Desert X Brings 15 Artworks to AIUla’s Untouched Landscape, and Other News

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

“A Rock Garden in the Shape of a Full-Sized Soccer Field” at Desert X AlUla 2024. Photography by Lance Gerber, courtesy of the Royal Commission for AlUla

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

Desert X Brings 15 Artworks to AIUla’s Untouched Landscape

The latest installation photos out of Desert X AIUla look like something from a NASA collab with Midjourney: the otherworldly commissions rise from the desert of Wadi AlFann, Harrat Uwayrid’s black lava surrounds, and the city’s cultural center of AlManshiyah Plaza. This year’s edition of the fair, its third, challenged participants to respond to the theme “In The Presence of Absence,” with artworks that explore the unseeable.

Curators Maya El Khalil and Marcello Dantas assembled a star lineup of landscape artists who rose to the occasion and hail from Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Mexico, Lebanon, Italy, Kuwait, Iraq, Brazil, and beyond. South Korea’s Kimsooja captures the prismatic effect of sunlight with To Breathe, a glimmering spiral installation that rises from the canyons of AIUIa, while Ayman Yossri Daydban’s glow-in-the-dark A Rock Garden in the Shape of a Full-Size Soccer Field. —Jenna Adrian-Diaz

Global Supply Chain Telephone bags by MSCHF. Images courtesy of MSCHF

MSCHF unveils a handbag that combines elements from Hermès, Celine, and Dior bags.

MSCHF, a Brooklyn-based art collective known for its viral projects, has unveiled its latest creation: the Global Supply Chain handbag. Priced at $650, this eccentric piece combines elements from iconic designer bags from Hermès, Celine, Dior, and Balenciaga. Produced through a collaborative effort with four factories across the globe, the handbag serves as a commentary on the proliferation of bootlegs and the hidden creativity within manufacturing processes. MSCHF has become renowned for its provocative projects, which range from absurd fashion items to conceptual art pieces with societal commentary. 

Two Silicon Valley veterans are teaming up to launch a new conversational AI startup. 

After Bret Taylor stepped down as co-CEO of Salesforce in January 2023, he reunited with an old colleague, Clay Bavor, over lunch in Palo Alto, which sparked the idea of starting a new company together. Named Sierra, the startup is focusing on conversational AI for business customers, already serving clients like Weight Watchers and Sonos. With $110 million in funding from top investors, Sierra is aiming to democratize AI for businesses of all sizes, contrasting with larger competitors like Salesforce. Despite Taylor’s involvement in other high-profile ventures, he insists there’s no conflict of interest between Sierra and his role at OpenAI.

Freedom Plaza designed by Bjarke Ingels Group. Rendering by Negativ

Bjarke Ingels Group unveils plans for a four-tower complex on Manhattan’s east side.

Developers Soloviev Group and Mohegan have unveiled plans for the Freedom Plaza project, a four-tower scheme designed by Bjarke Ingels Group on Manhattan’s east side. Situated near the UN complex, the project will include two pairs of hotel and condominium towers connected by a skybridge, along with a landscaped park and Museum of Freedom and Democracy. Nearly half of the 6.7-acre site will be dedicated to public space, with 40 percent of the residential component allocated for affordable housing. The development also includes a casino space tied to a bid for a New York state gambling license. No construction timelines or have been provided.

According to an insolvency report, Simon Lee Gallery owes $12.6 million to creditors.

Simon Lee Gallery, which entered court-ordered administration in the U.K. last year, is facing significant financial woes, owing an estimated £10 million ($12.6 million) to 153 creditors, including artists and other galleries. Documents filed by joint administrators reveal debts exceeding a million dollars to artists A’Driane Nieves and France-Lise McGurn. Well-known galleries like PKM Gallery and Mendes Wood DM are also creditors. The gallery attributes part of its financial strain to the pandemic, with its turnover plummeting from £51.5 million ($64.9 million) in 2018 to £22.4 million ($28.2 million) in 2019. Despite seeking financial assistance, including a loan from Barclays Bank, the gallery’s financial troubles persisted, resulting in the closure of its New York and Hong Kong spaces and eventual court-ordered administration.

After exiting his long-term partnership with Nike, Tiger Woods launches his own brand.

Tiger Woods is launching a new lifestyle brand called Sun Day Red in collaboration with TaylorMade Golf, marking a departure from his long-standing partnership with Nike. The brand, which includes apparel and footwear, incorporates Woods’ 15 major championships into its logo and aims to share his apparel and footwear secrets. Scheduled for launch between the Masters and the PGA Championship, Sun Day Red signifies a new chapter in Woods’ career and marks a standalone brand structure and leadership drawn from the fashion industry.

Today’s attractive distractions:

Apple’s Vision Pro may replace the iPad, but it has some ground to clear first.

An artist spent three years drawing a world atlas adorned with 1,642 animals.

Here’s how a decades-long forgery scheme ensnared several top museums.

Archaeologists find evidence of hallucinogenic drugs used in ancient Rome.

All Stories