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NO 4 7 : D E S I G N RENEGADES
HELLO MASTHEAD CONTRIBUTORS CHECKING IN AGENDA
2 4 . S T I L L - L I F E Manu Torres uses plants as a means of self-expression.
F I E L DWO R K
48. B R I C K B Y B R I C K Seattle art world veteran Judith Rinehart, who has worked in some of the city’s toniest galleries, steps out of the white box to open a space of her own.
INTEL Bryony Roberts at Exhibit Columbus, Blu Dot’s Portland outpost, an all-American exhibition at Maison&Objet, and other goings-on in the world of design.
5 4 . W H E E L O F F O R T U N E Long before the wheel-to-table movement was a thing, Japanese ceramist Akiko Graham was making custom pottery for Michelin-starred restaurants. Three decades onward, she shows no signs of slowing down.
SAVING FACE Canadian artist Lyle Reimer gained fame on everyone’s favorite photo-sharing platform. Now he’s trading the ’gram for the gallery.
6 6 . T H A T ’ S A W R A P Designer Lily Forbes Shafroth’s unisex robes bring both a story and a conscience to fashion.
on the cover
A detail of Jennifer Bonner’s model of The Dollhaus (2017). Photographed by Adam DeTour SEE PAGE 88
7 0. C O V E R- UP S The best place to add a wow factor in your home is right underfoot (or on the wall). Here we spotlight our favorite rugs, textiles, and wallpapers of the moment.
CHATTERING CLASS A new generation of design critics is talking. Are you listening?
PRINT PROGRESS The nonprofit New Story teams up with designer Yves Béhar to create the world’s first 3D-printed community in Latin America.
WONDER WOMAN An exhibition locates the late artist, designer, and entrepreneur Vera Neumann, who transformed the way humans interact with art, in her proper context.
88. P R O C E E D W I T H O U T C A U T I O N Architect Jennifer Bonner is interested in pushing the boundaries of the traditional architectural canon—even if it means tackling every step of the process herself.
96 . S T A T E O F T H E A R T A museum-quality Sun Valley hideaway gets a warm interior treatment from Lucas Design Associates.
1 0 2. B R O K E N , N O T D E S T R O Y E D Curator Paola Antonelli details the effect, and the urgency, of the XXII Triennale di Milano.
1 3 0 .
DIGGIN’ IT Nathan Myhrvold’s fossil collection started with a seashell— and grew to include a 16-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus rex.
Anne Dessing, Detroit (2018).
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” —WILLIAM BRUCE CAMERON
I’VE NEVER ASPIRED TO BE A REBEL. For whatever reason, the term conjures up images of people such as James Dean or Marilyn Manson—bad boys looking for attention, with behavior that masks extreme sensitivity. There are obviously less superficial, more imaginative ways to think about rebels, a category that could include everyone from Joan of Arc to Madonna to French architect Odile Decq. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a club that includes them? But it doesn’t make me like the word rebel any better. It’s easy to commend people who only look rebellious, and just as easy to overlook people who are actually are. How can you know if the woman standing in front of you at the store just quit her cushy job to chase an unlikely dream? Or if the kid who just whizzed past you is shouldering a tremendous weight but has devoted himself to trying to fix it, and never complaining? Perhaps most often, resisting the norm isn’t an act that takes place within a person’s psyche; it’s a long, quiet internal struggle. This kind of rebel could also be described as brave. There’s a word that gives me chills. I see glimmers of it when I get into a particular headspace, usually after something very good or very bad has happened. “You should be working toward a life that looks like this,” a voice tells me, showing me a short film of an idealized existence filled with copious fulfillment, validation, and joy in everyday activities, especially the hard ones. That life feels so far away sometimes,
and it’s exhausting just to think about the steps and, most important, the courage it will take to get there. But it is a fight that must be fought: settling for anything less would be a complete waste of my time. In this issue, we spotlight lionhearted people and projects. We might not call them rebels, but we do call them design renegades. They’re trailblazers, mavericks, and outright geniuses. You’ll meet a Japanese ceramist who found a way to throw pottery, and make a living off it, while being a full-time mother of three (page 54). There’s a firm that plans to 3D-print an entire neighborhood for residents in need (page 80), a gallerist who’s rethinking the traditional model of her business (page 48), and an artist who dared to put prints on textiles and wound up changing the way Americans interact with art (page 84). And then there’s Jennifer Bonner (page 88), an architect
who is one of this year’s recipients of the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers. She’s a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and her personal practice, MALL (an irreverent acronym that stands for Mass Architectural Loopty Loops), is all about developing new architectural typologies and finding ways to make them a reality—even if it means financing and building a structure herself. How’s that for tenacious?
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No. 47. Copyright ©2019. Published bimonthly (DEC, FEB, APR, JUNE, AUG, OCT) by GRAY Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint or quote excerpts granted by written request only. While every attempt has been made, GRAY cannot guarantee the legality, completeness, or accuracy of the information presented and accepts no warranty or responsibility for such. GRAY is not responsible for loss, damage, or other injury to unsolicited manuscripts, photography, art, or any other unsolicited material. Unsolicited material will not be returned. If submitting material, do not send originals unless specifically requested to do so by GRAY in writing. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to GRAY, 5628 Airport Way S., Ste. 330 Seattle, WA 98108 Subscriptions: North America: $60 us for one year (6 issues) Intercontinental: $144 us for one year (6 issues)
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ALEXXA GOTTHARDT (“Girl Power,” page 34) is an editor and contributing writer for Artsy, covering contemporary art, design, architecture, and photography. She is based in Los Angeles. AARON LEITZ (“State of the Art,” page 96) is an architecture and interior design photographer based in Seattle. He has been commissioned by Dwell, Starbucks Coffee Company, Burberry, and many design firms along the West Coast. BRIAN LIBBY (“Clear Advantage,” page 60) is a Portland-based architecture and design journalist and editor of the blog Portland Architecture. His work has been published in the New York Times, Architectural Digest, Dwell, and the Atlantic, among other publications. KATHRYN O’SHEA-EVANS (“State of the Art,” page 96) is a contributing editor for House Beautiful and a regular contributor to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She is based in Colorado.
BEHIND THE LENS CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE is a Portland– and Los Angeles–based photographer, curator, and weaver whose work has been featured in Paper Magazine, Bust Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. He photographed architect Jennifer Bonner at her home in Portland, Oregon for our cover story (page 88). Below, he recounts his experience working with her. “WHAT WAS MY FIRST IMPRESSION OF JENNIFER? I spotted [her] right off the bat! You could just tell she was a creative, from her bright-yellow glasses frames to her architectural clothes, which were reminiscent of unfolded origami. Shooting her was great. We [captured] some really beautiful moody clouds, which were the perfect complement to her cool demeanor. It’s always a challenge standing in front of a camera, but she pulled it off like a pro.”
GLENN ADAMSON (“Chattering Class,” page 78) is a Brooklyn-based curator and writer and the author of Fewer Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects (Bloomsbury). He is currently a senior scholar at the Yale Center for British Art and was previously director of the Museum of Arts and Design and head of research at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
HEATHER CORCORAN (“American Express,” page 46) is a writer, editor, and creative consultant. She is former senior editor at Dwell, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Flaunt, and Architectural Record, among other publications.
SHYAM PATEL (“That’s a Wrap,” page 66) is a New York–based fashion writer and market editor. His work has been published in Paper, CFDA.com, Cool Hunting, and MR Magazine, among other publications. AMANDA RINGSTAD (“Wheel of Fortune,” page 54) is a still-life photographer whose work has appeared in GQ, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, Architect Magazine, and Vogue Australia, among other publications. She is based in Seattle. JESSE TREECE (“Chattering Class,” page 78) is a self-taught collage artist who reconstructs illustrations found in vintage magazines and books. He lives in the greater Seattle area. NATE WATTERS (“Brick by Brick,” page 48) is a Seattlebased photographer who has shot for Microsoft, Mojo Magazine, Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, City Arts Magazine, and Olson Kundig Architects, among others.
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Flower Power Manu Torres uses plants as a means of self-expression.
By TIFFANY JOW Photograph by MANU TORRES
WHEN ASKED HOW HE DEVELOPS IDEAS FOR HIS FANTASTICAL FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS, Manu Torres uses the same language one might use to define beauty: an ineffable sensation that can’t be put into words. It’s a form of intuition, he says. “Sometimes I just look at a flower, get a feeling in my stomach, and I’m like, ‘Whoa.’” He frequents Portland, Oregon’s flower market, where he hangs around for longer than most, looking in every corner for something that speaks to him, much as one might navigate a museum. In 2017, when Torres started working full-time with flowers, the market didn’t have much of what he wanted—he prefers technicolor tropical flora, which he supplements with feathers, iridescent pom-poms, and DIY ombré paper fans—but he’s encouraged vendors to be more adventurous. “Now I’ll go in and they’ll say, ‘Hey, we found this weird thing and thought you’d like it. Do you want to take a picture of it?’ They’re always looking out for me.” Torres, 36, was born in Apatzingán, a city in the Mexican state of Michoacán, where he studied architecture before moving to Portland in 2009. His husband has a studio in
the building that houses the contemporary art space Yale Union, whose high-concept exhibitions piqued Torres’s interest. A few years ago, he asked the organization how he could get involved, and Yale Union, knowing he’d been tinkering with flowers, suggested he make arrangements for its openings. Torres got to work. Early pieces involved store-bought plants, which he morphed into concoctions inspired by ikebana and Dutch still-lifes. Once, he outfitted a banquet table with birds of paradise, gladioli, roses, and cheese- and cold cut–filled fruit sculptures, creating a feast both edible and visual. These days, Torres pingpongs among commissions, including regular jobs for Nike and Portland’s Cloudforest chocolate shop. Seeing one of Torres’s maximalist, almost celebratory works in the wild is like spotting a celebrity on the sidewalk during fashion week: it looks dramatically out of place in the everyday spaces it inhabits, and that’s the point. “I don’t encounter a lot of color in my life,” he says. “These arrangements are a way to translate my ideas into something tangible, so people can see what I see.” —9,627 followers
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Goings-on in the world of design.
Anne Dessing, Chicago (2019).
Amsterdam-based architect Anne Dessing’s term as the 2018–19 Douglas A. Garofalo Fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Architecture culminated in a series of divinely distorted drawings. Earlier this year, they were shown at the school in the exhibition “And then when I went to Chicago, that’s when I had these outer space experiences and went to the other planets.” (The title is a quote by Afrofuturism founder Sun Ra, whom Dessing reveres for showing how art and imagination can help people look beyond this world and into another.) Dessing, 34, made the drawings—seen on the opening page of each section of this issue—from photos she took of borders in the built environment: walls, doors, glass façades. By highlighting barriers in everyday life, she hopes to change how borders are perceived. GRAY
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Work Culture Second Home, the buzzy European coworking space for creatives and entrepreneurs, is officially launching stateside: its LA location opens in September. With thriving locations in London and Lisbon, Second Home has spent the past five years fine-tuning the coworking model to embrace the aesthetic and culture of its locations. In July, ahead of the LA opening, Second Home brought the iridescent 2015 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano, which also designed the new coworking space, to the La Brea Tar Pits as a bit of catnip for what is to come.
