John Pawson’s Serves Up Restrained Minimalism at a Claridge’s Cafe, and Other News

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Image courtesy of Claridge’s

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John Pawson’s Serves Up Restrained Minimalism at a Claridge’s Cafe

Has Claridge’s entered its reinvention era? First, the legendary London hotel debuted the Painter’s Room, an ornate cocktail nook awash in Art Deco flourishes. Next up was ArtSpace, the first designed—by John Pawson, no less—contemporary art gallery within a high-end hotel, which kicked off with a lively showcase of Damien Hirst’s pipe cleaner animals. Pawson now lends his signature polished minimalism to the refurbished gallery’s accompanying cafe, which sits upstairs on the ground floor facing Mayfair’s quaint Brook’s Mews. 

Pawson may seem a curious choice given the lavish hotel’s history of unrestrained hedonism, but his restrained touch serves up a welcome dose of calm that goes hand-in-hand with the gallery and its art bookshop. Snaking around glimmering white walls are supple banquettes in caramel leather, a shade echoed on the pads of rotund stools and sculptural custom solid ash dining chairs. (His first chair design, it’s now in production with Italian manufacturer Passoni.) Carrara marble clads tables and the counter, where visitors can eye pastry chef Thibault Hauchard’s patisserie, with options ranging from pistachio Paris-Brest and classic croque madame to Claridge’s Crest Cake, a chocolatey replica of the hotel’s iconic coat of arms. —Ryan Waddoups

The Ronald McDonald House in Kyiv. Image courtesy of Zikzak Architects

A Ukrainian design firm is building the country’s first Ronald McDonald House in Kyiv.

Zikzak Architects, a Ukrainian studio, is developing the country’s first Ronald McDonald House in Kyiv near the Okhmatdyt hospital. Scheduled for completion in 2025, the five-story, 37,000-square-foot building will have 50 bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, accommodating 2,600 children and their families. The scheme includes communal spaces, a roof terrace, and a kitchen overlooking a playroom, aiming to create a supportive community environment. The building will also feature an underground bomb shelter with amenities for 197 people—a response to the ongoing conflict. The exterior will blend with the surrounding architecture, featuring clinker tiles and bricks, as well as colorful window frames for a playful touch.

Pinterest tweaks its search algorithm to represent more body types and skin tones.

Pinterest is updating its algorithm to show a variety of body types in women’s fashion searches, using machine learning to address biases that favor white and thin models on platforms like Instagram. The change is in response to a 500 percent increase in specific queries like “plus-size bridal dresses” from 2022 to 2023, indicating both a demand for and a lack of inclusivity in current search engines. Developed using five billion images, the new technology employs AI to identify shape, size, and form in each image. This is part of Pinterest’s ongoing effort to make its platform more inclusive; it previously introduced tools to filter results by skin tone and hair pattern in 2019. The initiative has received support from organizations such as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.

The Center for Architecture + Design, home to the American Institute of Architects San Francisco chapter. Photography by Richard Barnes

San Francisco’s AIA chapter has moved into the historic Halldie Building downtown.

The Hallidie Building in downtown San Francisco, one of the first U.S. structures to feature a glass curtain wall, is now home to the newly opened Center for Architecture + Design. Designed by Aidlin Darling Design and built by BCCI Construction, the 10,000-square-foot space includes a lecture hall, gallery, cafe, and meeting rooms, all aimed at fostering community engagement in the architecture and design industries. The Center marks its opening on the 20th anniversary of the Architecture + the City festival and will host a variety of events, from workshops and exhibitions to youth programs, while also serving as the new home for the American Institute of Architects San Francisco chapter’s growing staff.

The recent earthquake in Morocco has severely damaged several key heritage sites.

The recent earthquake in Morocco, measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, has caused major damage to UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Marrakech’s medieval medina and the Koutoubia Mosque. Eric Falt, UNESCO’s regional director in the Maghreb, highlighted the urgency of assessing and restoring tangible and intangible heritage, as the death toll has risen to 2,122 and more than 2,400 people are injured. The earthquake damaged the Tinmel mosque in the High Atlas Mountains, a site of historical importance that was undergoing an 18-month restoration. The Ksar of Aït Ben Haddou, a fortified city famous for its clay architecture, also sustained damage. UNESCO plans to send a team to assess the extent of the destruction, emphasizing the incalculable loss to Morocco’s national heritage.

A group of business leaders is in talks to buy the bankrupt San Francisco Art Institute.

A consortium of nine arts and business leaders, including philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs and David Stull, CEO of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, is in talks to buy the bankrupt San Francisco Art Institute’s Russian Hill campus. Stull confirmed the group’s four-month effort to develop a plan for the campus, emphasizing its future role as an educational and community arts center. The deal would not include the institute’s graduate campus at Fort Mason Center, which closed in 2020, but would preserve the Diego Rivera mural The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City, a city landmark.

“Brutalist Italy: Concrete Architecture From the Alphs to the Mediterranean Sea.” Photography by Roberto Conte and Stefano Perego/Fuel

Today’s attractive distractions:

Tibetan habitats are being torn apart to collect a mysterious type of fungus.

Dewsbury in Yorkshire is crowned as England’s greenest 19th-century city.

This book celebrates the most memorable Brutalist architecture across Italy.

Can Mansur Gavriel’s signature bestselling handbags win over Gen Z-ers?

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