Design Digest: Yayoi Kusama, Gucci ArtLab, a Powerful Lynching Memorial, and More

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Keep up with the design world: Yayoi Kusama redirects her dot obsession to flowers, a powerful memorial in Alabama honors victims of lynching, Gucci unveils a futuristic art center—and more.

Yayoi Kusama Plays Up Her Flower Obsession at the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial

At her latest exhibit for the inaugural National Gallery of Victoria Triennial, acclaimed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama redirected her dot obsession toward a flower motif with her installation titled Flower Obsession (2017). Guests were given artificial gerbera daisies and flower stickers to place on any surface of their choosing in the faux apartment. Below is a glimpse at what the space looked like by the end of the triennial’s four-month run—it ended on April 18th.

(cover image by Eugene Hyland)

The installation revisits the origins of Kusama’s art, which she traces back to her childhood. "One day, after gazing at a pattern of red flowers on the tablecloth, I looked up to see that the ceiling, the windows, and the columns seemed to be plastered with the same red floral pattern. I saw the entire room, my entire body, and the entire universe covered with red flowers, and in that instant, my soul was obliterated … this was not an illusion, but reality itself," the artist explains in a press statement. 

The installation revisits the origins of Kusama’s art, which she traces back to her childhood. "One day, after gazing at a pattern of red flowers on the tablecloth, I looked up to see that the ceiling, the windows, and the columns seemed to be plastered with the same red floral pattern. I saw the entire room, my entire body, and the entire universe covered with red flowers, and in that instant, my soul was obliterated … this was not an illusion, but reality itself," the artist explains in a press statement. 

Gucci Reveals a Futuristic Center For Creativity, Craftsmanship, and Sustainability 

The iconic Italian brand has just unveiled its ArtLab—a new 398,000-square-foot facility located on the outskirts of Florence, which will serve as a center for the production of both leather goods and shoes. 

The revolutionary new space features a large, bold red staircase on the interior, and a vibrant, hand-painted facade featuring artwork by young talents who have recently worked with the house, including Unskilled Worker, Ignasi Monreal, Angelica Hicks, and Coco Capitan. 

via Wallpaper

The ArtLab acts as a space for in-house prototyping and sampling. Populated with R&D laboratories, there is a bamboo room dedicated to leather goods, test labs with climate chambers, and an internal shoe-lasting department. 

The ArtLab acts as a space for in-house prototyping and sampling. Populated with R&D laboratories, there is a bamboo room dedicated to leather goods, test labs with climate chambers, and an internal shoe-lasting department. 

Common Seating Offers Architect-Designed Sofas at Affordable Prices

Danish brand Common Seating is on a mission to offer couches designed by some of the world's top designers and architects at accessible prices.

Using Kvadrat fabrics, a high-design aesthetic, and the firm belief that good design should also be affordable, the new collection launched with a selection of minimal styles from Chris L. Halstrøm (designer of the Georg collection for Skagerak), Studio David Thulstrup (designer of the Vipp Loft), and Geckeler Michels (designers of Muutu's Nerd chairs).

Upcoming collections will feature work from Bjarke Ingels Group, Shop Architects, and Baum Und Pferdgarten.

"We were inspired by a wooden bench and the desire to be able to take a good nap in it. Armrests often seem to be in the way of a good position for napping, so we decided to add this function into the armrest, so it would also become a headrest. The result is an armrest that functions as a perfect pillow to rest your head on as well," says Studio David Thulstrup.

"We were inspired by a wooden bench and the desire to be able to take a good nap in it. Armrests often seem to be in the way of a good position for napping, so we decided to add this function into the armrest, so it would also become a headrest. The result is an armrest that functions as a perfect pillow to rest your head on as well," says Studio David Thulstrup.

Inspired by Streetwear, IKEA's Latest Collection Includes Their First Skateboard

The Swedish superstore has teamed up with Los Angeles–based fashion designer Chris Stamp and freelance designer Maja Ganszyniec for a limited collection called SPÄNST that is scheduled to launch in May. Inspired by street fashion and an active lifestyle,  SPÄNST will feature furniture, accessories, and even a skateboard. 


via Ikea

"I grew up surfing and skating. Here in So Cal, skating is more than transportation. It’s a culture and an intimate part of the Stampd DNA. I’m honored to get the opportunity to design the first skateboard ever at IKEA," explains Chris Stamp.

"I grew up surfing and skating. Here in So Cal, skating is more than transportation. It’s a culture and an intimate part of the Stampd DNA. I’m honored to get the opportunity to design the first skateboard ever at IKEA," explains Chris Stamp.

A Powerful Lynching Memorial Opens in Alabama

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened last week in Montgomery, Alabama, and serves as the nation’s first memorial dedicated to "the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence." 

Designed by Mass Design Group in collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative, the memorial is a powerful composition of 800 corten steel monuments—one for each county in the United States where a racial terror lynching took place. The names of the lynching victims are also engraved on the columns.

via the Equal Justice Initiative

Set on a six-acre site, the memorial uses sculpture, art, and design to contextualize racial terror. The EJI partnered with artists like Kwame Akoto-Bamfo, Dana King, and Hank Willis Thomas to create a meaningful place where people can gather and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality. 

Set on a six-acre site, the memorial uses sculpture, art, and design to contextualize racial terror. The EJI partnered with artists like Kwame Akoto-Bamfo, Dana King, and Hank Willis Thomas to create a meaningful place where people can gather and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality.