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tom priice meltdown chair

Tom Price's Meltdown Chair

While perusing the blogosphere today, I clicked my way to this demystifying video on British designer Tom Price's Meltdown chair. Price is a practitioner of the common-materials-cum-high-design camp (think the Campana Brothers and Kwangho Lee) and in his Meltdown series, which began in 2008, he's taken scorching heat to swaths of polypropylene sheets, piles of fleece jackets, skeins of plastic rope, and yards of PVC hoses. Though his work is well known by now, his production methods were still a mystery to me. It all started when he thought about a rather simple act: singeing the end of a rope to prevent it from fraying. In this video, Price talks about how the design process starts (would you have guesed that he starts by wrapping rope around a beach ball?), the mid-century design icon that provides the form of the heated mold that deliquesces the seat, and why he's happy to sit in the grey area between design and art.
November 3, 2011
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Q&A with Artspace Founder

If the "Introduction to Art Collecting" story in our December/January 2011 issue whet your appetite for art acquisition—or if you simply have a blank wall crying out for some decoration—take a look at, founded this past March. The site bills itself as "the premier online marketplace for contemporary art," and it's certainly impressive, taking web shopping to a whole new level. With a couple clicks (and several thousand dollars) you can own a limited-edition print by Takashi Murakami or Louise Bourgeois, a watercolor by Marcel Dzama, or any number of artworks among the hundreds of pieces featured on the site at any given time. Membership to the site is free, and artworks start at $200. Herewith, some questions for (and answers from) Catherine Levene, Artspace's co-founder and CEO.
November 3, 2011
"Super Lamp" Martine Bedin. © V&A Images. Painted metal, lighting components.

"Postmodernism" at the V&A Museum

"Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990," on view at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum through January 15th 2012, is the first major exhibition to take a long, hard look at the most transformative—and contentious—aesthetic movement of the late twentieth century, one that continues to resonate (for better and for worse) throughout architecture, design, fine art, and popular culture. With over 250 objects tracing the movement from its tentative beginnings through its explosive heyday to its decline (at the hands of commercialization), the exhibition makes a powerful case for the postmodernism's game-changing significance. On a recent afternoon, Glenn Adamson, the show’s co-curator (with Jane Pavitt), gave Dwell a tour, and discussed some of "Postmodernism’s" highlights and the thinking behind their inclusion.
October 17, 2011
Vitra Campus part two

Touring Vitra Campus, Part 2

Vitra's Weil-am-Rhein, Germany, campus boasts not only the production facilities of the famous furniture manufacturer but also numerous iconic buildings by world-renowned architects. In Touring Vitra Campus, Part 1, we explored Jasper Morrison's bus shelters, Frank Gehry's Vitra Design Museum and factory building, Herzog & de Meuron's VitraHaus, Buckminster Fuller's dome, Jean Prouvé's petrol station, and SANAA's soon-to-be-completed factory. Here, we continue the tour with a look at Álvaro Siza's factory building and peeks inside Zaha Hadid's Fire Station (her first building in Europe) as well as Tadao Ando's Conference Pavilion.
October 4, 2011
Fire Station 39 by Miller Hull Partnership

Hot Houses

When Seattle’s fire stations needed an overhaul, the city selected local architects to give these ultimate live/work spaces a modern-minded update. Seattle, Washington, firefighters don’t need to bunk next to their trucks anymore. Thirteen architecture firms so far have been hired as part of a $300 million program to upgrade all 32 neighborhood stations by 2015 (20 substantial renovations and 12 new constructions), and each proposed a sustainable new style of fire-station living.
September 27, 2011
All photographs by Brett W. Messenger. © 2011 The Museum of Modern Art.

"Foreclosed" Open Studio at PS1

Back in May, New York’s Museum of Modern Art kicked off a nearly yearlong series of presentations, workshops, and public symposia on the topic of America’s ongoing foreclosure crisis. Out of this dense thicket of discourse will emerge a new exhibition, “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream,” scheduled to open early next year. It follows last year’s “Rising Currents” show in MoMA’s Issues in Contemporary Architecture series and—part of a longstanding tradition of public engagement by the museum’s Department of Architecture & Design—“Foreclosed” is set to feature ambitious ideas for reshaping the ragged social and economic landscape of the nation’s suburbs.
September 27, 2011
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Geenen + Hoon at Aram Gallery

Curated by Héloise Park at the Aram Gallery, the Geenen & Hoon exhibition brings together two young furniture makers who approach design through structure—but from opposite ends of the nature-nurture spectrum. It is a good-looking show filled with the artifacts capable of depicting the design process succinctly: sketches, models, maquettes, prototypes and even machine-like molds. “I’m not just making up shapes. I’m letting the shapes be defined by natural forces,” explains Bram Geenen, a graduate of Utrecht’s HKU who is now based in Amsterdam. Geenen often works in collaboration with tech companies and begins by repurposing their cutting-edge production techniques or materials, but winds up with organic forms derived from physics and the properties of his materials and “better, stronger, lighter, more sustainable products,” he says. “Today any shape you can imagine, you can build. It forces me to be very careful and honest in choosing my forms.” London-based Il Hoon Roh, trained at the Architectural Association and as a product designer at the Royal College of Art, works from the point-of-view of nature and ends up with extraordinary machines that produce elastically oozing forms. His table on show has aesthetic qualities but its form actually illustrates how forces flow from the table top to the ground, he says. “The forms of nature are not accidental at all. The organic beauty is there for a reason.”
September 26, 2011
London Scin

London Design Festival: Day 3

My third day traipsing about London for the Design Festival had me venturing east again, starting my day in Clerkenwell (that's pronounced CLARK-en-well, I learned) and then, as ever, heading back over to Shoreditch for the press preview of the much-hyped Tramshed show. I'll tell you now, it was worth it. Here's what I saw.
September 23, 2011
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London Design Festival: Day 1

Fighting a bit of jetlag and a few high-design, low-usefulness maps, I headed to the Brompton Design District for my first day of the London Design Festival. I started at festival headquarters, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and from there must have seen fifteen different exhibits. Here are the highlights.
September 20, 2011