India Mahdavi’s Artful Refresh of a Roman Villa, and Other News

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India Mahdavi’s refresh of Villa Medici in Rome. Photography by François Halard

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India Mahdavi’s Artful Refresh of a Roman Villa

Situated atop Rome’s Pincian Hill is the grand Villa Medici, which offers breathtaking views of the city below from its arched entranceway. Built in the 16th century, it once was home to Cardinal Ferdinando de Medici and features some of Rome’s most striking Renaissance frescoes. For more than two centuries, the villa has housed the French Academy and provided a sanctuary for artists, historians, and artisans to immerse themselves in Roman culture. Now, thanks to India Mahdavi, the villa has been given a colorful makeover. 

The latest chapter of the villa’s re-enchantment saw the Parisian interior designer revitalize six spaces thanks to some help from French and Italian artisans. The Debussy and Galileo bedrooms showcase Maison Craman-Lagarde’s marquetry expertise with Mahdavi’s color-block pattern translated into a four-poster bed and matching shelves. The private apartments feature a geometric green and burgundy rug by carpet-maker Manufacture Robert Four inspired by the gardens outside.

The redesign wasn’t only about commissioning new pieces—Mahdavi also brought her own subtle touches to the interiors. She refreshed the Mobilier National archive with new upholstery and restored wall decorations by Modernist painter Balthus. Her intervention is the second chapter of the “Re-enchanting Villa Medici” project, with the final component to be unveiled later in the year following an open call. —Ryan Waddoups

Rendering of Suchi Reddy’s installation at the National Building Museum. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum

Suchi Reddy will mount a reflective installation inside the National Building Museum.

The National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party returns with its seventh installment featuring an installation by Suchi Reddy. The architect’s installation, titled LOOK HERE, will fill the Center Court of the Museum’s Great Hall with a large oval ramp and hanging “fractals” reflecting the viewer and the museum’s interior. It intends to encourage contemplation of activism’s role in democracy, while visitors can recline on padded seating and observe the distorted architectural elements above. The installation will open from July 1–Sept. 4

Beijing’s China Philharmonic Concert Hall designed by MAD is nearing completion.

The China Philharmonic Concert Hall in Beijing is nearing completion. Designed by MAD Architects, the 125,000-square-foot concert hall features a translucent, undulating facade reminiscent of jade. The building will house a main concert hall, a rehearsal hall, and an organ designed to resemble a field of bamboo. With an emphasis on acoustics, the China Philharmonic Concert Hall is gearing to become a major cultural hub for classical music.

Five artists from across Canada are shortlisted for the prestigious Sobey Art Award.

Five Canadian artists from across the country have been shortlisted for the prestigious Sobey Art Award, with a chance to win a total prize money of $300,000. The winner, who will receive $75,000, will be announced at a gala in November. The five finalists include Séamus Gallagher, Anahita Norouzi, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Kablusiak, and Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, whose works will be exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada starting in October.

Cloe Hakakian with her mural “The Common Thread” (2023) in Los Angeles. Photography by Jade Blairs, courtesy TaskForce

An L.A. neighborhood gets a hopeful mural in the wake of an antisemitic shooting.

Earlier this month, a mural titled The Common Thread was unveiled in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles. Created by artist Cloe Hakakian, the mural showcases a woman lighting Shabbat candles and symbols representing the city’s diverse Jewish communities. Created in the wake of the shooting of two Jewish people as they were leaving a synagogue, the artwork is part of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations’ anti-hate mural initiative. The mural was developed in collaboration with locals through focus groups to ensure it resonates with the community it represents.

The U.S. intends to rejoin UNESCO and settle more than $600 million in back dues.

UNESCO has announced that the United States intends to rejoin the organization and settle over $600 million in back dues after a ten-year dispute triggered by Palestine’s inclusion as a member. The decision was fueled by concerns over China’s increasing influence in UNESCO policymaking, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence and technology education. The move is expected to receive approval from UNESCO’s member states, marking a significant boost to the organization’s initiatives such as the World Heritage program and efforts to combat climate change and promote education.

Salt Bae Burger, once named New York’s worst restaurant, is permanently closing.

Perform a hand gesture by raising your right hand, touching your thumb to your pointer finger, and bending your wrist. This simple movement has been the key to success for Nusret Gökçe’s Nusr-Et steakhouses, also known as Salt Bae. However, despite gaining fame and millions of Instagram followers for his unique salt-sprinkling technique, his burger chain, Salt Bae Burger, recently closed its doors in New York City after facing criticism and lawsuits. The brand plans to incorporate the burger menu into its existing Nusr-Et Steakhouse locations in the Meatpacking District and Midtown.

Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Oak Park. Image courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, Chicago

Today’s attractive distractions:

Take a walking tour of a Chicago suburb replete with Frank Lloyd Wright homes.

Contemporary art fairs have undergone a major transformation over the years.

Home Depot has started selling modern tiny home builder kits with roof decks.

A lucky family unearths more than one million pennies in their father’s home.

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