Design

3Novices:”Designed in California” is the new “made in Italy” according to Design Museum exhibition

Skateboards, Snapchat Spectacles, an early Gay Pride flag and a self-driving car sit side by side in a new Design Museum exhibition that explores how California has become the new centre of the design industry.

Called California: Designing Freedom, the exhibition documents the American west-coast counterculture movements of the 1960s, and looks at how they fed into today’s technology scene in Silicon Valley. It opens today at London’s Design Museum.

California: Designing Freedom documents counterculture movements of the 1960s and their influence on Silicon Valley

Curators Justin McGuirk and Brendan McGetrick set out to explore the cultural cachet of the phrase “designed in California”, which they saw increasingly used to sell products.

“It seemed really surprising to me that no one had done a show about contemporary Californian design,” McGuirk told Dezeen. “If you think about ‘designed in California’ – which is the phrase Apple uses on all their products – this is the contemporary equivalent of ‘made in Italy’, but for a world of devices.”

The exhibition design is informed by geodesic domes, a favourite form of architecture among hippies in the 1960s and 70s

The curators’ view is that a common thread links Californian design from the 1960s through to today: the idea that it can provide people with the “tools of personal liberation”.

This is exemplified by the Whole Earth Catalog, a 1960s knowledge-sharing magazine that served as something of a predecessor to Google or Wikipedia. Its editors published information they hoped would help people live self-sufficiently and holistically, particularly when building their own communities.

Among the significant objects in the exhibition is Google’s self-driving car, now branded Waymo

The magazine is featured in the exhibition, along with relics from other early tech-minded counterculture groups like the Homebrew Computer Club, the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link, architecture collective Ant Farm, the Burning Man festival and the Woman’s Building.

The exhibition also tells the story of major companies like Apple, whose founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak met at the Homebrew Computer Club and went on to start Apple in Jobs’ parents garage in the 1970s.

Skateboards and skateboarding paraphernalia also come in for attention from the curators

“What happens is when the commune movement dies out in the 1970s, these ideas start to get taken up by the hacker movement and the computer geeks, and they start to frame what they’re doing with computers in the same way,” said McGuirk.

“The computers are tools for empowering people, helping people communicate, helping people make things, and that is an ethos that continues to run through Silicon Valley today.”

The exhibition includes an eight-coloured version of the rainbow Gay Pride flag stitched by Gilbert Baker in 1978

Among the significant objects in the exhibition is Google’s self-driving car, now branded Waymo and on display for the first time in the UK.

There are also hand-drawn sketches from the Apple archives, protest posters from the 1960s, an eight-coloured version of the rainbow Gay Pride flag stitched by Gilbert Baker in 1978, early editions of Californian technology magazine Wired from the 1990s, video of Douglas Engelbart’s 1968 “mother of all demos”, and site plans for the new campuses of Apple, Google and Facebook – which the curators compare to the communes of the 1960s.

One of the newest objects is a pair of Snapchat Spectacles from 2016

Among the contemporary California-born gadgets on display are Snapchat Spectacles, the Amazon Echo, and fitness trackers Jawbone and FitBit.

The exhibition design is informed by geodesic domes, a favourite form of architecture among many hippie movements in the 1960s and 70s.

The exhibition continues at the Design Museum in Kensington until 15 October 2017

California: Designing Freedom runs from 24 May to 15 October 2017 at the Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street.

The museum moved into its £83-million London home, designed by John Pawson and OMA, at the end of 2016.

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3Novices:Ole Scheeren’s pixellated MahaNakhon tower photographed by Hufton + Crow

British duo Hufton + Crow visited Bangkok to capture these images of Thailand’s tallest tower, which was designed by Ole Scheeren and features modular cutaways spiralling around its facades.

MahaNakhon Tower by Buro Ole Scheeren

The 77-storey MahaNakhon tower topped out in 2015, becoming the tallest building in the Thai capital at 314 metres. As the project neared completion last year, a series of images posted on Instagram displayed its sculptural exterior form.

Scheeren designed the building for local firm Pace Development while still working at Rem Koolhaas’ firm OMA, and completed it with his own studio Büro Ole Scheeren following his departure in 2010.

MahaNakhon Tower by Buro Ole Scheeren

The tower contains 200 serviced apartments operated by hotelier Ritz-Carlton and a 150-room boutique Bangkok Edition hotel run by by Marriot International and Ian Schrager, as well as several restaurants and luxury shops.

Hufton + Crow‘s images provide a detailed look at the pixellated volumes that extend like a ribbon around the exterior of the building.

MahaNakhon Tower by Buro Ole Scheeren

According to Scheeren, the apertures carved into the glazed curtain walls are an attempt to create an enhanced connection between the building’s inhabitants and the city.

People occupying the spaces lining the voids have access to balconies that will alter the appearance of the facades as their owners begin to customise them.

A freestanding seven-storey lifestyle and retail complex called MahaNakhon Cube situated at the base of the tower was completed in 2013.

