Modsy Shuts Down Without a Trace, and Other News

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Image courtesy of Modsy

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Modsy Shuts Down Without a Trace

When Shanna Tellerman first launched the e-design service Modsy, in 2015, the interiors industry hadn’t quite seen anything like it. Prospective customers could send rough photos of a room to the service for $159 and, within a few days, receive all-in-one design services complete with a shoppable 3-D rendering of the reimagined space. The results often left something to be desired, but the concept ultimately took off with consumers seeking quick design advice on the fly. The Bay Area company soon amassed nearly $73 million in venture capital and debuted a spate of services such as an iOS app, walkable online model home tours with Lennar, and furniture line called Minna Home.

Despite its position as an e-design frontrunner, Modsy abruptly shut down yesterday, discontinuing its design services and laying off most of its staff. The sudden closure stems from an acquisition deal that crumbled at the last minute. Modsy designers and their clients were largely left in the dark on outstanding orders—a disgruntled customer even took to TechCrunch to voice her frustration as Modsy disabled comments on both its Facebook and Instagram pages. Its demise echoes the crash-and-burn failure of like-minded and well-funded predecessors Laurel & Wolf and Homepolish, highlighting both the perils of venture capital and the challenges of taking the interior design process online. —Ryan Waddoups

Image courtesy of Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo’s new Soho store is offering complementary NFTs by Shxpir. 

“Salvatore Ferragamo’s new concept store in New York’s Soho neighborhood is giving away free NFTs to customers alongside exclusive products, made-to-order and customization services. The store offers a glimpse into how luxury is experimenting and testing Web3 offerings to attract a new, younger audience. For one, it’s playful and exploratory: the NFTs are accessed via an elaborate mirrored booth in which a large curved screen displays the colorful, animated artwork by digital artist Shxpir, created in partnership with multidisciplinary studio De-Yan, which has produced immersive projects for Louis Vuitton and Dior. Visitors can customize the artwork with various elements, such as a silver chain and abstract shapes and patterns via touch screen and pose for a video in the booth with the art, which is minted on the spot as an NFT on Ethereum via OpenSea.” [H/T Vogue]

Airbnb permanently bans parties on its properties after a pandemic-era experiment.  

“In 2020, Airbnb introduced a temporary ban on house parties and events to better follow social distancing restrictions with the pandemic. Now, the company says it’s been so pleased by the outcome that it’s making it permanent and codifying its rules. The ban prohibits “all disruptive parties and events,” with a particular focus on open-invite gatherings (those advertised on social media) and “party house” properties. Disruptive parties and events are essentially defined as those that attract complaints from neighbors. Airbnb says it suspended the accounts of some 6,600 guests for violating the party ban in 2021.” [H/T The Verge]

Image courtesy of Harvard Design Press

Harvard Design Press reveals its inaugural three titles to be published in the fall.

“A survey of Australian-born architect John Andrews, a monograph chronicling the built work of 2018 Serpentine Pavilion designer (and GSD alumna) Frida Escobedo, and a treatise on Mexico City’s controversial statue of Christopher Columbus that more broadly examines the selection of public art in North America’s largest city, are the inaugural titles to be published by Harvard Design Press. All three works—John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense, Frida Escobedo: Split Subject, and Empty Plinths: Monuments, Memorials, and Public Sculpture in Mexico—are slated for release this fall. Harvard GSD’s book-publishing arm will function separately from—but under the auspices of—the 109-year-old Harvard University Press, which has long published titles related to architecture, design, and the built environment including books produced by Harvard GSD.” [H/T The Architect’s Newspaper]

Steven Holl’s Chapel of St. Ignatius in Seattle wins the AIA’s Twenty-Five Year Award.

“The Chapel of St. Ignatius in Seattle, designed by Steven Holl Architects, has been honored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) with its Twenty-Five Year Award. AIA’s award is conferred on a building that has set a precedent, stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years and continues to set standards of excellence for its architectural design and significance. The Chapel of St. Ignatius finished in 1997, reflects the ideal of the Jesuit practice, a religious order of the Catholic Church, in which no single method of worship is prescribed. Instead, the sect recognizes that “different methods helped different people.” That idea is reflected in the Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle University’s main chapel, where differences in light unify to support the worship and ritual needs of the university community.” [H/T ArchDaily]

Banksy will become an honorary professor at the UK’s University of Creative Arts.

“The British street artist Banksy will become an honorary professor at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), an art school with campuses in the southeast of England. But students hoping to attend lectures on stenciling or sit in on seminars about political activism will be disappointed as the title is purely symbolic. The artist will be receiving the honor “in recognition of his humanitarian efforts and the impact he has had on the global arts scene”, according to a statement from the university.” [H/T The Art Newspaper]

Nobu Hotel Barcelona by Rockwell Group. Photography by Ricardo Labougle

Rockwell Group nods to Japanese craft and Gaudi for the new Nobu Hotel Barcelona.

“New York studio Rockwell Group has mixed references to traditional Japanese crafts and the work of Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi in its interior design for this hotel in Barcelona by American hospitality brand Nobu. Located in the former Gran Hotel Torre de Catalunya near Barcelona’s main train station, the 250-room hotel is topped with a Nobu sushi restaurant on the 23rd floor as well as incorporating a pool, spa, meeting rooms and event spaces. The Spanish outpost marks the thirteenth hotel opening from Nobu, which started as an upscale Japanese fusion eatery in New York in 1994 but quickly expanded into a celebrated chain of restaurants and hotels spanning five continents.” [H/T Dezeen]

Daniel H. Weiss will step down as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s director next year.

“He came aboard in 2015 to stabilize a troubled Metropolitan Museum of Art, led the museum after one director was ousted and then shared power with another. But on Tuesday, Daniel H. Weiss told the museum’s board that he would step down as president and chief executive in June 2023. Weiss, the former president of Haverford College and an art historian, said he was unsure what his next chapter would be, though he looks forward to returning to more writing and perhaps some teaching. The board will now evaluate whether to replace Weiss or to abandon its two-pronged leadership structure, which is unusual for art museums and was put in place in 2017.” [H/T The New York Times]

Kim Namjun, better known as RM, of BTS. Image courtesy of HYBE Corporation

Today’s attractive distractions:

A sharp Egyptian teenager is building a metaverse from his mom’s clothes.

Here’s a shortage we didn’t see coming: primates for biomedical research.

Niantic’s next smartphone game feels like Pokémon Go but for NBA fans.

An Instagram post by RM of BTS sent K-Pop fans flooding to art museums.

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