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Olafur Eliasson’s Illusory Shelters Mirror the Qatari Desert
Ever since Qatar won the bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup back in 2010, the Middle Eastern country has been on a building tear. Qatar has been racing against the clock to realize zealous plans for new development that include eight state-of-the-art soccer stadiums designed by a roster of acclaimed architects, several high-profile cultural institutions, a 47-mile-long rail system, dozens of luxury hotels, an expansion to Hamad International Airport, and a star-studded public art program featuring Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hirst.
The latest artwork to be unveiled comes from Olafur Eliasson, the environmentally minded Danish-Icelandic artist who has long explored the interplay between human perception and the natural world. His installation, Shadows Traveling on the Sea of the Day (2022), gently disrupts the rugged desert north of Doha with 20 circular shelters arranged in a pentagram pattern. Each is supported by semicircular rings that, when viewed from the structures’ mirrored undersides, form a perfect circle and impart the illusion of staring down at the earth. “It’s an invitation to resync with the planet,” Eliasson says. “It’s a celebration of everything being in and moving through the desert—animals, plants, and human beings; stories, traditions, and cultural artifacts; wind, sunlight, air, and shimmering heat.” —Ryan Waddoups
Alejandro Aravena will auction off his latest home in Mexico for an educational charity.
“In a hilly neighborhood in Monterrey, Mexico, stands a castle-like home, cylindrical and monolithic. Larger-than-life cutouts in the facade look like they were taken with a massive clay knife. The roughly 6,000-square-foot residence, along with two Mercedes and a bank check, a value of roughly $3.7 million USD, is the grand prize for Mexico’s Sorteos Tec Tradicional lottery, a raffle that funds scholarships for students attending Tecnológico de Monterrey, an institution for higher education. About $1,200 pesos—roughly $60 USD—enters you in the raffle for the dream home, and supports the dreams of student hopefuls.” [H/T Dwell]
The Nigerian designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello scoops this year’s Hublot Design Prize.
“Nifemi Marcus-Bello’s work in community projects with an ethnographic bent has seen him scoop the Hublot Design Prize 2022, announced by jury members Hans Ulrich Obrist, Marva Griffin, Alice Rawsthorn, and Samuel Ross. The Nigerian-born designer won for his work that results in new forms and typologies centering around the needs of the community. The Hublot Design Prize, launched in 2015 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Big Bang, was conceived by Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and the late graphic artist designer Pierre Keller. The winner is set to receive 100,000 Swiss francs in prize money.” [H/T Wallpaper]
“The tourist arrives at an attraction, turns their back, and snaps a selfie. It’s a behavior that’s preoccupied larger-than-life photographer JR for years. In 2016, he disappeared the Louvre’s glass pyramid using a giant anamorphosis lowered from a crane. At the Eiffel Tower, he did something similar. Now, at the Giza pyramid complex, he’s making the visitor selfie redundant altogether. In the foreground of the Egyptian monuments, JR has installed his own pyramid: it’s a black-and-white photo booth where passersby are invited to enter and have their portrait taken. These images are turned into 16-foot posters and pasted onto billboards backed by the pyramids. ‘The participant[s],’ JR’s press release states, ‘become co-creators, collaborators, and protagonists in the long artistic history of this site.’” [H/T Artnet News]
Howard University selects designers for the Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts.
“Howard University has selected Moody Nolan and the Washington, D.C.–based KGD Architecture to design the next piece in its ongoing $785 million campus revitalization. Once completed, the new Center for Fine Arts & Communications will contain the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, Cathy Hughes School of Communications, and house the University’s television and radio stations (WHUR/WHUT.) The new fine arts center was named after the late actor and class of 2000 graduate last year in recognition of his dedication to preserving and fostering arts education at the University.” [H/T Archinect]
Jack Diamond, the Canadian designer behind Diamond Schmitt Architects, dies at 89.
“Toronto-headquartered global architecture firm Diamond Schmitt Architects has shared the sad news that founding principal Abel Joseph “Jack” Diamond has passed away at the age of 89, just a week shy of his 90th birthday. In an official statement, fellow principal Donald Schmitt referred to his friend and longtime business partner as “one of the most significant and defining Canadian architects of his generation.” Diamond, a Gold Medalist of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects, designed numerous landmark projects in and around Toronto as well as further afield during his highly decorated architectural career.” [H/T The Architect’s Newspaper]
Just Stop Oil is pausing its eco-protests but will continue if its demands aren’t met.
“Just Stop Oil has declared a temporary pause on its eco-protests but vowed to escalate action if its demands are not met. The group carried out a month-long campaign of civil resistance, vandalism, and protest in October in pursuit of its demand that the Government stops all new oil and gas licenses. Activists with the group dramatically attempted to scale Downing Street, vandalized buildings with orange paint, targeted prize artworks with soup, and regularly brought London traffic to a standstill by gluing themselves to the road. In a warning of fresh action on Tuesday, the group said: ‘From today, Just Stop Oil will pause its campaign of civil resistance. We are giving time to those in the Government who are in touch with reality to consider their responsibilities to this country at this time.’” [H/T Evening Standard]
“Sustained high rates for short-term rentals and vacation homes propelled Airbnb to notch record revenues and profits in the third quarter, it reported on Tuesday. The lodging booking agency continued to cash in on consumers’ pent-up demand for travel as the pandemic receded. Airbnb’s net income rose 46 percent year-over-year to $1.2 billion, its highest-ever quarter, for the period that ended September 30. The San Francisco-based company generated third-quarter revenue of $2.9 billion, which was likewise a company record. The revenue mark was up 29 percent compared to a year ago.” [H/T Skift]
Today’s attractive distractions:
NASA’s cheeky “Smiling Sun” photo has unleashed a galaxy of solar memes.