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cinecitta studios

La Dolce Cinecittà

On the outskirts of Rome lies Cinecittà, the biggest movie studio in mainland Europe. Launched in 1937 as a propaganda factory for Mussolini, it later became a playground for some of the most stylish and iconic filmmakers in history: Sergio Leone shot spaghetti westerns there; Fellini called it his “temple of dreams.” More recently, it was home to Scorsese's "Gangs of New York." Usually, cinephiles can only get a peek at Cinecitta’s storied campus via private group tours—not easy to arrange for the average tourist—but through November 30th, the studio’s gates are open to the general public for the first time. The main attraction is an exhibit of Cinecittà memorabilia, but I was just as interested in the studio itself: A prime example of WWII-era modernist architecture.
November 7, 2011
Eco lighting drop light

Tokyo Designers Week: Eco Lighting

Switching from incandescent to LED bulbs can cut the amount of electricity a lamp consumes by sixty percent or more. But with their cool-white hue and hefty price tag, getting excited about these earth-friendly lights can be hard. At design events taking place around Tokyo this week, exhibitors played up the benefits of LEDs—like the fact that they are small, emit little heat, and can be easily dimmed—with a selection of innovative fixtures. Here's what I saw.
November 6, 2011
Design tide flip chairs group

Report from DesignTide Tokyo

Choices, choices, choices. That seemed to be the mantra for furniture designers at this year’s DesignTide Tokyo, a furniture and product expo on at the city’s swanky Midtown Hall this week. Chalk it up to Japan’s lackluster economy (flexible furniture equals less need to buy new stuff or live in a big house) or just plain playfulness, but designs that could be flipped around, knocked down, and stashed away were around every corner.  
November 4, 2011
Designers week puzzle cushion

Trends at Tokyo Designers Week

We sent crack writer and Dwell's woman-in-Japan to check out Tokyo Designers Week. Here's what she found. Fall foliage may be drawing crowds in Kyoto, but color of another sort is all the rage this week in Tokyo, where designers from Japan and abroad are showing off their latest creations at the city’s annual design fest, Tokyo Designers Week. I followed the rainbow-colored road through the booths in search of the best and brightest designs of the year.
November 2, 2011
design lab thumb

Highlights of Dwell Design Lab

This past weekend I attended Dwell's first annual Design Lab, which took over a raw penthouse space in the new Millenium Tower in San Francisco's SOMA district and spotlighted 13 local designers. (My colleague Diana Budds offers a good overview of the event here.) After a festive, Kim Crawford Wine-fueled Friday night reception, I spent Saturday afternoon wandering through the show, chatting with the designers about their work and their display spaces. Here are a few of the highlights I spotted... 
October 31, 2011
Qubique entryhall

Report from Qubique in Berlin

What makes a tradeshow cool? Location, location, location. In the case of Quibique, a furniture fair making its debut October 26th to 29th, that means a cool city (Berlin) and a cool spot in that city (the hall of the former Tempelhof airport). The iconic, now-decommissioned airport, designed and built in the roaring twenties before a Nazi-era expansion, again became a symbol of hope after WWII during the Berlin Airlift when American pilots used it to deliver food and goods to West Berliners blockaded by the Soviet army.
October 28, 2011

Inside the VitraHaus

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Basel, Switzerland, was crossing the border to visit the Vitra campus in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany, about 25 minutes from Basel, and exploring the VitraHaus. The five-story structure looks like seven longhouses stacked one on top of each other, and it houses the entire Vitra collection. The best part: you're encouraged to take a seat and test out all the pieces.
October 15, 2011
Touring Basel Switzerland part 2

Touring Basel, Switzerland, Part 2

Last month I traveled to Basel, Switzerland, a European city first founded during the Roman Empire and still boasting beautiful buildings constructed more than 1,000 years agos. In Touring Basel, Switzerland, Part 1, I explored the city's historic downtown, which is a mix of neo-Gothic cathedrals, knit graffiti, ancient bridges, and Richard Serra sculptures. In Part 2, we share the fun to be had in and around the Rhine and travel outside the city to the Vitra campus and the Laufen bathrooms factory.
October 12, 2011
Touring Basel Switzerland part 1

Touring Basel, Switzerland, Part 1

At the end of September, I hopped across the pond to visit Basel, Switzerland, and the nearby Laufen bathrooms factory and showroom. Basel is bisected by the Rhine and sits just south of the intersection of Switzerland, France, and Germany. In the ancient city, first settled during the days of the Roman Empire, you find a mix of soaring neo-Gothic cathedrals, Serra sculptures, knit graffiti, and more.
October 10, 2011