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MC Barragan Sign Crop

Mexico City: Day 4

My fourth and final day in Mexico City was a real treat: the perfect blend of making a few new friends and finally clapping eyes on a building that feels like an old pal. I met up with graphic designer Alex Quinto at my hotel and we zipped (well, no one really zips in Mexico City traffic) to the house and studio of the great Mexican modernist Luis Barragan. We saw two of his designs, stopped downtown to walk around a bit more, and then met architect Lucio Muniain at his home for lunch. It was a great meal and I certainly had plenty to reflect on during my excriciatingly slow crawl to the airport for my evening flight. Have a look at the slideshow.
December 7, 2010
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Friday Finds 12.3.2010

From LED-clad Christmas trees to the streets of Tokyo, we have a bevy of goodies to get you into the weekend spirit.
December 3, 2010
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Mexico City: Day 3

My third day of Mexico City design tourism was one fraught with camera woes. Not only did many of the photos I took on my daylong wander not come through a vexing download (goodbye morning walk through Polanco) but I managed to even leave my camera in the taxi that took me to the massive handicrafts market La Ciudadela! So I've got no photos of that, though I am happy to report that Senor Romero who took me to La Ciudadela and agreed to pick me up an hour and a half later was waiting for me with my untouched camera on the backseat! I did nonetheless get a few snaps of two of the highlights of my trip: a fabulous Mexican meal at the high-end hacienda the San Angel Inn and the Diego Rivera and Frida Kalho house and studios right next door. Have a look.
December 1, 2010
MC Mescal Crop

Mexico City: Day 2

My second day of design tourism in Mexico City was as good as the first, in no small part because I had what may have been the best meal of my life at the restaurant Pujol. Chef Enrique Olvera treated us to a dizzying array of courses all paired with a wine, beer, tequila, cocktail, or mescal. If I picked up any bug at all in Mexico it was gout. Delicious. Have a look at the slideshow to see ceramics, furniture, food, hotels, and me eating crickets. All photos were taken by the wonderfully talented Gabriela Prado.
November 29, 2010
Outside the Box

Outside the Box: Cardboard Design

Cardboard has fully wiggled out of its boxy stereotype (Frank Gehry's 1971 Wiggle Chair is early evidence) and today plays a role in everything from packaging and product design to furniture and architecture. A new book by London-based Black Dog Publishing released this fall celebrated the corrugated material by featuring it in its many new contexts. Here we take a peak inside the book, Outside the Box: Cardboard Design Now. As author Michael Czerwinski says in the introduction, "cardboard is now fully empowered and primed as a creative medium, design solution, or eco warrior."
November 25, 2010
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NC Museum of Art Expansion

The North Carolina Museum of Art recently unveiled a new building to house its permanent collection: a 127,000-square-foot, light-filled structure designed by New York-based architects Thomas Phifer and Partners (stay tuned for a profile on Phifer in our March issue!). Known as the West Building, the new structure is surrounded by gardens and courtyards, filled with day-lit exhibition galleries, and accessed by four different doors, enabling visitors to move easily between the galleries and gardens. Here's an architectural tour from photographer Scott Frances.
November 24, 2010
Mexico City Dog Crop

Mexico City: Day 1

On Thursday I headed down to Mexico City for four days of sheer design tourism. Things got underway that night with a molecular gastronomy feast the Polanco restaurant Oca. Parsley foam, man. Parsley foam. After that our small group of journalists retired to the W Hotel (which had a hammock in the bathroom!) for a good night's sleep. Click through the slideshow to see what we got up to on our first day of Mexico City design.
November 24, 2010
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Startin' Spartan

When Jay Atherton and Cy Keener met in grad school at the University of California, Berkeley, they discovered in each other a rare constellation of common interests: minimalist architecture, rock climbing, and “not talking.” After graduation, Atherton moved back to his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, and purchased a downtown lot. Wanting to build a house, he asked Keener—–a pro carpenter, then living in Colorado—–to help with design and construction. Six months later, “His house became our house,” says Keener. “It became obvious the only way it would get built was if I shared the mortgage.” Atherton cackles: “I suckered him down here.” The roommates are now business partners: They founded a design firm, Atherton Keener, in 2007. On a 110-degree day, they invited us in for a tour.   
November 22, 2010
Henry Urbach

Urbach on How Wine Became Modern

This weekend, the much anticipated new show How Wine Became Modern opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Before the final finishes were added, we had the chance to take a tour with Henry Urbach, the SFMOMA's curator of architecture and design and exhibit's creator. Here we find out what went into putting the show together, what the hoopla is all about, and what it really means that wine has become modern.
November 22, 2010