About space

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Released this week, Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up chronicles twenty-five years of iconic designs from the visionary Dutch designer. Published in conjunction with an extensive exhibit of his work at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the book goes beyond beautiful images with interviews, analysis, and essays. A new online magazine, theTwentySIX, has former interior designer Brandon A. Smith at the helm. Smith describes the publication’s content as “Vogue meets Dwell” and will feature interviews and insights from creatives across the design spectrum.

The Imaginarium

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This winter, London department store Selfridges has planned a series of installations, lectures, debates, and workshops for their Festival of Imagination. The store commissioned Rem Koolhaas to design the festival’s hub, a sleek contemporary amphitheater. Meanwhile, concept stores have been transformed into “imagine shops” and avant-garde fashion designer Gareth Pugh’s MONOLITH installation takes viewers on a scintillating journey into his visual world. The immersive experience envelopes the viewer in monochromatic cityscapes, stark geometry, and ethereal sounds. Through February 22.

Image via Dezeen

Internet Balloons

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New initiatives seek to provide internet access to people living in remote areas with balloons. The balloons work as transmission towers and can reach large swaths of space through wireless connections. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) is actively researching the new technology and hopes to employ it in the Amazon and other rural regions of the country. They are currently working on creating balloons that can withstand lightning and wind as to avoid the possible disruption or damage caused by bad weather. Other countries and private sector companies are also beginning to experiment with internet balloons, which are a  lower cost alternative to terrestrial stations and satellite systems.

Community Driven Streetscapes

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In an effort to make its streets more pedestrian and cyclist friendly, Los Angeles’s Department of Transportation is launching People St. The new grassroots initiative allows community members to apply online for city approval to transform unfrequented stretches of road into parklets, bike corrals, and plazas. While the applicant will bear the costs of the installation and upkeep, the city will provide the infrastructure that will convert existing spaces into safe and welcoming places for the community. Slated to begin in early 2014, People St. will address the growing demand for public space in L.A.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Interiors have been an area of focus in the Wert offices this December. And what better way to spend the holidays than browsing beautiful coffee table books by a cozy fire. Rizzoli has recently released a trio of enchanting monographs that showcase magical interiors. Photographer Francois Halard’s self-titled volume includes images from one of his first assignments, photographing a 20-something Yves Saint Laurent’s Parisian abode. With an old-world eye and a bohemian spirit, Halard captured images of the homes of revered tastemakers including Coco Chanel, Richard Avedon, and Schiaparelli. An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Luce showcases interior designer Timothy Corrigan’s lovely decorated and restored chateau in France’s Loire Valley. Offering both advice and insight into the art of French living, Corrigan reveals the secret to dwelling in a historic residence with modern flair. Lastly, Stephen Sills: Decoration documents Sills’s visionary old-meets-new interior style. Karl Lagerfeld once claimed the decorator’s country home in Bedford, NY to be “the chicest house in America.”

Urban Installations

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In Stockholm, Sweden citizens and visitors don’t need to enter a museum for artistic inspiration, they can glean it everyday when navigating the subway. Often referred to as the world’s largest art museum, the Stockholm subway system immerses riders in expansive works of art dating from the 1950s-2000s all for the cost of a Metro ticket. 90 of the system’s 100 stations possess captivating and colorful murals and sculptures from 150 different artists. Here at home, MoMA PS12014 Young Architects Program  recently selected five finalists to design an innovative outdoor installation that includes seating, shade, and water for the PS1 courtyard in Long Island City, New York. The proposal’s guidelines include addressing environmental and sustainability issues. One project will be selected and the winner’s design will debut summer 2014.

Scarpa’s Glass

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An exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which opened yesterday) focuses on the glassworks of Italian architect Carlo Scarpa, who simultaneously explored the worlds of architecture and expert glassmaking. Scarpa served as an artistic consultant to famed Murano glass studio Venini, helping to push the form and develop new, pioneering techniques. He used his knowledge in incredible ways with his architecture (as in Brion Cemetary, shown), and several of his radical glassworks designs are on view in the show through March 2.

Campus Dining

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French designer Matali Crasset is working with France’s university system to re-create the dining experience for students. She designed two new dining concepts for university campuses in Toulouse and Orleans, both promoting good, fresh, healthy and low-cost meals, in fun and colorful settings. “Mini M” is a market concept that sells inexpensive, well-balanced and fresh foods, and “Mini R” is a quick-service cafeteria promoting community and flexibility in dining.

Winding Garden

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Landscape designer Michael Van Valkenburgh has taken a tiny plot of land at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston – the Monk’s Garden – and made it into a vast area for exploration. By covering the garden with winding brick paths, the area becomes a series of twists and turns among trees and plants. Ferns and small trees cover most of the area outside the path, giving it a layered, dense sensation, like a forest. Van Valkenburgh said he created the garden as a “compliment in contrast” to Renzo Piano’s museum addition.

Office Movement

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New research is showing that change is good when it comes to where you sit at work. A recent article in the WSJ notes that intermingling different work departments in seating charts – and switching up those charts every 6 months or so – has led to innovation in several companies, at a low cost. Temperaments also effect productivity, and can be contagious – two opposite ends – a calm, relaxed state and a nervous, stressed state are found to be the most contagious, effecting the people and work being done in proximity.

(Image of Tecno’s Office Design)

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