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This morning—smack dab in the middle of the London Design Festival—Design Museum London broke ground on its new building designed by Dutch firm OMA with interiors by architect John Pawson. Britain's stronghold of contemporary international design is moving quarters from its perch on the South Bank of the Thames to the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, a 1960s-era concrete shell. There isn't usually much to see at a groundbreaking besides, well, a patch of ground, but Design Museum went beyond, burying a time capsule to be opened in 2112. They invited the likes of Sir Terence Conran (the museum's founder), Zaha Hadid, and Norman Foster to submit items they deem of utmost importance to our time.*
It's hard to narrow down the highlights of a recent trip Dwell took to Belgium—a whirlwind week covering Antwerp, Ghent, and Brussels, spent meeting architects and designers, exploring neighborhoods, and scouting design shops and houses. Here are some of our favorite discoveries in Antwerp, a city that melds the medieval, Gothic, modernist, and breathtakingly contemporary with aplomb. Stay tuned for the rest of the best, including what we saw in Ghent and Brussels, posting on dwell.com later this week.
For "Gotta Bale," the Off the Grid story in our October 2012 issue, we visit the Santa Cruz, California, home of college professors Bernie Tershy and Erika Zavaleta. Though there's a lot that makes this Arkin Tilt Architects–designed home green, a key feature is the staw-bale insulation on the street-facing wall of the home. Arkin Tilt has a score of straw-bale houses under its belt and the firm shared a few behind-the-scenes shots with Dwell to help us understand just how Tershy and Zavaleta's house came together.
Charles Gwathmey’s residential masterpiece, a modest but pioneering home for his parents in the Hamptons, looks as fresh today as it did in 1965.
How an unfussy, nearly zero-energy family home in Santa Cruz, California, wound up with hay bales in the walls, a state-of-the-art heat pump system, and six very happy residents.
With its powder-coated frame, subtly beveled top, bright hues, and no-frills minimalist feel, the Feast in the House of Simon table is firmly planted in the present day. It might surprise you to learn, though, that it traces its roots to a c. 1475 oil-on-wood painting by Dutch artist Dieric Bouts.
Vermont-born architect Marcel Beaudin never planned to design buildings. Trained as a draftsman for the monuments his family’s granite-quarrying business produced, Beaudin was working as a junior designer of tombstones and mausoleums in New York when a fellow sculptor introduced him to Le Corbusier, who was in New York designing the United Nations headquarters at the time. Thirty seconds in Le Corbusier’s studio convinced Beaudin to drop his pursuit of sculpture and enroll in the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute in 1949.
Over 900 readers answered our call to share why they love design in our Love What You Do contest, presented in partnership with Dyson. We posted the entries for popular vote—on the line was a $5,000 grant for the winner—and received over 10,000 votes. Hanni Liliedahl Silacci of Monterey, California, stood out with her “Version of Existence” entry and was crowned the grand prize winner. Her words left no question to both readers and the Dwell staff of exactly why she is passionate about design.