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.
Gufram Forms “Italian Radical Design” With Memphis Milano
As the story goes, Memphis Milano was founded on a December evening in 1980 as a small group of designers including Ettore Sottsass, Michele de Lucchi, Aldo Cibic, Martine Bedin, Matteo Thun, Marco Zanini, and Barbara Radice envisioned design that would eschew pared-down modernist conventions and follow the maxim “form follows fun.” What resulted is a short-lived but widely influential design movement with a rules-be-damned approach that balanced experimentation and exuberance in equal measure.
Now Memphis Milano, which has since become a brand and archive overseen by Alberto Bianchi Albrici since 1996, will be part of something even bigger. The like-minded Italian design brandGufram recently announced it would acquire Memphis Milano and form the group Italian Radical Design, founded by Gufram owners Sandra and Charley Vezza. “Italian Radical Design was created with the intention of identifying brands similar to our way of understanding design, as was already the case for Gufram, and create a synergistic system of valorization and revitalization,” Charley tellsAD. First up on the list is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Guido Drocco and Franco Mello’s iconic Cactus with a Memphis Milano monograph and a co-presentation of the two brands during Milan Design Week in June.
Norm Architects Conceives a Chinese Tea Parlor as an Oasis of Calm
Named for a Japanese monk who wandered around Kyoto selling tea during the Edo period, Basao is a modern teahouse designed for contemplation. Copenhagen-based Norm Architects used his Zen Buddhist writings as inspiration when conceptualizing the earthy-tone space whose meditative aesthetic is meant to counteract the frenetic pace of the Chinese port city Xiamen. A counter crafted from speckled Chinese stone is the space’s fulcrum, with a variety of seating options including suede poufs, wooden benches, a sprawling brown-leather banquette, and stools where patrons can observe the sensorial brewing process.
In Mexico City, an impressive new art space is setting its sights on sustainability.
At Zona Maco this past week, Prominent Mexico City gallery OMR debuted a new exhibition space with an environmental focus. Originally designed by architect Alfonso Ramírez Ponce in 1964, LAGO is housed in a building with a tent-like modernist roof that fringes an artificial lake in Chapultepec Park. The inaugural show, “Form Follows Energy,” tracks the consequences of human impact on the planet.
Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center will undergo a $50 million redevelopment.
Brookfield Properties is redeveloping Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center into a new complex called Brooklyn Commons. The $50 million revamp will entail renovating several office buildings, James Corner Field Operations redesigning the area’s public park space, and Arts Brookfield launching a year-round free arts program for the public. The complex was built in the 1980s as an office park for data-processing centers and financial institutions, and now hosts a variety of tenants including Slate Media and the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
In France, Louis Vuitton factory workers stage a walkout and demand higher pay.
Hundreds of Louis Vuitton factory employees in France staged walkouts last week in protest of low wages and schedule changes that would affect overtime pay. Two French labor unions helped stage the walkouts, which occurred at five of the 18 factories that Louis Vuitton owns across France. Protestors were seen holding signs that complained about “fantastic work for pitiful salaries,” according to FashionNetwork. In a statement, Louis Vuitton noted the recent rollout of an “advantageous” compensation policy that entailed salary hikes of 150 Euros per month and a reduction in working hours to 33 per week.
Carmen Herrera, the trailblazing abstract painter who found late success, dies at 106.
The Cuban-American artist, who died on Saturday in New York, gained renown later in life for abstract paintings that combined crisp contrasting colors in various patterns. Though mainstream success eluded her until the 1980s, Herrera continued making art throughout her life and credited the pursuit of beauty as chief inspiration. “I believe that I will always be in awe of the straight line,” Herrera once said. “It’s beauty is what keeps me painting.” On what would have been Herrera’s 107th birthday in May, Lisson Gallery will stage solo exhibitions of her work in New York and at its forthcoming Los Angeles space in the fall.
A new $125 million program is offering guaranteed income to artists in New York State.
Thanks to a new program supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, struggling artists across New York State may receive $1,000 grants for up to 18 months. The Creatives Rebuild New York program intends to make it easier for artists—a group disproportionately impacted by the pandemic—to spend time on creative work. Monthly stipends will be awarded to 2,400 artists working across crafts, dance, design, film, music, theater, visual arts, and more that can demonstrate financial need.
Today’s attractive distractions:
Dave Chappelle helps kill a “half-baked” affordable housing project in Ohio.
The fraught world of celebrity NFTs is full of potential legal entanglements.
New visuals show how Tesla’s Cybertruck can transform into a catamaran.
The Dutch vow to egg Jeff Bezos’s yacht as it passes through Rotterdam.