MahaNakhon Tower by Buro Ole Scheeren

The Cube contains an outpost of delicatessen chain Dean & DeLuca, which was acquired in 2014 by Pace Development’s CEO Sorapoj Techakraisri.

Scheeren subsequently developed a concept for the brand’s chef-led fast food outlets based around a rectangular “stage-like” serving counter.

MahaNakhon Tower by Buro Ole Scheeren

When Scheeren left Dutch firm OMA he also took with him the project for The Interlace housing development in Singapore, which comprises a series of apartment blocks stacked diagonally to form a “vertical village”.

His studio is set to complete two major projects this year; a cluster of apartment towers with concave walls in Singapore, and a building in Beijing with a pixellated base that will contain China’s oldest art auction house.

Nick Hufton and Allan Crow are among the world’s leading architectural photographers and have shot many significant buildings, including Herzog & de Meuron’s Jenga-like Leonard tower and BIG’s tetrahedral ViA 57 West skyscraper in New York City.

Photography by Hufton + Crow.

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3Novices:Images of New York skyscraper by David Adjaye leaked

Renderings have emerged of The Wall Street Tower, a 61-storey skyscraper designed by British architect David Adjaye for Downtown Manhattan.

The residential tower will be the recently knighted architect’s first skyscraper in New York City, and include 244 luxury condominiums.

Wall Street Tower by David Adjaye

Adjaye designed the project for the Lightstone Group, which published the images on a dedicated website that was discovered by The Real Deal, before being quickly taken down.

The building will rise 750 feet (229 metres) at 130 William Street in the Financial District – close to other high-end developments like Frank Gehry’s shimmering New York by Gehry tower.

Wall Street Tower by David Adjaye

Renderings show golden facades punctured by arched windows, which increase in height up the building’s sides.

They also depict cavernous spa and leisure facilities for residents, who will reportedly have to fork out between $630,000 (£486,000) and $4.7 million (£3.6 million) for studios to four-beds.

Wall Street Tower by David Adjaye

Other amenities are set to include a sports court, a swimming pool, lounges and gardens – all with sweeping views of the city and beyond.

Adjaye completed his first project in New York – the Sugar Hill affordable housing for Harlem – in 2014. A children’s art museum has since opened in its lower floors.

Wall Street Tower by David Adjaye

The Tanzania-born architect’s US breakthrough was through work on the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, which opened earlier this year and led to his inclusion in Time magazine’s list of 2017’s 100 most influential people.

He ranked at number 41 on the inaugural Dezeen Hot List – our own countdown of important names in architecture and design, generated by audience statistics.

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3Novices:Colony reacts to US political landscape with Lightness exhibition in New York

An illuminated alabaster totem pole and a marble disk that appears to balance on a neon string feature in New York design collective Colony’s politically charged furniture and lighting installation.

The co-operative‘s exhibit, titled Lightness: The Full Spectrum, showcases new works by 15 designers in New York, during this month’s NYCxDesign festival.

The installation represents each designer’s meditation on the meaning of “light” from both a philosophical and aesthetic perspective, with a focus on how the recent tumultuous political phase for the United States – marked by the election and inauguration of Donald Trump – has influenced design.

Allied Maker, a Long Island-based design and manufacturing studio run by husband-and-wife team Lanette and Ryden Rizzo, is exhibiting its alabaster totem lamp at the show.

The hefty yet ethereal lighting piece stands nearly two metres tall, and comprises cloudy, planet-shaped forms are piled atop an oak and brass base.

“I’ve noticed the trend of minimalism and extreme functionality in design is fading out,” Ryden Rizzo told Dezeen. “Because people want to escape the current political landscape and the reality that we are facing in our world – in lightness, in luxury and through more extravagant design.”

Rizzo’s statement echoes trends observed at Design Miami 2016 – which took place a month after Trump’s election – where designers and gallerists told Dezeen that modernist design was in decline, making way for “anarchic forms” based on a premise that “apocalyptic times call for extreme furniture”.

In Allied Maker’s design, glowing light is emitted from the stacked orbs, dramatically contrasting with the dark cracks and grain of the stone.

“We wanted to work with alabaster over marble because of its translucency and how much lightness the material brings,” Lanette told Dezeen.

“For us, it was all about the material – about the lightness of the alabaster compared to its weight,” Ryden added. “We thought that it was a beautiful contrast, that this object that weighs over 500 pounds (227 kilograms), is totally translucent and light.”

In another stone-based design, two neon and marble lamps from designer Farrah Sit hang suspended in the entrance to the show. The first features two Carrera marble cylinders, thich appear to bend slightly over a curved brass plate.

A neon tube runs through the marble and appears to hang loosely from the stone, like a broken archery bow.

In her second design, Sit again exploits the malleability potential of the neon tubing in her necklace-shaped light. Threading the neon through a marble cylinder at the top of the design, the two-metre tube of light loops underneath a marble disc, which evokes the weight of a pendant hanging on chain.

