3Novices:Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio unveil designs for Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto neighbourhood

Quayside at Sidewalk Toronto by Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs has tapped Thomas Heatherwick‘s studio and architecture firm Snøhetta to develop proposals for the smart, mass-timber city that the company is developing on Toronto’s waterfront.

Renderings by Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio were used to illustrate a document outlining the updated concepts and proposals for Sidewalk Toronto, a project under development by Sidewalk Labs – a subsidiary of Google’s parent company – and partner Waterfront Toronto.

Quayside at Sidewalk Toronto by Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio
The Sidewalk Toronto update features a visual by Snøhetta that depicts two high-rises linked by a curved structure

Released 14 February 2019, the Project Update focuses on the development of the 12-acre (9.5-hectare) Quayside neighbourhood at Parliament Slip – east of the city’s Downtown area on the edge of Lake Ontario. The site makes up a small portion of the Sidewalk Toronto’s scheme, which was first unveiled last year and billed as a “future city”, and is intended as a test bed for later expansion.

Advancing on Sidewalk’s August 2018 update of the parcel, which revealed plans to construct buildings from local and renewable Canadian timber, Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio’s designs are all wooden.

Quayside at Sidewalk Toronto by Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio
Snøhetta has also designed an interior courtyard detailed with a gridded wooden construction

Visuals by Snøhetta include an exterior image of a pair of high-rises linked by a curved structure. While their uses are not explicit, it is likely the buildings could form part of the housing that Sidewalk Labs plans to include in the new town.

These include models of co-living for singles and purpose-built family dwellings, as well as affordable housing totalling 80 per cent of the accommodation – much more than the average 26 per cent provided in Toronto developments. The amount would also be four times that typically offered in a waterfront development.

Quayside at Sidewalk Toronto by Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio
Heatherwick’s proposals include a design for Google’s Canadian HQ

Snøhetta’s interior view reveals an exposed gridded wooden construction that outlines a courtyard, showcasing one of the many public arenas intended for the site. A large tree grows up the centre, while translucent screens offer glimpses inside the buildings.

Meanwhile, Heatherwick Studio has produced designs for the Google Canadian headquarters at the site, following the firm’s work with BIG on the tech company’s new California campus and London HQ.

The Sidewalk Toronto HQ, which is intended to bring more Google jobs in the eastern waterfront, features a sunken circular courtyard topped with a bubbly roof, and curvilinear wooden balconies and a bubbly roof.

Similar organic forms can be found in Heatherwick’s proposal for another courtyard and a waterfront complex, where buildings are fronted with rounded, slatted balconies. Depicted in snowy conditions, the waterside site also features the “building coats” that would be drawn over to protect the woodwork from harsh weather conditions.

Quayside at Sidewalk Toronto by Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio
Curvaceous balconies front the proposal by the British studio, which spills onto the waterfront

Heatherwick Studio has also developed the Innovation Centre, which Sidewalk Labs intends as a hub for startups and tech companies.

Sidewalk Toronto, which was first unveiled in October 2017, aims to address many urban issues – like affordable housing, traffic congestion and safety, and environmental problems – with smart designs. Sidewalk Labs urban planner Rohit Aggarwala said it could provide a model for cities to use the latest technologies in urban design, in an interview with Dezeen last year.

Quayside at Sidewalk Toronto by Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio
Heatherwick Studio has also developed a scheme for the Innovation Centre, intended as an incubator for startups

Following this ethos, the company chose mass timber construction for the neighbourhood to provide an example of an affordable and sustainable built environment. The cradle-to-cradle construction forms part of a wider environmental strategy, along with comprehensive recycling and composting systems, and underground, robotic trash disposal.

The wooden construction would also support the Canada’s timber industry.

The first visuals for the Quayside project were completed by Michael Green Architecture – the firm behind the largest mass-timber building in United States. These explored two types of engineered wood: cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue-laminated timber, also known as Glulam, which are both significantly stronger than standard wood.

The proposal includes public spaces that are built “modular kit of parts” so that they could easily be rearranged for different uses. Other forward-thinking details in the proposed neighbourhood are the integration of autonomous vehicles and the introduction of larger curbs.

Quayside at Sidewalk Toronto by Snøhetta and Heatherwick Studio
The duo’s designs focus on the development of the 12-acre (9.5-hectare) Quayside neighbourhood at Parliament Slip

In the latest update, the team developed plans for sourcing data from residents living in the neighbourhood. This had formed a point of contention for many, particularly after the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal, which saw data allegedly used to influence voters in political campaigns.

