Chicago’s Bell Works Gets an Airy Refresh, and Other News

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The Square at Bell Works Chicagoland by NPZ Studio. Image courtesy NPZ Studio

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Chicago’s Bell Works Gets an Airy Refresh, and Other News

The Ameritech Center in Hoffman Estates, just outside Chicago, was completed in 1990, and feels that way: a postmodern riff on a chateau, the massive complex is a relic of the decade’s suburban dream of the corporate campus. Times change, of course, and the one-time AT&T research facility has been reincarnated as Bell Works Chicagoland, the latest rethink of Bell Laboratories by the brand’s lead designer and creative director Paola Zamudio. 

Zamudio’s own firm, NPZ Studio, led the effort, after successfully transforming Eero Saarinen’s two-million-square-foot midcentury masterpiece in Holmdel into Bell Works New Jersey—and into what she calls a “metroburb” amalgamation of workplace and culture hub. The Chicagoland space is a bit smaller at 1.65 million square feet, but as big of a swing. “The Block” forms a central corridor of art and hospitality amenities for the complex’s various tenants, which range from law offices to real estate and brokerage firms. Each end is anchored by a “Square,” an airy gathering place boasting swoopy benches and friendly soft seating in primary colors that wink to the postmodern vibe of the past. —Jesse Dorris

The PlasticFree database by A Plastic Planet

A Plastic Planet launches a database with info about numerous plastic alternatives. 

Environmental charity A Plastic Planet has launched PlasticFree, an online platform aiming to help designers source plastic-free materials. The subscription-based service offers in-depth reports on more than 100 plastic alternatives, including their properties, production, and sourcing. It also provides case studies on how these materials are being used and allows users to create Pinterest-style mood boards for their projects. The platform’s ultimate goal is to help eradicate one trillion pieces of plastic waste from the global economy by 2025. “I don’t think designers have been trained for what is expected of them today,” founder Sian Sutherland told Dezeen. “So we wanted to create an absolutely authoritative, unbiased, material-agnostic platform that designers can use to learn about materials and their systems.”

Zara accuses fashion label Thilikó of passing off Zara’s clothes and photos as its own.

Zara and its parent company Inditex have accused Thilikó, LLC and its owner, Queenie Williams, of engaging in copyright infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, and deceptive trade acts in order to mislead consumers about the source and nature of their apparel and accessories. The two companies have filed a complaint in a federal court in New York, alleging that Thilikó has built a business by passing off Zara’s fast fashion wares as their own, including by acquiring Zara garments, removing the Zara tags and replacing them with ones that bear the Thilikó name, and passing those goods off as its own, complete with exorbitant mark-ups. Zara and Inditex claim Thilikó has taken the copyrighted photographs from Zara’s website and misused them to advertise and sell the “misbranded products.”

A rendering of the National Juneteenth Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Image courtesy BIG–Bjarke Ingels Group and Atchain

A massive overnight fire has destroyed the original Juneteenth Museum in Fort Worth.

Last week, a fire destroyed the original Juneteenth Museum, an institution started by civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Opal Lee. The museum, which was located in a residential building in Fort Worth, Texas, opened nearly 20 years ago to commemorate the holiday of Juneteenth, which celebrates news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching Texas on June 19, 1865. Lee had been instrumental in establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday and had been managing the museum for 20 years. No artifacts were destroyed as the museum has been gearing up for construction of a new state-of-the-art facility designed by Surface cover star Bjarke Ingels that’s slated to open on the site by 2025. 

Studio KO will curate Uzbekistan’s pavilion at the next Venice Architecture Biennale.

Studio KO is curating the Uzbekistan National Pavilion at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, under the theme “Unbuild Together.” The exhibition aims to explore Uzbekistan’s architectural heritage as a tool for developing a more sustainable future. The project will focus on the ruins of Qalas, an ancient fortress, and will involve the exploration of traditional materials such as bricks, soil, and clay with the help of students and professors from Ajou University in Tashkent. “By examining the architectural remains of past societies, we can gain insight into the values, beliefs, and technologies that shaped their worlds,” says Gayane Umerova, director of the Art and Culture Development Foundation of Uzbekistan.

Forensic sketch artists are toying with new technology to bring their subjects to life.

Forensic sketch artists are increasingly turning to digital media to bring their subjects to life with technology that lets them work faster and makes it easier for witnesses to work with them. Artists are opening up to a hybrid system of drawing on paper and then uploading the photo onto an iPad to work on adjustments, says Duncan Way, the forensic artist for the Ontario Provincial Police and the chair of the Forensic Art Certification Board of the International Association for Identification. No matter the medium, however, Way says proper training to understand the human face—lighting facial muscles and bones—is crucial.

One of Digital Village’s metaverse environments. Image courtesy of Digital Village

L’Oréal invests in a metaverse startup that lets brands build their own virtual spaces.

Beauty giant L’Oréal has made its initial foray into the metaverse by investing in Digital Village, a “metaverse-as-a-service” platform that allows brands to develop blockchain-enabled 3D spaces. The minority investment, made through L’Oréal’s corporate venture capital fund, BOLD, will be used to expand the platform’s capabilities, “adding new tools to power 3D world development, advanced avatar customization, and virtual store creation.” Camille Kroely, L’Oréal’s chief metaverse and web3 officer, said that Digital Village’s tools “will be powerful enablers for our brands,” adding they share similar ideals of “sustainability, accessibility, and interoperability in the metaverse or Web3.”

A TikTok video claiming the Mona Lisa was stolen causes mass confusion online.

A TikTok video posted by user @narvanator, which joked about the Mona Lisa being stolen, went viral and caused confusion among many viewers who believed it to be true. The video shows a succession of police cars going by what appears to be the Arc de Triomphe and the caption “POV: your [sic] in Paris when the Mona Lisa has been stolen.” Despite the Mona Lisa being stolen once in 1911, it is currently safe and on display at the Louvre. Some users have drawn inspiration from the original TikTok and created fake videos of the painting being stolen.

Three potential outfits for M3gan. Images courtesy of Universal Pictures

Today’s attractive distractions:

NASA discovers opals on the surface of Mars, suggesting water reserves. 

This Canadian ski area farms snow using highly specialized equipment.

The murderous doll in M3gan’s sartorial choices elicited strong reactions.

Some film sets are turning to therapy as a balm for stressful productions.

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