About space

Shop Sottsass

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For the London Design Festival in September, accessories concept shop Darkroom transformed their space and wares in a tribute to Memphis designer Ettore Sottsass. The shop is a visual explosion of color, geometry and graphic elements, with both floors and walls covered in black-and-white bold patterns. Featured are Jamie Julie-Brown’s totem stacks of salvaged glass, Studiopepe’s brightly colored, angular ceramics, and Hay’s shape mirrors.

Musical Blob

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An inflatable concert hall will be touring Japan starting in October. Japanese architect Arata Isozaki collaborated with famed sculptor Anish Kapoor to create the bulbous, purple-membraned structure as a way to help the Ark Nova Music Festival in Matsushima City, an area devastated by the 2011 tsunami. Inside, the membrane casts a warm purple glow on wooden benches that seat 500 people. The first performance is scheduled for October 12.

Creative Cafe

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Cafe Craft in Paris is a creative freelancer’s dream – a beautifully designed space encouraging writers, artists, and designers to work, drink coffee, and eat pastries. Taking inspiration from the Parisian cafes that served as creative breeding grounds for writers and philosophers, Craft offers a salon area with bench couches, communal tables of varying heights, a wall of reading material, and jars of pens and markers.

Not Your Average Dorm

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A welcome alternative to dorm-room living, Tengbom Architects in Sweden recently unveiled a design for affordable, energy-efficient tiny housing units for students. On view at the Virserum Art Museum in Småland, Sweden, the 10-square meter units are model studies in efficiency, built from local, renewable cross-laminated wood, and can be constructed on-site. They include a sleeping loft, kitchen, bathroom, desk, and plenty of storage and windows – along with their own mini patio and garden.

Greener Walls

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Making London a little greener – a massive living wall was recently installed along an exterior wall of the Rubens at the Palace Hotel in Victoria. At 350 square meters, the landscape thrives with over 10,000 herbaceous plants, all recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society to attract wildlife like bees, birds and butterflies. The wall also provides a good solution for drainage, as it is irrigated with collected rainwater from storage tanks on the roof.

In London

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If you happen to be in London this week for the Design Festival, be sure to check out designjunction – a showcase in its third year “presenting an edited selection of leading global brands and emerging enterprises.” The events and programs organized around the show look particularly interesting – with a lecture and panel series curated by design critic Aidan Walker; guided bike tours of London on tokyobikes; and Brooks saddles demonstrating the production processes of their beautifully crafted leather bike seats.

Calder to Quinze

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Artist and architect Arne Quinze recently completed a large-scale installation in honor of structural renovations to the MAMAC Museum in Nice, France. With its title, “Hommage à Alexander Calder,” the work is sited next to, and builds upon an existing steel sculpture of Calder’s. Quinze took inspiration from Calder in form, creating a large, arc’ed canopy with similar curving lines to its inspiration. However, he departed from the solid steel material, using his signature controlled, chaotic style, creating a mass of orange and white wooden sticks to make up the form.

Weaving Peruvian and Japanese

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Peruvian cuisine meets Japanese in a new endeavor whose partners include Ferran Adrià of elBulli fame. In Barcelona, the restaurant – Pakta – will be serving the fusion of food cultures known as Nikkei.  Pakta’s interior, designed by Barcelona-based El Equipo Creativo, combines Japanese traditional aesthetic of clean lines and scaffolding of wood with a strikingly beautiful reference to traditional Peruvian weaving. The space itself is turned into a giant, cozy loom, with colorful thread running throughout.

Domestic Tech

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The “Institute for Domestic Technology,” in Altadena, CA is an intriguing organization with a mission to “reignite the passion of how we make food, the ingredients we source and the farms on which they originate.” The Institute organizes courses and workshops on cheese making, cocktail crafting, and even making the perfect reuben sandwich. In their Foodcrafting 101 course, students learn how to make: bread, cheese, jam, and mustard, guided by master food preservers and artisan cheese makers, learning about each craft and its history.

Gallery Branches

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An installation at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo morphs and twists a grid of white structural beams into an impressive tangle of wood. Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira designed the sculpture as a giant Gordian Knot (a legend referring to an intractable problem.) Oliveira created the branch forms from reclaimed tapumes – a Brazilian plywood material used around construction sites – twisting and bending it into shape, adding veneers for texture. The installation has the great effect of looking as though organic, chaotic nature took over the clean, minimal architectural space. On view through September 29.

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