However, the revised scheme suggests the establishment of an independent Civic Data Trust, which will de-identify all personal markers before using the data.

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3Novices:California’s Desert X returns with colourful and provocative installations

Sterling Ruby's installation for Desert X 2019

Installations set against the arid landscape of California‘s Coachella Valley for the Desert X biennial art festival include a huge orange block and a rainbow-like arch.

Artists including Sterling Ruby, John Gerrard and Pia Camil have participated in the second edition of Desert X, which opened earlier this month, following the inaugural event in 2017.

Sterling Ruby's installation for Desert X 2019
Sterling Ruby’s Specter (also main image) is one of several dotted around the Coachella Valley as part of this year’s Desert X

Spread across the valley east of Los Angeles, famed for the annual Coachella music festival, the installations and sculptures offer moments of colour, pause and reflection in remote locations – from Palm Springs to the Salton Sea.

One of the boldest statements is American artist Ruby’s monolithic fluorescent orange block, titled Specter. The cuboid volume creates a gap in the mountain vistas, alluding to an edifice or an apparition, and is coloured like a safety warning.

“The bright, geometric sculpture creates a jarring optical illusion, resembling a Photoshopped composite or collage, as if something has been removed or erased from the landscape,” said a project description.

Superflex's installation for Desert X 2019
Dive-In by Superflex comprises blocks with a coral-like texture and colour

Also using coloured blocks, Danish collective Superflex’s Dive-In sculpture is a reminder that the valley was once underwater. Four cuboids are arranged in a Stonehenge-like fashion, with surfaces akin to marine coral in both texture and tone, and the structure occasionally acts as a venue for film screenings.

“Dive-In merges the recognition that global warming will drastically reshape the habitat of our planet with another more recent extinction: the outdoor movie theatre,” a project description said.

Pia Camil's installation for Desert X 2019
Lover’s Rainbow by Pia Camil has a twin on the other side of the US-Mexico border

Mexican artist Camil has installed one of two arches, formed from rebar and painted in rainbow hues, close to Rancho Mirage. The other is located on the other side of the US-Mexico border, in Baja, and the Lover’s Rainbow project is intended to shed light on current immigration policies.

A giant video screen erected by Irish artist Gerrard plays footage of his black-smoke flag – a digital simulation he produced in 2017 to highlight the threat of carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere.

John Gerrard's installation for Desert X 2019
Footage of John Gerrard’s digital simulation Western Flag mirrors the real time of day

The Western Flag footage is set against a barren oil field in Spindletop, Texas, and is aligned with the times of the day so it plays sunset at the same time as the real surroundings.

“The simulation has no beginning or end and runs by software that calculates each frame of the animation in real time as it is needed,” said a description.

Julian Hoeber's installation for Desert X 2019
Julian Hoeber built his Going Nowhere Pavilion #1 using concrete breeze blocks laid out as a Möbius strip

Terracotta-toned breeze blocks – some punched with circular holes – form a pair of oval-shaped paddocks that Julian Hoeber has built side by side.

Katie Ryan has made an industrial-looking palm tree with translucent fronds that move in the breeze, while Ivan Argote has placed sets of concrete steps to provide elevated views of the landscape.

Katie Ryan's installation for Desert X 2019
Katie Ryan’s Ghost Palm echoes the natural flora in an ethereal interpretation

A total of 18 artists and groups have contributed to the biennial. The others include Armando Lerma, Steve Badgett and Chris Taylor, Cara Romero, Cecilia Bengolea, Eric Mack, Gary Simmons, Iman Issa, Mary Kelly, Nancy Baker Cahill, and Postcommodity.

The Desert X installations are on view from 9 February to 21 April 2019. Visitor information is available from hubs in Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Indio, as well as online.

Ivan Argote's installation for Desert X 2019
With Ivan Argote’s A Point of View staircases, visitors gain an elevated vantage of the Salton Sea

Last year’s participants included Phillip K Smith III, who placed reflective poles in an arc, and Doug Aitken – whose mirrored cabin for Desert X was recently reinstalled in the Alps.

Photography is by Lance Gerber, courtesy of Desert X.

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3Novices:Digital platform 1st Dibs opens first showroom in New York warehouse

1stdibs Gallery

Online marketplace 1st Dibs has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in a former warehouse in New York City, where customers can peruse new works by Fernando Mastrangelo Studio and Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, as well as antiques.

