Sottsass.

In the meantime, any man who crawls into the guest room for a little peace and quiet this Christmas might like to contemplate this “little place … where one can move and meet” like Sottsass himself the said in 1967 – and dream.

For more information on the next Sottsass exhibitions, visit the Triennale website

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Express your feelings in a pop-up library

The cozy interior of the Feelings Library facility in Bishops Square, London
The cozy interior of the Feelings Library facility in Bishops Square, London Photograph: Aron Klein / Skip Gallery

Skip Gallery was founded in 2017 by curators and artists Lee Baker and Catherine Borowski in, yes, a jump. “We couldn’t find a place to show our work, but Borowski had the brilliant idea of ​​putting a dumpster as a gallery in a parking space and our crazy project was born,” says Baker. For Christmas 2021, Skip Gallery brings you the Feelings Library. This project is a collaboration with the architects Caukin Studio and the Self Space therapy service. The Library is a bizarre thatched-roof pop-up sanctuary – built in a dumpster, of course – in London’s Spitalfields Market. Inside is a cozy reading room where you can learn about emotions from the magazine library shelves provided by Self Space.

“It went on for two years and we’re excited to launch the Feelings Library. We are determined to create opportunities for artists and designers and to show creativity in public spaces. “

With the increase in mental health issues during the ongoing Covid pandemic, let’s hope the Library of Feelings will help someone have a Merry Christmas.

For more information visit sentimentslibrary.com


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The remarkable life of artist Florine Stettheimer

Asbury Park South, Florine Stettheimer, 1920. These paintings show black Americans enjoying a beach that was closed at the time due to segregation
Asbury Park South, Florine Stettheimer, 1920. These paintings show black Americans enjoying a beach that was closed at the time due to segregation Photography: Collection of Halley K. Harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, New York, New York

German-American Florine Stettheimer was one of the most important feminist artists of the 20th century. Marcel Duchamp helped stage a retrospective of her work two years after her death in 1944, and Andy Warhol has declared her to be his favorite artist. Stettheimer was famous for his poetry, costume design, and stage sets, but perhaps one of his most significant accomplishments was a painting that has been described as the first nude self-portrait from a ‘gaze’ perspective. feminine ”, completed in 1915.

After spending her early years in Europe, she and her sisters, Carrie and Ettie, helped bring the Modernist movement to America and supported the Harlem Renaissance through their living room in Bryant Park in New York City. The Stetties, as the sisters were called, each had their own creative quest. Carrie created a dollhouse containing an art collection of miniatures donated by their artist friends. Ettie wrote feminist novels under the pseudonym Henrie Waste. Florine produced overtly political artwork long before it was the norm – addressing gender identity, segregation and women’s rights, as well as the booming avant-garde scene in her New York City. native.

A new biography by art historian Barbara Bloemink focuses on these more political works and emphasizes the innovative artist, reminding the world that behind her deceptively naive style – so beloved by Warhol – was a woman. intelligent, well ahead of its time.

Florine Stettheimer, a Biography (Hirmer Publishing / University of Chicago Press,) is published January 24


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Architecture quite good to eat

Butterscotch Boat House by Assael Architecture, currently on view at the Gingerbread City exhibit at the Museum of Architecture
Butterscotch Boat House by Assael Architecture, currently on view at the Gingerbread City exhibit at the Museum of Architecture Photography: Luke Hayes

Following the release of the Ikea Gingerbread Furniture of 2020, new festive edible design projects have come to fruition this year. American designer Kelly Wearstler made a limited-edition California-style gingerbread house with the LA Flamingo Estate food company, all proceeds of which are donated to Create Structure, a charity that helps communities rebuild communities. sustainable housing after natural disasters.

Swedish studio Ulf Mejergren Architects (UMA) decided to see how they could use gingerbread cookies and made an edible hut from the party cookies. Miller Beer has released a Limited Edition Gingerbread Dive Bar Kit which is sadly now sold out. If you want to admire the best of cookie making, head to the London Museum of Architecture. They organize an annual exhibition where designers and engineers create a gingerbread metropolis. The show raises funds to support the charity of the museum.

The Gingerbread City show runs until January 9, 2022 at the Museum of Architecture, 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, London


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A new ecological yarn made from kelp

The kelp-derived yarn from the biomaterials company AlgiKnit
The kelp-derived yarn from the biomaterials company AlgiKnit Photography: Algiknit

This year, a report from the World Economic Forum found that the fashion industry’s supply chain is the third largest source of pollution on the planet. A big contributor to this is the production of synthetic fibers which uses fossil fuels. Developing biomaterials to replace these non-renewable fabrics is a key area of ​​fashion research, and this month Algiknit unveiled its new kelp-derived yarn and plans to begin collaborations with fashion brands in 2022. AlgiKnit has spent four years developing the technology to produce yarns using algae on a commercial scale.

Kelp is renewable, regenerative, and can be used to make versatile and durable yarns for footwear and clothing that have a much lower carbon footprint than conventional yarns, especially synthetics.

“We know consumers want more economical and environmentally friendly options that perform as well as conventional materials,” said Aaron Nesser, co-founder and CTO of AlgiKnit. “The yarn we produce today has the look and feel of natural fibers, as well as all the ingredients of an uncompromising material. “


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