The designer Lindsey Adelman is embracing her dark side. Who knew she even had one? Since opening her New York studio in 2006, she’s become known primarily for her Bubble Series chandelier, an industrially-inspired brass armature blooming with charmingly lumpy blown glass globes. It consistently tops the shopping lists of architects and designers like Peter Marino and Kelly Wearstler; a sheik in Kuwait has one, and Ivanka Trump has two in her new Park Avenue apartment. “It’s almost like hanging a tree branch from your ceiling,” Adelman says, who, as a design student at the Rhode Island School of Design, also dabbled in sculpture.
While anyone would be grateful to receive Design Miami’s annual Designer of the Year Award and join the ranks of recipients like Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson, and Zaha Hadid, for David Adjaye the honor also represents a particularly uncanny moment of professional synergy. Having spent the better part of his career designing in and around the art world—traversing the same borders that Design Miami purports to blur—the Tanzania-born, London-based architect is now gearing up to produce his own series of limited-edition furniture. Adjaye has never been one to limit himself to a single creative role, whether it’s masterminding a 10-year documentary photo-research project on urban Africa’s built landscape—released this month as a book, African Metropolitan Architecture (Rizzoli)—or designing the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., scheduled for completion in 2015. He calls his practice “holistic.” A more apt description may be superhuman. Continue reading
To design lovers, Philippe Stuebi’s O House, 40 miles outside Zurich, is a breakthrough in residential architecture, a sophisticated mash-up of references to Venetian palazzi and tropical modernism. To locals who share the view of Lake Lucerne, it’s an anomaly that evokes a Connect Four board or the country’s signature cheese. “Swiss people prefer something discreet and calm—the houses here are so understated,” Stuebi explains. “My architecture is more expressive, a little exotic.” Continue reading
Before Christina Vantzou, a Kansas City, Mo.-born art student, fell in love with an American expat during a layover in Brussels seven years ago, she had never given the city a second thought. She assumed it was as bland as everyone said, and when she packed her bags and moved there soon after, she found plenty of Europeans who agreed. “The people I was hanging out with at the time referred to it as the Mexico of Europe,” she says. “Everyone wanted to go to Paris or London or Amsterdam, and Brussels was just this weird place in the middle.” At first, Vantzou stayed mostly for her relationship and for the hefty artist’s stipend she received from the Belgian government, having secured E.U. citizenship by way of her Greek father. But then a funny thing happened. Continue reading
As cultural movements go, postmodernism enjoys a fairly dubious distinction: Despite its pivotal role in defining the playfully garish aesthetic of the late Seventies and Eighties, it remains a despised and convoluted term, seemingly slapped on any creative work that either rejected convention and commercialism or flagrantly embraced them. But if you’re among those who never quite understood what, say, Philip Johnson’s AT&T building has to do with Jean-Paul Goude’s photos of Grace Jones (left), or Peter Saville’s album art for New Order—all considered postmodernist landmarks—London’s Victoria and Albert Museum may clarify matters with the September 24 opening of “Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970–1990,” a sweeping survey that pays particular attention to the genre’s roots in design and architecture. Continue reading
JONATHAN MUECKE: Jonathan Muecke’s “Mass” is a hollow volcano-shaped vessel made of paper coated in heavy coal slag. While you could theoretically store objects inside it, Muecke prefers that you experience it as a black hole in your living room, sucking in light and space. Similarly, his wedge of polystyrene lined with reflective glass particles could be employed as a room divider but functions mostly as a six-foot optical illusion. This is the mystery of Muecke’s work, which makes its domestic debut this spring at Chicago’s Volume Gallery, a launchpad for new American design talent: It pretends to be utilitarian yet has that ineffable quality usually reserved for Minimalist art—or the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Continue reading
It’s not as though anyone in Berlin really needed proof, last week, that the city’s once-hip central Mitte neighborhood had officially jumped the shark — two years’ worth of boutique hotel and Mavi-store openings, plus skyrocketing rents and a mass exodus of the gallery scene, had all been fairly obvious clues. But as the local fashion crowd milled around on Wednesday night outside the opening of Andreas Murkudis’s sprawling concept shop, newly and thrillingly relocated to a remote stretch of Potsdamer Strasse once ruled by drug dealers and prostitutes, there seemed to be only one sentiment on everybody’s lips: Goodbye, and good riddance.
Next month, the Indianapolis Museum of Art will open to the public the house that Eero Saarinen designed for the industrialist J. Irwin Miller and his wife, Xenia, giving design pilgrims one more reason to visit Columbus, Ind., the mecca of Modernist architecture that Miller sponsored. The stone- and glass-walled house, which Saarinen completed in 1957, includes about 14 acres of landscaping by Dan Kiley and meticulously preserved interiors by Alexander Girard, who sank the world’s first conversation pit into its living room. Continue reading
If anyone knows how to mark an occasion, it’s the Italians. For the 50th anniversary of the Salone del Mobile, the fair that has come to be the epicenter of the global contemporary design market, they’re turning Milan into a giant stage to display what they do best. Among the attractions will be a retrospective of Italian design, co-curated by Alberto Alessi, at the Triennale Design Museum and an eight-room installation, designed by Denis Santachiara, at the Piazza Duomo that highlights “creative potential channeled through scientific principles.” The Salone even has a smartphone app, which you can find at cosmit.it. Ultimately, though, the fair is about selling furniture, and when this year’s 2,500-plus exhibitors gather from April 12 to 17 to show off their latest innovations, that should provide excitement enough.
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Having had the good fortune of being born to Emmy van Leersum and Gijs Bakker — renowned Dutch jewelry designers, the latter a co-founder of Droog — Aldo Bakker was only 16 when he began learning how to ply his parents’ trade by shadowing the interns at his father’s home studio. but while he spent the next decade and a half dutifully mastering the art of metalworking, Bakker felt pangs of rebellion early on: He had fallen in love with wood. Continue reading