Beatriz Cortez Sails a Steel Volcano up the Hudson, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

“Ilopango, the Volcano That Left” (2023) by Beatriz Cortez. Composite image by Michael Valiquette-EMPAC; photography by Phillip Byrne

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

Have a news story our readers need to see? Submit it here

Beatriz Cortez Sails a Steel Volcano up the Hudson

As the story goes, a sixth-century volcano blasted the skies of what’s now El Salvador and thrust the Mayan civilization into a yearlong winter. Its ashes blanketed the globe, drifting from the Americas to Antarctica. The L.A.-based artist Beatriz Cortez thinks of this ash as a sacred connection to the Mayan underworld—and pays tribute to it with a performative sculpture Ilopango, the Volcano that Left.

The steel volcano was welded in Saché, France, then shipped across the Atlantic to her studio for completion. On Oct. 27, the work will sail up the Hudson River from Storm King to the Troy campus of EMPAC-Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, with viewing points on both shores of the river and a livestream tracking the movement in an exploration of what sculptures carry with them as they change locations, and what they leave behind. —Jesse Dorris

The Lindemann Performing Arts Center at Brown University. Photography by Warren Jagger for Brown University

Brown University is preparing to open a new performing arts center designed by REX.

Brown University is preparing to inaugurate its new Lindemann Performing Arts Center. Designed by architecture firm REX, the 101,000-square-foot facility promotes collaboration by offering flexible spaces for both performance and instruction. It complements the adjacent Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, creating the Ronald O. Perelman Arts District, expanding the university’s footprint and providing the city with an additional cultural venue. The Lindemann Center’s design features an extruding fluted aluminum rain screen facade and includes versatile spaces like a main hall, rehearsal space, black-box theater, studios, practice rooms, and a cantilevering lobby.

The world’s third-oldest church sustains damage from a deadly rocket strike in Gaza.

The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Porphyrius, considered the world’s third-oldest church, sustained damage in an overnight airstrike while housing approximately 500 Christians and Muslims in the Zaytun Quarter of Gaza’s Old City. Palestinian officials reported 16 Christian Palestinians killed. The Israeli Defense Forces admitted to striking a nearby militant center but denied targeting the church directly. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem condemned the airstrike, holding Israel responsible. The church, initially built in the fifth century and later converted into a mosque, has historical significance and is known for its thick walls and ornate decorations, including the tomb of Saint Porphyrius.

Illustration of the plans for Stella McCartney’s house in Roshven, Scotland. Image courtesy of Brown & Brown Architects/public access statement

Stella McCartney’s plans to build a home on Scotland’s coastline draw ire from locals.

Stella McCartney’s plans to build a contemporary home on Scotland’s western coast are facing nearly 60 objections, primarily citing environmental concerns. The proposal, submitted by McCartney’s husband Alasdhair Willis through the Scottish architecture firm Brown & Brown, aims to create a modern dwelling while preserving the natural landscape. Locals have criticized the home’s size and choice of materials like glass and concrete, which they believe clash with the area’s vernacular. Environmental objections include the potential loss of mature Scots pines, damage to otter habitats, and concerns about public access to a nearby beach. The application is currently under consideration by the Highland Council.

Uzbekistan is launching an ambitious cultural agenda with major museum openings.

Uzbekistan, a former Soviet state known for its rich array of historic Islamic architecture along the Silk Road, is currently gearing up for major contemporary art museum openings and cultural events. Notable projects include the construction of a State Art Museum in Tashkent, designed by Tadao Ando, which is set to become Central Asia’s largest exhibition space. The Center for Contemporary Art in Tashkent, housed in a former diesel station and tram depot, is also undergoing renovation and is expected to open in 2024. This cultural resurgence is driven by economic interests, including participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, and aims to strengthen Uzbekistan’s cultural ties with the Middle East and the global art community.

Matter and Shape, a salon merging design and fashion, will debut in Paris next spring.

The Matter and Shape design salon will debut in Paris next spring, coinciding with Paris Fashion Week. The salon, founded by journalist Dan Thawley with support from Milanese consulting firm P:S and set in the Jardin des Tuileries, aims to bridge the worlds of design and fashion, offering a platform for design companies, fashion houses, independent makers, and galleries to showcase products available for immediate or short-lead deliveries. Unlike traditional design fairs, Matter and Shape focuses on meaningful displays and aims to facilitate commerce and cross-over between the design and fashion industries during Paris Fashion Week. The event will take place in a 32,000-square-foot temporary space with custom display stands, a design bookstore, a boutique, and a dedicated restaurant.

Image courtesy of Moët Chandon Collection Imperiale Creation No 1

Today’s attractive distractions:

Toy and game companies are using nostalgia to win back former customers.

A curious Dutch Design Week pop-up lets people trade in urine for bar soap.

Uber is offering hot air balloon rides in Turkey as part of a new tourism push.

Moët & Chandon toasts 280 years with bottles designed by Daniel Arsham.

All Stories