Christie’s and Sotheby’s Are Now Accepting Crypto, and Other News

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

Untitled (1984) by Keith Haring, available at Christie's upcoming “London to Paris” sale

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.

Christie’s and Sotheby’s are now accepting cryptocurrency, including for a $5.4 million Keith Haring.

The auction houses will now take Ether and Bitcoin, signaling cryptocurrency’s continuing inroads into the high-end art market. Christie’s contemporary head Alex Rotter made the announcement on Instagram in advance of its upcoming “London to Paris” sale on June 30, where a Keith Haring painting is expected to fetch between $5.4 million to $6.2 million. The Sotheby’s announcement comes in advance of the launch of its new “Luxury Edit” series in Asia, on July 9, which will offer jewels, watches, handbags, and sneakers. There, a 101.38-carat, D color flawless diamond will be offered in a single-lot live auction. The pear-shaped diamond is estimated to sell for $10 million to $15 million, the highest price ever for the purchase of a physical object with non-traditional tender. “The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency. Never was there a better moment to bring a world-class diamond such as this to the market,” says Wenhao Yu, Sotheby’s deputy chairman of jewelry in Asia.

The private members club Soho House plans a New York IPO despite its lack of profitability. 

Although it never turned a profit, U.K.–based Soho House used its cache to expand its private clubs all over the world and launch a home decor line. Now the brand plans to cash in that cache with an initial public offering in New York under the name of Membership Collective Group Inc. “Soho House has begun the process for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange,” founder Nick Jones says. “This move will enable us to accelerate our investment in improving both the physical and digital elements of your membership.” The filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission used a placeholder figure of $100 million for the offering.

Cosmic House by Charles Jencks. Photography by Sue Barr

The late Charles Jencks’s former Thematic House in London will reopen as a museum this year. 

Charles Jencks may have passed away in 2019, but the architecture thinker’s influence on postmodernism lives on at Thematic House, his longtime London residence where each room featured work by prominent artists and designers such as Michael Graves and Eduardo Paolozzi. A Grade I–listed structure, it’ll soon be rebranded as Cosmic House and open to the public as a museum and library-archive. “The Cosmic House has always been a place of conviviality where cultural debate takes place in surroundings that were designed to be implicated in that debate,” said Lily Jencks, Charles’ daughter and director of the newly established Jencks Foundation. “My father liked nothing better than to highlight the ideological differences between people, and set up a conversation that would have everyone energized.” That will become a reality when Cosmic House opens, on September 24, and will offer tours to small groups.

Lipstick on a pig? New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal shares an open call for a new mural. 

The repugnant Port Authority Bus Terminal, famously called “the single worst place on planet Earth,” is putting out an open call for a block-wide mural as part of a $10 billion redevelopment plan for the station slated to be completed in 2023. Submissions for proposals will close on 15 July and are being overseen by the Garment District Alliance, a non-profit public service organization. The winner will receive $20,000 and should be “a passionate, well-established artist who can transform the area into an animated art experience for commuters and visitors”, says president Barbara Blair. 

Timelapse footage shows a 10-floor apartment block constructed in a record-breaking 28 hours.

The Chinese company Broad Group has built a modular, 10-floor apartment block called the Living Building in Changsha, China, in a record-shattering 28 hours and 45 minutes. Newly released timelapse footage shows the building being created by a large team and three cranes using, as the company describes, “extremely simple onsite installation” that entails quick bolt tightening and connecting water and electricity. The apartment block was assembled from container-sized modular units made out of stainless steel that measure 40 feet long, eight feet wide, and ten feet high. Broad Group also claims the model can scale: “It’s perfectly suitable for luxury residences, 200-story skyscrapers, and also public and residential buildings,” the firm said in a statement. 

Carpenters Workshop Gallery teams with Christie’s to open a pop-up gallery in the Hamptons.

Carpenters Workshop Gallery is having a venturesome season. Shortly after announcing a pop-up space with Lehmann Maupin in Aspen, Colorado, the collectible design gallery inaugurated a new pop-up space in Southampton, New York, in collaboration with Christie’s. The gallery, which opened yesterday, will kick things off with a presentation of major works by Nacho Carbonell, Aldo Bakker, Wendell Castle, Atelier Van Lieshout, DRIFT, and Mathieu Lehanneur, among others. “In showcasing important works of functional art and collectible design alongside seminal paintings from Christie’s, we hope to contribute to the evolving dialogue and blurred boundaries between art and design,” Loïc Le Gaillard, co-founder of Carpenters Workshop Gallery, said in a statement. The gallery will be located at 1 Pond Lane in Southampton.

unTower concept by B+H Architects

Today’s attractive distractions:

Rick Owens weighs in on his newfound penchant for distorting footwear classics

This resilient, doughnut-shaped skyscraper may be the future of architecture.

Facebook rolls out long-awaited audio tools such as in-app podcast listening.

The beloved negroni’s lowbrow history belies its status as an urbane cocktail.

All Stories