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Three years after signing the lease on a 4,500-square-foot former rubber factory in north Brooklyn, Noma co-founder Mads Refslund has finally opened Ilis. Named with a portmanteau of the Danish words for fire and ice, Ilis is a partnership between Refslund and Alinea/Atera alum Will Douillet that seeks to erase the lines between front and back of house. Upon arrival, guests tour the kitchen and discover the dozen or so ingredients that form their à la carte dinner of at least five courses, supplemented from a pantry of Refslund’s misos, syrups, vinegars, and carts of other offerings that traverse the vast space like high-concept dim sum.
Beneath 17-foot-ceilings and a frosted skylight, designers Grant Blakeslee and Alexander Diaz Andersson installed a “cloud” to crown the food prep zone, while artworks by Georg Baselitz, Zachary Armstrong, and Ai Weiwei come courtesy from the nearby Faurschou gallery. Guests dine on Knox Deco drafting tables set with glassware by Brooklyn’s own William Couig. All of the servers are cooks, and vice versa, and all are decked out in Camilla Staerk apparel; along with lighting and rugs, Staerk also designed the staff uniforms. Custom Demant grills take care of the wild game, a menu focus coming into view in recent offers of duck skewers with salted cherry and black garlic. —Jesse Dorris
Sixth&Blanco, Herzog & de Meuron’s forthcoming project in Austin, marks the Swiss firm’s return to Texas since its 1998 proposal for the Blanton Museum of Art. The mixed-use mass timber development will comprise 10 residences, a hotel, a screening room, a members club, and retail, art galleries, and restaurants. It embraces Clarksville’s scale, featuring continuous horizontal wooden elements and a pedestrian-friendly design. The building offers a hybrid approach using mass timber while reducing concrete usage by 60 percent compared to typical buildings in Austin. Construction is slated to begin early next year.
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Madison Square Park Conservancy has organized a series of projects by contemporary artists and expanded its programming to two additional Manhattan parks. Four women artists, including Nicole Eisenman and Rose B. Simpson, have been commissioned for sculptural works, installations, and performances. The anniversary year will also feature a retrospective publication and a documentary about the park’s public art history, along with audio interviews and a public arts symposium. Madison Square Park Conservancy has played a major role in bringing contemporary art to public spaces in New York, with around 50 commissioned projects since its inception in 2004.
In 2014, British Indian artist Anish Kapoor acquired exclusive rights to use Vantablack, the world’s blackest material. His fascination with creating the illusion of boundless depth led him to explore this material, which absorbs 99.8 percent of all light. After years of experimentation, he unveiled his first Vantablack works in 2022 and is now showcasing them in a U.S. exhibition at New York’s Lisson Gallery. Despite controversy and competition with other artists, Kapoor remains tight-lipped about the details of his artistic process with Vantablack.
TikTok is discontinuing its creator fund following months of criticism from influencers. The video-sharing platform, which had promised to pay creators $1 billion, announced the fund’s termination in December. This change impacts creators in the US, UK, France, and Germany, as the fund allowed TikTokers to earn money based on their video views, but some felt it paid inadequately for even viral content. “I won’t miss the Creator Fund,” influencer Shawn Owens told Insider. “In my opinion, it was set up for already established and well-known creators.”
After two decades and a billion-dollar investment, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is set to open soon as the largest museum dedicated to a single civilization. Located strategically between Cairo and the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Henghan Peng–designed museum will feature 100,000 artifacts (with 20 percent on public display for the first time), and 12 exhibition halls covering 484,000 square feet. Its treasures include Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus, a colossal 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses the Great, and the fully intact Khufu ship. Despite construction setbacks, the GEM aims to boost Egyptian tourism as the country targets 30 million visitors by 2028, although U.S. travel advisories highlight security concerns owing the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.