Design Digest: A Guggenheim Gallery in Tulum, a Donated Frank Lloyd Wright House, and More

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Here are the design headlines you need to know, including a new gallery in Tulum with Guggenheim family ties, Cranbrook's acquisition of a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house, the opening of Fondazione Prada Torre—and more.

Peggy Guggenheim's Great-Grandson Opens a Gallery in Tulum

The great-grandson of legendary art collector Peggy Guggenheim has opened a gallery at Azulik, a luxury eco-resort in Tulum, Mexico. Built out of cement and locally sourced wood, the gallery—called IK Lab—is elevated in the surrounding tree canopy, which provides an unconventional backdrop for the artwork. Santiago Rumney Guggenheim, a Tulum local, proposed the idea to Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel, the resort's founder and designer, and together they launched Alignments, the inaugural exhibition. 

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Sterkel's design for IK Lab continues the environmentally friendly spirit of the resort. Tree branches support the wavy canopy, while smaller sticks arranged in a diagonal pattern allow light to filter through. Large, round windows perforate the interior, and the floor is covered with a local, vine-like plant called Bejuco wood. 

Sterkel's design for IK Lab continues the environmentally friendly spirit of the resort. Tree branches support the wavy canopy, while smaller sticks arranged in a diagonal pattern allow light to filter through. Large, round windows perforate the interior, and the floor is covered with a local, vine-like plant called Bejuco wood. 

Cranbrook Adds a Frank Lloyd Wright House to its Complex

Renowned design school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Cranbrook is getting a new Frank Lloyd Wright house through a donation from the Towbes Foundation. The Usonian-style home was built in 1950 for Sara and Melvyn Maxwell Smith. "The Smith family always said they didn’t want this to just pass to another set of homeowners," said Gregory Wittkopp, director of the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research. "The phrase they used was they wanted it to be ‘an educational resource.’" Cranbrook will open the Smith House several times a month for tours from May to November. Both Detroit public schoolteachers, the Smiths asked Wright in 1941 if he could design a home for just $5,000—which would be about $88,000 today. Wright said he might be able to do it for $8,000, but when the house was finished nine years later, the price tag hit $20,000.  

via The Detroit News

"At the time of construction," said Wittkopp, "[the Smiths] were living in public housing in Detroit and each making $35 a week as schoolteachers." To keep costs down, Melvyn Smith acted as his own contractor, and Frank Lloyd Wright relied on photographs and topographical surveys to design the structure rather than making a costly site visit. (He eventually visited after the home was finished.)

"At the time of construction," said Wittkopp, "[the Smiths] were living in public housing in Detroit and each making $35 a week as schoolteachers." To keep costs down, Melvyn Smith acted as his own contractor, and Frank Lloyd Wright relied on photographs and topographical surveys to design the structure rather than making a costly site visit. (He eventually visited after the home was finished.)

Fondazione Prada Opens an Art Tower in Milan

Torre, the building which completes Fondazione Prada, recently opened to the public during Milan's epic 2018 design week. The white concrete structure towers over the converted industrial site—a former gin distillery—on the southern edge of the city, and was designed by architecture firm OMA and overseen by Muccia Prada herself. Uniquely illuminated stairwells, a polished mirror cloakroom, chartreuse-colored bathrooms, and trapezoidal gallery spaces are just some of the character-filled touches. The debut exhibition includes work from Jeff Koons, Walter De Maria, Damien Hirst, and John Baldessari. A restaurant, also called Torre, is furnished with pieces obtained at last year's auction of items from Philip Johnson's Four Seasons restaurant in New York.

via Dezeen

The opening of the Torre marks the completion of the Fondazione Prada arts center.

The opening of the Torre marks the completion of the Fondazione Prada arts center.


East Fork's New Line of Ceramics Features Irresistible Earthy Shades

Asheville, North Carolina-based East Fork ceramics just launched their new spring glazes: Utah, a peachy terracotta; and Taro, an earthy lilac.  Handcrafted in their mountain workshop, the new glazes complement the line's neutral palette: Eggshell, Soapstone, and Morel. Designed to be mixed and matched or act as stand-alone pieces, the seasonally inspired ceramics line features glazes rarely found in traditional stoneware. The collection is designed collaboratively by cofounders Connie and Alex Matisse (the great-grandson of Henri Matisse) and John Vigeland. The full collection is available for purchase in their Asheville store and online

The team’s glaze chemist spends four to six months developing each matte glaze, testing for a myriad of variables, from color accuracy to density. 

The team’s glaze chemist spends four to six months developing each matte glaze, testing for a myriad of variables, from color accuracy to density. 

Shop the Look
East Fork Pottery Mug
East Fork Pottery Mug
Mugs are one of those things that tend to pile up in your cupboard. You get one from a gift shop at a National Park, another at a holiday gift exchange, another at a craft fair.
East Fork Pottery Incense Burner
East Fork Pottery Incense Burner
Incense Burner, made in East Fork Pottery's workshop on the wheel with 100% North Carolina Clay.
East Fork Pottery Large Egg Vase
East Fork Pottery Large Egg Vase
Our favorite vase for a farmer's market bouquet.




A Finnish Nonprofit Wants to Carve Trump's Face in Ice

Project Trumpmore aims to demonstrate climate change in a monumental way. A Finnish NGO wants to commission a 115-foot-tall ice sculpture of Donald Trump’s face in the Arctic region to demonstrate the effects of global warming. Like the former U.S. presidents on Mount Rushmore, Donald Trump will have his face carved onto an arctic glacier, only to gradually melt. Estimating that Project Trumpmore might cost over $478,000 if done responsibly, the organization plans to crowdsource funds. 

"Global warming is one of the most important issues and topics of today," says Nicolas Prieto, chairman of Melting Ice, the association behind Project Trumpmore. "There are still people who ponder whether it’s a real issue. We want to build the monument for all of us, so we can see how long the sculpture lasts before melting. Often people only believe something when they see it with their own eyes."

"Global warming is one of the most important issues and topics of today," says Nicolas Prieto, chairman of Melting Ice, the association behind Project Trumpmore. "There are still people who ponder whether it’s a real issue. We want to build the monument for all of us, so we can see how long the sculpture lasts before melting. Often people only believe something when they see it with their own eyes."