1stdibs Gallery

The e-commerce platform – which sells furniture, jewellery, fashion, art and homeware sourced from acclaimed dealers and current designers – has opened the showroom in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood.

1stdibs Gallery

Located on the seventh floor of a refurbished brick warehouse, Terminal Stores, it marks 1st Dibs’ first gallery for customers to review items before buying.

Local firm Davies Toews Architecture overhauled the space measuring 45,000 square feet (4,180 square metres).

1stdibs Gallery

Inside, 1st Dibs Gallery is a large collection of vintage pieces from different periods, such as antiques, mid-century modern, retro and contemporary designs. Products range from seating, lighting, tables, rugs and homeware objects.

1stdibs Gallery

Local studios Fernando Mastrangelo Studio, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio and Nanimarquina are among the 50 exhibitors in the showroom, and which are showcasing new designs.

1stdibs Gallery

Antique and vintage pieces are provided by dealers Orley Shabahang and Greenwich Living, along with other second-hand retailers. Works include crystal chandeliers, oriental rugs and vases.

One nook has golden tables, including the Melting Brass Console Table by sculptor Zhipeng Tan. Another section features a custom light installation by Italian company Flos, while a living-room style area is decorated by Brooklyn-based Chango & Co.

1stdibs Gallery

Temporary installations also feature in the showroom and will rotate during the year.

Among those currently on show are a set of 1970s surrealist pieces by Italian manufacturer Gufram, a group of arabesque busts by Los Angeles design firm The Archers, and a video installation by Milan gallery Rossana Orlandi.

1stdibs Gallery

Terminal Stores spans an entire city block, between 11th and 12th avenues and West 27th and West 28th streets. It is home to a variety of other spaces, including offices for Uber, L’Oréal, and Grimshaw Architects.

The building is located in West Chelsea, an industrial hub that is rapidly developing with commercial enterprises, with both the High Line and one of Manhattan’s largest real estate developments, Hudson Yards, located nearby.

1stdibs Gallery

1st Dibs is among a number of predominantly digital platforms that have recently opened showrooms in the US, following Danish brand Hay‘s Portland store, and Swedish furniture brand Hem‘s new outpost in Los Angeles.

Photography is by 1st Dibs.

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3Novices:12 of Karl Lagerfeld’s most impressive fashion shows

Chanel's 2018/19 Métiers d'art collection

Karl Lagerfeld was known for creating spectacular runway shows. Following the news of his death, here’s a look at 12 of the best, including a recreation of the Eiffel Tower and a Chanel-branded supermarket.

A daring and often-controversial visionary, Lagerfeld is best known for his roles as creative director at Chanel and Fendi.

The German fashion designer began working at Fendi in 1965, then also took over the reins at Chanel in 1983. It was here that he cemented his reputation – each season saw him reinterpret the fashion house’s famous tweed in a new way, while catwalk presentations became increasingly lavish every year.

Here’s a look at 12 shows where the set design was particularly memorable:

Métiers d’Art 2018/19

For the Chanel 2018/19 Métiers d’art collection, Lagerfeld sent models around The Met‘s Temple of Dendur – an Ancient Egyptian monument completed in 10BC.

Spring Summer 2012

Bleached white sea-beds with oversized shells and seaweed featured in the Spring Summer 2012 collection, which saw models walk down the catwalk in cream garments to a soundtrack of Florence and the Machine, performed live on a seashell-like stage.

Spring Summer 2017

A data centre provided the backdrop for this futuristic show at the Grand Palais in Paris, which included models dressed as glossy, white robots and bags with flashing LED displays.

Spring Summer 2019

For his most recent (and final) couture show, Lagerfeld recreated the Villa Chanel country house, again at the Grand Palais in Paris, complete with lavish ponds, palm trees and formal grass and topiary.

Autumn Winter 2018/19

For its Autumn Winter 2018/19 collection, Chanel transformed the Grand Palais into an enchanted forest. Models emerged from a mirrored cabin onto an autumnal runway of fallen leaves and bare trees.

Spring Summer 2017

A mirrored room provided the backdrop to this Chanel couture show, which included tall glass vases of elegant calla lilies.

Autumn Winter 2014/15

Lagerfeld turned the Grand Palais into a Chanel Shopping Centre where models walked down aisles stocked with Chanel-branded goods.

Autumn Winter 2017/18

In this incredulous feat of set design, Lagerfeld recreated Paris’ most iconic architectural landmark in the halls of Paris’ Grand Palais, which he dotted with outdoor chairs for the assembled audience.

