Beyoncé and Balmain Drop a “Wearable Album” of Couture, and Other News

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“Church Girl” from Renaissance Couture by Beyoncé x Balmain. Photography by Louie Banks, courtesy of Balmain

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Beyoncé and Balmain Drop a “Wearable Album” of Couture

Ever since she surprise-dropped her self-titled record in 2013, Beyoncé has rewritten the rulebook on album rollouts. She’s widely credited with pioneering the visual album—a concept the superstar revisited on 2016’s epic Lemonade—and her unbothered theatrics guarantee each record will provoke a cultural reset. The same holds true today. Her first concert since releasing last year’s acclaimed Renaissance controversially christened an outrageous resort in Dubai with an invite-only performance. While fans have pined for visuals since the release, they got something much more monumental: a “wearable album” thanks to a collaboration with Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing.

First appearing on the cover of French Vogue, the one-of-a-kind haute couture collection features one look for each of Renaissance’s 16 tracks. It’s essentially a playlist of couture: “Alien Superstar” is a glittering bodysuit; the steamy lyrics of “Church Girl” manifest in a black-and-red velvet cape. Given how the album is a sweaty dance-floor tour de force that pays tribute to Black queer culture, it’s fitting that Beyoncé entrusted longtime collaborator Rousteing. “Everything he did as a Black seamstress to break down and open doors was inspirational,” she says. The collection is a one-off and won’t be for sale, but its existence alone reveals Beyoncé’s creative achievements may have even further heights to scale. —Ryan Waddoups

Kolberger 5 by David Chipperfield Architects. Photography by Simon Menges

David Chipperfield unveils a materially rich apartment building in central Munich.

David Chipperfield Architects has unveiled Kolberger 5, a 12-unit apartment complex located in Munich’s Bogenhausen neighborhood. Developed in-house by the Pritzker Prize winner and his then-design director, Mark Randel, the project represents a rawer design language than usual. The use of real stone, wood, and other natural materials adds to the units’ sense of understated luxury, compounded by sweeping views of nearby parklands and city spires. Highlights include a sculptural oak ziggurat winding upwards through a skylit void, carved soaker tubs made of raw Travertine Paradiso blocks, and serpentine gardens outside.  

Kering’s Materials Innovation Lab will help mentor emerging designers at Pitti Uomo. 

Kering’s Materials Innovation Lab (MIL) will team with Pitti Immagine to promote sustainable fashion practices and cultivate the next generation of designers. MIL will support ten brands in Pitti Uomo’s S/Style Sustainable Style section by mentoring them on eco-friendly materials and processes, such as upcycling, bio-based textiles, and eco-certifications. Recognizing the sustainability challenges faced by emerging brands, the partnership jumpstarts their venture and offers practical help in integrating cutting-edge innovation into their design process.

The Anahuacalli Museum expansion by Taller | Mauricio Rocha. Phtography by Rafael Gamo/Onnis Luque

This year’s Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize goes to Mexican architect Mauricio Rocha.

The winner of the 2023 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), which honors architectural achievement in North and South America, goes to Mexican architect Mauricio Rocha for his studio’s expansion of the Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City. Rocha’s additions of flat-roofed, rectangular pavilions in volcanic stone and concrete complement the older, more vertical building, generating an interplay of light, shadows, and visual lines that adapts to the general geometry of the buildings and the landscape.

Demas Nwoko will receive the Golden Lion award at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Demas Nwoko, the Nigerian artist, designer, architect, and master builder, has been awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 18th Venice Biennale. Nwoko was at the forefront of Nigeria’s Modern Art movement, with his works incorporating modern techniques in architecture and stage design to showcase African subject matter. The awards ceremony and inauguration will take place on May 20 at Ca’ Giustinian, the biennale’s headquarters.

The futuristic Saudi Arabian megacity NEOM plans to launch its own airline in 2024.

The futuristic Saudi Arabian megacity NEOM plans to launch its own airline by the end of 2024, claiming to offer tourists, residents, and business partners a sustainable, immersive, and digitally enhanced flying experience. The airline will upgrade existing equipment and technology initially, with plans to invest in next-generation electric, hydrogen, or supersonic aircraft from 2026 onwards. NEOM Airlines aims to ensure that every flight is operated with sustainable fuel and is committed to sustainability in every aspect of its operation, from sourcing local food to eliminating single-use plastics.

Banksy’s Louise Michele. Image courtesy MV Louise Michel

Italian authorities have detained Louise Michele, Banksy’s migrant rescue ship

Italian authorities have seized a rescue ship funded by Banksy, the British street artist, that had been used to save hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean. The MV Louise Michel was reportedly detained without a written explanation after delivering 180 rescued people to the Italian island of Lampedusa, a key entry point to Europe for migrants from Africa and the Middle East. Activists allege the vessel was detained because of a law passed by Italy’s far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni that restricts humanitarian rescue operations at sea.

Sotheby’s cancels a glitch art NFT auction over a lack of female-identifying artists. 

Sotheby’s has canceled its “Natively Digital: Glitch-ism” auction after artist Patrick Amadon withdrew his art, citing a lack of representation of female-identifying artists. The glitch art collection should have been more inclusive, said Amadon, adding that female-identifying artists have played a major role in the glitch movement. The auction house will redress the imbalance in representation within the sale and restart with a more equitable and diverse group of artists at a later date.

Speakers by Shunsuke Kawasaki

Today’s attractive distractions:

Shunsuke Kawasaki’s sculptural speakers resemble tiny industrial robots.

Experts think the Eiffel Tower may have inspired Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

An astounding composite of 90,000 images reveals the sun’s atmosphere.

Fashion brands are relying on Uovo to preserve their glamorous gowns.

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