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.
The Pioneering Dikan Film and Photography Center Opens in Accra
In Sept. 2021, the photographer Paul Ninson recounted to Humans of New York (HONY) his dreams of building the Dikan Center: Africa’s largest photography library, with an exhibition gallery and lecture hall, in his home country of Ghana. Ninson had been a student at New York’s Institute of Contemporary Photography and an apprentice with HONY photographer Brandon Stanton while in the U.S. and sought to create a space that meant aspiring African photographers wouldn’t be forced to leave the continent to learn photography, as he had.
Just over a year later, that dream has been realized. Architectural plans are still underway for a ground-up facility, but thanks to adaptive reuse, the Dikan Center has found its first home in Accra as Africa’s first nonprofit devoted to film and photography education. A gallery, studio, story lab, and classrooms are all open to the public with the goal of fostering the talent of African visual artists. The inaugural exhibition, “Ahennie,” features the documentary photography of the late Ghanaian artist Emmanuel Bobbie and Ninson himself. —Jenna Adrian-Diaz
According to former employees, the once-buzzy Superblue seems to be floundering.
“Superblue—co-founded in the summer of 2020 by Marc Glimcher, the CEO of Pace, one of the biggest galleries in the world, and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, the former president of Pace London—is the highest-profile attempt among the fine-art establishment to capitalize on the immersive experiential art craze. Behind the scenes, however, Superblue has undergone a series of changes and faced stunted growth since the beginning of this year, said multiple ex-employees who spoke with ARTnews under the condition of anonymity due to fear of legal reprisal. Meanwhile, Superblue suffered in-fighting on the board, high-profile turnover, and a lack of funding that, sources said, is the result of cost overruns, mismanagement, and a board structure that has plagued decision-making.” [H/T ARTnews]
An auction of Terence Conran’s personal collection fetches three times the estimate.
“A testament to Conran’s longstanding aesthetic influence, the auction at Bonhams—including furniture, art, and decorative objects from the trailblazer’s personal collection—earned a total of $1,435,811, more than three times the pre-sale estimate. The top lot was a Sir Allen Jones sculpture that stood in the reception area at Conran’s Mezzo restaurant on Wardour Street. The polychrome-painted steel sculpture of a waiter with a diner brought in $25,564. Further highlights include Conran’s walnut desk—a unique rectangular form made by Benchmark Furniture to Sir Terence’s own design, which sold for $24,834.” [H/T Artnet News]
A new installation in Doha honors migrant workers who built the World Cup stadiums.
“A new monumental sculpture commemorates the workers who built Qatar’s infrastructure for the World Cup as the controversy-riddled competition winds down. Come Together by the Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa, commissioned by the state-run Qatar Foundation, is a 39-foot-high stainless steel and plastic burst of bright pastel- and neon-colored orbs strung together along 100 branches. Fashioned to resemble the tufts of a dandelion, the spheres include footballs and oversized baubles, interspersed by Qatari kitchenware and industrial safety helmets. Hosting the event has cast a harsh light on Qatar’s stance towards the LGBTQ+ community, as well as charges of bribery this week to allegedly tone down European criticism of its treatment of workers.” [H/T The Art Newspaper]
Starting in January, all new buildings in Los Angeles will need to be fully electric.
“L.A city council members unanimously approved an ordinance that will require new buildings in the city to be fully electric, effective in January. That means no more gas-powered stoves, heaters, or gas hookups for new construction. L.A. joins nearly 70 California cities and counties that have already adopted similar rules. Research shows that gas appliances, such as stoves, are linked to asthma and cancer. From those stoves to the way they’re wired, gas-powered buildings account for 40 percent of L.A.’s carbon footprint.” [H/T LAist]
An enormous glass aquarium housing 1,500 exotic fish bursts inside a Berlin hotel.
“A freestanding cylindrical aquarium housing about 1,500 exotic fish burst in Berlin on Friday morning, causing a wave of devastation in and around the tourist attraction. Glass, chairs, tables, and other debris were swept out of the DomAquarée complex, which includes a Radisson hotel, a museum, shops, and restaurants, as 264,000 gallons of water poured out of the 46-foot-high tank shortly before 6 AM. Two people sustained injuries from falling shards of glass and had to be taken to hospital. None of the animals in the saltwater aquarium, which contained clownfish, teira batfish, and palette surgeonfish, survived.” [H/T The Guardian]
The Venice Biennale names Brazilian trailblazer Adriano Pedrosa as its next curator.
“The Venice Biennale selected the Brazilian museum director Adriano Pedrosa as the curator of its next edition, the organizers of the world’s longest-running contemporary art exhibition said in a statement. Mr. Pedrosa, who leads the São Paulo Museum of Art, will organize the event’s 60th edition, which is scheduled to open in April 2024. Mr. Pedrosa has won global acclaim for his leadership of MASP, where he has been artistic director since 2014. Over the last decade, he was a co-organizer of a sequence of large-scale, centuries-spanning thematic exhibitions—colloquially known as the “Histories”—that have remapped the history of Brazilian art and re-examined Latin American culture against influences and counter-currents from Europe, Africa, and the Indigenous Americas.” [H/T The New York Times]
Uber Eats launches delivery via autonomous, sidewalk-trotting robots in Miami.
“The next time you order a meal from Uber Eats, it may be delivered by a robot—at least if you live in Miami. Residents can now order their Uber Eats takeout to be delivered via autonomous, sidewalk-trotting robots thanks to a new partnership between the ride-hailing company and robotics firm Cartken. With the new service, customers will be alerted when their food is on the way and then be instructed to meet the remotely-supervised robot on the sidewalk, according to in-app screenshots. Customers can then unlock the vehicle using their phone and grab their order from a secure compartment. Customers can also opt-out if they prefer to have their items delivered by a courier.” [H/T CNN]