Kohler and Douglas Friedman Throw It Back in Marfa, and Other News

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Douglas Friedman and the Numi 2.0. Image courtesy of Kohler

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Kohler and Douglas Friedman Throw It Back in Marfa

In 1981, readers thumbing through magazines might have been surprised to see a full-page ad from Kohler featuring the new San Raphael toilet, low in both profile and water usage, cruising down a desert highway like a vintage motor car. Or, perhaps sited in the environment like a minimal Judd box—a feeling Kohler recaptures this year with a nostalgic ad campaign shot in Marfa by photographer Douglas Friedman, and a new smart toilet, the Numi 2.0. 

Swapping the old color palette of “Swiss Chocolate” for more contemporary Honed Black, the campaign further articulates Kohler’s belief that bathroom fixtures can be sculptural in form and futuristic in function. Numi 2.0 integrates into Kohler Konnect smart home collection with de rigeur features like automated self-cleaning via UV light, electrolyzed water systems, and misting with deodorization. But it ups the ante with a totally touchless functionality, power save mode, and emergency flush that operates in case of power outages. A stainless steel wand covers both front and rear wash modes, fully adjustable in every imaginable way. Best of all are the built-in speakers for voice control. Alexa, play Yoko Ono’s “Toilet Piece/Unknown.” —Jesse Dorris

A rendering of Seoul Ring Zero. Image courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government

The world’s largest spokeless Ferris wheel will rise in Haneul Park in northeast Seoul.

Seoul will soon be home to the Seoul Ring, a 590-foot spokeless Ferris wheel, which is slated to open in Haneul Park in 2027. The Seoul Metropolitan Government chose the location due to its proximity to North Korea, intending to focus on national unity and a unified Korea. The Sangam-dong neighborhood’s eco-friendly initiatives will extend to the wheel, which will feature green technology and 36 carriages capable of carrying up to 25 people each.

Phyllida Barlow, a British artist who created “non-monumental” sculptures, dies at 78.

Phyllida Barlow, a British artist known for her “non-monumental” sculptures crafted from everyday materials, has died at 78. Barlow’s site-specific works evoke London’s destroyed landscapes after World War II and suggest death, gore, and violations of the human body. Her works combine heavy materials with low-cost commodities, creating imposing, large-scale figures that appear to defy gravity and stand at risk of falling over. Barlow’s global acclaim began in the early 2010s, and she went on to represent Britain at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

New York scraps plans to build an AirTrain linking Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport.

Plans to construct an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport have been scrapped by New York Governor Kathy Hochul after costs for the project ballooned to $2.4 billion, more than five times the original estimate. Instead, a panel of transit experts recommended the less expensive option of increasing public bus service to LaGuardia and adding a shuttle between the airport and subway stations in northern Queens to reduce air travelers’ dependence on taxis and private cars. The plan was initially proposed in 2015 by former Governor Andrew Cuomo but faced opposition from community groups and elected officials.

Tahanan Supportive Housing complex in San Francisco by David Baker Architects. Photography by Bruce Damonte

David Baker Architects crafts an angular affordable housing building in San Francisco.

David Baker Architects (DBA) responded to San Francisco’s housing crisis by building the Tahanan Supportive Housing complex in SoMa. The building’s 145 apartments provide safe and stable housing for adults who were previously homeless. DBA honored the location within the SoMa Pilipinas Cultural District by incorporating Philippine motifs, and worked closely with the City’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to fast-track financing and streamline construction. The project utilized a modular construction method and funding from a joint venture of Mercy Housing, Tipping Point Community, and the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund to combat the city’s homelessness crisis.

An incident at the Portland Art Museum draws ire from the Indigenous community.

Leaders of the Portland Art Museum apologized and pledged to revise their policies after an employee asked an Indigenous woman to remove her traditional woven baby carrier during a visit to an exhibition of Native American art. The mother refused, left the museum, and posted a photo of herself wearing the baby carrier inside the building. The museum apologized publicly on social media and is reviewing its policies to prevent a similar situation in the future.

Seeking a “year of efficiency,” Meta steps back from NFTs on Instagram and Facebook.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced it will wind down its work with NFTs on both platforms. The decision is part of the tech giant’s effort to prioritize other products, including messaging and monetization on Reels, and improving Meta Pay. The move follows the shutdowns of Meta-backed cryptocurrency Diem and Novi digital wallet last year and aligns with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s goal of creating a “year of efficiency.” Despite Meta’s exit from NFTs, other entities like Reddit and Starbucks are still entering the market.

HAIR Los Angeles. Photography by Camraface

Today’s attractive distractions:

Scientists finish the first map of an insect brain to learn how we think.

The couple behind this vivacious hair salon are leaving beige behind.

Would you pay $3,000 to launch a gram of your remains into space

Thanks to tech, executive assistants are becoming a thing of the past.

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