DESIGN DISPATCH

The Javits Center’s Inconveniently Timed Expansion, and Other News

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

The Javits Center in New York

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The Javits Center unveils an expansion during an uncertain time for trade shows.

Before the pandemic broke out, New York City committed to spending $1.5 billion to expand its main convention hall, the Javits Center, near Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. Construction crews are now finishing up the expansion at a time when the convention industry can be described as one big question mark. The pandemic collapsed the trade show industry and wiped out mass gatherings more than a year ago, and it remains unclear when most of them will return. For the past year, the Javits Center has either sat empty, been used as a makeshift hospital, or served as a vaccination site amid the cancelation of the New York International Auto Show, Comic Con, and Toy Fair. 

The whitest paint ever combats climate change by reflecting 98.1 percent of sunlight. 

Engineers have successfully created the whitest paint ever, a new shade that reflects 98.1 percent of sunlight to cool building surfaces “like refrigeration to fight climate change.” By default, this makes it the exact opposite of ultra-dark materials, such as Vantablack, which absorbs 99.9 percent of visible light. Thanks to recent advances in nanotechnology, materials scientists have been able to develop coatings that will help cool buildings, reduce the energy demands of air conditioning, and, in turn, mitigate climate change. 

Kengo Kuma & Associates’ winning proposal for Arca Wynwood’s design challenge

Kengo Kuma and Associates wins Arca Wynwood’s design challenge in Miami. 

Prompted by the restorative design theme “Balance as it Relates to the Environment,” the Japanese architect’s submission of stacked ARCA marble blocks resembles a masonry wall system—a design meant to challenge notions of stone as a heavy material using space between each piece to evoke permeability. Kuma’s submission beat out second and third-place finishers, New York-based firm Soho House and Mexico based firm L35. ARCA, a leading purveyor of stone, tile, and wood, presented entries from a range of well-regarded studios in a public exhibition at its new warehouse and showroom whose colorful 3D facade is an artwork by Danish group SUPERFLEX. The winner was chosen by the Deans of the University of Miami’s School of Architecture. “Our team at KKAA is honored to have been awarded first place for our creation,” says Javier Villar Ruiz of Kengo Kuma & Associates. “Our intention was to challenge the general understanding of the use of stone to create a thought-provoking sculpture that illustrates the versatility of natural materials.”

Grimshaw wins the global competition to design a green transit hub in Shenzhen. 

The global architecture firm’s winning design for the Shenzhen Airport East Integrated Transport Hub will be one of the world’s most seamless transport interchanges, providing effortless transfers between high-speed rail and other public transit. Inspired by the local favorite Mangrove tree, known for its ability to absorb carbon at high rates, the undulating structure will also serve as a commercial and cultural district. The project is expected to earn LEED Platinum and Chinese 3 Star ratings. 

Murals by Bollywood Art Project

Street artists band together after Budweiser whitewashes two murals in New Delhi. 

The street art scene in India has been gaining momentum in recent years thanks to collectives such as St+art India, the Fearless Collective, Aravani Art Project, and Bollywood Art Project that have made the medium accessible to a much wider audience. Now, the community is banding together after Budweiser painted over two popular murals commissioned by St+art India in New Delhi. While it remains unclear why Budweiser chose to paint over the two murals, the company agreed to work with the artists to restore them after getting called out on social media.

Is the design of Taser stun guns partially to blame for the murder of Daunte Wright? 

On April 11, the 26-year police veteran Kimberly Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright during a routine traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center. Now, prosecutors are tasked with trying to prove that she was negligent in drawing and shooting her Glock pistol, insead of her Taser stun gun. A now-viral body-cam video shows Potter screaming “Taser! Taser! Taser!” before firing a deadly bullet into Wright’s chest. The appalling “accidental” shooting is what some believe to be ultimately reflected in the design of standard tools that law enforcement officers carry and how they use them. While taser manufacturers have worked to incorporate features such as different grips and lighter materials to differentiate tasers from stun guns, many experts believe that’s not enough. “A better solution would not look like a handgun or shouldn’t feel like one, Pascual Wawoe, director of the product design department at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, tells Quartz.

“Life” by Olafur Eliasson at Fondation Beyeler

Today’s attractive distractions:

Heatherwick Studio’s latest electric car concept cleans the air as it drives…

…while Mercedes-Benz unveils a zero-emissions all-electric EQS sedan.

Olafur Eliasson submerges the Fondation Beyeler in swampy green water.

Five-year-old curator Astrid Cooper steals the show (and our hearts) in Bath.

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