Bottega Veneta Receives Backlash Over Berlin Show, and Other News

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

Kwes Darko, Skepta, Slowthai, and Alex Sossah arrive at Bottega Veneta’s Salon 02 presentation at Berghain in Berlin

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.

Bottega Veneta receives social media backlash for staging a fashion show in Berlin.

Bottega Veneta may have deleted its social media accounts to focus on more authentic ways of promoting its collections, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to criticism on Instagram. The Italian label recently received backlash for staging a secret fashion show at Berlin’s ultra-exclusive techno club Berghain despite the city’s recent lockdown orders and resurgence in Covid-19 cases. The criticism only intensified when videos of maskless guests partying at Berlin’s Soho House after the show leaked online, including a video of creative director Daniel Lee dancing behind the deck. A new Instagram account called @bottegavenetno is currently stockpiling all the footage.

Cambodians demand an apology from an artist who added smiles onto portraits of prisoners.

In Tuol Sleng, a prison-turned-museum in Cambodia, hundreds of stark black-and-white portraits on large panels depict terrified victims of the Khmer Rouge, the communist regime that murdered nearly 1.7 million Cambodians in the late 1970s. The Irish artist Matt Loughrey, who runs a business colorizing old photographs, recently doctored some of those portraits—in some cases, he even added smiles to their faces—in order to “humanize the tragedy.” Cambodians aren’t buying the explanation and are now demanding an apology from Loughrey, who has faced similar criticism for altering historical photographs in the past, and Vice Media, which published the images. “I want him to apologize to the Cambodian people and to me, a survivor,” Bou Meng, whose wife was killed in the prison, told the New York Times. “These are historical photos and I absolutely don’t want anyone changing them.”

CHAOS #1 Human (2021) by Urs Fischer

Despite tension with Gagosian, Urs Fischer sells an NFT for 100 times its estimate.

Urs Fischer recently auctioned his first NFT—an animation based on a 3D scan of a light encircling an egg—for nearly $98,000 on the platform Fair Warning. While this seems like a typical headline given the recent meteoric rise of NFTs within the art world, the project allegedly ruined Fischer’s relationship with longtime gallerist Gagosian. According to the Wall Street Journal, founder Larry Gagosian needed more time to explore the concept and wasn’t given enough time to prepare for the auction, which caused the blue-chip artist to seek new representation through Pace. Fischer’s NFT, called CHAOS, will be the first of 501 individual NFTs that he plans to roll out in due time.

In a stride toward sustainability, Nike will start refurbishing and selling old sneakers.

Nike will soon allow consumers to purchase officially refurbished sneakers. Part of the athletic brand’s latest sustainability initiative, the program will accept worn and unworn sneakers returned within a 60-day post-purchase window. Depending on the shoe’s condition, Nike will either restore them for discounted resale or recycle them into Nike grind materials for use elsewhere. While it signals Nike’s focus on reducing its carbon footprint, sustainability likely isn’t the focus here. It also shows how the brand seeks to close in on the resale market and unofficial custom editions, such as the controversial Lil Nas X “Satan Shoes” sold by MSCHF that culminated in an ugly legal battle. 

Jeuneville rendering by Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel plans a whole new neighborhood for the next generation of Parisians.

Et voilà! French architect Jean Nouvel imagined “Jeuneville,” a project that reinvents the way of living and working in greater Paris by combining diversity of uses and modularity of spaces. The vertical neighborhood with a low carbon footprint focuses on diversity and wellbeing for a specific new generation of Parisians and a new economy in the French capital. Scheduled for completion in 2025, “Jeuneville” is situated along the edge of the Seine in front of the Olympic and Paralympic villages. The project will welcome more than one million square feet of innovation-focused work spaces, as well as 32,300 square feet of public green spaces that are expected to make up a network of collective spaces for 6,000 people to work and 1,500 people to live. 

Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava is slated to build a new Taiwanese landmark. 

A multi-purpose facility designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava is slated to become a new landmark in northern Taiwan’s Taoyuan City. Commissioned by the Far Eastern Group, the Far Eastern International Convention Center will be situated near Yuan Ze University and will serve as a venue for exhibitions and cultural events. The development will be Calatrava’s first work in Taiwan, made possible by Douglas Hsu, chairman of the Far Eastern conglomerate.

Harry Potter covers reimagined by Michele de Lucchi

Today’s attractive distractions:

Michele de Lucchi reimagines Harry Potter covers through a design lens.

Enter Helen Uffner’s Hollywood-favorite emporium for period costumes.

Researchers develop the first wireless human brain–computer interface.

Hard at work on social justice projects, Frank Gehry is “too busy” to retire.

All Stories