Intended to echo quintessential LA design, Second Home Hollywood embodies the city’s history, environment, and fastpaced lifestyle. It taps into the typology of the city’s early-20th-century bungalow court residences, with 60 oval studios wrapped in curved, transparent acrylic walls surrounded by more than 6,500 plants composing the lush exterior gardens. The design also pays homage to local architectural legend Paul Williams, whose iconic designs include the Ambassador Hotel and the LA County Courthouse. He was the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects. “We referred to the history of LA by refurbishing one of Paul Williams’s buildings,” says Rohan Silva, cofounder and co-CEO of Second Home. “What
better way to respect and continue the architectural history of the city?” The project, which includes both collaborative workspaces and private studios, has been in the works for three years. Like most coworking spaces, membership is necessary at Second Home, but the public will have select access to certain parts of the space through cultural programs that include an auditorium, post-production facilities, a restaurant, outdoor terraces, and a bookshop. “There are two gardens intertwined with the workspaces,” Silva explains. “We wanted to take the buildings out into nature.” —Teaghan Skulszki with Rachel Gallaher
Girl Power The Guerrilla Girls, a group of anonymous activist feminist artists, emerged in the 1980s to unmask gender and racial inequities in the art world—but their work still isn’t done. This August, Girlfriends of the Guerrilla Girls, an exhibition at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art, explores the group’s ongoing practice and legacy by showcasing a selection of their politically charged posters alongside equally charged work by nine other feminist artists. According to artist Ann Leda Shapiro, who helped organize the show, other biases like these “have not changed enough over time.” Artists in the exhibition
explore ever-present issues of sexism, bias, autonomy, fertility, and gender fluidity. Cecilia Concepción Alvarez’s paintings of strong Chicana/Latina women address themes of entitlement and poverty, while E. T. Russian’s graphic works on paper foreground disability, queerness, and self-reliance. All artists featured are based in the Pacific Northwest and do not have gallery representation—a conscious choice for Shapiro, who wanted to create a counterpoint to the commercially driven Seattle Art Fair, whose run overlaps with the start of the CoCA presentation. » —Alexxa Gotthardt
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Walking, waiting in line, and eating lunch are now all socially acceptable times to tap, click, and scroll. So it’s no surprise that we’ve thrown open the doors of our homes to integrated tech, too. Accordingly, Sonos and IKEA teamed up to release the two-product SYMFONISK collection: a table lamp and a bookshelf, each with embedded speakers that work over a home’s wireless network to deliver uninterrupted, high-quality audio streaming. The devices, launching in early August and intended to work together as paired speakers or with a home theater system, are controlled via the Sonos app. “We’re taking furnishing and technology one step further by actually building our sound into everyday home furnishings,” says Sara Morris, senior product manager for Sonos. “We knew from the start that we wanted to challenge traditional high-tech aesthetics,” adds Iina Vuorivirta, a designer of the SYMFONISK lamp. The team created
both objects as elegant showpieces in contrasting light and dark colors that will complement any style of décor; the lamp’s sinuous glass shade is built to withstand even the deepest bass. Morris, underlining the importance of light and sound in the home and their impact on people’s moods, says she hopes Sonos will “democratize sound in the home. We know how transformative the experience of listening together can be.” » —TS/RG
TE C H
Community input is a crucial aspect of every project architectural designer Bryony Roberts undertakes. So when Exhibit Columbus, the annual design festival in Indiana, chose her eponymous firm as one of five practices to receive the Miller Prize—an honor that goes to international leaders in their fields who connect people to place and community in unexpected ways—the first thing she did was sit down and make a list of organizations that regularly interact with the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill–designed Columbus City Hall, her firm’s assigned project site. “We think about site in an expanded way,” says Roberts, whose installation Soft Civic will be up from August 24 through December 1. “It’s not just about the physical buildings, but also about the social history of a place and the community that uses it. I never come into a space and assume that I know more about it than the people who utilize it regularly.” After consulting with various political activists, performance troupes, and youth organizations that have used City Hall for events in some capacity,
Roberts came up with a plan to activate a semicircular exterior plaza on the northwestern side of the building, where she’ll install custom-fabricated steel structures interwoven with colorful, durable parachute cord to create screens, platforms, and seating areas. Her interest in—or, as she puts it, her “recent obsession” with—textile and fiber art drove the materiality of the piece: the softness and flexibility of the cord is an attention-grabbing contrast to the rigidity of the civic building. Her aim is that the installation will invite people to interact with the structure in new ways, from using it as a place to deliver an impromptu public speech to simply hanging out. “Creating structures with textiles produces different types of movements and social interactions that are a bit more playful and childlike,” Roberts says. “I hope this pushes people to rethink what is possible in a civic space.” » —RG
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Tied Together When John Christakos and Maurice Blanks were seeking an architect for the Portland outpost of Blu Dot, the modern furniture retailer they cofounded in 1997, Waechter Architecture caught their eye, and for all the usual reasons: they liked its work and its approach, and they believed their project would be a priority. They knew their instinct was correct when the firm’s founder, Ben Waechter, said that a single word guides every project he undertakes. “That word is clarity,” recalls Blanks. “It resonated with
us because clarity is such an [integral] part of what Blu Dot is all about.” Construction of the company’s Waechter-designed store (Blu Dot’s eighth shop) has begun inside a historic 1921 building in Portland’s Pearl District, and it’s slated to open in September. “The main space is made up of a beautiful grid of heavy timber columns,” Waechter says. He notes that the structure’s less beautiful yet essential features—its building core, a mezzanine, and a ramp—worked against the organized, quiet interior he’d envisioned. So he introduced a white oak floor and a “ribbon” (in the form of an airy white oak batten wall) that curves
around the existing elements to create an environment that can be experienced as one unified space, or as four discrete ones. “The intervention creates a quiet backdrop while maintaining a sense of materiality and craft,” he says. Blanks says that sensibility is important for the Portland shop. “Portland is a lot like our hometown, Minneapolis: there’s an appreciation for making things,” he says. “We picked the Pearl District because we love its industrial history, and then got lucky and found a great space with a great landlord. It doesn’t always work out that well.” —Tiffany Jow
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THIS PAGE: DAVID PAPAZIAN; COURTESY BLU DOT. COURTESY CARNEGIE FABRICS. OPPOSITE: COLLAGE BY ANDREA D’AQUINO; COURTESY PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS
BO O K
Evenly Matched Andrea D’Aquino has long been struck by photographs of Ruth Asawa, the late Japanese-American artist known for her hand-knit, gravity-defying wire sculptures. Recently, D’Aquino, a collage artist who regularly contributes to The New York Times, observed parallels between Asawa’s story and the current political climate. As a child, Asawa and her family were detained at internment camps in the wake of Pearl Harbor, and after her release, her efforts to become an art educator in Wisconsin were obstructed by the Milwaukee State Teachers College due to her ethnicity. “Just a few years later, she enrolled at North Carolina’s Black Mountain College, surrounded by legendary characters such as painter Josef Albers, architect Buckminster Fuller, and dancer Merce Cunningham,”
D’Aquino says, noting they later became her mentors and friends. “It’s such an unlikely story.” D’Aquino decided to capture the sculptor’s personal history in the book A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa (Princeton Architectural Press), out in September. While the publisher’s press release says it’s for ages five to eight, D’Aquino’s narrative, focused on Asawa’s interpretations of the world, appeals to every reader. The book’s collages were made from hand-painted and mono-printed paper, and drawn elements in graphite, colored paper, and oil pastel. D’Aquino chopped up and scanned the results. “It’s not your typical children’s book, where you have to be consistent with your character’s [appearance],” she says. “[Asawa’s] estate pushed me to represent Ruth”—one collage incorporates a photo of her face— as well as “the philosophy Albers taught her, called matière, which challenged artists to use materials in unexpected
ways.” In this sense, D’Aquino is the perfect one to illustrate Asawa’s life. As she composed the book, she spoke with two of Asawa’s six children via Skype. They believed their mother’s story should not be told in a flat, linear way but should instead be imbued with her spirit. “Ruth always encouraged children to do things themselves, and learn that way,” D’Aquino says. In turn, she included a paper-folding activity at the back of the book and devoted full spreads to Asawa’s mentors, signaling their importance to the sculptor’s creative development. “A lot of people don’t realize Ruth wasn’t just someone making these traditional woven things at home—she studied under some of the greatest progressive thinkers of her time,” D’Aquino says. “That was most important to her kids, to place her in the context of those individuals: Ruth’s name has always been there, just not on the same level as theirs. But she was very much their contemporary.” » —TJ
D E SIGN
Growing Gains Aarin Packard wants to change the way you think about bonsai, the art form derived from an ancient Chinese horticultural practice concerned with creating miniaturized yet realistic representations of nature in the form of carefully cultivated tiny trees. “Americans have never tried to figure out how bonsai could express our [own] culture,” says Packard, who spent eight years at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at DC’s National Arboretum before becoming curator of the Seattle-area Pacific Bonsai Museum, which holds a broadly geographically diverse collection—including 150 specimens from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Canada, and the US—that is
among the world’s most renowned. Established in 1989 by paper manufacturer Weyerhaeuser, the entire collection was gifted to the newly formed museum in 2013. “Bonsai practice needs to evolve to make it relevant for today. If it doesn’t, I don’t think it can be continued,” Packard says. To create a cultural shift in how bonsai is created and interpreted by Western audiences, he launched the LAB—Living Art of Bonsai—to free practitioners from the strict conventions of the traditional bonsai-making framework, in which the design of a bonsai’s stand and pot are dictated by that of the tree, by rethinking the process. A four-part, multiyear experiment, each LAB session takes place in an architecturally significant setting and employs a standmaker, ceramist, and bonsai artist.
The first was held last August at the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Griggs House in Lakewood, Washington, where ceramist Ron Lang unveiled a shallow, angular bonsai container he’d made in response to the building. The second convened in April at the Mary Lund Davis House in Gig Harbor, Washington, where standmaker Austin Heitzman presented a cantilevered copper-and-wood stand made in response to Lang’s container. The third will happen August 17 at architect George Suyama’s Fauntleroy House, where a bonsai cultivated in response to the stand and vessel will be presented for discussion and critique. “The LAB is about seeing what happens when you mix up [bonsai] ingredients,” Packard says. “Will we get something extremely different? That’s the big question. It’s all uncharted territory.” —TJ
Triple Threat In today’s speed-obsessed world, one can consume exhibitions in milliseconds through digital newsfeeds. But in September, Adams and Ollman, the Portland contemporary art gallery, is tripling down on its offline presence by establishing a third location of grand proportions. Housed in a 1,200-squarefoot converted trolley factory with 15-foot ceilings, the Pearl District space will open with an exhibition featuring freestanding sculptures by Jessica Jackson Hutchins and abstract paintings
by Ryan McLaughlin. Designed by Jeff Stern of In Situ Architecture, the gallery includes both a large exhibition area that provides an open, immersive experience for viewers, and a smaller gallery slated to show work—and encourage experimentation—by up-and-coming artists. “Both artists and the audience need time for ideas to develop and relationships to form,” says Adams and Ollman cofounder Amy Adams. “That happens only with extended contact.” » —CB
TIMOTHY AGUERO. JESSICA JACKSON HUTCHINS, BECAUSE, BENEATH, ABOUT, BEFORE (2018). COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND MARIANNE BOESKY GALLERY, NEW YORK AND ASPEN AND ADAMS AND OLLMAN, PORTLAND
Breaking the Mold
Garages have been the places many bands established themselves, but ceramics studios? Not so often. Enter LGS (short for Little Garage Shop), a firm producing clay-based creations—and yes, founded in a garage—by Thomas Renaud and Noel Hennessy in 2015. Relocating to LA’s Glassell Park neighborhood, after that old Portland garage, LGS sets itself apart by the way it makes its pieces: Renaud, a New York– and Los Angeles– bred marketing executive, takes the first pass, usually on the wheel, then hands off the work to Hennessy, an art director and stylist trained at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, who adds embellishments. They trade duties until they feel the piece is complete. “Our work is not just one person, one voice,” Renaud says. “It’s very much a duality.” LGS cut its teeth selling its tableware collections at craft fairs, occasionally opening the garage as a pop-up shop. In its new digs, it’s shifting gears toward
one-off sculptural pieces, and from August 10 to 12, LGS will show for the first time at New York’s Shoppe Object trade show, introducing two collections alongside Chen Chen & Kai Williams, Dusen Dusen, Fredericks & Mae, FS Objects by Fort Standard, and other established brands. Viewers will be smitten by Tephra, LGS’s organic, almost ancient-looking collection of stoneware lighting, vessels, tableware, and a mirror all informed by volcanic rock and Washington’s Mount St. Helens. Each piece’s distinctive exterior is achieved by hand-carving, making every one unique. There’s also the Studded series, whose columnar vessels are garnished with rows of pyramidshaped projections, much like those on a punk leather jacket. “It feels more like art-making than ceramic-making,” Hennessy says of the collections. “They’re exactly where we want to be.” » —TJ
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Alex Brokamp, Green River Project, Bailey Fontaine, Kin & Company, Rosie Li, Harold.
D E SIGN
Six US designers among the 3,000-plus exhibitors at September’s Maison&Objet show in Paris will present work à l’américaine when the design fair spotlights America in the latest edition of its Rising Talent Awards initiative. The international exhibition, which celebrated Chinese creatives this spring, will feature an all-American lineup, including West Coast designer Alex Brokamp, described as “a love child of Jaime Hayon and Jasper Morrison” by Bernhardt Design creative director and Rising Talent juror Jerry Helling.
Rounding out the coast-to-coast honors will be five New York studios: Harold (chosen by Nasir Kassamali of Luminaire), Bailey Fontaine (nominated by WantedDesign’s Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat), Green River Project (selected by architect Rafael de Cárdenas), Kin & Company (picked by architect David Rockwell), and lighting designer Rosie Li (selected by Rhode Island School of Design president Rosanne Somerson). “Given the varying cultural influences that span the nation, the US has no single national design character,” says Maison&Objet managing director Philippe Brocart. “Instead, [American design] tells a variety of stories.” h —Heather Corcoran
ALEX BROKAMP. ANDREW JACOBS. IAN COCHRAN. ©KIN & COMPANY. BLACK & STEIL. MARK JULIANA
Brick by Brick Seattle art world veteran Judith Rinehart, who’s worked in some of the city’s toniest galleries, steps out of the white box to open a space of her own. By RACHEL GALLAHER Portrait by NATE WATTERS
“I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE A BRICK-ANDMORTAR SPACE TO SHOW ART,” says gallerist Judith Rinehart over coffee in Seattle on a cloudy June morning. Dressed all in black and wearing a metallic gold lambskin necklace by area jewelry designer Rachel Ravitch, the redheaded Rinehart looks straight out of Manhattan, and she has the confidence and drive to match. “Even in today’s tech-and-social-media-driven world, people want to experience art firsthand. It’s important to me to create a more inclusive setting for young collectors, and help build up the local art community along the way.”
Rinehart is talking about her forthcoming venture: the eponymous J. Rinehart Gallery, slated to open in October just north of the city’s art-centric Pioneer Square. Drawing on 12 years of experience (she formerly worked as gallery manager at the bicoastal Winston Wächter Fine Art and at Foster/White Gallery), Rinehart hopes to create a welcoming space where regional contemporary art will mix with relaxed hospitality—a gallery encouraging the art-curious millennial set to mix with seasoned patrons while offering work at accessible price points to kickstart early collectors. “I want to have a wall where everything is $1,000 or under,” she says, »
COURTESY J. RINEHART GALLERY
OPPOSITE: Gallerist Judith Rinehart. THIS PAGE, FROM TOP: Guy Merrill, Puget Sound Object (2016). Meggan Joy, Breaking Point (2019).
“so emerging collectors or those with a limited budget will have a great selection to choose from [instead of] one or two token tiny objects.” The core of J. Rinehart Gallery, aside from the art, will be a central living room–like arrangement of furniture that encourages visitors to sit down and actually talk to one another, rather than Instagramming and breezing out the door. “I first tried this idea in a public setting last year at [the Seattle] Art Fair,” says Rinehart, who designed Winston Wächter’s booth—which included a casual cluster of couches and chairs—for the three-day event. “It became a hangout spot. You’d walk by and see groups of people sitting down, taking a rest, talking about the things they’d seen that day. It’s more approachable. And it gives people a
more accurate idea of what it’s like to live with the art.” Soon after the fair, Rinehart began strategizing her leap to gallery owner, something that has been in the back of her mind for years. “I still remember the thrill of buying my first piece of art,” she says of Ben Darby’s New Mexico painting that currently hangs in her bedroom. “My absolute favorite thing is to watch people fall in love with a painting, a sculpture, or a photo, and I’ve always wanted to create my own space to do that.” Her roster includes 11 Pacific Northwest artists (she plans to focus on the region) whose work ranges from Kelda Martensen’s handprinted collages to Shaun Kardinal’s geometric embroidered-paper creations. Beyond their shared locale, Rinehart chose artists who were all previously unrepresented. “There is a
really unique, interesting story behind each piece,” she says. “They all make you stop and say, ‘I have more questions about this.’” J. Rinehart Gallery will debut at this year’s Seattle Art Fair (August 1-4) with Fierce Florals, featuring pieces by Daisy Patton, Meggan Joy, and Jennifer Zwick. The exhibition will be a harbinger of the type of fresh, inventive creative work that Rinehart plans to have on rotation in the future. And unlike some in Seattle’s ever-changing, often-lambasted art world, Rinehart has hopeful visions of the future of her city’s galleries. “There’s a void here that’s been left by the closing and moving of so many local galleries,” she says. “I want to create a space to help fill that, one that’s beneficial to both the artists and the collectors. We’re all in this together.” h
COURTESY J. RINEHART GALLERY
Daisy Patton, Untitled (Woman with Green Leaves and Charcoal Flowers) (2019).
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COURTESY THE ARTIST
The people, places, and objects in our orbit.
Anne Dessing, Haroldâ€™s Chicken Shack Chicago (2018).
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WHEEL OF FORTUNE Long before the wheel-to-table movement was a thing, Japanese ceramist Akiko Graham was making custom pottery for Michelin-starred restaurants. Three decades onward, she shows no signs of slowing down. Interview by TIFFANY JOW Photographs by AMANDA RINGSTAD
OPPOSITE: Ceramist Akiko Graham. THIS PAGE: A look into Graham's studio.
Akiko Graham has been making pottery for 30 years. Her work has been commissioned by Coi, a two-Michelin Star restaurant in San Francisco; Manresa, a three-Michelin Star eatery in Los Gatos, California; and dozens of premier chefs on the West Coast and beyond.
