RBW Opens a Major Design and Manufacturing Hub Upstate, and Other News

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

RBW’s new design and manufacturing hub in Kingston, New York. Photography by Eric Petschek

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

RBW transforms a former upstate IBM campus into a design and manufacturing hub.

“The $200 million-plus transformation of the old IBM megacampus just outside of the city of Kingston, New York, into a mixed-use cultural and creative hub reached a major early milestone this week with the official opening of the RBW Factory, a 100,000-square-foot design and production facility for independent lighting design and manufacturing brand Rich Brilliant Willing, better known as simply RBW. The move from Brooklyn to the Hudson Valley signals a ‘new chapter of growth’ for the award-winning lighting company, which was first established in New York City in 2007 by friends and fellow RISD grads Theo Richardson, Charles Brill, and Alexander Williams. The state-of-the-art facility, housed inside of a 1950s-era structure that formerly served as a cavernous customer service call center for IBM, enables RBW to maintain the entirety of its operations—product design, manufacturing, fulfillment—under a single, collaboration-fostering roof.” [H/T The Architect’s Newspaper]

Google is preparing an AI text-to-image generator but is slowing down the rollout.

“Alphabet Inc.’s Google is preparing an app that will use AI to let consumers create images by typing a few words. People will only be able to do two things with the app: construct buildings through a function called ‘City Dreamer,’ or use the ‘Wobble’ feature to interact with a cartoon monster, Douglas Eck, a principal scientist at Google, said at the company’s AI@ event in New York Wednesday. The tools will be available through Google’s AI Test Kitchen app. A release date for the new capabilities wasn’t given.” [H/T Bloomberg]

Rendering of Dairy Road masterplan by David Chipperfield Architects, Assemble, and Jane Irwin. Rendering courtesy of David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield and Assemble will build a neighborhood on a Canberra dairy farm.

“David Chipperfield Architects and Assemble have teamed up with Australian landscape architect Jane Irwin to create a residential neighborhood on a former dairy farm in Canberra. Named Dairy Road, the master plan is proposed for a 35-acre site on a former dairy farm in the industrial suburb of Fyshwick and Jerrabomberra Wetlands and will connect existing reused warehouses and agricultural buildings with gardens and housing.” [H/T Dezeen]

Art Basel and the Luma Foundation launch Arcual, a blockchain for the art community.

“Artists are largely unable to benefit from the skyrocketing prices of their work after an initial sale, while flippers can make out like bandits. Galleries that support artists early on in their careers can be left high and dry after they hit it big. A true chain of ownership is difficult to trace. A new company, Arcual, leverages blockchain technology to address these issues and wants to change the way business as usual is done in the art market. Cofounded by Art Basel and the Luma Foundation, the company defines itself as a ‘blockchain ecosystem built for the art community, by the art community.’ It’s a custom digital ledger that hosts smart contracts designed for artists and dealers. Those contracts offer art-specific features that standard agreements often don’t: they can define payment terms, verify provenance, and ensure that creators are paid royalties each time their artworks are sold.” [H/T Artnet News]

Meta is testing a way to mint NFTs on Instagram through the Polygon blockchain.

“Meta has announced that it’s testing minting and selling NFTs on Instagram, like you can with many traditional NFT marketplaces, with a “small group of creators in the US” getting access to the feature first. The company’s also expanding Instagram’s NFT showcase feature, which it recently made available to users in over 100 countries. The announcement comes among news of several new ways for creators to make money on its platforms. Meta says its digital collectibles toolkit will let people create NFTs on the Polygon blockchain and then sell them either on Instagram or off the platform.” [H/T The Verge]

A house in the East End village of Sagaponack by Bates Masi + Architects. Image courtesy of Bates Masi + Architects

Harry Bates, a modernist architect of pared-down Long Island homes, dies at 95.

“Harry Bates, an architect who designed scores of modernist houses on Fire Island in the 1960s and ’70s and in the Hamptons in the 1980s and ’90s, and then, with a design partner 45 years his junior, had a surge of output around the turn of the century, died on Tuesday in Fernandina Beach, Fla. The death was confirmed by his design partner, Paul Masi. By the turn of the century, the partners could barely keep up with demand for their rigorously modern but inviting houses. They were allergic to anything grandiose: When clients wanted large houses, the partners tended to divide them into smaller volumes, effectively disguising them as compounds. They eschewed nonessential details and edited their own work ruthlessly, often limiting themselves to just one or two visible materials.” [H/T The New York Times]

Climate protesters who targeted Girl with a Pearl Earring are sentenced to jail time.

“Two Belgian climate change activists who last week targeted the Johannes Vermeer painting Girl with a Pearl Earring have been sentenced to two months in prison by a Dutch court. One activist glued his head to glass covering the painting at a museum in The Hague. The artwork was not damaged, gallery staff said. The protesters said their action was intended to highlight how seeing artwork destroyed evoked a similar feeling to seeing the planet destroyed. But the prosecutor said: ‘An artwork hanging there for all of us to enjoy has been smeared by defendants who felt their message took precedence over everything else.’ The prosecutor asked for a four-month sentence, with two months suspended, but the judge said she did not want her sentence to discourage other people from demonstrating.” [H/T The Guardian]

Image courtesy of Henry Jacques

Today’s attractive distractions:

A stage adaptation of My Neighbor Totoro is enchanting at the Barbican.

Archaeologists unearth 1,000-year-old Viking silver treasures in Sweden.

Rafael Nadal and his wife debut a set of fragrances with Henry Jacques.

NASA’s new inflatable heat shield protects spacecraft from crash landing.

All Stories