Saturday, October 18, 2008

News Items

A couple of news items before we move on to my next story.

First of all, those brilliant guys from San Francisco, CITIZEN:Citizen recently put out a crazy press release.  Right in the wake of some of their pieces being bought by the SF MoMA for the permanent collection there, Merrill Lynch deemed their work too controversial and shut down their bank accounts at First Republic Bank.  McDonalds also recently had a cease & desist ordered against them for another of their items.  I told creative director, Philip Wood, that if their work is making people this uncomfortable, then obviously they're doing something right.  But I never doubted for a second that they were.  It's actually quite poignant since their work deals very much with the ways that art and design overlap and conflict with corporate consumerism.

Then there's a new item from Brooklyn's Michael McHale Designs, who I discussed here, and who also made it onto my short list for the ICFF magazine article.  He's released his Two and Four Bulb Chandelier Table Lamps, this is the Four Bulb:
Not unexpectedly, he's taken great care with the hardware, but not only that, he's reinterpreted it for the individual nature of the piece.  The top frame is still industrial metal pipe, but for the stem he's used clear acrylic, so while it's a table lamp, it has the illusion of floating, hanging like a ceiling-mounted chandelier--very smart.  The really fantastic addition, though, is the base:

It's an acrylic base hand painted by Sublime Living to look geological or even extraterrestrial.  
The glossy acrylic reflects the sparkling crystal above it to look like a planet traveling through the heavens.

There's also a couple of new items from Viable London worth mentioning.  I discussed them here, and they also made it onto my short list.  They've delved into some great sustainable designs, like their Spiral Stools:

They're rolls of cork--which is sustainable, of course--felt made from shredded, unwanted clothing, and wrapped up in wool yarn.  They're reportedly quite comfortable, which I don't find hard to believe, the color choices are beautiful, and I thought they'd be perfect for a clothing store or dressing room.  When they reach the end of their life, all the materials can be unraveled and reused.

Last but not least, I'm very excited because two of the greatest minds in the world of architecture, Peter Eisenman and Greg Lynn, are coming together to give a talk at the 92nd Street Y on Thursday the 23rd.  This is a lot of synchronicity for me.  First of all, I'm right in the middle of profiling this great architect named James Merrell, who studied under Eisenman.  Merrell's philosophies in his own work seemed in some ways not too far afield from Eisenman's, leading me to revisit and refresh myself on some of his writings.  Lynn has always had my utmost respect, and I plan to make a bigger post about him eventually.  In the meantime, I'm set to review Lynn's book, Form, which has just been released, exquisitely bound, by Rizzoli.  I'll be sure to report on the event here.

©2008, Ryan Witte

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