You learned how to make pottery in 1989, when you were a full-time mother of three, by attending community night classes at a Seattle high school. What prompted you to take it up? I was a housewife, and I wanted to do something by myself, without kids. [Laughs.] Somebody brought a picture of a pottery teapot and cups to my [exhusband]. And I thought, “Oh, maybe this is something I could do.” So I took a class, and bought a wheel for the house so I could do it every day. I’d put my kids
to bed, nap with them for a few hours, then wake up around midnight and throw pottery in the kitchen until 4 a.m. That’s how I started. You could have done other things besides pottery, though. What is it about the medium that attracted you to it? I am not good at things like sewing. If you cut and make a mistake, that’s it. With pottery, you just add water. »
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When did you start selling the work you were making? The teacher of the class [I was taking] didn’t force us to do anything specific; we could do whatever we wanted. One day he said to me, “What are you going to do with all your pottery? You should go to the Sunday Market [in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle].” That was 1991. Twice a month I went to sell my pottery. I did not sell much. Pottery was not popular then. People would ask things like, “What is this?” [Points to a nearby sake cup.] I make small things like this. It’s hard to make big ones. And we use sake cups in Japan. I make square plates. “What are those?” They did not know. At the time, there were not many Asian restaurants here, so they didn’t understand pottery tableware. They didn’t understand that pottery could be used for Japanese food? Or any food. They didn’t understand food with pottery. In Japan, we don’t have box sets of dishware like they do in department stores here. Everybody has different rice bowls and [dishes]. It was hard for them to understand, but for me, it’s very simple.
After becoming a vendor at the market, you began taking your pottery to area restaurants to sell. Your first client was the now-closed Arita, a Japanese restaurant in north-central Seattle. Is that when you realized restaurants were a market for your work? No, I didn’t think that way. It’s not my thing to take pottery and make sales. Now I know how, because I’ve done it. Back then it was scary to meet the chefs or owners. Why? Because they could say, “No, I don’t want to see your pottery.” That’s rejection, which I don’t like. I had a [brick-andmortar] store in Fremont for two years, 1995 to 1997. One day, [the James Beard Award–winning chef] Holly Smith, who’s now at Cafe Juanita and was working at Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Lounge at the time, came in and asked if I did custom pieces for restaurants. I said yes, and she left. I didn’t know who she was. Later, after I closed my shop, I took my pottery to Dahlia Lounge, and they told me that Tom had come to my shop, but it was gone! Holly and Jonathan Sundstrom were the main people there. They looked
at my pottery and placed orders. I met a lot of chefs through that restaurant. I read you later drove with your pottery to San Francisco to try to get chefs to buy it. Is that true? I had a friend in Seattle who used to be a chef in San Francisco. He said I should go there and told me how to do it: go between lunch and dinner. I looked at a 2002 issue of Wine Spectator that had an article about San Francisco restaurants in it. [Disappears into another room and returns with the magazine, flipping it open to a feature on Daniel Patterson.] I met Daniel Patterson, Wolfgang Puck, and Ron Siegel—he was the first American chef who won Iron Chef. He is well respected by all chefs. [Points at magazine.] This is the restaurant issue. I went to Elizabeth Daniel, Daniel Patterson’s restaurant. [Flips to article about Masa’s] I went to Masa’s, [flips to article about Rubicon] I went to Rubicon. »
OPPOSITE, FROM LEFT: A close-up of one of Graham’s creations. Graham’s 1978 Mercedes, which she used to drive to San Francisco. THIS PAGE: Notes and inspiration on a wall in the studio.
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You just walked into all these important restaurants and said, “Hi, want to buy my pottery?” I took my suitcases, a small one and a big one, and I would go in and say, “My name is Akiko and I make pottery in Seattle. Could I speak to the chef?” If the chef is interested, he would come out. Or they would say the chef was not there. Meaning he was there and wasn’t interested! That was in 2002, a time when, for the most part, fine dining meant white tablecloths and white china. There
weren’t a lot of restaurants using handmade dishes like they do now. My chef friend from San Francisco said chefs see the [white] plates as a canvas. Most of them didn’t understand pottery. They’d ask questions like, “Oh, do they break?” I said they did. Some places I had to go back to a few times. One restaurant I went back to three times. How would you convince them to use your pottery? I didn’t really convince anybody. [I approached] chefs I thought were
interested in using pottery. I knew because I checked their restaurants to see what their food was, what their interior was. Like Ron Siegel; I knew he won Iron Chef and was interested in Japanese [cuisine]. Do you still find clients this way today? No. Now I don’t have to go anywhere. They come to me. You make everything out of stoneware clay in the studio behind your home. How long does it take to make a bowl?
OPPOSITE: Fired plates and bowls in the studio. THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Graham at work on the wheel. The fateful issue of Wine Spectator. A detail of the ceramist’s tools.
It depends. To make just one on the wheel takes about three minutes. Bigger takes longer, maybe 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes I mess up. Then I trim, so you have to dry; then when it’s not completely dry, trim again. Then I put it in the kiln, fire it, add glaze, and fire again. Sometimes I make plates using molds I made; I learned how to do that from a book. That way I can rest my arms.
I think they should just use my pottery. Use it to eat off.
Your pottery is a business, but it’s also a work of art. How do you think it affects people?
Do you have any advice for people interested in taking up pottery? Take any class, from anyone. You should
Do you think it’s better than a box set? I think so. Why? Because it has soul. It has something in it. And dishes are something you use every day.
like your teacher, but you are not going to make the same pottery as your teacher. When I [taught] students, we all used the same wheel, the same glaze, the same kiln. I knew whose pottery was whose, because everybody’s different. It comes out, like, this is me. So don’t copy [anyone]. A class will teach you how to make pottery, and then you will learn yourself. h
Clear Advantage The Marvin Modern series offers designers both refined aesthetics and superior thermal performance. By BRIAN LIBBY
TODAY MORE THAN EVER, HOUSES ARE BEING DESIGNED IN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY STYLES, MARKED BY CLEAN LINES AND STREAMLINED DETAILS. That calls for a new generation of high-performance windows and doors—which happens to be a specialty of Marvin, a 109-year-old manufacturer that began its history in Minnesota as a lumber company but, since the 1940s, has risen to become one of America’s leading window and door providers. Its new Marvin Modern line is built
with a proprietary high-density pultruded fiberglass frame, allowing products with the ultra-slim, clean-lined aesthetic this style is known for while maintaining optimal thermal properties. Instead of choosing between thin sightlines and ideally robust insulation, these offerings allow for both. They’re also modular, and designed to work together as a cohesive whole. Whether it’s a wall of glass formed by Marvin’s Direct Glaze and Multi-Slide Door, or its accompanying operable Awning and Casement windows, the line seamlessly extends to
a home’s every need. Marvin Modern’s windows and doors are also practical and easy to install. Thanks to a unique Integrated Mull Channel, a structural cavity within the frame, Marvin can offer added mull reinforcement and drywall return without compromising sightlines. That means flexibility and exquisite detail. The collection is modern in the true sense of the word: not simply a retro midcentury look, but an innovative solution that’s stronger yet slimmer than its predecessors. That’s clear as glass. h
“With our company’s roots in traditional and historic windows, our goal with the Marvin Modern collection is to understand the ‘why’ behind [the term] modern. It’s not really about the window or the door; it’s about the void. The best products almost disappear. Yet our customers also want optimal thermal performance. In the past, that’s always been the trade-off. “Our solution was a highdensity pultruded fiberglass we developed for the frame [that features] the strength of other metals but not the same thermal conductivity. Having a material solution that’s inherently thermally efficient is a significant enabler for the Marvin Modern line. Based on the feedback we’ve heard from architects, there isn’t a better solution out there.” —KRIS HANSON, DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT AT MARVIN
SAVING FACE Canadian artist Lyle Reimer gained fame on everyone’s favorite photo-sharing platform. Now he’s trading the ’gram for the gallery. By RACHEL GALLAHER
THIS PAGE: COURTESY RIZZOLI. OPPOSITE: STUART GILLIES
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THIS PAGE: Lyle Reimer with his mother at his childhood home in Saskatchewan during the filming of the documentary Random Is My Favourite Colour. A work-in-progress sculpture at Reimer’s Vancouver studio. OPPOSITE: A portrait from the book Lyle XoX: Head of Design (Rizzoli).
“THERE ARE A LOT OF OPPOSING CONCEPTS COLLAGED INTO A SINGLE IMAGE. A LOT OF BEAUTY COMES FROM THOSE CONTRASTS.” Canadian artist Lyle Reimer is reflecting on a recent two-week trip to Israel, but he could just as easily be describing his own work. Reimer, who spent 16 years at MAC Cosmetics in a series of positions ranging from an artist on the sales floor to artist relations, rose to digital fame after he started posting self-portraits to his Instagram, @lylexox. Far transcending the typical pointand-pose selfie, Reimer’s mesmerizing, tightly framed shots all feature his face embellished with whimsical, avant-garde collages of discarded ephemera, from
feathers and beads to plastic piping, chip bags, Scrabble tiles, and golf pencils. His looks range from dark to playful, and each one takes between three and five hours to complete (he creates the sculptural elements in the days leading up to the shoot). The only rule? “Every item I use has to be recycled or repurposed,” Reimer says, acknowledging his mother, “the recycling queen,” as a huge inspiration. Each look is paired with a written description that often includes an invented name and persona, complete with an array of likes, dislikes, hobbies, and potential careers. “I grab a pen and a scrap of paper, sit down with the image, and write anything that comes to mind,” Reimer says. “I usually know that I’ve hit
the jackpot when I’m laughing out loud or I suddenly have a huge smile on my face.” What originally started as a five-day makeup challenge six years ago—his first look was a basic drag face accompanied by a turban, shot in the shower—has blossomed into a thriving creative career. Highlights include work for fashion elite such as Gucci, Viktor&Rolf, and Jeremy Scott, as well as Lyle XoX: Head of Design, a recently released book from Rizzoli (in celebration of the volume, Reimer created two window installations for New York’s Bergdorf Goodman). An hour-long documentary on Reimer titled Random Is My Favourite Colour aired through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in July. Shot by award-winning director »
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Stuart Gillies with production by Vancouver-based content studio Boldly Creative, each of the film’s four segments is shot in a different location, ranging from Japan to Vancouver (where Reimer’s lived for 20 years) to Saskatchewan, where he grew up and where much of his family still resides. In one heartwarming scene, he returns to his elementary school for a reunion with his kindergarten teacher. “It’s been very surreal,” he says of the ramping-up attention. “I just try to not take anything for granted, because you’re never guaranteed the next thing.” What is guaranteed for Reimer, who turned 41 in March, is his first exhibition, opening September 7 at Liquidity Winery’s gallery space in Okanagan Falls, at the heart of British Columbia’s wine country. Featuring 25 portraits in a range of sizes, the show, titled Head of Design, will run through October 14. Gleeful mashups of art, fashion, cosmetics, and gender, Reimer’s portraits challenge viewers with highly layered narratives and force them to confront their own notions of what is worthy of being considered art. If Reimer has a thing or two to say, or to show, it’s that an empty deodorant tube, used in the right context, can be
as moving and thought-provoking as finely applied pastels. Of course, taking his portraits offline and into the gallery doesn’t necessarily legitimize them any more than viewing them on a phone screen, but it does open up new angles of approach. The colors, the patterns, the Where’s Waldo? thrill of identifying individual found objects—these portraits practically beg for large-format viewing. Although Reimer can’t give all the details yet, he’s currently in talks with a gallery in Rome about a potential exhibition next year, and in October, Reimer will head to Mexico City for the two-day Artist Community Hub event, where he will do a book signing and a live, on-stage transformation from mere mortal to fully adorned persona. His work might be all about the head, but Reimer hasn’t let it go to his own. “At the end of the day, we all get to live one life,” he says. “If you don’t do it right, you don’t get another chance. I just want to live mine knowing that I’ve maximized my potential and done everything I wanted to do.” h
THIS PAGE: STUART GILLIES. OPPOSITE: COURTESY RIZZOLI
THIS PAGE, FROM TOP: A behind-the-scenes shot of Reimer in a Vancouver photography studio during the filming of Random Is My Favourite Colour. The cover of Lyle XoX: Head of Design. OPPOSITE: A self-portrait from the book.
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That’s a Wrap Designer Lily Forbes Shafroth’s unisex robes, made in collaboration with Indian artisans, bring both a story and a conscience to fashion.
FASHION IS OFTEN THOUGHT OF AS A PRODUCT OF STORIED CAPITAL CITIES. While New York, Paris, and Milan command much of the attention, the industry thrives in towns far beyond their horizons; 26-year-old Detroit-based designer Lily Forbes Shafroth is proof of this wide geographic reach. In September, Shafroth will unveil a line of handwoven silk robes that mark an inflection point in her unisex clothing label, Lily Forbes, her 18-month old firm that has to date produced garments only of vintage silk or handwoven cotton. The new collection’s vibrant custom textiles—woven and dyed in Bihar and transported to a fair-trade production house in Delhi, where they’re
cut and sewn—are fluid, skillfully made garments that reflect Shafroth’s singular dedication to responsible fashion. Her collection is the result of years of ups, downs, and research. Raised in Colorado and Washington, DC, by a wildlife-conservationist father and social activist mother, Shafroth learned about environmental and human rights issues early on. In 2015, as a geography student at UC Berkeley (where she spent a semester abroad studying fashion at Central Saint Martin’s) with a minor in global poverty and practice, Shafroth took a two-month research trip to Varanasi, the Hindu pilgrimage city on the Ganges known for its opulent silk saris and »
COURTESY LILY FORBES
SEAL OF APPROVAL
By SHYAM PATEL
THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE: The garments from Detroit-based designer Lily Forbes Shafrothâ€™s latest collection are made from silk that is handwoven and dyed in the Indian state of Bihar.
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captivating perfumes. “I was specifically interested in [learning about] female artisan entrepreneurship, how systems of inequality are created, and how we’re complicit in them,” she says. Shafroth observed many foreign companies working in India—and exploiting it economically. “I wanted to understand how a partnership [in India] could be effective without continuing neocolonial power structures,” she says. Later that year, with cofounder Milica Boijic, she launched Artful Scout, a readyto-wear and accessories line made by a collective of women whom Shafroth had met in India. Logistical issues and shifting local markets forced the company to fold just two years later, but Shafroth remained firm in her resolve to work in India, even if it meant doing so alone, and began looking for new production sources. In 2016, through a customer at Artful Scout’s Detroit pop-up, the designer met Theresa VanderMeer, founder and CEO of Work + Shelter, a fair-trade cut-and-sew Delhi production house that employs female artisans who face gender and caste discrimination. VanderMeer invited Shafroth to discuss working out of her facility, and the designer naturally jumped at the opportunity. The silk textiles in Lily Forbes’s fall collection exemplify Shafroth’s dedication to doing things right. Created on hand-
looms by fourth-generation weavers, the silk is colored with fair-trade AZO-free pigments by a seasoned dyer before being transported to Work + Shelter in Delhi for production. In addition to using nontoxic processes that consume less water than typical manufacturing methods, Shafroth empowers her sources to keep their age-old production techniques alive in an era of mass production and automation. “I’ve seen a lot of shallow engagement in fair-trade business,” she says. “While people’s hearts are in the right place, it’s important to have an [authentic] relationship with the individuals you work with.” Last year, Shafroth drove eight hours from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh’s sugarcane country so she could spend time with the artisans she collaborates with. The weaving group is led by the Alis, a Muslim family who, like others of their faith, are facing hardship amid increasing Hindu nationalism in India. “I sat in their living room and talked about everything from the fabric they make to their experiences with discrimination in the current climate,” Shafroth says. “It was a powerful experience.” Shafroth’s efforts to better understand the craft communities that support her budding label stem from a desire to reach across time and culture. It’s significant that she’s placed the robe—a size- and gender-inclusive garment—at
the center of her practice. From the vestments worn in Christian churches to the chakdar jamas of Mughal India and kimono of Japan, iterations of the robe’s accommodating silhouette have been at the center of both ritual and daily life for centuries. “Growing up, I watched my mom get ready in her bathrobe,” Shafroth says. “It taught me about the art of wrapping yourself up [to prepare] for the day. It was incredibly nurturing.” She keeps two heirlooms, her grandmother’s blue silk bathrobe and her great-grandmother’s raspberry-pink silk velvet cape, as conduits to her family history. From the start, Shafroth has put personal relationships and fair-trade principles at the forefront of her business: for her, collaboration with Indian artisans isn’t a gimmick but a means of working with the best of the best. “I don’t see [my clothing line] as helping people,” she says. “It’s an exchange. I also love seeing the transition of something that’s traditionally thought of as private becoming something worn in public.” When a customer first sees a Lily Forbes robe, there’s an immediate and palpable intimacy: everything from the weaver’s practice to the designer’s childhood memories come to life. “That’s where the allure lies,” Shafroth says. “It’s all about the emotional connection.” h
COURTESY LILY FORBES
SEAL OF APPROVAL
A handwoven silk robe from Lily Forbes’s fall collection.
