Fotografiska Enters a History-Laden Berlin Building, and Other News

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

Fotografiska Berlin by Studio Aisslinger. Photography by Nicoló Lanfranchi

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

Fotografiska Enters a History-Laden Berlin Building

A historic building in the heart of Berlin that once housed a department store and the famous Kunsthaus Tacheles artists’ squat has been transformed into the latest outpost of Fotografiska, the photography museum with locations in New York, Shanghai, Tallinn, and Stockholm. With a renovation undertaken by local firm Studio Aisslinger, the seven-floor structure feels more akin to a members’ club than a traditional museum thanks to amenities like the fourth-floor Verōnika restaurant as well as two bars, a cafe, bakery, shop, and ballroom. “It’s a complex cosmos that reminds one of a large hotel, only with exhibitions rather than overnight stays,” says firm founder Werner Aisslinger, who aimed to devise interiors that wove together the building’s variegated, era-spanning layers.

The building first opened in 1909 as the Friedrichstrasse Passage before being repurposed several times, including into headquarters for the Nazi regime’s German Labour Front and then a post-reunification symbol as home to the Kunsthaus Tacheles, which saw it filled with large-scale graffiti that’s now protected by preservation orders. Aisslinger’s interventions respect the balance between old and new, tempering the building’s historic substance with high-end finishes like velvet banquette seating and framed photography strewn throughout the public spaces. Despite criticism about the privatization of a structure rooted in the city’s underground creative scene, Aisslinger envisions Fotografiska as a continuation of the building’s social legacy, aiming to foster a future-focused yet historically aware cultural hub for all Berliners.

The MPavilion by Tadao Ando. Photography by John Gollings

Tadao Ando’s acclaimed MPavilion in Melbourne has been extended for another year.

The Naomi Milgrom Foundation and the City of Melbourne have extended the run of Tadao Ando’s MPavilion in Queen Victoria Gardens until March 2025, celebrating its success in drawing diverse visitors and hosting community events. Ando’s design, his first in Australia, has become a hub for more than 100 activities, echoing his architectural themes of place, craftsmanship, and creativity, and will continue to serve as a dynamic community space.

A “strong focus on aesthetics” contributed to the collapse of a timber bridge in Norway.

The collapse of Norway’s Tretten Bridge in 2022 prompted a report criticizing its planning, design, and inspection processes, highlighting a lack of robustness due to aesthetic focus and material choices. Following the collapse, attributed to block shear failure, the Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority issued safety recommendations to prevent similar incidents, emphasizing the need for improved regulation and risk management in bridge construction.

Rendering of an expansion of the Centro de Arte Moderna by Kengo Kuma & Associates. Image courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Kengo Kuma leads a landscape-focused expansion of Lisbon’s Centro de Arte Moderna.

Kengo Kuma & Associates have redesigned the Centro de Arte Moderna in Lisbon, introducing a vast curved roof inspired by traditional Japanese engawas, enhancing visitor engagement with the surrounding gardens and establishing a more cohesive relationship with the city. The expansion goes underground to preserve existing landscapes, featuring new galleries and a pedestrian entrance that transforms the complex’s interaction with its urban and natural context.

More than 150 artists, activists, and tech leaders form Hard Art, a climate justice group.

More than 150 leaders across art, activism, and technology have launched a new initiative called Hard Art to spark discussions about climate and social justice. The initiative blends art and music into its approach, with Brian Eno and Es Devlin playing particularly major roles. The think tank has already produced various creative outputs, such as a 300-edition zine by Jeremy Deller, and plans to fund future projects with proceeds from these works.

The beleaguered NFT website permanently closes after a turbulent year.

The NFT website, which drew legal attention from Art Basel for alleged copyright infringement, has shut down amid accusations of fraud and industry bias. Despite claims of fostering connections between collectors and galleries, the platform drew ire for unauthorized use of artworks and galleries’ names, leading to its disavowal of any affiliation with Art Basel.

Hudson Yards. Image courtesy of Related Companies

Today’s attractive distractions:

A husband turns to psychedelic therapy to cure his wife’s severe brain injury.

Shaun Overton is on a mission to turn 320 acres of Texas into a lush forest.

Hip-hop jewelry will star in a new American Museum of Natural History show.

How did the much-maligned Hudson Yards become New York’s top mall?

All Stories