Azure magazine and other Architecture newsletters released their big stories in the construction, architecture, and design industries. We love following this stuff and we’ve created a recap of our Top 8 favorite hits:
1) Serious furniture with a sense of humor
During the London Design Festival, Hubert presented a fully realized collection for De La Espada that elevated the brand and displayed the designer’s dexterity in creating serious furniture, like the strappy Coracle chair, as well as solid pieces with a sense of humor – like the architectural Gabion tables.
2) Talk to Me, interacting with interfaces as part of the design experience
Talk to Me, which wrapped in November 2011 but continues to have a richly interactive web presence, archives the interfaces, social media bytes and personal communication devices of our QR-coded world. By pushing the design dialogue to a new level, Talk to Me helps us more deeply appreciate how interacting with interfaces of any kind is a designed experience.
3) Simpler Times – looking to the future by grabbing ideas from the past
Working out of Eindhoven, Italian designers Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Formafantasma explore materials – like compostable bowls made out of flour – that speak to a simpler time. Their Botanica vases are borne of a collaboration with Italian plastic innovator Plart, and are made of natural polymers that existed before the discovery of oil.
4) One Millionth Tower – landscape and other ideas to make living spaces more “live-able”
The ideas expressed in One Millionth Tower take their inspiration from the Tower Renewal project in Toronto, and include examples of ways in which residents would like to make their homes happier, whether through planting vegetable gardens, connecting buildings separated by parking lots with inventive landscape designs, and adding pop-up structures for use as entertainment venues, hair salons, and even prayer hubs.
5) The Occupy Movement
The Occupy Movement spread from city to city, capturing the world’s imagination with the slogan – “We are the 99%” – that lives on. Before being forced out of the parks, it reclaimed public property for public protest and transformed these parks into anarchic settlements with a sanitary department, lending library, kitchen and other communal functions. Whether you liked it or not, it had an impact.
6) The (European) shows must go on – design fairs have big plans for 2012 despite rough economy
The biggest design fairs – IMM and Orgatec in Cologne, Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Maison et Objet in Paris and, the biggest of them all, the Salone del Mobile in Milan – are planning big events this year to prove that innovation holds the key to economic prosperity.
7) Spruce Street, New York
Frank Gehry’s first skyscraper is a knockout. At 76 storeys, it is home to 903 rental apartments, a public school and a luminous stainless steel exterior that ripples like waves – an asymmetric feature that works its way into the interiors. Besides offering renters spectacular views of the Brooklyn Bridge, 8 Spruce Street is a testament to the firm’s commitment to pushing the envelope (so to speak) in computer modeling software. The tower cost $875 million, which is not much more than the non-descript luxury residential towers going up everywhere else.
8) The Weekender – a very useful web-only map of New York’s subway system
Redesigned by Massimo Vignelli, it shows which trains are running (and more importantly which ones aren’t running) on weekends. The goal is to help commuters plan their trips into the city with up-to-the-minute news on service changes due to the chronic slowdowns caused by construction and maintenance. Flashing dots identify stations that aren’t in full service. It’s a clever gadget that is actually helpful.