Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Before moving on, here are a few more quick news items for you.

First of all, do I mention Philip Johnson in, like, every other post? It's starting to feel that way. Anyhow, the Glass House has started offering what they're calling Modern Friends donor tours.

Ever since he passed away and they opened his grounds to the public, I've been dying to go up there and see it. Unfortunately, every normal tour is booked up until sometime in 2043. On top of that, I have to arrange to borrow a car, devote an entire day to the trip, and you know how I feel about bright sunny days for taking photographs. How could you ever plan that seven months in advance? With this new offer, if you make a donation of $100, which helps support the preservation of the site, you get a special two-hour tour that allows photography and starts at 2:30PM daily. You get to see a few things that are not normally shown on the public tour; for instance, they show you in the inside of the library:

Coming up soon, in perfect timing with the show going on now at the MoMA, the 92nd Street Y is hosting Ron Arad in a talk about his work. I really need to find time to get my buttocks over to that show, but I haven't had the chance. The talk at the 92Y is on September 17th. Equally as exciting, on November 3rd they're hosting a dialogue between two other major figures in design, Karim Rashid and Gaetano Pesce. Very excited about that one.

I feel very badly to have to so bitterly betray the institution where I work, but I kind of have no choice. Harry Winston donated the legendary Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Museum exactly 50 years ago (I didn't know that, I'll admit).

In celebration of the anniversary, Winston himself has design three new possible settings for the jewel. We, the public, can vote on which setting will be chosen, and it will be created and displayed in the museum next year. But I don't care if he is the Great Harry Winston. I didn't even bother to vote because each design is more horrible than the last. Look at these things:

That last one is the best of the three, in my humble opinion, but UGH! Awful. Boring, unimaginative, way too traditional, and not spectacular as this gem deserves by any stretch of the imagination. It's the Hope Diamond for crying out loud! The real shame of it is the unbelievably sculptural, expressionistic, and technologically sophisticated things that can be accomplished in jewelry design now with computer applications like Matrix 3D.

Some consolation can be found in the Smithsonian's calls for entries other setting designs. I implore anyone reading this who happens to be a jewelry designer to try your hand at it (that image of the diamond above can be downloaded from here to use, if you click on it), enter in their contest, and definitely tell me about it and send me a picture of your entry. I already have in my head what my setting would look like (it'd be glorious), but I have too much on my plate at the moment to start getting into designing jewelry.

Another small item I wanted to show you is from Areaware, whom I've discussed before. Not long ago they introdued these beeswax lightbulb candles by designer Harry Allen, which I think are terribly clever:

©2009, Ryan Witte

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