Lava-Like Visuals Tease the MSG Sphere, and Other News

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

The Design Dispatch offers expertly written and essential news from the design world crafted by our dedicated team. Think of it as your cheat sheet for the day in design delivered to your inbox before you’ve had your coffee. Subscribe now

Have a news story our readers need to see? Submit it here

Lava-Like Visuals Tease Las Vegas’s New MSG Sphere

Intriguing footage of the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas has teased its impressive LED displays, adorned with cascading red and yellow lights and the greeting “Hello World.” Enthralled by the Populous-designed structure’s mesmerizing lava-like effects created by the swirling lights, viewers likened the sphere—the world’s largest spherical structure at 111 feet tall and 515 feet wide—to the Death Star or the Eye of Sauron. Scheduled to open in September, the sphere will host multi-sensory live entertainment, with U2 scheduled as the landmark’s opening act. —Ryan Waddoups

The Wilson Tower in Austin. Rendering courtesy of Wilson Capital

HKS scales down the Wilson Tower, an 80-story residential skyscraper in Austin

HKS has scaled down its plans for the Wilson Tower in Austin. Originally designed as an 80-story residential skyscraper, it will now be reduced to 45 floors and 350 units due to feedback from Austin’s Design Commission. The changes address concerns regarding accessibility and approachability, as well as economic factors such as higher construction costs and interest rates. The revised design retains the tower’s brise soleil-wrapped facade, which features a metal exoskeleton and glass panels.

Jingru (Cyan) Cheng wins Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Wheelwright Prize.

Jingru (Cyan) Cheng has been announced as the recipient of the 2023 Wheelwright Prize, an annual award given by Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) to recognize innovative architectural research with the potential to influence architectural discourse. Cheng’s interdisciplinary work, which encompasses architecture, anthropology, and filmmaking, explores themes of immigration, labor, and water. Her winning project, titled “Tracing Sand: Phantom Territories, Bodies Adrift,” investigates the economic, cultural, and ecological ramifications of sand mining and land reclamation. The $100,000 grant accompanying the prize will support Cheng’s research and travel over the next two years, as she visits various locations worldwide to study airports, beaches, rivers, and rural immigrant communities.

Image courtesy of Alef Aeronautics

A flying car that can also drive on the road has been approved for early flight tests. 

Alef Aeronautics has obtained regulatory approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration to start testing its fully electric flying car, known as the “Model A.” With a Special Airworthiness Certificate, the vehicle is now legally permitted to fly. Alef has already started taking pre-orders for the $300,000 car, which has vertical take-off and landing capabilities and can also be driven on the road as a low-speed vehicle. The company aims to begin customer deliveries by the end of 2025.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has canceled a restitution conference with Christie’s.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has canceled an event with Christie’s that was intended to focus on art looted by Nazis during World War II. This decision came after public outrage over Christie’s auctioning of jewelry previously owned by the wife of a German businessman who profited from Jewish people escaping Nazi persecution. The museum stated that it was responsive to criticism and committed to public sensitivity. The event cancellation occurred as part of a year-long initiative by Christie’s to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Washington Principles, which guide the restitution of Nazi-looted artwork.

The Palais de Monaco unveils a fresh look with uncovered 16th-century frescoes.

The official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, a Genoese fortress built in 1191 and inhabited by the Grimaldi family since 1297, recently underwent a significant restoration. The effort revealed remarkable frescoes dating back to the 16th century depicting the labors of Hercules. The project also included the renovation of other parts of the palace, such as Prince Albert II’s apartments, and the renaming of rooms to reflect their 16th-century iconography. The meticulous restoration work aimed to preserve the original artwork while harmonizing it with contemporary standards and techniques.

Uncommon: RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq The World Tour/Voss Entertainment. Image by Uncommon Creative Studio

Today’s attractive distractions:

Instagram Threads, Meta’s new Twitter competitor, officially launches today. 

Here’s how Spotify tastemakers are changing how people discover music.

RuPaul’s Drag Race protests drag bans with a billboard in Times Square.

Brush up on the history of Paper magazine, the chronicler of downtown.

All Stories