Métiers d’Art 2015/16

This funny play on words and locations saw Lagerfeld recreate the area surrounding Paris’ Rome metro station in Teatro 5, at Cinecittà Studios in the Italian capital.

Spring Summer 2015

This metaphysical runway show saw models walk down a recreation of a Parisian street within the Grand Palais, and closed with the models engaging in a feminist-inspired protest.

Autumn Winter 2010/11

Long before Olafur Eliasson was installing glaciers halfway across the globe, Lagerfeld transported 240 tons of ice from Scandinavia into the Grand Palais for this arctic-inspired runway show.

Autumn Winter 2017/18

Lagerfeld literally launched a rocket into the sky in this explosive, space-themed runway show – to a backdrop of Elton John’s seminal track, Rocket Man.

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3Novices:”How are designers still making this mistake?”

In this week’s comments update, readers are divided over Katy Perry’s decision to remove allegedly “racist” designs from her shoe line

On the other foot: following the recent backlash against Gucci’s balaclava jumper, which was accused of resembling blackface, Katy Perry removed two designs from her Katy Perry Collections shoe line. Not everyone agreed it was necessary though.

“Those are black shoes with little faces on them. Not “blackface” shoes,” argued Milton.

“I agree,” said Hani Santa. “Too sensitive – there is also a light version with exactly the same features. Clearly it’s not intended as racist, it’s just a style.”

Victor wasn’t so sure though: “The shoes play on racist stereotypes used in theatrical makeup, period! I highly doubt this was intentional but that doesn’t make it okay. Nobody is getting punished here, I am just glad they removed the shoes and apologised.”

Jam agreed, asking: “How are designers still making this mistake?”

This reader had their own reason for not buying the shoes:

Do you think the design is inappropriate? Join the discussion ›

Harley-Davidson's latest electric scooter is designed for the city

Lighten up: in a bid to attract a wider audience Harley-Davidson has released two all-electric bike concepts. The lighter, more agile designs have divided reader opinion.

“Has Harley-Davidson been emasculated?” asked Spadestick. “There’s no resemblance to a long time honoured tradition of producing classic bikes.”

Aint Yer Pa shared the sentiment: “Attract new customers at the expense of its old? Recipe for failure. There are ways to stay relevant without alienating the core set of people that made you successful.”

“I don’t really care for motorcycles but these two actually look really nice,” said Zea Newland, in contrast. “I find it brave of Harley-Davidson to reinvent itself like that in order to attract new customers.”

TKO went further: “The old customers are, literally, old! ‘True street bikers’ are an ageing demographic.”

One commenter was more concerned with the bike’s suitability as urban transport:

Is Harley-Davidson right to try and reinvent the wheel? Join the discussion ›

Sky Trees by Koichi Takada Architects

Skirting around the issue: readers are torn over Koichi Takada Architects’ proposal for Sky Trees, a Los Angeles tower boasting a splayed bottom inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “flying skirt”.

“Great for Los Angeles, and fun,” praised Patrick Kennedy.

Hugh Janus was also quite impressed: “I like the form of the tower with subtle curves, angular roof and elegant window details. The Marilyn reference ruined it all though, taking attention away from what is a notable design.”

“It’s nice without the unnecessary narrative. Leave Marilyn Monroe in peace,” pleaded Spadestick.

Palsan likened the building to something else: “Looks like giant half-cooked spaghetti strings hanging down, with the cooked part bent upwards. Weird.”

The design also grated on this reader:

Does the building resemble Monroe’s skirt? Join the discussion ›

Layer's smart Move seating for Airbus adapts to the passengers needs

Flight control: Layer’s prototype of Airbus’ economy class seating, featuring technology which would allow passengers to monitor and control their seat conditions using their phone, hasn’t gone down well with readers. 

“Why do you need an app to monitor and control your seat, when the application needed to monitor and control your seat could also be put onto the screen in front of you?,” wondered She Grabs The Curtain.

Flyer was also wary: “Looks extremely uncomfortable.”

“I really appreciate all that smart stuff,” added Allen diplomatically, “except the passengers still have to share those armrests.”

“As a traveller, I need and want seats that I can recline. Nothing less,” concluded A Voice.

At least this commenter was excited about something:

What do you think of the seats. Join the discussion ›

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3Novices:”Luxury meets streetwear” in Ermenegildo Zegna’s customisable My Cesare trainers

My Cesare by Ermengildo Zegna

Dezeen promotion: Ermenegildo Zegna has launched My Cesare, its first customisable sneaker collection “where the worlds of luxury and streetwear meet”.

