Christo’s Dream to Wrap the Arc de Triomphe Planned for September, and Other News

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

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.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s longtime dream of wrapping the Arc de Triomphe will finally be realized.

The late artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude first envisioned wrapping the Arc de Triomphe in fabric in 1962, while renting a small room near the French monument. Nearly six decades later, their dream will finally be realized. Work will begin next month on “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped,” which will cover the monumental arch in nearly 270,000 square feet of recyclable polypropylene fabric and 10,000 feet of red rope. “A photo montage of how it would look was done but they never proposed actually doing it because they thought they would never get the necessary permission,” Vladimir Javacheff, Christo’s nephew, told The Guardian. “It was his wish that this should happen even after he was gone. We’re just realizing his vision.” The project is slated for completion by September 18. 

A leak from ex-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s apartment destroys works by Dorothea Rockburne.

In January, the 88-year-old artist Dorothea Rockburne found water streaming from the ceiling and into a cabinet containing her early work. The $8 million unit above hers belonged to former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who rarely seemed to be around. The leak damaged 176 works (25 of them permanently) by Rockburne, who alleges that the Costolos didn’t act fast enough when alerted to the problem. She’s now seeking $2 million in damages—$576,000 of which would cover the cost of restoring the salvageable work, and $1.3 million for the pieces that were destroyed. “I don’t want to compromise on the amount,” Rockburne told the New York Times. “Not by a penny.” 

The estate of Robert Indiana reaches a settlement after a bitter legal battle with his financial backer.

The estate of Robert Indiana has reached a settlement that maintains a longstanding relationship with the Morgan Art Foundation, which holds the copyright for the pop artist’s recognizable LOVE series. The two parties reached a decision following a bitter three-year legal feud that originated when Morgan Art Foundation accused Indiana’s caretaker and art publisher of producing forgeries of his work, which the parties denied. Current plans for Indiana’s estate include transforming his former Maine home into a museum that celebrates his life and career.

Pharrell Williams and Chanel announce prizes to support Black and Latinx creative entrepreneurs.

The non-profit and French fashion house will sponsor two competitions this summer. The Black Ambition HBCU Prize is geared toward providing mentorship opportunities to students from historically black colleges and universities, while the Black Ambition Prize will support early-stage companies in the fields of tech, design, health care, and customer focused products and services. The Black Ambition Prize winner will receive up to $1 million. “Even when you have a great business plan you might not find the right operators,” Williams says. “[The mentorship program] teaches you all of those things. Success really does have a lot of authors. Usually when you say ‘success has a lot of authors’ it’s a dig at people who didn’t do something but are taking the credit. In this particular sense when it comes to running a business, success does have a lot of authors—there are a lot of signatures needed to cosign to get a brand new idea off the ground.”

Paris’s landmark Hôtel de la Marine opens to visitors after a four-year, $160 million renovation.

Originally designed by King Louis XV’s chief architect in 1758, the 550-room palace has emerged from a $160 million renovation by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux. Formerly used to store the crown’s furniture, it became the French navy’s headquarters for 200 years and has been the site of key historical events: the theft of the Crown Jewels during the revolution of 1792 and the decree that abolished slavery in France and its colonies in 1848, for instance. Interior designers Joseph Achkar and Michel Charrière supervised the project. “The idea was to remove any trace of previous interventions. We peeled every single layer of paint off the walls,” Achkar says. “The 18th-century wallpapers and textiles we chose were almost as good as new,” adds Charrière. “It is as if Pierre-Elisabeth de Fontanieu [the intendant from 1767 to 1784] had never left.”

Virgin Orbit, spinoff company to Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, is in advanced talks to go public. 

Virgin Orbit is reportedly in advanced discussions to go public at a $3 billion valuation through NextGen Acquisition II, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) led by a former Goldman Sachs partner. The deal is expected to be announced in coming weeks. Richard Branson launched Virgin Orbit as a spin-off to his space tourism company Virgin Galactic; the former company uses modified Boeing 747 aircrafts to launch its rockets—a process known as air launch—rather than launching rockets from the ground. NextGen raised $350 million after an initial IPO offering in March following reports that Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said the company was seeking $150 million in fresh capital.

Today’s attractive distractions:

Rachel Maclean opens a seemingly haunted toy store within the Scottish countryside. 

Physicists discover “definitive evidence” of the mechanism behind the Northern lights.

The Zoom era encouraged decluttering and the purchase of fewer nonessential items. 

Jean Nouvel animates a Chinese covered shopping street with 1,000 planted red jars.

All Stories