A Brand-Founded Design Journal Unlike the Rest, and Other News

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Image courtesy of Untapped Journal

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A Brand-Founded Design Journal Unlike the Rest

Content platforms bankrolled by brands are increasingly common, but run the risk of simply coming across as venues for shameless self-promotion. So when Scott Hudson envisioned a thought-provoking journal for Henrybuilt, the Seattle purveyor of kitchen systems he founded in 2001, there was only one rule: don’t mention the brand. Its newly unveiled publication seems poised to succeed. Untapped, a monthly journal edited by Surface alum Tiffany Jow, eschews product placement for incisive, ideas-driven stories that wrestle with one big question per issue. Up first: “Are things moving fast enough?” Throughout the inaugural issue, which features profiles on dancer Michael J. Love and designer Stephen Burks, one of Henrybuilt’s core values may come into full view: it’s worth looking back to look forward. —Ryan Waddoups

Students at Ibrahim Maham’s new train project at his studio in Tamale, Ghana. Image courtesy of Ibrahim Mahama/SCCA Tamale/Redclay

Ibrahim Mahama is repurposing Ghana’s colonial-era trains into education spaces.

Ibrahim Mahama, the Ghanaian artist known for transforming abandoned structures into new spaces, is expanding his Red Clay Studio by incorporating two 19th-century British colonial trains that will be transformed into classrooms, libraries, sculptures, residency spaces, and studios. The carriages, transported 435 miles from southern Ghana to Tamale, are the first stationary carriages to be located in the northern region. The artist believes that reconfiguring completely abandoned things allows them to become new spaces, allowing people to go back into historical forms they never imagined existed. Mahama plans to open a recently completed archaeological museum next.

New York City’s climate-friendly One Vanderbilt skyscraper is already out of date.

One Vanderbilt, a glassy 77-story skyscraper in Midtown East that features a kaleidoscopic observation deck, connection to East Side Access, and a lush French restaurant headed by Daniel Boulud, was hailed as an environmental marvel when first unveiled. And though the building has been celebrated for its sustainability goals, with a self-contained power plant that generates as much energy as six football fields of solar panels and rainwater capture, the KPF-designed building is also out of date. Some of its essential green features became obsolete due to rapidly evolving energy-policy landscapes. Its turbines, for example, burn natural gas, which has fallen out of favor as New York banned fossil fuels in new buildings. 

LVMH and Fendi announce an inaugural prize dedicated to Italian craftsmanship.

Fendi, together with parent company LVMH and partners Camera della Moda and the Confartigianato association, has launched the “Maestri d’Eccellenza” award to honor outstanding Italian artisan craftspeople. The initiative aims to recognize and preserve the importance of traditional Italian craftsmanship across textiles, clothing, footwear, tailoring, eyewear, and jewelry while offering media attention and financial support to its practitioners. The award will feature three categories: “Maestro Artigiano d’Eccellenza” for firms with over five years of experience; “Maestro Artigiano Emergente d’Eccellenza” for emerging talents; and “Maestro Dell’Innovazione d’Eccellenza” for those innovating and updating traditional crafts. Applications for the awards are open until May 14. Winners will receive €10,000 ($10,675) and mentoring sessions with Fendi professionals.

Aeron Chairs by Herman Miller

New York is urging city agencies to slash budgets, including for ergonomic chairs.

New York City mayor Eric Adams is urging agencies to slash their budgets, leading to scrutiny of municipal workers’ choice of ergonomic furniture such as Herman Miller’s Aeron chairs. Despite the city having already spent $12.8 million on a five-year contract with Herman Miller that began in 2019, some lawmakers are calling for cost-effective options for city agencies. While a chair audit hasn’t been conducted, the idea of buying used chairs as a compromise is being floated as the city faces economic constraints during the austerity campaign.

Instagram will soon end live shopping in the U.S. as Meta emphasizes efficiency.

Instagram is ending its live shopping feature in the U.S. on March 16 after a year-long experiment. “This change will help us focus on products and features that provide the most value to our users,” the social network said in a statement. “You will still be able to set up and run your shop on Instagram as we continue to invest in shopping experiences that provide the most value for people and businesses across feed, stories, Reels, ads and more.”

RISD has withdrawn from US News & World Report’s annual college ranking list.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has joined several high-ranking law and medical schools in pulling out of US News & World Report’s “best colleges” rankings, citing concerns about social equity and inclusion and the inability of the ranking system to accurately assess art and design education. RISD’s recent curriculum changes saw it move from a largely unranked “Specialty School: Art” to a “regional school,” yielding a third-place ranking among 181 other universities in US News’s “Best Regional Universities North” category, placing the school in comparison to institutions with which it shares little in common. Crystal Williams, the school’s president, noted in a statement that the school doesn’t employ the same factors used by US News & World Report to measure student value or academic programs and hopes that more schools will follow in withdrawing from the rankings.

Barney’s redesign. Image courtesy of Mattel

Today’s attractive distractions:

This novel male birth control could serve as an “on-off switch” for sperm.

Ulysse Nardin and Blancpain are embracing the art of erotic timepieces.

David Guetta seamlessly inserts AI of Eminem’s voice onto a new track.

Even Barney isn’t safe from society’s current obsession with buccal fat.

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