Dubbed by Ermenegildo Zegna as “the future of luxury streetwear”, My Cesare range allows the wearer to personalise their sneaker in up to 10 different colours.

“The notion of a fully customised luxury streetwear sneaker is an incredibly unique and new one,” explained the Italian luxury menswear brand.

“My Cesare shows where the worlds of luxury and streetwear meet, and showcases how our hand-crafted skill has intertwined with hyper-detailed and athletic footwear.”

My Cesare by Ermengildo Zegna

My Cesare is an extension of the brand’s Cesare sneaker range, which was first revealed in January as part of Ermenegildo Zegna’s AW19 show in Milan.

The ultra-light, versatile, shock-absorbing sneaker is characterised by its bold silhouette and multi-material construction, which makes it an easily modifiable design.

Wearers can personalise their trainers by choosing between 10 colours to apply in various combinations across its overlapping mesh and leather upper, as well as its midsole.

My Cesare by Ermengildo Zegna

Other changeable elements include the brand’s handmade-leather XXX logo, and the choice of chunky patterned laces.

There is also the option for the back of the shoe to be personalised with lettering, which can be used to display the owner’s initials.

“Whether you craft a uniquely coloured midsole, change the XXX logo to your preferred colour, alter the look of the mesh, or personalise the font and letters on the back to your own initials – this is the future of luxury streetwear,” added the brand.

“We challenge conventions and we pioneer new sartorial techniques and visions, without losing sight of our roots as the quintessential Italian brand.”

My Cesare by Ermengildo Zegna

Alongside the launch, Ermenegildo Zegna commissioned leading London-based creative directors DJA to create a campaign for My Cesare that supported the “incredibly unique” concept.

DJA’s campaign, which includes a video, marries Roman typography with Ermenegildo Zegna’s XXX logo, creating “a bold, playful, campaign that makes a modern-day icon from Zegna’s new statement sneaker”.

Founded in Italy in 1910, Ermenegildo Zegna first developed its reputation for its use of fine fabrics – for which it is now one of the biggest, and ethical, global producers.

Today, Ermenegildo Zegna is recognised as a leading luxury menswear fashion house. Alongside producing clothing and accessories for its own labels, it also manufactures suits for leading designers including Gucci and Tom Ford.

Find out more about My Cesare sneakers on Ermenegildo Zegna’s website.

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3Novices:Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion informs minimal Quebec pool house

Pool House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple

Canadian studio MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects used concrete, glass and wood to form an austere pool house in southern Quebec that references Mies van der Rohe’s seminal Barcelona Pavilion.

Pool House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple

The Pool House is located in Sainte-Marthe, a village just west of Montreal. The building is situated at the base of a wooded slope, at the point where the hillside meets the Saint Lawrence River Valley.

Pool House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple

The project was designed by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, which has offices in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Denver, Colorado.

Pool House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple

The team took cues from a groundbreaking project by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – the 1929 Barcelona Pavilion, which gained acclaim for its simple form and rich materials, such as marble and red onyx.

Similarly, the pool house is intended to be a minimalist and intricately crafted building.

Pool House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple

The building consists of a glass-walled box, a shaded terrace with a fireplace, and a long, linear swimming pool that stretches toward the agrarian floodplain.

Pool House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple

All elements are framed by an L-shaped wall made of board-formed concrete. Leading to the building is a pathway that cuts through a grassy field.

“The public facade of this project opens to the southwest to take full advantage of natural light, essential to this pool house’s programme,” said MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects.

The glazed box contains a gym and areas for changing and bathing. Interior walls and ceilings are clad in honey-toned wood, adding warmth to the austere space. Glass walls can be fully opened up, eliminating the boundary between inside and out.

Pool House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple

The small building is shaded by an overhanging roof supported by slender columns.

“A monolithic roof floats above the glass box, with a cedar-board soffit that extends above an outdoor fireplace and the pool, offering protection from the elements,” the studio said. “This is an all-weather building, designed for use in all four seasons.”

Pool House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple is known for its distinctive, modern projects in rugged settings. The firm has completed numerous buildings in Nova Scotia, including a shingled house that sits atop concrete plinths and a timber-clad spa building added to a residential property. In 2015, firm partner Brian MacKay Lyons was awarded the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal.

Photography is by James Brittain.

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