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7/23/19 6:35 PM
OBJECTS OF DESIRE
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COVER-UPS The best place to add a wow factor in your home is right underfoot (or on the wall). Here we spotlight our favorite rugs, textiles, and wallpapers of the moment. By T I FFANY JOW
Mumbai-based textile designer Yashvi Suchak’s hand-knotted wool Ekko rug, in gradients of pink and blue, has a luxuriously high pile. Its ombré palette and circular shape are informed by the rich-hued paintings of late Indian artist S. H. Raza. hastu.in »
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Marked by gradients of warm color and informed by topography, the Modern Round rug from Kush Rugsâ€™ Topo collection is made of hand-tufted wool and viscose with a natural latex backing. It can be specified in a variety of colors and sizes, and in a hand-knotted version, too. kushrugs.com
During Milan Design Week in April, the Italian contemporary rug company CCTapis released its Visioni rug in a range of new prismatic color combinations. First designed by Patricia Urquiola in 2016, Visioni is handmade in Nepal from Himalayan wool. cc-tapis.com
Slovenian-born, London-based designer Lara Bohinc has a penchant for celestial forms that shines in her East of the Moon wool rug for Swedish company Kasthall. It incorporates four types of tufts, exposing a visible linen base weave among fuller patches that add up to a tactile work of art. kasthall.com
Named for the German term wunderkammer, meaning “cabinet of curiosities,” the hand-knotted wool-and-viscose Jaipur Wunderkammer rugs that Italian designer Matteo Cibic created for Jaipur Rugs were informed by his travel to the firm’s namesake Rajasthan state, beloved for its rosehued buildings. jaipurrugs.com, eastindiacarpets.com
Vancouver-based artist Zoë Pawlak’s latest collaboration with Burritt Bros. Carpet and Floors was released earlier this year. Titled the Eden Collection, it includes this Utah Gold rug. With a pattern informed by the landscape around Utah’s Powder Mountain, it’s made from hand-spun Himalayan wool and Chinese silk and washed and finished by hand for an incredible sheen. burrittfloors.com
The 18th woven textile that British designer Paul Smith has created for Maharam, the polyester-and-cotton Angles is available in five colorways: Opal, Jasper, Citrine, Aquamarine, and Agate, shown here. maharam.com »
FAR RIGHT: GENEVIEVE GARUPPO
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Benjamin Moore, the paint stalwart, teamed up with artisans from Alpha Workshops, a singular nonprofit that provides decorative arts education and employment to people with disabilities and other vulnerabilities, to create a capsule collection of handpainted wallpapers that was released in March. The line includes five patterns in three colorways. Kimono; shown here in French Marigold, stands apart. benjaminmoore.com
Translucent tissue is placed in layers atop background hues to create the evocative look of Calico Wallpaper’s Relic, shown here in Tabla. Digitally printed on lowVOC vinyl, the collection, released in May, creates the illusion of movement and depth, as if light were shining through the material’s surface. calicowallpaper.com
A collaboration between interior designer Michelle Dirkse and her best friend, Seattle-based artist Noël Fountain, the Cenote pattern was informed by their travels to Yucatán’s Tulum and is based on one of Fountain’s encaustic watercolors. Dirkse’s eponymous design brand released Cenote as a clay-coated wallpaper and a textile, printed on Belgian linen, earlier this year. michelledirkse.com
Printed on clay-coated wallpaper, the delightfully literal King of Pop pattern, created by Seattle-based Abnormals Anonymous, is part of the studio’s Lust for Life collection, which includes three colorways: Corn Star (off-white), Pour Some Butter on Me (white), and Mary Poppins, shown here. abnormalsanonymous.com
Louie Rigano and Gil Muller—cofounders of London-based brand Shore, which produces floor coverings using highperformance silicone cord—created the Clouds of Venus mat as part of its Iridescence collection, inspired by the colors of extraterrestrial atmospheres. Supportive to the feet and highly tactile, the rug can be used as a cushion, doormat, or stand-alone statement piece. shorerugs.com
Amsterdam-based Christiane Müller designed the tactile Cherished Knit upholstery fabric for HBF Textiles. Both stain-resistant and available in eight colorways, it’s made from a blend of acrylic, cotton, wool, and polyester. Look closely at its irregular weave to spot the handwork of its artisans, who create each piece at a boutique mill in Italy. hbftextiles.com »
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Translated from a flora-filled mural painted by Shanan Campanaro, founder of textile design studio Eskayel, the Regalo di Dio Verde (“gift of the green god”) wallpaper from the Omaggio collection can be printed on a classic paper roll or paper-backed Belgian linen. eskayel.com
Studiopepe, the Milan-based design agency founded by Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara di Pinto in 2006, is a master of elegant eclecticism. Its Haru wallpaper, created for Italian wallpaper company Wall & Decò and released during April’s Milan Design Week, is available in three colors and informed by Japanese paper-folding techniques. wallanddeco.com
Zürich-based designer Marie Schumann’s ongoing wall-hanging series Softspace—a meditation on material and architecture that seeks to establish a new way to experience textiles in living spaces—is available through her studio, Textiles and Space. Softspace #21, shown here, was woven in Switzerland on an industrial jacquard loom using flame-retardant Trevira CS polyester, cotton, and Lurex, and hangs on a steel tube. marieschumann.de
Flavor Paper’s hand-screened Permanent Sunset wallpaper, part of its Wild Life collection, requires four screens to print in its Brooklyn production facility. The pattern—set on Mylar and ’80s-evoking colorways including Miami Nice, Over Easy, Pansy, and Spencers (all created by Brooklyn fiber artist Liz Collins)—riffs on stills from the 1982 cult film Liquid Sky, which documents Manhattan’s downtown New Wave–era club scene. flavorpaper.com
The diamond pattern of this shaggy, hand-finished wool-and-mohair rug from Tufenkian Artisan Carpets was informed by that of an antique kimono owned by James Tufenkian, who designed the versatile floor covering. tufenkian.com
Parachute’s handmade Textured Wool rug takes nearly a month to create in Panipat, India, where weavers carefully hand-separate, dye, and spin the wool and cotton used to make it. The floor covering’s nubby motif is an ideal resting place for tired toes. parachutehome.com h
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Chattering Class A new generation of design critics is talking. Are you listening? By GLENN ADAMSON Artwork by JESSE TREECE
WHEN THOMAS HEATHERWICK’S ESCHER-LIKE STRUCTURE VESSEL OPENED THIS SPRING IN MANHATTAN’S HUDSON YARDS, THE GENERAL PUBLIC’S RESPONSE WAS FAIRLY MUTED. People stood in line. They went up and down the structure’s nearly 2,500 steps. They posted their pictures on Instagram, and then they went on with their lives. Critics, on the other hand, exploded. “The depth of architectural thinking at work here,” Kate Wagner wrote in the Baffler, “makes a kiddie-pool seem oceanic.” Along with Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times, Alexandra Lange in Curbed, Elissaveta Marinova in Icon, Matt Shaw in the Architect’s Newspaper, and myself in Frieze (among others), Wagner denounced the project as the hood ornament of a real estate development lacking in public spirit but built at public expense. Given the vast resources passing through Heatherwick’s hands, it is unlikely that this wave of hostile coverage bothered him much. But it was an indication of a certain maturity in the field of criticism itself. Quite unexpectedly, we seem to have arrived at a golden age of writing about architecture and design. Not since the 1970s, when postmodernism was roiling the scene and theorists were lining up on all sides to make their points, have there been so many voices speaking
about design, or so many platforms for them to be heard. Back in 2005, graphics specialist Rick Poynor wrote an article in Design Observer plaintively entitled “Where Are the Design Critics?” One might expect things to have only gotten worse in the years since. Newspapers struggle, while the sheer accumulation of capital in many fields—particularly film and fine art—rolls right over bad reviews. But the peculiar formation of contemporary media is well suited to the design field. Spurred by competition, design websites and magazines have outgrown the merely promotional role that they once had. Though still image-hungry and quickreflexed, these outlets have also learned that sharp writing attracts readers. Meanwhile, social media has provided a means for critics to establish themselves (Wagner, with her widely read site McMansion Hell, is a great example), even as new courses in design writing—at the School of Visual Arts and the Design Academy Eindhoven, for example—cultivate new talent. Most important, independent design practices are thriving. They are also positioning themselves more discursively, engaging in sophisticated ways with the theoretical and political implications of their own work. The result is a wealth of intelligent design writing. Much of what’s out there consists of hot takes, of course,
particularly on news sites such as Dezeen and Hyperallergic. But there are also new magazines such as Disegno that carry long-form pieces, and podcasts like 99% Invisible and Design Matters that offer a deep dive in each episode. Design galleries, following the lead of their peers in fineart criticism, have begun investing in publications programs; I’ve served as an in-house writer for New York’s Friedman Benda over the past two years, and Carpenters Workshop Gallery Paris has founded an ambitious new online journal, Design Edit. And let’s not forget documentaries, museum catalogues, full-length books, and, yes, newspapers, too. It’s probably too early to say what this burst of critical response will mean for design. Will empty prestige projects and derivative copycats be called out? Will we see more transparency on issues of sustainability? And will the current intellectual vibrancy of design practice itself continue? Without great work, great criticism is pointless. Right now, there is plenty of both around—more than we can take in, probably. But keep reading this design criticism column anyway. For, if anything in 2019 can be said to be in its golden age, it’s worth savoring every moment. h
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Print Progress The nonprofit New Story teams up with designer Yves Béhar to create the world’s first 3D-printed community in Latin America.
THREE YEARS AFTER THE 2010 EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI, 24-year-old Brett Hagler traveled to the dual-nation Caribbean island of Hispaniola to help with humanitarian efforts. While working just outside Port-au-Prince, Hagler, who had previously founded a for-profit tech startup in San Francisco, was deeply struck by the children he saw living in flimsy tents and makeshift shelters without running water, electricity, or means to ensure their safety. “When I went to Haiti, I had no desire to start an organization,” Hagler says. “But what I saw down there absolutely broke my heart.” Fast-forward to today, when he serves as the cofounder and CEO of the San Francisco–based housing charity New Story, an organization poised to begin erecting the first 3D-printed community in Latin America later this year. After a week in Haiti, Hagler returned to the States with plans to get involved in a charitable organization that embraced
emerging technology to challenge traditional nonprofit aid methods. A few months into searching for the right group, Hagler realized he hadn’t come across one that checked all the boxes. “I couldn’t find any organizations that were really prioritizing or willing to take calculated risks on innovation and new design concepts,” he says. So, like many entrepreneurs before him, Hagler decided to start his own group. Hagler enlisted cofounders Alexandria Lafci and Matthew Marshall (the three met through a social entrepreneurship group in Atlanta), and launched New Story in 2014 with the goal of helping create a world where no human is without shelter. Five years later, the organization has not only built more than 2,200 houses in Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia, but is helping to facilitate some of the most exciting advances in mass housing in the past 20 years. In 2018, after a year of research and
development, New Story and ICON, an Austin, Texas–based construction technology company dedicated to revolutionizing homebuilding, announced the successful printing of the country’s first permitted 3D-printed home. A year later, the two companies unveiled plans for the world’s first 3D-printed community, which is slated for completion in an undisclosed Latin American country next year. Swiss designer Yves Béhar, founder of the San Francisco–based Fuseproject industrial design and brand firm (and a member of New Story’s advisory board), worked closely with New Story, ICON, and the future residents of the community to design functional, aesthetically pleasing houses that will serve multiple generations and could act as stepping stones out of extreme poverty. “This partnership is an example of how design, technology, and social good can combine to present new solutions to global issues,” Béhar says. “This
TERILYN STEVERSON. RENDERING COURTESY MOTIONLAND FOR NEW STORY
By RACHEL GALLAHER
FROM LEFT: Designer Yves Béhar reviews design plans at the Fuseproject office in San Francisco. Sketches and models of the houses at the Fuseproject office. A rendering showing a group of 3D-printed houses.
concept is at the root of what drives our work at Fuseproject every day, and it’s something the team has become really passionate about.” Groundbreaking for the community— consisting of some 50 houses, each 500 to 600 feet square—will begin at the end of this summer. Unlike typical humanitarian housing efforts, this project relies heavily on input from its recipient community. The design team has repeatedly traveled to Latin America to meet with residents. The ideas generated from these meetings, many of which revolved around tight-knit interactions among neighboring families, helped shape architectural details throughout the design process. “We asked the villagers what was important to them in a house,” Hagler says. “They would tell us things like, ‘It’s important for me to see where my kids are playing,’ and that would determine where windows will be placed. Most of the families prefer to cook as a
community, so kitchens will be placed outside, where neighbors can cook together. It is vital to us that these houses serve them first and foremost.” “By working directly with the community to get them involved in the planning process from the start, we were able to use design and technology to respond to their needs,” Béhar adds. “The design reflects this approach. It was centrally important that the design be as responsive to the lived experiences of the community as possible, and was flexible enough to grow with families over time.” The 3D printer, which uses proprietary technology developed by ICON, will be shipped, mostly in one piece, to Latin America in the largest street-legal tractor-trailer around. There it will churn out layers of cement (think of squeezing icing out of a pastry tube), functioning with near-zero waste and optimized to work under unpredictable conditions
such as limited water, power, labor, and supportive infrastructure. The printer also drastically speeds up construction, as the walls and structural elements of each home can be printed in just 24 hours. In areas affected by disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, this technology could be truly lifesaving, and it has the potential to get people back on their feet at a pace that was formerly impossible. “We’re trying to do something that has never been done before,” Hagler says of the forthcoming printed village. “After the first community is built, our goal is not to keep [the methods] for ourselves. The bigger idea is to manufacture more machines and allow other nonprofits and governments access to them. Whatever can have the biggest impact, that’s what we want to do.” It’s rare that innovation serves the poorest communities first, but New Story is proving that when it does, it can be powerful enough to really change the world. h
Glass Act A waterfront home, marked by an atrium filled with irregularly shaped windows, strikes a balance between minimal and surreal. Interview by TIFFANY JOW Located on the eastern shore of the South River in Annapolis, Maryland, this three-floor, 3,000-square-foot home was designed by local firm Kezlo Group with views of the water in mind. The homeowner, Dr. Craig Vander Kolk, and the lead architect, Jason Winters, developed a teardrop-shaped footprint with a defining feature at its tip: a massive triangular atrium, which is open to all floors, leans outward in the plane of the exterior façade. They chose products from Western Window Systems to make it a reality. To better understand the complexity of the project, and why Western Window Systems’ moving glass walls and windows were an ideal fit, we gathered the home’s key team members—Winters, project manager Pete Edmunds of Lundberg Builders, and window specialist Gary Logue of The Sanders Company, which sells Western Window Systems’ products in the area—to discuss how they joined forces to create this statement-making home. The goal of this house was to capture views of the surrounding natural environment. How do windows and moving glass walls factor into making that vision a reality?
all about. Having the flexibility in windows’ size and scale, and the ability to eliminate additional clunky framing that might get in the way of the views, was critical to the project’s success.
