Streetwise

A rare copy of the critic Ada Louise Huxtable’s Walking Tours underscores her firm belief of architecture as social art
By Susan Morgan

Cover of Four Walking Tours of Modern Architecture in New York City prepared by Ada Louise Huxtable (Museum of Modern Art and the Municipal Art Society, 1961).

“Now to answer the question I am most frequently (do I sense, hopefully?) asked: Do I think I was ever ‘wrong?’ Sorry to disappoint, but my opinions have not really changed: I called the buildings as I saw them, and I feel pretty much the same way now. My judgments have all been made in the immediate context of their time, measured against some pretty timeless standards—something hindsight, with its re-writing of history, often prefers to ignore. Simply put, I was there; I know what happened.” Ada Louise Huxtable, 2008

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A Design Blast from Beirut

At the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, Lebanese designer Karen Chekerdjian has created an engaging trail that takes visitors on a journey through her universe.
By Marwan Naaman

“Respiration” installation view. Photo by Ian Abella.

Karen Chekerdjian made history this year: she became the first Lebanese woman and the first designer ever to curate a solo show at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris. In a bold move, IMA asked Chekerdjian to exhibit her sculptural works amid the museum’s permanent collection. “I tried to create a promenade within the museum,” Chekerdjian says, explaining how she drew a physical trail along the floor to lead visitors through four levels of exhibition space, thus allowing them to discover her contemporary designs interspersed among the heavier and more traditional Arab pieces on display. Continue reading→

Re-Designing Design

THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM’S CURATOR DISCUSSES HER PROGRESSIVE APPROACH TO SHOWCASING A GROWING COLLECTION OF TWENTIETH- AND TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY DESIGN
By MONICA OBNISKI

All installation view photos by John R. Glembin.

THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM reopened late last year after a $34 million renovation that wonderfully integrates its collections with its buildings—by Eero Saarinen, David Kahler, Santiago Calatrava, and the Milwaukee branch of HGA, which designed the new East End addition. One particularly happy result is that, for the first time, there are now galleries devoted to the museum’s expanding twentieth- and twenty-first-century design collection. These galleries don’t present a chronological master narrative of design—materially and intellectually impossible given design’s global reach. Instead, channeling network theory, they are set up as vignettes that suggest webs of influence and the ways objects relate to one another across time, mediums, and place. Continue reading→

The Crystal Method

DESIGNER SAMUEL AMOIA CRAFTS A GLITTERING NEW COLLECTION FOR DELORENZO GALLERY
By ANNA FIXSEN

Side table of crushed malachite from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. All photos by Eileen Chaing.

ON A RECENT AFTERNOON the scene inside designer Samuel Amoia’s bright Long Island City studio was one of orderly commotion. Two assistants, donning respirators, pressed dusty bits of lapis lazuli onto the underside of a round coffee table, taking breaks to pulverize larger chunks into particles the size of fish-tank gravel. Amoia, dressed in Nike sneakers, tapered sweats, and a snug white T-shirt, grabbed a handful of the crushed stones and ran them underneath a faucet to demonstrate the desired visual effect: “The color explodes,” he says admiringly of the resulting spectrum of china and cerulean blues. Continue reading→

The Power of Light

By Beth Dunlop
Photography by ROBIN HILL

The architect Jaya Kader designed this Key Biscayne house to celebrate the South Florida climate, connecting inside and out.

I’m obsessed with light,” says Jaya Kader as she looks at the sun-dappled facade of the house she recently designed on Key Biscayne. Although it is indeed a house designed to do exactly what houses do—provide enclosure, shelter, and protection from the elements—it has a deeper conception as well. Kader sought to use light to transform the experience of life in this house as if it were the central metaphor. Thus the profuse, bright Florida light is filtered from the west and south (where, at Miami’s latitude, the sun lingers longest for a good part of the year) and welcomed from the north and east. Continue reading→

The Enigma of Aldo Tura

TROY SEIDMAN EXPLORES THE IDIOSYNCRATIC WORK OF THE ITALIAN DESIGNER KNOWN FOR HIS SUMPTUOUS FINISHES

ON A RECENT PANEL in New York City hosted by MODERN Magazine and sponsored by the Piasa auction house, I was asked one of my favorite questions: “Which twentieth-century designers are under the radar?” “Under the radar,” of course, is open to interpretation—does it mean a designer who is unknown (or underappreciated) or is this simply a euphemism for “currently inexpensive”?

