Design Within Reach Levels Up in San Francisco, and Other News

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Images courtesy of Design Within Reach

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Design Within Reach Levels Up in San Francisco

The creative vitality of San Francisco is embedded in the DNA of Design Within Reach, the MillerKnoll-owned modern furnishings purveyor that recently opened an experimental studio in the city’s burgeoning Potrero Hill district. Just a few blocks away from its former showroom, the brand gut-renovated a 15,000-square-foot 1920s warehouse from the ground up while preserving existing features like original timber and skylights. Beyond offering its standard slate of midcentury classics by the likes of Mies Van Der Rohe, Harry Bertoia, and Charles and Ray Eames, the showroom is also debuting rotating galleries—one aptly named the “Case Study Apartment”—that celebrate its collaborators. First up: a Vitra-curated reading room furnished with Jean Prouvé classics and an installation of unique configurations of USM Haller shelving. —Ryan Waddoups

Rendering of “The Line” horizontal skyscrapers planned for Neom, Saudi Arabia

Megaprojects in the Saudi Arabian desert are sapping up the country’s cash reserves.

Saudi Arabia has embarked on an extravagant spending spree with projects like a $48 billion property development and an airline venture, all managed by the country’s sovereign-wealth fund, which recently revealed a significant decline in cash reserves. To sustain this spending, the kingdom has turned to borrowing and plans to sell more shares of its oil giant, Saudi Aramco. These supersize endeavors, driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision for economic diversification outlined in Vision 2030, face fiscal challenges amid moderate oil prices and rising interest rates. Despite concerns about debt levels and the effectiveness of these projects, Saudi Arabia is determined to realize Vision 2030, with the pace of spending making its sovereign-wealth fund the world’s most active.

LVMH Métiers d’Excellence is launching the second edition of its Italian craft prize.

During Milan Fashion Week, LVMH Métiers d’Excellence launched the Maestri d’Eccellenza Award for Italian artisans in partnership with the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and the Confartigianato association. The competition aims to promote local craftsmanship, attract media attention, and provide financial support to artisans. This year’s winners will be chosen from nine finalists across three categories, including a new addition for furniture artisans. Each winner will receive a €10,000 ($10,822) prize and mentoring sessions with Loro Piana professionals. The initiative, led by Damien Bertrand, seeks to preserve traditional craft while fostering innovation and excellence, with a jury including prominent figures like Fabrizio Plessi and Toni Belloni.

The EPIQ Tower in Quito. Photography by Bicubik

Bjarke Ingels Group unveils the interlocking EPIQ skyscraper in the heart of Quito. 

Bjarke Ingels Group, in collaboration with Quito-based developers Uribe Schwarzkopf, has completed the EPIQ tower in Ecuador. Located near La Carolina Park and where the two firms created the city’s tallest building, the 331-foot-tall tower features a distinctive structure characterized by stacked L-shaped blocks that curve inward at the center, creating outdoor terraces and panoramic views. The facades, inspired by Quito’s architectural heritage, showcase pigmented concrete bars in four colors, with glazing between for balconies. 

An auction of art made from Amazonian ash will raise funds for Indigenous communities.

Tacita Dean and Shezad Dawood have contributed artworks to an exhibition and auction that utilize paints, inks, and pastels derived from ash and charcoal collected from the burning Amazon rainforest. The collaborative effort between 27 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists aims to support the Xingu Indigenous communities of the Amazon, with works displayed at the Old Truman Brewery in London and auctioned at Christie’s London on March 9. Organized by Migrate Art in partnership with People’s Palace Projects, the initiative addresses deforestation and climate change, with proceeds allocated towards firefighting equipment for affected villages. 

Apple fans are already returning their Vision Pros due to eye strain and lack of use.

Some early buyers of the Apple Vision Pro, priced at $3,500, are voicing dissatisfaction on social media and opting to return the headset. Complaints mainly revolve around discomfort, with users experiencing headaches, motion sickness, and even physical discomfort such as burst blood vessels in the eye. Additionally, users find the headset lacking in productivity features relative to its high price, with issues like limited file support and difficulty multitasking cited as deal-breakers. While some express willingness to try a future iteration, others question the device’s value proposition and await improvements in comfort and functionality. 

Image courtesy of Nik Bentel Studio

Today’s attractive distractions:

Miuccia Prada makes for an unexpected (but not unwelcome) Vogue cover.

Nik Bentel’s latest: planting an Anicorn watch onto a mini wearable briefcase.

Cassette tapes are making a comeback among Japan’s streaming generation.

Pinterest’s new “inclusive AI” features are actually getting Gen Z-ers to shop.

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