Es Devlin Will Plant a “Forest of Change” in London, and Other News

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

“Forest of Change” by Es Devlin for the 2021 London Design Biennale

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Es Devlin will plant a forest of 400 trees for the upcoming London Design Biennale.

For this year’s London Design Biennale, Somerset House will undergo a dramatic transformation. The historical arts center will soon be home to a forest of 400 trees planted by Es Devlin, the biennale’s artistic director and a world-renowned set designer who has worked with Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and Adele. By planting the trees, Devlin is technically breaking an 18th-century rule that prohibits planting trees in the building’s courtyard. It’s a direct response to the biennale’s call to action—”how can design provide solutions to the major challenges of our time?”—that Devlin set to stimulate action necessary to confront pressing global issues such as environmental degradation, the coronavirus pandemic, and migration. The forest will be on view June 1–27.

U.S. infrastructure gets a mediocre C-range grade—an improvement from four years ago.

The United States is facing a $2.59 trillion shortfall in infrastructure needs that requires a giant leap in government spending to fix crumbling bridges, cracked roads, and other deteriorating public spaces. The news comes from a 17-page report by the American Society of Civil Engineers and surfaces as President Joe Biden works towards a dramatic surge in infrastructure spending in the coming weeks after his two predecessors failed to win approval for a major funding effort. 

Jewel Towers by Oppenheim Architecture

Oppenheim Architecture reveals initial visuals of three new quartz-inspired Jewel Towers. 

The Miami-based firm Oppenheim Architecture has released new images of Jewel Towers, a trio of shimmering skyscrapers resembling smokey quartz crystals. When completed, the multiplex will house luxury residential units, dining, business amenities, and health and wellness services, and will be the first beachfront development on Australia’s Gold Coast in more than three decades.

Banksy confirms the Victorian prison piece with a video featuring a Bob Ross voiceover. 

Banksy confirmed the graffiti that appeared on the outer wall of the Reading Prison in Berkshire, England. The work depicts an inmate in black-and-white stripes attempting to escape using a long sheet of paper attached to a typewriter—a reference to Oscar Wilde’s stint in the Victorian prison. The video released by Banksy confirming the work shows the piece being spray painted to a voiceover of the late American artist Bob Ross from his show The Joy of Painting

Zaryadye Park by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Photography by Iwan Baan

Elizabeth Diller reveals how she and her studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro stealthily reimagined Moscow’s Zaryadye Park for the people.

In a recent interview, the architect Elizabeth Diller has disclosed how she was accused of corrupting young Russians after a spate of open-air sex was reported at Moscow’s Zaryadye Park, which was designed by her firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in 2017. “The park’s liberating effect on a repressed younger generation was caught on security cameras,” she said during a November TEDWomen talk. “For us, this was a great sign of success.” She explains that public space must be “as free and abundant as the air we breathe,” and must actually serve the interests of the public—a stark contrast to perhaps one of the firm’s most notable projects, the High Line in New York City, a linear elevated park that faced immense pressure from private developers. 

Hauser & Wirth is hiring an environmental sustainability officer to reduce carbon emissions. 

Hauser & Wirth is doubling down on reducing carbon emissions. To meet ambitious new sustainability benchmarks, the global mega-gallery will hire a full-time head of environmental sustainability that will be tasked with halving carbon emissions by 50 percent. Further, the gallery will create a “carbon budget” for every exhibition and art fair and audit air travel and freight, its largest indirect emissions. Ewan Venters, CEO of Hauser & Wirth, describes the shift as a “fundamental recalibration” of how the gallery will measure costs, and hopes the new initiatives will create a ripple effect to galvanize further change within the art world. 

Suitsupply SS21

Today’s attractive distractions:

A new photo book celebrates the vibrant lowrider culture in Los Angeles.

Archaeologists unearth the oldest known pet cemetery from ancient Egypt.

This photographer created his own tarot deck inspired by sleep paralysis.

Suitsupply’s new tongue-friendly campaign is grossing some people out.


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