Aldo Tura (1909–1963) satisfies both interpretations. While pieces created during his lifetime or in later years by his atelier are readily available, he is typically omitted from discussions of mid-century Italian or Milanese design, and as a result many works are surprisingly affordable. It is not uncommon to find small tables, bar carts, and, certainly, accessories under $1,000. On the opposite end of the price spectrum, important case pieces can easily be priced in the $10,000 to $25,000 range and beyond. Continue reading→

AT HOME IN THE PAGES OF PLAYBOY

By Eleanor Gustafson

SEX SELLS. And modernism sold sex. Or, at least from its founding in 1953 to the end of the 1970s, Playboy magazine promoted modern architecture and design as the ideal environment in which to perfect the art of seduction. An exhibition on view at the Elmhurst Art Museum in Illinois until August 28 explores this theme with photographs, films, architectural models, and more, illustrating the dream apartments with their seductive chairs, round beds, futuristic lamps, and sophisticated hi-fi equipment that were intended to shape a new sexual and consumer identity for the American male. Continue reading→

Beyond Baroque: The World of Studio Job

By NICOLE ANDERSON

Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel of Studio Job. Photo by Rene van der Hulst for Living Magazine Italia.

SIPPING TEA AT ROBERT, the rooftop restaurant at the Museum of Arts and Design, Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, the duo behind Stu­dio Job, appear poised and relaxed in spite of barely having a moment to rest since arriving in New York. But, then again, they are accustomed to this busy pace. The trip kicked off with the press preview and then the opening of Studio Job MAD HOUSE, the designers’ first solo museum exhi­bition in America, which has trans­formed two floors of the building into an imagined “crazy collector’s home,” Tynagel says, that shakes off the prototypical sterile “museum feeling.” And there is certainly nothing cookie-­cutter or muted or con­ventional about the work created by Smeets and Tynagel’s Netherlands­ and Belgium-­based atelier. Continue reading→

An Intimate Glimpse of Richard Prince

By Marieke Treilhard

ARTIST RICHARD PRINCE IS NO STRANGER to controversy. An early pioneer of appropriation art, Prince spent the 1970s and ‘80s undermining the necessity of authorship in art, re-photographing existing images and modifying them only minimally to make them his own. A constant target of copyright infringement and intellectual property law allegations, his creative strategy was, and still is, reliant on the subtle manipulation of content excised from popular culture, the media, commercial advertising, and the like. With an uncanny ability to transform the context and meaning of an image with a simple gesture or a minimal material intervention, Prince established himself as an expert in confiscation and concision. Continue reading→

Gallery ALL Opens Doors to New Ideas

By Adam Dunlop-Farkas

WITH SHOWROOMS IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES and Beijing’s 751 Design Park, Gallery ALL occupies design niches on both sides of the Pacific. The gallery was founded in 2013 by Yu Wang and Qinqyun Ma after the two men were introduced by Wang’s wife, Xiao Lu, who also joined the endeavor to serve as the gallery director. The following year Gallery ALL opened its doors on the first floor of L.A.’s historic Bradbury Building to introduce Chinese design works to Western patrons. While Chinese visual arts had progressed to the forefront of contemporary art, the country’s design culture had remained relatively anonymous in American and European circles. The Chinese-born Wang, who studied architecture and design in the United States, and Ma, a prominent Chinese architect and dean of the University of Southern California School of Architecture, both viewed this not only as a shortcoming of the marketplace but as a unique circumstance. “We had the opportunity to work with the best designers in China,” Wang says. Continue reading→