JASON WINTERS: The easy solution to [capturing sweeping views] is to put in all glass, all the time. This project was more nuanced: the client wanted large panoramic openings in some areas, and smaller gunshot views in others. There are different ways to present views to the water, and that’s what this house is
PETE EDMUNDS: In the residential market, it’s hard to find a window that’s varied enough [in size and shape] to achieve a scale [that builders] can manage. And with commercial windows, you end up with a window that’s too big and can’t fit in a lot of residential situations. Western Window Systems offers the best of both worlds: they’ll create a window that fits into a given space, in any sort of shape. And this project required lots of irregular window shapes and sizes.
GARY LOGUE: Right. Each window is leaning outward, in a custom shape—a lot of companies never would have made them due to that. But everything Western Window Systems does is custom. It wasn’t unusual for Western Window Systems to make shapes like this, and that’s what architects like about them. PE: The windows are actually floating in between structural members, and placed like art on a wall. The glass acts like the curve of an eye, where you are looking out onto a surface that’s not straight. There aren’t too many windows in this market we could do that with. Beyond Western Window Systems’ penchant for customization, what else made the brand appealing? PE: Gary’s showroom was key to getting our client to appreciate the versatility of a Western Window Systems product. The scale of its windows is hard to capture unless you can see it in person, and his space is set up so you can see it all: the details of the sill, the size, how it will look in the final analysis.
The glass-filled atrium is the crown jewel of the house—it’s 45 feet above grade and sticks out like the bow of a ship. What were the structural challenges of incorporating windows into it?
GL: Typically me and the rest of the Sanders team are the representatives for Western Window Systems. In this case, we set the team up with a visit from one of its national sales representatives, so he could see the unusual aspects of this project. He helped us through some of the communication [between the client and the brand].
JW: Because of the atrium’s pointed, triangular shape, the windows sit in walls of varying thicknesses at an eight- or nine-degree angle—we weren’t just setting windows and having everything pair up nicely. So there was an additional technical challenge of finding a window that could achieve that.
JW: Craig and I visited Gary’s showroom several times. From the front end, it was helpful for Craig to ask questions about how the windows are made. Cost was also a factor. That’s what the allure of Western Window Systems was: its price point and performance were consummate with the variety of applications we needed. You’re
also able to open [all of these windows]. Every time I drive by the house [now], the windows in the kitchen and bathroom are open—but the home still has a clean, contemporary look. There’s something about being able to incorporate a residential window you can engage with instead of just big, fixed windows. It brings the scale of the house down. What specific products were used in this project? GL: We used 50-foot-wide Series 900 Hinged Doors and custom Series 600 Multi-Slide Doors that offer expansive views and bring the outside in when the doors are open. We also incorporated the Series 600 Windows combined fixed glass and operating casements, plus custom Series 600 Windows that extend from the first floor to the angled ceiling.
This home sits on the water. How do the windows protect against the elements? PE: Western Window Systems’ anodized aluminum windows have a finish that the homeowner doesn’t have to worry about. They’re also rigid enough so that once you sit the window properly, there’s almost no way the operable windows can go out of adjustment as the house ages. What role do the windows play in achieving the project’s surreal effect? JW: While you have different geometry with the windows, they all look and feel like a collective family. That’s an important part of holding the house together. PE: I’m actually doing another job with Western Window Systems now. We continue to use its windows because of the product. h
OPPOSITE: A detail of the atrium. THIS PAGE, FROM TOP: The various sizes of custom windows and sliding glass doors used in the project are particularly apparent from the home’s exterior. A view of the project’s interior.
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Wonder Woman An exhibition locates the late artist, designer, and entrepreneur Vera Neumann, who transformed the way humans interact with art, in her proper context.
ASK YOUR GRANDMOTHER OR MOTHER IF SHE EVER OWNED A VERA SCARF. Chances are she did: my mom remembers my grandma’s cherished silk accessory, featuring a wiggly red ladybug with Vera’s signature scrawled alongside it. But Mom, like most people, didn’t realize the late Vera Neumann—known on a first-name basis to a global audience—was one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of the 20th century. The artist and cofounder of a $100 million company, Vera was omnipresent in midcentury America. Her confident, vibrant watercolor paintings—pared-down yet energetic depictions of flowers, food, and animals as well as abstract patterns—appeared on everything from wallpaper to comforters, placemats to tableware, sportswear to lingerie. Vera was the first designer to register her designs with the Library of Congress, the first American to manufacture her designs in China and import them for sale in the US, and the first artist at the Smithsonian’s Resident Associate Program. Above all, she created one of the first lifestyle brands that transformed how middle-class Americans interacted with art: Vera took it off the
walls and surrounded people with it in their everyday lives. Yet Vera—with her trifecta of being female, designing for a midrange market, and enjoying commercial success—is barely discussed in design history. An exhibition opening at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) on August 8 aims to change that. Vera Paints a Scarf, organized by MAD’s Windgate Research and Collections Curator Elissa Auther, with curatorial assistant Alida Jekabson, features some 200 objects produced by Vera, who died in 1993, and her company between 1945 and 1980. It is the first show to comprehensively examine Vera’s career as an artist, businesswoman, and all-around trailblazer. Born in 1907 to Russian immigrants, Vera was one of four children and grew up in Stamford, Connecticut. Her parents—particularly her father, who paid her 50 cents each time she filled a sketchbook—encouraged her creative spirit. She studied art at New York’s Cooper Union and believed strongly in the democratization of art, seeking ways to bridge the gap between her painting practice and commercial design. In 1938, she married George Neumann, whose
family business was textile printing. (They would later move into an upstate home designed by their friend Marcel Breuer.) George suggested she screenprint placemats with her designs, so they set up a screen-printing frame on the kitchen table of their Gramercy Park apartment, and, with the help of their friend Frederick Werner Hamm, made their first sales at B. Altman & Co., Lord & Taylor, and textile giant F. Schumacher & Co. The trio formed their company, Printex, in 1942, when Vera was 35 years old. Linen was scarce during World War II, but Vera discovered an abundance of parachute silk at an army supply store and shifted her focus to scarves. They were an instant hit: by 1972, her designs were sold in 20,000 stores around the world. Prior to that, in 1948, Vera, George, and the company moved into a Georgian mansion in Ossining, New York, with a printing facility on the ground floor, and the firm swelled to include manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico, China, Italy, and Japan. (Vera decorated her New York home with work by Josef Albers, Pablo Picasso, Isamu Noguchi, and Alexander Calder, who called Vera whenever he needed linens or bathroom
THIS PAGE: COURTESY SUSAN SEID. OPPOSITE: COURTESY SUSAN SEID. COURTESY ALEXANDER GRAY AND DAVID CABERA
By TIFFANY JOW
OPPOSITE: Vera Neumann in her office in the 1970s. THIS PAGE, FROM TOP: Vera Neumann, Untitled (napkin) (1960–65), cotton blend. Vera Neumann, Meadow Fern (1973), watercolor on paper.
towels.) “It was a vertically integrated company: all the screens were made there, the printing was done there, they even had their own color chemist,” Auther says. “She had complete creative control.” Marketing campaigns used the tagline “Vera Paints” (e.g., “Vera Paints a Persian Garden,” a line informed by a trip to Iran, and “Vera Paints a Happy,” a collection of pieces with a sun motif) and spoke about her product lines in the language of fine art. Once someone asked Vera if she was a feminist. “She told them she’d been lucky that no one ever stopped her from doing what she wanted to do,” says Susan Seid, a merchandising executive who acquired Vera’s design assets, intellectual property, and artwork in 2005 (she sold all but the latter in 2013) and coauthored the 2010 book Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon (Abrams). I wondered if Vera—a 5-foot-tall, incessantly forgetful woman whose confidence was veiled by her kind, accepting exterior—had actually called the shots or if she was merely the face of an empire run by her business partners. Vera had strong opinions on that matter: “I would have made it without [George],” Vera told the writer Lois
Rich-McCoy in 1978 (George passed away unexpectedly in 1962). But he needed her to organize their company, she continued, as no businessperson succeeds completely alone. “Everyone needs a George,” she said. Every design in Vera’s prolific output began with a painting. Her process adapted the Japanese technique sumi-e, in which the brush is held vertically to the paper, sometimes to pool paint. Vera preferred this method, which allowed her to exclude extraneous details and let her singular sense of color shine. “Vera combined orange and purple and fuchsia, which was very unusual at the time,” Seid says, the sensibility fueled and emboldened by Vera’s travels in Mexico, Peru, Paris, and India. Vera’s vibrant, geometric patterns did not seem a match, however, for subdued postwar modern interiors. “She saw a market that wasn’t being served,” Auther says. “She was part of a circle of people, like the Eameses and Alexander Girard, who were deep modernists but also had a deep love of craft and seamlessly integrated it into sleek, modern interiors. I think of her as part of that circle, but people don’t talk about Vera
in that way in design history.” At least, not yet. Today Vera’s work lives on, licensed in collaborations with brands such as Anthropologie and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “What’s fascinating is the cult following she has,” Auther says. “The artist Pae White has more than 3,000 of her scarves; the New York gallerist Alexander Gray collects Vera’s napkins and tableware; fashion designer Francisco Medavog documents her scarves on YouTube. Nowadays, Vera crosses all socioeconomic classes.” h
Architecture: Olson Kundig Builder: Dovetail Photo: Aaron Leitz
COURTESY THE ARTIST
The brilliantly bizarre work of architect Jennifer Bonner, a mountain home with an interior customized for its residents’ blue-chip art collection, and MoMA’s Paola Antonelli on the XXII Triennale di Milano.
Anne Dessing, Untitled (2019).
Architect Jennifer Bonner is interested in pushing the boundaries of the traditional architectural canonâ€”even if it means tackling every step of the process herself. By RACHEL GALLAHER Portrait by CHRISTOPHER DIBBLE
The Dollhaus, presented by architect Jennifer Bonner at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, is a maquette of what would eventually become her fully realized Haus Gables project.
sk most architects about the inspiration behind a project and they’re likely to cite nature, an industry titan, or the constraints of the building site. But ask Jennifer Bonner—founder of the creative practice MALL and a recipient of this year’s prestigious Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers— about the house she designed for her family in Atlanta, and she’ll start talking about sandwiches and hats. Thirty-nine years old, with an asymmetrical platinum bob and chartreuse-framed glasses, Bonner looks every inch the cool creative, but throw in her soft southern lilt, obsession with pop culture, and degree from Harvard, where she was recently promoted to associate professor of architecture in the Graduate School of Design, and it’s clear this woman is not your average design practitioner. “I have one foot in academia and one foot in practice, so I’m always exhibiting or writing or conceptualizing [my] work first,” she tells me one cloudy early-summer afternoon. “I start with a set of questions about architecture, then I do research and try to flip it into real projects.” We’re sitting in the rooftop community room at the modern Portland apartment building where she, her husband, and her daughter live, and as GRAY’s photographer clicks off shots, Bonner keeps apologizing for the décor, laughing and offering to help rearrange things. They haven’t been here long: the trio was based in Cambridge, Massachusetts (with plans to move to Atlanta), until this past summer, when Bonner’s husband accepted a job at Nike and they headed west. Highly conceptual and brilliantly bizarre, her work aims to disrupt the American architecture scene via projects that are at once irreverent and smart. Best Sandwiches is one such example: it’s Bonner’s 2016 design and research project that explores spatial stacking using the simple idea of a sandwich, in which each filling represents a separate floor. Bonner and her team created nine colorful model building “sandwiches” based on various lunchtime classics, including the grilled cheese, the BLT, and the hamburger. The works were displayed at Boston’s Pinkcomma Gallery in a visual feast that prompted viewers to rethink traditional approaches to design. Best Sandwiches is also a testament to the idea that design doesn’t have to be a cut-and-dry process. Bonner is a serious academic, but she often filters conceptual questions about architecture through a lighthearted, pop culture–tinged lens to demonstrate that good design can also be fun design.
She chose the sandwich metaphor because, as she explains, “everyone is familiar with the cultural phenomenon of the fight for the ‘best’ sandwich,” or ice cream or restaurant, that’s constantly being waged in glossy city magazines. “Whether it’s two cities each trying to say they have the best pastrami, or multiple restaurants in the same city, I wanted to see what would happen if we dragged that ‘best’ scenario into architecture. Could it provide something new visually? It was [about] starting not with the architectural canon but with the everyday.” While Bonner’s approach isn’t new, it is singular in the fact that she serves as both designer and developer on most of her projects. Many academics delve into conceptual questions or undertake case studies, but often their work finds its end in physical or digital models. Bonner is taking her theories into the built environment: at the end of last year, she turned one of her years-long research projects into a home for herself and her family. Called Haus Gables and located in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, it is a proof-of-concept project based on Bonner’s study of southern roof typologies, particularly the dominant gable and hip styles. Rather than planning the home from the ground up, Bonner flipped the usual process on its head, designing the roof first and then formulating everything else, both interior and exterior, from the roofline to the ground. “Jennifer has an unflagging enthusiasm and willingness to takes risks,” says architect Christian Stayner of Los Angeles–based Stayner Architects. He and Bonner overlapped by a semester in graduate school at Harvard but didn’t know each other until they were both teaching at Woodbury University in LA. “I know she’s gotten pushback from her colleagues because her project in Atlanta doesn’t have a ‘client,’ so it’s [seen as] somehow lesser in value. I think she has great potential in her quest to ‘design’ the client rather than be a sort of mercenary architect. That’s really exciting and will have a lasting impact.” Bonner cites the late John C. Portman Jr., another southern architect known for taking unconventional design risks, as her hero. With a career spanning more than five decades, Portman was an early and successful pioneer of the designer-developer model— his work popularized multistory atria in hotels and office buildings, and he revitalized Atlanta’s urban core in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s one thing to present a new architectural style; what made Portman so remarkable is that he made it extremely profitable. Following in his footsteps, Bonner is interested in exploring fresh ways to divide and use space. »
FROM FRONT: Bonner in Portland, Oregon. Detail of an exterior building material Bonner customized for her 2017 installation Another Axon at the Design Biennial Boston.
“For a while now, there’s been no way forward; everyone has been doing the same thing. Modernism ran on for so many decades, but now we’re in the middle of this free-for-all. I can’t wait to see what happens next.” —JENNIFER BONNER
ADAM DETOUR; COURTESY MALL
Best Sandwiches, Bonner’s 2016 design and research project that explores spatial stacking.
