Eileen Gray Gouaches Inspire Aram Rugs, and Other News

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

Image courtesy of Aram

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

Eileen Gray Gouaches Inspire Aram Rugs

Eileen Gray’s investigations into rigor and space are now classics. Designers keep circling back, for example, to the tubular frame and arcs of glass comprising her E-1027 table, while the Modernist house by the same name which she built in Cabanon, France, was finally restored with the respect it deserves by the Association Cap Moderne and reopened in 2021. Her extensive career as a painter is less well-known, but Aram hopes to restore that reputation as well. They’ve looked to Gray’s gouaches and collages as inspiration for four new rugs made in collaboration with ClassiCon. 

Monolith and De Stijl, the latter including a bold blue circular nod to the famed Dutch school, deepen our understanding of Gray’s geometrical expertise with their crisp lines and elegant restraint. La Lune and Cassis explore rich shades of burgundies that feel particularly relevant today. Each rug is 100 percent virgin New Zealand wool, made by hand by Nepalese artisans in collaboration with the nonprofit Label STEP. Aram will have them on display as part of this year’s London Design Festival, installed in concert with some of the furnishings that rightfully have made Gray an icon. —Jesse Dorris

Rendering of Jeddah Tower. Image courtesy of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Construction resumes on Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower, the world’s tallest building.

Construction has resumed on the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, which aims to dethrone the Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building by rising more than 3,280 feet. The project, led by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, is the focal point of the Jeddah Economic City development and is estimated to cost $20 billion. The tower will feature a range of amenities including a Four Seasons hotel, luxury condos, and the world’s highest observatory overlooking the Red Sea. Although the Saudi Binladin Group has stepped down as the leading contractor, the architecture firm remains on board and a tender for new contractors is currently open. With foundational work constituting one-third of the project already completed, the construction has reached the 50th level out of 157. The tower’s design incorporates advanced technology and energy conservation measures, including a state-of-the-art elevator system and an aerodynamic shape to reduce wind loading.

NCARB and NOMA unveil an action plan to help expand DEI initiatives in architecture. 

In the U.S., a mere 2 percent of licensed architects identify as Black, with only 0.5 percent being Black women. To address this, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) have launched an action plan, informed by their joint Baseline on Belonging report. The report, which surveyed more than 5,000 people, revealed that individuals from multiple underrepresented groups face the highest levels of disparity in licensure and career progression. The action plan aims to tackle these issues by raising awareness about licensure paths, evaluating their difficulty and cost, improving mentorship programs, and fostering a more inclusive firm culture. One immediate change NCARB has made is replacing the “rolling clock policy” with a new score validity policy, a move directly recommended by the Baseline report.

A Sojourner Truth Parsons exhibition at Foxy Production in 2022. Photography by Charles Benton

Foxy Production, the New York gallery that launched Sterling Ruby’s career, is closing.

Foxy Production, a New York–based art gallery in operation for two decades, is closing in October to focus more on consultancy, curatorial, and production. Founded in Brooklyn in 2003, the gallery gained fame for launching the career of Sterling Ruby and showcasing experimental photography and moving-image work by emerging artists. Although no official reason was given for the closure, the gallery faced a lawsuit from its landlord for $200,000 in unpaid rent, a claim that its attorney disputes. The news comes shortly after another New York gallery, JTT, announced its unexpected closure, marking a trend in the city’s art sphere.

UNESCO’s addition of a West Bank site to the World Heritage List sparks controversy.

The addition of Tell es-Sultan, a prehistoric site in Jericho, to UNESCO’s World Heritage list has heightened tensions between Israel and Palestine. While Palestinians see the designation as international recognition of their heritage, right-wing Israeli politicians and settler groups, including the Guardians of Eternity, argue the move politicizes history and undermines Israel’s claims to the site. Israeli Minister of Heritage Amichai Eliyahu criticized UNESCO for legitimizing the Palestinian Authority, which he accuses of harming historical sites. The controversy reflects the broader issue of archaeology being used as a political tool in the region, a topic explored by scholars and modern archaeologists alike.

San Francisco’s beleaguered office market is showing gradual signs of recovery.

San Francisco’s office market is showing signs of recovery for the first time since the pandemic led to an exodus of tech workers and a surge in empty office spaces. Investors have recently bought or agreed to buy five major office towers, marking the busiest year for sales since 2019. The turnaround is attributed to sellers accepting significantly lower prices; a local investment group purchased a tower at 350 California Street for $61 million, just a fifth of its pre-pandemic value. This shift is helping to stabilize the real estate market and set new benchmarks for both landlords and investors. Office rents have also been reset, with rates now ranging from $50 to $70 per square foot, down from pre-pandemic rates of $90. The lowered costs are attracting companies that were previously priced out of the city, doubling the demand for office space to 4.5 million square feet. Much of this new demand is coming from AI firms like Hive AI and Hayden AI, which have collectively leased 150,000 square feet.

Andu Masebo’s furniture collection that incorporates Alfa Romeo pieces. Image courtesy of Andu Masebo/Victoria & Albert Museum

Today’s attractive distractions:

Simone Rocha fashions some of the most bejeweled Crocs we’ve ever seen.

Joan Miró favored a particular type of yellow paint predisposed to degradation.

Andu Masebo crafts furniture from scraps of an Alfa Romeo he found on eBay.

Wes Anderson brings four Roald Dahl short film adaptations to Netflix this week.

All Stories