Cubitts’ New Spectacle Shop Wows with Historical Cues, and Other News

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Cubitts at County Arcade mall in Leeds. Photography by Felix Speller, courtesy Child Studio

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Cubitts’ New Spectacle Shop Wows with Historical Cues

With its pink marble columns, mosaic ceilings, and Victorian shopping arcades, the County Arcade mall in Leeds has served as a local design treasure for more than a century. Its latest arrival, Cubitts’ new eyewear store, pays tribute to the building’s legacy with a layered design reflecting its storied history. Britain’s answer to Warby Parker tapped London’s Child Studio for interiors, which blend vintage appointments with Art Deco and Modernist touches. 

Standout features include a 1930s bakelite clock by erstwhile timepiece producer Genalex, a custom service counter inspired by British designer Robin Day’s classic writing desks in the mid-20th century, a domed lamp by Eileen Gray, a 1970s black leather Monk chair by Italian duo Afra and Tobia Scarpa, and more. A geometric pattern of tiles in beige, terracotta, and umber line the floor as an homage to the County Arcade’s original tin-glazed ceramic detailing. On the shelves: the brand’s highly edited collection—every new release triggers the retirement of an older style—of made-to-measure statement frames that have earned high-profile fangirls and boys such as Madonna and artist David Shrigley.

A newly unveiled library by Snøhetta in Beijing. Rendering courtesy of Plomp

In Beijing, Snøhetta finishes up a soaring library that resembles a forest of lily pads.

Construction is wrapping up on Snøhetta’s latest feat, a monumental new library whose interiors resemble a forest of 52-foot-tall lily pads. Located in Beijing, the sculptural “reading landscape” features a dramatic valley-like structure created by free-flowing wooden seating staircases with uninterrupted views throughout thanks to a lack of internal dividers. Green elements are woven throughout: photovoltaic panels blanket the roof, glass walls line most of the building’s length to regulate solar gain, and building materials were all sourced locally. 

New York City’s first net-zero community is kicking off development in Far Rockaway.

The construction of the city’s first-ever net-zero community is finally moving forward after more than four decades of planning. Arverne East, a sweeping mixed-use development, will bring 1,650 units of housing to a 116-acre oceanfront site in Far Rockaway, Queens, that has long been sitting vacant. The project also features a 35-acre nature preserve, managed by nonprofit organization RISE and designed by Starr Whitehouse and WXY, that aims to restore local wildlife habitats. Other components of Arverne East include a beachfront hotel, brewery, and restaurant. Each building will be elevated up to four feet higher than New York’s required flood elevation standard to protect against flooding and sea surges. 

MetaBirkins by Mason Rothschild

Hermès has sent a cease and desist note to the creator of the MetaBirkins NFT series.

Mason Rothschild, the creator of the MetaBirkins series of NFTs that riff on the popular handbag, has received a cease and desist letter from Hermès. In the letter, the French luxury goods brand noted that it views the series of 100 NFTs as “infring[ing] upon [its] trademark rights, and an example of fake Hermès products in the metaverse. In his defense, Rothschild is claiming the First Amendment gives him the right to create art based on his interpretations of the world around him. Hermès has yet to file suit, but the MetaBirkins have been removed from NFT platform OpenSea potentially as a result of takedown requests by Hermès.

A new NFT venture requires buyers to prove knowledge of the artist before bidding.

Launched by Christie’s veteran Xin Li-Cohen and Audrey Ou, a specialist who has worked with the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, TR Lab was conceived as an antidote to the runaway speculation that has taken root during the crypto art craze. “We really try our best to make sure that the artworks are going into the hands of collectors who appreciate the pieces and are not just bots who are trying to flip it on the secondary market,” Ou says. “You can only successfully apply to be a part of the white list [bidding intake application form] if you answer all the questions about the artist, their background, and previous works.” 

“For the Women’s House” (1971) by Faith Ringgold

A mural by Faith Ringgold at Rikers Island may soon head to the Brooklyn Museum. 

Ringgold originally dedicated the mural, called For the Women’s House (1972) and her first public commission, to the women incarcerated at Rikers Island. After five decades at the notorious New York prison, the painting may be headed to the Brooklyn Museum. The Department of Corrections and New York City first lady Chirlane McCray announced the mural’s relocation plans last week. If plans are approved by the NYC Public Design Commission, the work would become part of the permanent collection at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. “I’m proud that this historic painting will be preserved at the Brooklyn Museum, where children can see it and know that they too can create works of art that ignite change, expand awareness, and fire the imagination,” McCray said in a statement.

Santiago Calatrava’s slippery glass bridge in Venice to be resurfaced with stone. 

Santiago Calatrava’s footbridge across the Grand Canal, Ponte della Costituzion, will receive a new trachyte stone surface, replacing the current glass one after years of pedestrians complaining about its slipperiness. “That is not a bridge,” says Angelo Xalle, 71, a retired port worker, who recalled helping people with broken chins or foreheads get up from its sleek floor. “It’s a trap.” The architect is no stranger to controversy, notably the firestorm that surrounded his commission to design New York’s oft-delayed, over-budget transportation hub known as the Oculus. 

Ceramics by Kaori Kurihara

Today’s attractive distractions:

Kaori Kurihara’s fruit-like ceramics could be plucked from a magical rainforest.

Scientists unveil living robots that reproduce by clustering stem cells together.

Mercedes-Benz’s latest electric concept car goes 620 miles on a single charge.

The Rijksmuseum creates a 717 gigapixel image of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.

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