Colony is a community of independent furniture, lighting, textiles and objects designers who came together in August 2016 ahead of NYCxDesign festival, to discuss the premise for their upcoming show.

“Our group of designers sat together and discussed business, design, and the year ahead with excitement and optimism,” said Colony founder-curator, Jean Lin. “We decided Lightness was a theme we could all tackle with proficiency and vigour, one that would work for each individual studio and result in a cohesive and compelling whole.”

The period that elapsed between last year’s festival and the co-op’s show this year has proven to be a turbulent period for the creative industry.

“Lightness drifted far from our minds – we were enveloped in a darkness created by the divisive and vitriolic tenor of our country and our world,” said Lin. “Colony co-op meetings and correspondence became a place for shared anger, fear and ultimately support.”

Other designs exhibited at the installation include New York studio Fort Standard‘s powder coated aluminium low table from its Strata collection of easy-to-assemble metal furniture, and wool, mohair and alpaca wall hangings from Hiroku Takeda, whose designs are also on display at Egg Collective’s Designing Women exhibition.

Designing Women is one of several all-female exhibitions taking place during this year’s NYCxDesign, which have also been organised in reaction to the current political climate.

The others include Chamber’s A Room With Its Own Rules show and The Future Perfect’s display of furniture by Georgian studio Rooms.

Lightness: The Full Spectrum​ is on view at Colony, 324 Canal Street, 2nd Floor, from 18 to 24 May 2017.

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3Novices:Zaha Hadid Architects’ kitchen for New York condo building launched by Boffi

Zaha Hadid Architects has designed a customisable kitchen island for Italian brand Boffi, which is fitted in apartments of the firm’s 520 West 28th project nearing completion in New York’s Chelsea.

Boffi_Cove by Zaha Hadid Architects

The British firm based the curvaceous Boffi Cove kitchen on the forms of its famous MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome and the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku.

The shape of the counter curves around a large cavity carved into the front, which creates a space for stools.

Appliances and cabinets with fitted storage containers are placed discreetly on the other side, featuring seamless handles, while a sink is incorporated into the top.

Boffi_Cove by Zaha Hadid Architects

As with the Boffi Code designed by Italian architect Piero Lissoni, launched last year, customers can tailor the Zaha Hadid kitchen to their choice of materials and layout.

The unit is available in two standard sizes, but also customisable to precise specifications, and in a variety of finishes and materials including marble, wood and Corian.

Boffi_Cove by Zaha Hadid Architects

Boffi launched the Cove kitchen at its Soho showroom in New York, presenting a version with a glacial white Corian top and a dark walnut underside. The launch coincides with the city’s NYCxDesign festival, taking place from 3 to 24 May 2017.

The kitchen units are installed inside the apartments of ZHA’s 11-storey luxury condo building beside New York’s High Line park, as shown in images of model apartments released last month.

Boffi_Cove by Zaha Hadid Architects

520 West 28th – the late architect’s first building in New York – is due to welcome residents from June 2017.

Other commercially available products first created for residential projects in the city include the VIA57 chair, designed by BIG for its tetrahedron-shaped tower on the West Side and produced by Danish brand Fritz Hansen.

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3Novices:IKEA to move more manufacturing to UK to avoid post-Brexit price hikes

IKEA is set to increase its production of furniture in the UK as a way to keep costs down following the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

The country manager for IKEA UK, Gillian Drakeford, told the Guardian that the company is looking for more UK-based suppliers in response to the fall in the value of the pound.

The Swedish furniture giant currently produces some sofas and mattresses in the UK but is looking to expand into other items.

Since the EU referendum, the value of the UK pound against the euro has fallen by between 10 and 12 percent, making it more expensive to import items manufactured in the EU. It is also unclear what the cost of import tariffs will be once a deal is negotiated.

“Currency is our biggest challenge,” Drakeford said. “We have a number of sofa suppliers in the UK we work with today and we are looking at what more products could we source in the UK.”

IKEA currently makes 60 percent of its products in Europe. The company would not confirm how much of this is currently in the UK, nor would it confirm or deny that it was planning to increase manufacturing in the country.

Drakeford told the Guardian that the company is looking to “double its market share” in the country, and that manufacturing and sourcing more locally could negate future import tariffs.

Earlier this month, IKEA announced plans to create 1,300 more jobs in the UK by the end of next year with store openings in Sheffield, Exeter and Greenwich.

The company is also becoming increasingly active in the humanitarian sector, establishing the IKEA Foundation to help children in poor communities and creating a refugee shelter that won the Designs of the Year award this year.

The company revealed plans to employ refugees at production centres in Jordan this summer as part of a long-term plan to create employment for 200,000 disadvantaged people around the world through social entrepreneurship programmes.

The number-one ranking brand in Dezeen Hot List, IKEA has also recently dabbled in a number of new product areas after finding the market may have reached “peak home furnishings”.

Last year saw them launch bikes and hydroponic indoor gardens, and more recently they introduced smart functionality into a lighting range, taking its first major step into the Internet of Things.

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