Given her strong academic credentials (Bonner attended Auburn University as well as Harvard) and design curiosity, it’s surprising that she wasn’t interested in buildings—“I spent a lot of time at the mall when I was a teenager,” she admits—until college. “Growing up in suburban Alabama, I was very creative and into art, but I had never heard the word architecture until my dad suggested it as an area of study,” she says. “I was like, ‘Architecture? What is that?’” But in her senior year at Auburn, she was accepted into the Rural Studio, an off-campus design-build program that is part of the School of Architecture’s Planning and Landscape Architecture division. Established by architects D. K. Ruth and Samuel Mockbee in 1993, Rural Studio was radical for its time because its students took part in real-world projects. “Students were graduating with actual built work in their portfolios,” Bonner says. “In my early 20s, I came out of the program and was able to say that I had building experience and show it to firms. It wasn’t just drawings.” Mockbee, who grew up in Meridian, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights movement, provided his students with hands-on work experience while assisting the underserved population in west Alabama’s Black Belt region. The budding architects were encouraged to think outside the box when it came to materials (many of the studio’s structures utilized donated or recycled elements otherwise destined for the landfill, such as old car tires, windshields, discarded license plates, and hay bales) and to take into account the social responsibilities of architectural practice. Mockbee, who died of leukemia in 2001, famously said, “As an artist or an architect, I have the opportunity to address wrongs and try to correct them.” It was an ethos he instilled in his students as well. “It was truly life-changing,” Bonner says of her time at Rural Studio. “Mockbee had us leave campus, drive two and a half hours away, and live in a poor rural area so we would have zero distractions and develop a connection to the place we were building for. We were encouraged to experiment with our designs, not create standard housing for a povertystricken community.” Poor communities as well as wealthy ones, she learned, deserve high-level design. Bonner’s undergraduate thesis project, designed and built with three other students, was part of a larger effort to revitalize an abandoned 1930s-era park in Marion, Alabama, that had been closed and left untouched since 1970. The quartet built a cedar-and-aluminum pavilion that not only received a 2005 Architectural Review Award for Emerging Architecture, but also became a popular gathering place for area residents. From hosting fish fries and family reunions to accommodating the local elementary school’s field trips, the simple modern structure
is a testament to the power of architecture and its ability to bring people together. After graduating in 2002, Bonner felt that she should broaden her learning by experiencing the “complete opposite” of rural Alabama. She went to London, where she worked for architect Norman Foster’s firm. “The population of the Alabama town where I had been living was 200,” she says. “Foster + Partners had around 600 people in their office. The first project I worked on was a 65-meter pyramid in the backyard of the president of Kazakhstan’s palace. It was a different world.” Bonner also spent a year and a half at London’s David Chipperfield Architects before returning stateside to attend Harvard. “During my last semester, the [2008 financial] crash happened, and there were no jobs available,” she says. “That’s how I ended up starting my own firm.” MALL, which stands for Mass Architectural Loopty Loops, is an irreverent throwback to Bonner’s high school days spent roaming the mall, but the name also pokes fun at traditional firm monikers that make acronyms out of the partners’ initials (SOM, BIG, ZGF, etc.). She notes that it could also stand for Miniature Angles and Little Lines or any other number of descriptors, a built-in, quirky flexibility reflective of the firm itself. The practice, built on projects that evolve iteratively from a set of questions or observations, demands that kind of versatility. “I started out with no clients, so I had to self-invent work to get things going and actually make money,” she says with a laugh. In 2011, while Bonner and Stayner were teaching at Woodbury, they teamed up to apply to open calls for public art projects around the country. “We were both trying figure out how to establish a practice in Los Angeles during the most dismal climate in architecture ever,” Stayner recalls in an email. “We found commonality in that we were both dedicated to forming an aesthetic while also [being] concerned with larger societal issues. At the time, most of our peers were abandoning the profession like it was a sinking ship, so we were trying to figure out how to stay afloat and decided to team up in our efforts to bail out water early in our careers.” Because architectural commissions were down across the country, they looked to public art, a rare area where checks were still being written. “Money for those projects was protected by public buildings and institutions,” Bonner explains, “so we applied to 100 open calls in two years. We were shortlisted for eight or nine, and we won one.” The winner, called Made in Opa-Locka, was meant to revitalize the deteriorating Triangle neighborhood in Florida’s Opa-Locka by launching small businesses centered around arts, tech, and community services. Rather than erecting new buildings, Bonner and Stayner »
finishes—Italian tile, some of it only 1/16 of an inch thick, takes the place of terrazzo in the open kitchen—and Instagrammable blocks of teal, millennial pink, and sunshine yellow throughout. “There was a time when people in Atlanta were building really elaborate houses modeled after ones in Europe, but they didn’t have the resources [to find the same] materials being used overseas,” Bonner says. “They often brought in other, cheaper materials for the same effect. Fake it until you make it—there’s a tradition in that.” Before leaving Atlanta, she was in talks with several emerging architects about creating a microneighborhood of Haus Gables–style homes in Atlanta. Since our interview, the project has developed into a solo MALL venture: a neighborhood with 10 single-family houses (designed by Bonner and constructed out of CLT panels) on a small urban parcel near the BeltLine, a former railway corridor that runs around the core of the city. The project will act as an important barometer for Bonner’s aesthetic: will the proof-of-concept house that she designed, and which served her own family well, be bought by other people? In coming months, Bonner will begin researching the traditions and regional typologies of the Pacific Northwest—and she has plans in the works for Haus Gables 2.0 in Portland. Although she’s still in the looking-for-property phase, Bonner plans to use the same typologies she deployed in Atlanta (with different roof combinations), but this time the exterior, stark white in the original, will be black. In addition to keeping up with her peripatetic teaching schedule, Bonner is also ready to start a new body of work that delves into the study of exterior materials and their representation in architectural renderings. “I’ve been rendering materials in strange ways in order to ‘invent’ new ones,” she notes. Findings from her research will be presented at Kent State University in November in a show titled Haus Scallop, Haus Sawtooth. In the classroom, Bonner, who spends half of her time on the East Coast as she continues to teach at Harvard, is starting to feel a generational shift between herself and her students. “I’m identifying less with them,” she says with a laugh. “I can’t understand what they like and why they like it! But people work very differently than they did 50 years ago, and things like social media and technology allow you to invent whatever mode of practice you want.” She could just as easily be talking about herself, as she fearlessly questions the way things are done in a long-established field. Perhaps her mixture of the playful (hats, sandwiches, dollhouses) and architectural pedagogy catches you off-guard, but it’s meant to make you rethink ingrained approaches to everything from the way a building should look to how to solve design problems. “It’s an exciting time” in the field, Bonner says. “For a while now, there’s been no way forward; everyone has been doing the same thing. Modernism ran on for so many decades, but now we’re in the middle of this free-for-all. I can’t wait to see what happens next.” h
FROM TOP: LUKE BEARD. ©NAARO
proposed modifying existing single-family houses and several civic buildings to give residents room to start their own ventures: a bicycle-repair shop, a laundromat, a hair salon. Ultimately, their plans were never fully realized, but Bonner and Stayner were successful in helping the client (Willie Logan, CEO of the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation) develop a community-wide brand identity, “Made in Opa-Locka,” which is still used today. Aside from social justice issues, Bonner is fascinated by materiality: her two-year-long Faux-Brick research project (2017–19) examined the use of exterior faux finishes in Mies van der Rohe’s villas, Haus Esters and Haus Lange, and their implications for contemporary architecture. Another project, undertaken while she taught at Atlanta’s Georgia Tech, was a book called A Guide to the Dirty South—Atlanta (2018), penned by Bonner and her students. Taking cues from the epic East Coast–West Coast rap battles of the ’90s, they looked at the unusual architecture and urban planning of Atlanta, uncovering a third prominent design nomenclature beyond coastal academic hubs. She’s also deeply interested in architectural typologies: her research project Domestic Hats (2014), which investigated roof styles and was named for the “hat” that every house wears, was an exhibition of waist-high massing models (3D architectural models that minimize detail and are often made out of a single material, much like small-scale rough drafts). Domestic Hats depicted complicated mashups of various roof styles, from dormer to shed to gable, and Bonner used it as the launch pad for Haus Gables. It also demonstrated the potential of her academic approach—and Bonner’s resolve to bring her ideas to life, even if that means doing it alone. Domestic Hats, in its reimagination of a standardized housing element, inspired Bonner to ask questions: What would happen if you designed a roof before the rest of a house? What would that approach do to the interior spaces? After exhibiting a maquette called The Dollhaus at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, Bonner went on to build the real thing. Collaborating with a high-caliber team, including structural engineer Hanif Kara (who’s worked with Norman Foster, David Chipperfield, Foreign Office Architects, and Zaha Hadid) and CLT installation expert Terry Ducatt, Bonner created a structure completely outside the traditional architectural canon—one intended not merely to house her family, but also, as she pointed out several times during our interview, to demonstrate the importance of creating work outside the paradigm as a way to evolve the field. Completed in December 2018, Haus Gables draws from southern design typologies and retains the crashing-together gables of the Domestic Hats models, and it is also one of only a handful of single-family residential projects in the US built with cross-laminated timber panels. Haus Gables’ roof organizes the rooms, catwalks, and doubleheight spaces of its interior, and Bonner used faux
Inside Haus Gables in Atlanta. Bonner designed the single-family house, one of the few in the United States to be constructed with CLT panels, starting with the roof. The result is a unique interior layout informed by a set of gables that â€œcrashâ€? into each other.
STATE OF THE ART A museum-quality Sun Valley hideaway gets a warm interior treatment from Lucas Design Associates. By KATHRYN Oâ€™SHEA-EVANS Photographs by AARON LEITZ
Lucas Design Associates made its clients’ art collection—and cinematic views of Ketchum, Idaho—the star of this home by architect Tom Kundig. The piece above the fireplace, by Barbara Vaughn, was commissioned by gallerist and homeowner Andria Friesen.
FROM TOP: Kundigâ€™s architecture echoes the towering silhouettes of adjacent aspen trees. A mosaic tree stump by artist Jason Middlebrook nods to the forests beyond in the master bedroom.
n certain locales, modernism can read as decidedly meh. What would Paris be if its Neoclassical façades were replaced with Mies van der Rohe streamlining? Or Venice, were its stilts topped not with Gothic paeans to extravagance but with angular steel and glass? Trips to such destinations would elicit far fewer jealous sighs, to be sure. But in the wilds of Sun Valley, Idaho, where moose and bear frolic over mountain and prairie, clean-lined modern architecture is the perfect foil for the untamed natural world beyond the windows. Take the Stirrup House, designed by architect Tom Kundig as a second home for art-obsessed Seattle couple Andria Friesen and Robert DeGennaro. By the time sibling-owned Lucas Design Associates (LDA) entered the scene to tackle the interiors, “the house envelope had been masterfully designed by Tom and his office, and they were swiftly approaching the [point where they’d need] to understand how the interior spaces would come together,” says Suzie Lucas, the firm’s cofounder and lead interior designer. The 6,472-square-foot home is, according to Suzie, bold and big, and her clients wanted the finishes to be equally strong. At the same time, the clients wanted these details to work for their everyday lives. “Literally, they asked for surfaces that would hold up to cat mischief, [like] cerused oak floors that wouldn’t show [cat] fur but were also elegant and refined,” she says. Equally important, they wanted a “a clean, crisp background for their art collection.” Friesen, who moved to Ketchum in 1986 to open Friesen Gallery, has an impressive hoard. One piece, Verus (2013), by Nicole Chesney, is composed of more than 200 microscopic layers of paint on acid-etched mirrored glass. (“The Smithsonian American Art Museum, late last year, acquired one of the largest paintings of her career for their permanent collection,” Friesen says.) Another, Self Portrait with Several Tiny Homes (2009), by Julie Heffernan, hangs like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus over the master bed. Against snowy walls—all painted in Benjamin Moore’s China White in flat finish, which Friesen also
uses in her gallery—the pieces all but reverberate. “This project is truly an art house,” says Kundig, design principal of Olson Kundig. “Art is very much a part of the family’s lifestyle, so the home was designed to work at different scales depending on their constantly rotating collection of artworks.” The design also maximizes Ketchum’s natural wonders: beyond the windows stand Bald Mountain and 6,638-foot-tall Dollar Mountain (which could well be called MillionDollar-View Mountain). The interior design took a somewhat different tack. “We were honored to have Kundig as the architect, but we didn’t want that voice, if you will, for our interior design,” Friesen says. “We wanted something that was fresh, unique, and us.” That meant creating a bit of a cushy buffer inside the sleek home. “We’re not fans of really uncomfortable, modern, stark-looking furniture,” DeGennaro says. “At the same time, we didn’t want it to be cluttered.” The interiors they sought would allow “the art in the house to be the color,” as DeGennaro puts it. LDA was happy to comply; design is in their blood. The trio of siblings grew up in a creative New York family, and each attended art school in Manhattan—Suzie at the School of Visual Arts, David and Rachel at Parsons School of Design— before moving to Seattle and kickstarting their own firm. “Function versus form was something we learned at a young age, with our engineer father being the king of tinkering and our chef-caterer mother experimenting with how to perfectly cook in a tagine or weave a bread basket so she could make bespoke Easter decorations,” Suzie says. Now, in their own work, “function and comfort are very important to us, which are things that people sometimes think they need to forfeit for style.” A prime example in Stirrup House: they secreted away the most unsightly aspect of modern life— the televisions—by hiding one behind a painting on a lift above the living room fireplace, and concealing another that rises from below a steel plate in the master bedroom floor. The designers often focus on custom pieces, especially in a modernist project like the Stirrup House, because “there’s »
not an abundance of stuff,” Suzie says. “When things are pared down like this, you have to be careful with selections because there’s no room for error.” The only larger things they shopped for were task chairs and exterior seating (smaller items include fabrics and side tables); everything else, including the bedding, they commissioned. One such treasure is the wool rug in the living room, whose bronze silk details change with the light off the surrounding foothills. “If you lifted your gaze up and out the windows, you would see that the pattern on the rug [below you] is the landscape of the hill you’re looking at,” Friesen says. “It is so subtle and understated, and it is quintessential LDA.” The coffee table is kiln-formed glass. “It weighs so much, it’s ridiculous trying to move that thing,” DeGennaro says.
“You need six guys to pick it up!” Friesen envisioned super-modern candelabras for her dining table. “Then I found out they don’t exist. They’re either Liberace-style or they’re not,” she says. “What do you do? You call LDA.” The firm designed a custom version of her vision. “The end result was the coolest candelabras you’ve ever seen in your life,” Friesen continues. “People say, ‘Oh, how could I get some? We have to have these.’ They are magnificent.” In the end, LDA’s interior design has proved to be as enchanting as the view beyond the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. “We have so many people come here, and when you approach the home, it’s a statement and a sculpture,” Friesen says. “Then they walk in, and they’re not even here five or 10 minutes before they say, ‘I wasn’t prepared for the embrace.’” h
THIS PAGE: A Le Corbusier chaise provides a contemplative reading perch in the homeâ€™s de facto library. OPPOSITE: The custom pouredglass and forged-metal coffee table, designed by LDA and made by a local blacksmith, is its own work of art.
