The Design Dispatch offers expertly written and essential news from the design world crafted by our dedicated team. Think of it as your cheat sheet for the day in design delivered to your inbox before you’ve had your coffee. Subscribe now.
A Period Hotel in Baltimore Inspired By John Waters
Ash’s embrace of second cities and the idiosyncrasies of local culture is at the heart of its collection of boutique hotels whose originality stands out among its peers. First up was The Dean, the funky neighborhood hub housed in a revamped 1911 brick building that was once a brothel in Providence. Then came The Siren, in Detroit, a cabinet of curiosities full of eccentric treasures paying homage to the city’s industrial heyday and Italian cinema. The group’s third offering, Peter & Paul, inhabits a former 19th-century church and schoolhouse in New Orleans’ boho Marigny district and spurred a new era for the Big Easy’s tourism scene.
Ash’s 360-approach to hospitality—the firm designs, manages, operates, and owns all of its hotels—can be seen in the rich storytelling and strong point of view that makes its disparate portfolio feel cohesive. At the just-launched Ulysses, their tried-and-true playbook has proved successful again. Situated in Mount Vernon, Baltimore, Ulysses is layered with references to Art Deco movie palaces and the oeuvre of hometown hero John Waters. Like its sister properties, historical significance plays a central role—the hotel occupies the Italian Renaissance–style Latrobe Building, designed by architects Glidden & Friz in 1912.
Named after the ship Bavarian immigrants rode to Baltimore at the turn of the century and the iconic James Joyce novel, the 116 rooms are done up in four color schemes: red, yellow, green, and blue. From the handmade quilts inspired by the blocky motifs of the mid-1800s Baltimore Album Quilts to hand-beaded lampshades to the custom fragrance, a stay at Ulysses is an immersion into B-More’s heritage. The public spaces are equally imaginative. Ash Bar is an all-day bistro taking cues from steam train dining cars and European salons (think caesar salads, Bouillabaisse, and club sandwiches), while Bloom’s is a decadent cocktail lounge destined to become a new stomping ground for the nightlife set. “Life is nothing if you’re not obsessed,” Waters once said. Ash couldn’t have picked a better muse. —Nate Storey
Taller Capital takes home the Mies Crown Hall Prize’s annual Emerging Practice Award.
“The Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize has awarded the biennial Emerge Award to Loreta Castro Reguera and José Pablo Ambrosi of Mexico City-based architecture firm Taller Capital for their project, the Colosio Embankment Dam in Nogales, Mexico. The announcement follows the release of a shortlist of 10 selected projects in July. Now in its fourth cycle, the biennial MCHAP award was founded in 2012 at the Illinois Institute of Technology and named after the campus’s Mies Van der Rohe-designed centerpiece, Crown Hall. MCHAP Emerge is a corresponding acknowledgement to the main MCHAP award, focusing on projects from firms who have been in practice for 10 years or less.” [H/T Architectural Record]
A new campaign kicks off to help UK designers curb their environmental footprints.
“Pearson Lloyd and Britain’s Design Council are among the founding signatories of Design Declares, a new campaign launched at London Design Festival to help UK designers tackle their environmental footprint. Following on from adjacent industry campaigns such as Architects Declare, the initiative encourages studios from across the fields of digital, industrial, communication and service design to come together to declare a climate emergency. The eight founding signatories have also committed themselves to start measuring their own footprint and engage clients in discussions around climate change, using eight “acts of emergency” as a starting point.” [H/T Dezeen]
The first-ever NFT office building, designed by Integrated Projects, sells in New York.
“A developer purchased the first NFT office building in New York City. Located at 44 West 37th Street, the 50,000-square-foot NFT serves as an immutable digital asset that points to transforming how we design, build, operate, and monetize our spaces with only one-click. The 16-story building was created by spatial intelligence company Integrated Projects and questions the function of architecture in real estate and the metaverse.” [H/T ArchDaily]
Kengo Kuma reconstructs a Japanese bridge destroyed by major floods in 2018.
“Kengo Kuma and Associates has reconstructed a bridge destroyed by the Western Japan Flood in 2018. Located in the Osogoe area of Shuto Town, in Iwakuni, Kusugibashi is a wooden bridge that mixes traditional carpenters and computational design. This type of structure aims to be a symbol of renewal for the community. The design team decided to build the structure on a reinforced concrete frame, enriched with balustrades composed of 105 cypress pillars, in order to reduce the possibility of it being destroyed again.” [H/T Domus]
The sculptor and performance artist Senga Nengudi receives this year’s Nasher Prize.
The sculptor and performance artist Senga Nengudi, whose five-decade-long career has mined everyday materials to explore concepts of ritual, femininity, Blackness and the fragility of the body, is the winner of the 2023 Nasher Prize. The international award, in its sixth year, includes a $100,000 cash prize, an exhibition and a series of public events in Dallas in March and April. It is less a lifetime achievement award, said Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center, than a recognition of an artist with a significant body of work ‘who continues to speak with great force to the contemporary moment.’’ [H/T The New York Times]
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art pushes its opening back by two years to 2025.
“The $1-billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which is rising in Exposition Park, has pushed back its opening date from 2023 to 2025. The two-year delay, the museum says, is due to pandemic complications, specifically supply chain issues that have made the procuring of certain construction materials difficult. The museum broke ground in March 2018 and topped out in March 2021. In April 2021, the museum pushed its targeted 2022 debut by a year because of pandemic-related delays. COVID-19 health and safety protocols had slowed construction. Now, two more years are needed not only for construction, but also to make sure the finished building is suitable to house art.” [H/T Los Angeles Times]
Forensic Architecture uncovers new evidence in the shooting of an Al-Jazeera reporter.
“A report by the Turner Prize-nominated research agency Forensic Architecture and the human rights organization Al-Haq has reached a damning judgment on the shooting of the Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh. Drawing on new evidence and a spatial analysis of the site, Forensic Architecture and Al-Haq say they have “conclusively” demonstrated that Abu Akleh and other members of the press were deliberately targeted by Israeli forces on 11 May 2022 in Jenin. The findings were presented at a press conference at the International Center for Justice Palestine at the Hague.” [H/T The Art Newspaper]