Design Dispatch

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

A rendering of Ai Weiwei’s public art installation. (Image: Ai Weiwei Studio, via The New York Times)

On the Fence

The Public Art Fund has commissioned Ai Weiwei’s “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” the artist’s largest public art installation yet. The work will directly comment on the global political climate. “When the Berlin Wall fell, there were 11 countries with border fences and walls,” said Ai Weiwei. “By 2016, that number had increased to 70. We are witnessing a rise in nationalism, an increase in the closure of borders, and an exclusionary attitude towards migrants and refugees, the victims of war, and the casualties of globalization.”
[The New York Times]

A customer using Uber. (Photo: Flickr)

Grounded Fleet

After one of its self-driving cars got into an accident, Uber suspended the entire program. This comes after a series of embarrassing incidents at the company, including a leaked video of CEO Travis Kalanick accosting a driver and accusations of sexual harassment.
[The Wall Street Journal]

A model of Frank Gehry’s design for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Doubting Thomas

Former Guggenheim Foundation director Thomas Krens has said that the proposed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, to be designed by Frank Gehry, should be postponed or downsized. Krens is responsible for coordinating the deal, back in 2006, but he believes that today’s political currents are less favorable for the project. “The world financial crisis and the Arab Spring has changed the equation radically … it may not be such a good idea these days to have an American museum … with a Jewish name in a country [that doesn’t recognize Israel] in such a prominent location, at such a big scale,” said Krens.
[The Art Newspaper]

Inside an Amazon warehouse. (Photo: Flickr)

Amazon Sets Up Shop

Amazon is exploring several brick-and-mortar retail concepts, all of which will likely feature cutting-edge technology. “I think they are recognizing, for certain things you can’t digitize and replicate online all the experience one has in a store,” said Randy Burt, a partner at a food and beverage consultancy. “The ability to create experiences is going to be critical for them to continue to get share.”
[The New York Times]

A rendering of Heatherwick Studio’s design for Pier 55. (Image: Courtesy Heatherwick Studio, via Archdaily)

Pier on Pause

Construction has abruptly stopped on the Heatherwick Studio-designed Pier 55 in New York, after a judge ruled that the parties involved hadn’t taken possible environmental effects into consideration. The project will now have to undergo a wildlife impact review before construction can resume.

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