JANTIEN ROOZENBURG; COURTESY BURO BELÃ‰N
BROKEN, NOT DESTROYED
Curator Paola Antonelli details the effect, and the urgency, of the XXII Triennale di Milano. As told to TIFFANY JOW
Brecht Duijf and Lenneke Langenhuijsen of Buro BelĂŠn (Netherlands, est. 2014), UPF8 Wearable and UPF20 Wearable (2018).
Laura Aguilar, Untitled #111 from Grounded (2007).
LAURA AGUILAR; COURTESY THE LAURA AGUILAR ESTATE AND UCLA CHICANO STUDIES RESEARCH CENTER.
Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival is the title of the XXII Triennale di Milano, an international architecture and design exhibition held every three years at Milan’s multidisciplinary institution, the Triennale Milano. Opened March 1 and closing September 1, the event takes its name and theme from an exhibition within it—curated by Paola Antonelli, the Museum of Modern Art’s senior curator of architecture and design and director of research and development, with Ala Tannir, Laura Maeran, and Erica Petrillo—presented amid a slew of inclusive workshops, screenings, talks, and performances. The Triennale explores the concept of restorative design, which encompasses an array of approaches toward being respectful to various habitats and to others. It also traces the infinite ways in which humans are connected to our natural environments and to other species, and shows how these connections have been compromised. Further, it fosters a deeper understanding of the complex systems within which humans exist and, through the work on view, offers practical actions that can be taken to promote a reconstructive perspective. In September, Rizzoli will release the exhibition catalogue for Broken Nature, which documents the project and features striking essays by the mayor of Milan and the president of La Triennale di Milano, among others. Together with the show’s dynamic website (brokennature.org), its Instagram cachet, and the innumerable conversations it already has sparked, the volume symbolizes the timelessness and urgency of the exhibition’s theme. GRAY spoke to Antonelli ahead of the catalogue’s release to understand how Broken Nature has impacted her, the Triennale’s visitors, and the broader design community.
never felt like I should’ve taken a narrower focus with this exhibition. I feel pretty comfortable with big things. My husband always says I need a good editor, but I don’t believe it. I could always cut 20 percent or 15 percent, but in the end, you never really know what you would cut until the show is up. Also, sometimes the things I might have cut create buffer zones and work well nonetheless. So now—and I am speaking as a curator here—there really is something for everyone [in Broken Nature]. I don’t think there are any projects in the show that have not received attention in some way. People have found a way to connect with every single one. [The exhibition] explores the idea of restorative design. What does that term mean? It means you can be responsible without having to sacrifice beauty or sensuality. One example from the exhibition is a series of garments by Brecht Duijf and Lenneke Langenhuijsen, two Dutch textile designers who [operate under the name] Buro Belén. Their garments are really elegant and beautiful and have SPF, the numbers, on them. Sunscreen is important, too, but the film of creams and lotions we put on ourselves ends up in the ocean [and] disrupts the flora and fauna there. If possible, we should use textiles as sunscreen when we can. This is a way to be responsible without sacrificing sensuality. We don’t need to
regulate ourselves in order to be responsible and ethical—that’s what restorative design is. It comes in many different strategies: it may mean using less; it may mean recycling; it may mean using biodegradable objects. There are many different ways to apply it. Human-centered design is a term of the past. Of course, it’s important to design for other human beings, but it’s also important to design while keeping in mind that we inhabit big, complex systems, where there are other species, too. The term is misleading [because it suggests] we put ourselves at the center of the universe. If we design only for ourselves, as we have done, we come to a broken [set of systems]. Designers don’t only design objects: they design behaviors. The ones who have power and want to put it to good use—those are the designers who are my role models. There is so much more designers can do: they can create better recycling centers for the home; they can design campaigns—I don’t know if anyone [actually] designed the “quit smoking” campaign, but it’s one of the most efficient and impressive examples of how to [foster] change I’ve seen. I’m happy with how the exhibition has been received. The Triennale has become one of the main locations where the students who participate in Fridays for the Future [the international school »
strike in which students demand action to prevent further global warming] gather, and it is always a delight to see the galleries crowded with young [people]. So Broken Nature has become a symbol of activism, which I was not expecting. Also, I’m super-happy because I have seen the mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, and the president of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, mouth the words “Broken Nature,” which is already a gigantic political insertion. When it comes to the exhibition itself, people have understood and enjoyed the show and have learned from it. I decided not to divide it into
sections—I don’t like when [curators] tell you that you are in one section or another; I prefer for people to flow through the show. Some people would prefer more instruction, but what can you do? In other cases, people felt it was too big. In organizing this exhibition, I have changed a lot [in terms of] the perspective that I used to have. I spoke about the term human-centered design—to me, that was one of the biggest evolutions in my way of thinking as I prepared the show. Otherwise, I would say there has not been a dramatic change but a rich growth, which happens pretty much every time I do a show.
THIS PAGE: ZHI-WEI; COURTESY LUCY JONES. OPPOSITE: MANUFACTURED BY NORMAN VEITCH, WEARSIDE GLASS SCULPTURES, NATIONAL GLASS CENTRE, SUNDERLAND, UK. COURTESY LITTLE INVENTORS
Lucy Jones, Seated Design collection (2015).
Sophia Carr, Ladybird Umbrella (2016).
Broken Nature has accomplished a lot. It redirected a discussion at the Milan furniture and design fair. It was really quite strong to have that voice there. There was a lot of furniture, as usual, and then there was Broken Nature. People had to grapple with it, and that was good. It also gave some designers the little push they needed to embrace the enthusiasm of design. Every time I do a show, something tends to happen: the show becomes a way for designers who felt a bit stranded to find a common platform, and through that they are invigorated. Because of all the potential clients who came to see the show, the designers felt emboldened to push a more ethical agenda. Not that
all manufacturers want to be unethical—in many cases, it is the exact opposite—but I have to say, Broken Nature gave a sense of validation to designers, manufacturers, thinkers, and curators. Another thing that happened is that I, together with a few other curators, decided to find new behaviors and symbols for this type of design and attitude and apply them in the world. For example, I have recently began speaking events here in New York with acknowledgment not only of the land, but also of the planet and other species. You acknowledge the importance of biodiversity and vow to protect it. Let’s see if that takes hold. »
COURTESY GIORGIA LUPI
Giorgia Lupi, Bruises, the Data We Donâ€™t See (2018). h
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COURTESY THE ARTIST
An invigorating coda.
Anne Dessing, St. Louis (2018).
Noteworthy hoteliers and restaurateurs pushing the proverbial design envelope.
PA R IS
J. K. Place Paris
“We want guests to wake up in the morning, look around their room, and really feel like they are in Paris!” says Ori Kafri, cofounder of luxury boutique hotel group J. K. Place, of the latest addition to the company’s portfolio. It is also its first outside Italy. “Paris is the capital of Europe in terms of fashion, art, and luxury, so it was the logical next step for us.” Located on the Left Bank in a renovated former European consulate just steps from the Musée d’Orsay, the 30-room hotel was designed
N E W YO RK
TWA Hotel The golden age of commercial air travel is decades in the past, but its glamour and decadence live on in the recently opened TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK Airport. Housed in the Eero Saarinen– designed TWA Flight Center, the 512-room hotel echoes the building’s midcentury architecture and includes a poppy-red sunken lounge, a rooftop swimming pool, and a cocktail lounge in a repurposed Lockheed Constellation L-1649A airplane. “Our concept was based on the year 1962,” the year the Flight Center opened, says Sara Duffy,
senior interiors associate at New York hospitality firm Stonehill Taylor, one of the firms that worked on the project. “It was an extraordinary time of hopefulness and style. We wanted to capture that sense of nostalgia.” Each guest room has a bit of Mad Men–esque appeal, with a luxurious walnut tambour bar and bright Saarinen Womb chairs and Tulip tables. Multipane soundproof floor-to-ceiling windows allow for a close-up look at departing planes, but earplugs aren’t required for a quiet night’s sleep.
by Florence-based architect Michele Bönan with bespoke Italian furniture as well as objets d’art and antiques sourced from storied Paris flea markets such as the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. Each room is uniquely decorated, but J. K. Place upholds its dedication to timeless luxury with a layered, sumptuous aesthetic more akin to that of a lavish home than a hotel. Amenities include an indoor pool, Sisley spa, and the third location of the Casa Tua restaurant. Très bon, indeed.
THIS PAGE: COURTESY J. K. PLACE PARIS. DAVID MITCHELL; COURTESY TWA HOTEL. OPPOSITE: ALEXANDRA RIBAR
By RACHEL GALLAHER
COUP EV ILLE, WA
Captain Whidbey Inn Several years after opening the successful Pioneertown Motel just outside California’s Joshua Tree National Park, brothers Matt and Mike French turned their sights northward for their next hospitality venture. Following a visit to the historic Captain Whidbey Inn, the Frenches, along with their business partner, architect Eric Cheong, purchased the property, which sits on the shore of Washington’s Whidbey Island near Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. Each member of the trio has a deep connection to the region—the brothers grew up in Portland, and Cheong currently lives there—and wanted to honor the legacy of the 1907 lodge, a hideaway that has served generations of Northwesterners seeking time away from the city. “The inn had everything on our list: history, character,” says Matt. “And it’s surrounded by nature.”
Much as they’d done with Pioneertown, the three opted to preserve the original building, making limited structural changes and even keeping the original layout of the bar and restaurant. In addition to the 26-room main hotel, three cabins onsite, dating back to the 1960s, have been redesigned by notable Northwest creatives. Holly and David Price, who own the independent shop Edit. Whidbey, say they went for an “aesthetic that reflects the mood of an island in the Salish Sea” in their cabin. It’s painted in Benjamin Moore’s China White, and they added details from local artisans, including an abstract quilt on the wall by fabric designer Marcia Derse and a firewood holder by Whidbey artist Scott Alexander. Forest Eckley and Andy Whitcomb of Seattle’s Glasswing boutique made a connection between the
interior and exterior of their cabin a top priority. In addition to custom furnishings— the pair also own the contemporary handmade furniture company Brackish—they created a trilevel seating area outside: hammocks sway near the shore, a soaking tub is sunk into the deck, and outdoor seating is positioned just above it. Vancouver-based designer Kyla Ray drew from her childhood on Vancouver Island to create a laid-back, textured aesthetic in the third cabin, which includes pieces from Canadian designers Union Wood Co., New Format Studio, and Greenstems. No matter which room you stay in, the mystique of the region pervades the entire property. “We had this vision of the main lodge as an old ship run aground,” Cheong says, “and imagined the characters spilling out.” All are welcome to join this crew. »
HO NG K O N G
St. Regis Hong Kong
LO NDO N
S AN T A M O N I CA, CA
Santa Monica Proper
The Standard Hotel has made the jump across the pond, opening its first international outpost in London in July 2019. Taking over Camden Town Hall Annex, a Brutalist civic building noted for its rows of futuristic oblong windows, the Standard London represents the latest big push in the revitalization of the Kings Cross neighborhood. The 266-room property, with interiors by Shawn Hausman Design, is chock-full of bright décor that nods to the youthquake culture of the 1960s, but the sophisticated execution steers well clear of kitsch. An external lift, painted in the Standard’s signature red, recalls both London’s beloved double-decker buses and classic British phone booths.
Thoughtfully merging modern construction with historic Spanish architecture, the Santa Monica Proper is the first high-end lifestyle hotel to open in its namesake city in more than two decades. Under the guiding hand of interior designer Kelly Wearstler, the circa-1928 Arthur E. Harvey–designed Santa Monica Professional Building and its six-story addition are harmonized through a natural, organic palette rich in texture (think stone, wood, and plaster with metal accents) and furnishings that evoke a casual evening on the California coast. The addition rounds things out with a rooftop deck and pool, restaurant, and beachy indoor-outdoor bar. h
COURTESY ST. REGIS HOTEL. COURTESY THE STANDARD, LONDON. THE INGALLS.
An elegant refuge from the busy streets of Hong Kong, the recently opened St. Regis was designed to recall its namesake New York hotel while embracing the culture and heritage of the mammoth Chinese city. “I wanted to go deeper than the stereotypical concept of lanterns, junk [boats], and temples and tap into my own memories of the city,” says Hong Kong– born designer André Fu, founder of AFSO and head of design for the 129-room hotel. With the idea of a “curated mansion” in mind, Fu made extensive use of solid gray marble and bronze, adding a palette of sage greens, emerald, and burnt orange for a sophisticated residential feel. From the sculptural marble staircase that spirals up to the third floor to the soaring ceiling of the Great Room, details throughout the property were selected to signal refinement and grandeur.
WOODL ARK, PORTL AND, OREGON
Come as you are, weâ€™ll make you want to be.
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A global calendar of goings-on in the worlds of art, architecture, culture, and design.
AUG 29–SEPT 1
SÃO PAULO DESIGN WEEK
DESIGN BIENNALE ZÜRICH
São Paulo, Brazil
Celebrating its eighth year, this annual affair is the largest urban design festival in Latin America. Comprising more than 300 exhibitions, trade fairs, and events staged throughout the city, the festival features the work of Brazilian architect Rodrigo Ohtake (the son of prolific architect and acclaimed abstract furniture designer Ruy Ohtake) and local lighting designer Lumini.
Themed around the concept of play, this event explores the work of international designers via exhibitions staged throughout the city. Pieces from Tim Teven, who makes furniture from recycled materials, and Mish Mash, a group of digital artists who have reenvisioned the 1920s Surrealist game, “Cadavre Exquis,” for the digital world, demonstrate how design can be reimagined through the eyes of local innovators.
MAISON&OBJET Parc des Expositions de Villepinte Paris, France
SEPT 5–JAN 12, 2020
THEASTER GATES: ASSEMBLY HALL Walker Art Center Minneapolis, Minnesota Using Gates’s collections and elements from his studio environment, curator Victoria Sung transforms four rooms of the Walker into a series of immersive spaces. In homage to his large installations, located in dilapidated buildings across the South Side of Chicago, Assembly Hall illuminates forgotten places and includes 15,000 books and periodicals, 60,000 images of art and architectural history from the University of Chicago’s Glass Lantern Slide Collection, and pieces from Gates’s collection of furniture and ceramic pots.
SEPT 7–NOV 10
SEOUL BIENNALE OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM Seoul, South Korea Following the success of the inaugural event in 2017, Seoul’s architecture biennale returns this fall with the theme “Collective City” and focuses on global approaches to the future of urban environments. Codirected by South Korean architect Lim Jae-yong and Colombian architect Francisco Sanin, the event calls on academics, political leaders, citizens, and the international community to discuss how architecture can build community and beauty as Seoul continues to change.
The international trade fair, held every year in January and September, coincides with Paris Design Week, resulting in a boatload of design-focused things to see and do in the City of Light. The event is divided into two sections: “Maison” (for décor and home interiors) and “Objet” (for products and decorative accessories). Expect to see more than 3,000 exhibitors from around the world (about half of them are based outside France). Don’t miss the Rising Talent Awards, which focus on a group of American designers (profiled on page 46), and WORK!, a presentation dedicated to the best office and workspace furnishings; it’s curated by Chantal Hamaide and staged by Philippe Boisselier.
