Unseen Emilio Cruz Works Star at Independent, and Other News

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

Image courtesy of Corbett vs. Dempsey

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

Unseen Emilio Cruz Works Star at Independent

Independent 20th Century returns next week on September 7. The invite-only art fair has cultivated renown for its ability to surprise and delight with lesser-known bodies of work by blue-chip talents and thrilling shows by stars in the making. This year’s edition is organized around five curatorial themes: women artists in the 20th century, self-taught artists, the Italian avant-garde, the other side of canonical artists, and artists from the Caribbean, South Asia, and the Americas. 

During this year’s edition, Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art will explore the enduring impact of color maestro Yves Klein, while James Fuentes will exhibit the work of self-taught still-life painter Ed Baynard. Another highlight comes from Chicago gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey, which is showcasing the works of the late New York City–based Afro-Cuban artist Emilio Cruz, who rose to prominence in the 1960s. By the ‘80s, his work evolved from its roots in figurative expressionist paintings to brilliantly hued anthropomorphic creatures informed by his study of African ethnographic art. Corbett vs. Dempsey will display several large-scale works unseen by the public since they were first created. —Jenna Adrian-Diaz

Image courtesy of Neri&Hu

Neri&Hu unveils plans for a bold red concrete furniture factory for Camerich in China.

Neri&Hu has unveiled plans for a 10-story red concrete factory for furniture brand Camerich in Jiaxing. Named “Pastoral Monument,” the building will feature production facilities, R&D spaces, offices, and staff apartments, all designed to maximize natural light. The factory’s layout includes rows of parallel buildings for manufacturing, elevated bridges for connectivity, and various levels for different functions, from exhibition spaces to hanging gardens.

Los Angeles designates LGBTQ+ activist Morris Kight’s home as a historic monument.

The Los Angeles City Council has voted to designate Morris Kight’s Westlake bungalow as a historic monument, safeguarding it from potential demolition in a gentrifying area. Kight was a pivotal figure in LGBTQ+ rights and also advocated for labor rights, anti-imperialism, and HIV/AIDS support. His home served as the headquarters for the city’s Gay Liberation Front and was a hub for activism, fielding up to 200 calls a day from individuals seeking help. The house is already on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered by many as the starting point of the city’s LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. The landmark status is significant, as less than one percent of the city’s historic landmarks are related to LGBTQ+ heritage.

Photography by Kevin Scott

Montalba Architects creates a Japanese-inspired garden at the Nobu Hotel Palo Alto.

Montalba Architects has designed a Japanese-inspired garden patio for the Nobu Hotel and restaurant in Silicon Valley. The open-air dining space, situated between the hotel and a storefront, aims to improve air quality and mitigate the heat island effect. The garden features large Japanese boulders, a stone fountain, and seasonal plantings, offering a tranquil retreat. The design also includes retractable awnings and bi-fold glass doors for weather adaptability.

A group of Cuban artists are calling to boycott state-sponsored cultural events there.

Prominent Cuban and Cuban-American artists like Tania Bruguera and Coco Fusco have signed an open letter urging the global art community to boycott cultural events backed by the Cuban government. The letter condemns the government’s economic failures and human rights abuses, including the jailing of artists and activists. It also criticizes the government’s attempts to “artwash” its state-sanctioned violence and economic decline, while still planning events like Havana Art Weekend. The call to action comes amid restrictive laws and ongoing arrests of peaceful protesters, urging artists to reject the myth of Cuba as a “socialist utopia.”

Architectural Workers United has charged Snøhetta with employing anti-union tactics.

Architectural Workers United (AWU) has filed a charge against design firm Snøhetta with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the company of discriminating against employees who supported a failed unionization effort. David Sullivan of the Machinists Union stated that the filing serves as a warning to the architecture industry against using illegal tactics to block employee organizing. The NLRB will investigate the claims, and Snøhetta, which previously hired anti-union law firm Stinson LLP, has yet to comment publicly on the allegations.

Image courtesy of Airbnb/Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Today’s attractive distractions:

Aldo Cibic is approaching happiness differently after he moved to Shanghai.

Sauna raves and pop-up petting zoos are standard fare at this Brooklyn bar.

You can now rent the Pensacola Blue Wahoos’ baseball stadium on Airbnb.

The New Yorker tackles Trump’s viral mugshot through an art historical lens.

All Stories