Opening Party August 16
Design Crawls Capitol Hill | August 17 Georgetown | August 22
Design Discussions Techology | August 19 Thriving Cities | August 23
Block Party Lake Union Park | August 24-25
Interior Sept 26-29 Design 2019 Show Vancouver
Colours shown: Benjamin Mooreâ€™s Jet Black (2120-10) and Pale Iris (2073-60)
Visit IDS Vancouver to discover Edible Futures, a thought-provoking, interactive pavilion that invites visitors to reflect on the mindful, important role design plays on the future of food. Presented by
JOI N US AT T H E
SEPTEMBER 2 6â€“2 9 , 2 0 19
SARAH JO WARD
ASK A DESIGN EDITOR
LUKAS PEET AndLight
THE POWER OF COLOR
JULIE SMITH CLEMENTI Rios Clementi Hale Studio
RILEY MCFERRIN Hinterland
HOPIE STOCKMAN Block Shop Textiles
HANNERIE VISSER Studio H
FOOD + DESIGN JANAKI LARSEN
Janaki Larsen Ceramics
House of Bohn
CRAIG STANGHETTA Ste. Marie Design
ALEEM KASSAM Kalu Interiors
HOT NEW NEXT Championship Round
g ra y ma g .c om/id s v
OPENING SEPT 11 SEPT 11–15
HABITAIRE Messukeskus Helsinki, Finland
Inspired by the space between material and the intangible, the 49th iteration of this design fair features more than 400 brands that push the boundaries of the real and imaginary. Themed “Mindspaces,” the weeklong event features innovations from Nordic architects and furniture and interior designers, as well as immersive experiences for visitors. Our top pick: a surrealist exhibition by Marimekko’s art director, Laura Väinölä, that includes interactive augmented-reality experiences that blur the lines separating the physical and digital worlds. We’re also looking forward to Alessi president Alberto Alessi’s lecture at the fair, as well as the Alessi pop-up shop in Helsinki. The work of emerging Finnish creatives, including furniture designer Kristoffer Heikkinen and ceramicist Laura Itkonen, are on display at the fair’s Talentshop event.
SEPT 11–AUG 30, 2020
JEAN-MARIE APPRIOU: THE HORSES Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park New York, New York The French sculptor’s first institutional exhibition in the US consists of three 16-foottall cast-aluminum horses at one of the entrances to New York’s Central Park. Up close, the handcrafted sculptures reveal the signature realistic textures of Appriou’s oeuvre, and the works also display references to historical depictions of horses in Western European art and mythology. Guarding the gates of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s iconic green space, they echo the horse-drawn carriages that still carry tourists throughout the park.
BEAZLEY DESIGNS OF THE YEAR Design Museum London London, United Kingdom Marking its 12th year, this annual showcase presents the most inventive and thrilling projects, concepts, and designers working today (winners from last year’s exhibition, curated by Aric Chen of Hong Kong’s M+ Museum, included Heatherwick Studio’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, Prakash Lab’s Paperfuge, and Erdem Moralıoğlu’s costumes for the Royal Ballet). It’s a window into the future and a good predictor of the stars, materials, and objects that might soon dominate the design world.
SEPT 14–OCT 26
Pace Gallery New York, New York Part of a series of exhibitions inaugurating Pace’s new 3,600-square-foot firstfloor Chelsea gallery, this presentation of the beloved American sculptor’s work focuses on Calder’s early years—specifically, from the mid-1920s to 1931, when he created his now iconic mobiles. Wire portraits, sketches, motorized objects, and, of course, kinetic sculptures all are on view in this exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Calder Foundation, New York. (Future shows at the new Pace will include Loie Hollowell, David Hockney, and Fred Wilson.)
THROUGH NOV 3
Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness is organized by Autograph, London and presented in partnership with Seattle Art Museum, and curated by Renée Mussai.
Sibusiso, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, 2015, Zanele Muholi, South African, b. 1972, © Zanele Muholi, Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town / Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York
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SEPT 19–JAN 5, 2020
LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL London, United Kingdom Taking over multiple locations with hundreds of exhibitors, the line-up for the 17th edition of this annual festival promises not to disappoint. (We’re still thinking about the 2006 iteration of LDF, when police were almost called in during Tom Dixon’s Chair Grab, in which the artist gave away 500 polystyrene chairs in Trafalgar Square.) This time around, be sure to take in British designer Paul Cocksedge’s Please Be Seated, a massive interactive installation made of scaffolding planks that resembles a giant rippling ribbon. Over at the Victoria and Albert Museum, check out installations by Matthew McCormick, Rony Plsel, and Kengo Kuma, among others, plus a series of slam-dunk special projects dotted around town.
SEPT 14–JAN 5, 2020
INDEX Dubai World Trade Centre Dubai, UAE Reigning as the Middle East and North Africa’s biggest and longest-running design industry event, this weekend affair features some 800 design and hospitality companies from around the world. This year, the fair’s Design Talks, a series of design-focused lectures, include speakers such as Marriott International’s director of interior design, Maliha Nishat; Poltrona Frau Group ME’s commercial director Gianni Sharrouf; Design World Partnership director Justin Wells; former Perkins + Will design director Diane Thorsen; and many others.
FRANCESCA WOODMAN: PORTRAIT OF A REPUTATION
Nasher Sculpture Center Dallas, Texas
SEPT 20–APRIL 5, 2020
ELMGREEN & DRAGSET: SCULPTURE The Scandinavian duo of Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset (who are perhaps best-known for their Prada boutique, so exclusive that its door is always locked, just outside Marfa in the West Texas desert) are receiving their first major US museum exhibition at the Nasher. Focusing on the pair’s production process, the show features a series of sculptures that demonstrate how Elmgreen & Dragset deploy various aesthetics, approaches, and techniques in their critical, often rebellious work, which touches on topics ranging from HIV to gay rights to the privatization of public space. Nasher’s assistant curator, Leigh Arnold, organized the exhibition.
CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE BIENNIAL
MCA Denver Denver, Colorado More than 40 never-before-exhibited prints, alongside postcards, letters, and other ephemera related to the artist, are on view in this exciting exhibition, which focuses on works Woodman created between 1975 and 1979, a formative period in her creative development. Pieces from the personal collection of George Lange, a friend and RISD classmate of Woodman’s, inform the show, which is organized by Nora Burnett Abrams, Ellen Bruss curator and director of planning at the museum.
Cocurated by Yesomi Umolu, exhibitions curator at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, as well as educator Sepake Angiama and architect Paulo Tavares, the third edition of this festival is themed “. . . And Other Such Stories.” Asking visitors to consider the built environment as a lens onto current social, political, and ecological processes that affect humanity, the biennial is organized into four curatorial frames: “No Land Beyond,” “Appearances and Erasures,” “Rights and Reclamations,” and “Common Ground.” Last year, the event’s curators undertook a planning and research initiative in several cities to determine the biennial’s focus, spending additional time in Vancouver, Canada, for discussions with an diverse group of practitioners focused on housing rights, land speculation, indigenous rights, sovereignty, and building as a form of protest. Earlier this summer, the biennial announced more than 40 partner sites and organizations (including the Graham Foundation, the Danish Art Foundation, and the Chicago Cultural Alliance), many of which are producing their own programming. Be sure to catch the exhibition In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico and Midcentury, presented at the Art Institute of Chicago.
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SEPT 19–JAN 20, 2020
JUDY CHICAGO—THE END AGENDA
National Museum of Women in the Arts Washington, DC Judy Chicago’s latest body of work—moving pieces of painted porcelain and glass, plus two bronze sculptures—is presented here for the first time. The series explores the five stages of grief, embodied by a human figure that’s often surrounded by text handwritten in the artist’s signature cursive. Long known for questioning the status quo (and famed for her 1970s mixed-media installation The Dinner Party), the octogenarian artist hones her critical gaze on society in this exhibition.
SEPT 21–APRIL 19, 2020
SEPT 22–FEB 2,2020
THOMAS JOSHUA COOPER: THE WORLD’S EDGE
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, United Kingdom Holly Hendry graduated from London’s Royal College of Art only in 2016, but the sculptor has quickly put herself on the map with exhibitions around Europe and spirited collaborations such as the one she undertook with British fashion retailer Selfridges last year. That glorious pink-and-white piece—made from building rubble, steel, Jesmonite, ash, charcoal, lipstick, foam, marble, and other materials— was named Phyllis and referenced issues of recycling and waste. This time, Hendry presents a new sculpture at the park’s Weston gallery made from pioneering materials, including synthetic skins.
Known for his black-and-white pictures of the natural world, celebrated landscape photographer Thomas Joshua Cooper works with imagery both startling and beautiful. He travels to remote and isolated places to capture his visuals, here presented in a series. The California native—and founding head of photography at the Glasgow School of Art—presents 65 large-scale works in this exhibition, which underscores Cooper’s uncanny ability to capture the great outdoors.
SHANTELL MARTIN: WORDS AND LINES
Denver Art Museum Denver, Colorado London-born, New York–based artist Shantell Martin can make work just about anywhere: all she needs is a pen and a surface, and her interactive line drawings (which double as performance when she creates them before a live audience) come to life. This interactive media installation includes an animated video projection, interactive wall, and, of course, a selection of Martin’s drawings themselves. She also created a series of mugs, pins, and stickers specifically for the exhibition that visitors can take home from the museum’s shop.
IDS VANCOUVER Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, Canada
LACMA Los Angeles, California
SEPT 20–APRIL 5, 2020
“Design DNA” is the theme of this annual West Coast design fair, which features presentations by local and international designers alongside daily programming. To further enhance the theme, the event spotlights the impact design has on how and what we eat, as well as the future of food itself. On the show floor, a series of installations prompts visitors to reflect on the future of food and their role in shaping it, including a honeycomb-like installation by Dutch eating designer Marije Vogelzang and Edible Futures: Food for Tomorrow, a traveling exhibition curated by the Dutch Institute of Food & Design and presented by the Dutch embassy. There’s also “Restock” (pictured above), the 2019 edition of IDS Vancouver’s Central Bar, that examines a typical, dismantled single-family home. On the GRAY stage, keynote lectures taking place include Hopie Stockman, who cofounded LA-based Block Shop Textiles with her sister, Lily. Over on the Caesarstone Stage, speakers include London-based designer Emily Forgot; Marije Vogelzang; Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph of Design, Bitches; executive chef Bruno Feldeisen; Juice Truck cofounder Zach Berman; product and food designer Amanda Huynh; and Dezeen’s acting US editor, Eleanor Gibson.
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SEPT 28–JAN 19, 2020
SEPT 21–MARCH 8, 2020
TIM WALKER: WONDERFUL THINGS
OBJECTS OF DESIRE: SURREALISM AND DESIGN 1924–TODAY Vitra Design Museum Weil am Rhein, Germany
Victoria and Albert Museum London, United Kingdom Even if you don’t know the name Tim Walker, you’ve seen his work in Vogue, W, and LOVE magazine over the past decade; today his work resides in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and London’s National Portrait Gallery. This fall, the V&A presents a show dedicated to Walker’s creative process and fantastical vision in two galleries. Most excitingly, 10 new Walker photographs are unveiled here, all informed by the museum’s permanent collections.
SEPT 26–NOV 24
SEPT 27–OCT 6
OSLO ARCHITECTURE TRIENNALE 2019
VIENNA DESIGN WEEK
Owning the title of Austria’s biggest curated design festival, this city-wide 10-day event has been going strong since 2007. Directed by Lilli Hollein, who cofounded Vienna Design Week with Tulga Beyerle and Thomas Geisler, the festival offers visitors an array of exhibitions and site-specific installations that address product, industrial, furniture, and social design and architecture. Don’t miss the Passionswege project, in which contemporary designers are paired with traditional Viennese manufacturers.
Given the current political climate, in which climate change and social inequality are at the forefront of concern, this festival takes on the theme “Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth.” Organized by Maria Smith and Matthew Dalziel of the London-based transdisciplinary architecture and engineering practice Interrobang, urban researcher and artist Cecilie Sachs Olsen, and British columnist Phineas Harper, the program proposes alternatives to the unsustainable and biased paradigm of growth and explores what architecture means in a time of increasing human impact.
Surrealism has influenced the design realm since the 1930s, touching everything from fashion and film to furniture, architecture, interiors, and everything in between. Its practitioners, such as Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, and René Magritte, reenvisioned everyday objects and scenes to contemplate the emotions and dreams rooted inside them. Billed as the first major presentation focused on the relationship between the 20th-century avant-garde and the design field, this show kicks off the 2019–20 season at the Vitra and juxtaposes Surrealist artworks with iconic design objects, prompting viewers to decipher the parallels and conversations taking place between them. Expect to see work by countless luminaries from the past 100 years, including Gae Aulenti, Björk, Claude Cahun, Achille Castiglioni, Giorgio de Chirico, Le Corbusier, Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Ray Eames, Front Design, Frederick Kiesler, Shiro Kuramata, Carlo Mollino, Isamu Noguchi, and Jerszy Seymour, among others.
Nathan Myhrvold’s fossil collection started with a seashell— and grew to include a 16-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus rex. As told to RACHEL GALLAHER Photograph by NATHAN MYHRVOLD
After 13 years as chief strategist and chief technology officer at Microsoft, Nathan Myhrvold retired to found Intellectual Ventures, a global innovation and investment company working to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges— including global healthcare equity and disease prevention—via technological breakthroughs. Myhrvold is also the principal author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, an encyclopedic five-volume work featuring his artful food photography. He has dozens of unusual collections, including an assemblage of hundreds of fossils, many of which he uncovered on archaeological digs.
ALL LITTLE CHILDREN LOVE DINOSAURS, AND PRETTY MUCH ALL LITTLE CHILDREN LOVE FINDING ROCKS, SO AS FAR AS THAT PART GOES, I AM NO DIFFERENT THAN ANYONE ELSE. I just didn’t lose that fascination as I grew up. I love minerals and fossils because they give us a view of what life was like millions, and sometimes even hundreds of millions, of years ago. My first [specimen] was a fossilized seashell that I found as a child when my family was traveling. A few years later, I took over the navigation and planning aspect of family car trips, which [I organized] around routes that allowed us to stop and look for fossils. Much later, I started doing research on dinosaurs and publishing my work in scientific journals. I’ve found many of my own fossils, including a T. Rex [on a dig] in Montana, but I also buy them from other people. I recently bought a rock that measures
between 3 and 4 feet wide that’s covered with 50 to 100 trilobites [extinct marine arthropods], and my oldest fossil is 3 billion years old—it’s an ancient colony of bacteria that occurred in layers. My most recent big fossil is a 70-million-year-old turtle. The most fun way to display my collection, of course, is where I can see it, but I’ve reached a situation that’s a little bit like the Greek myth where Eos wishes for eternal life for Tithonus but forgets to ask for eternal youth [for him]. When you acquire more than you can display where you live, then you start to take some to work . . . and eventually, you have to get a warehouse! h
COLLECTIVELY, WEâ€™VE SPENT 578 YEARS GIVING OUR BEST IN AN INDUSTRY WE LOVE.
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The August/September issue of GRAY features Alabama-born architect Jennifer Bonner, founder of the creative practice MALL and a recipient of...
Published on Jul 26, 2019
The August/September issue of GRAY features Alabama-born architect Jennifer Bonner, founder of the creative practice MALL and a recipient of...