Robert McKinley’s Debut Furniture Line Is an Ode to Italy, and Other News

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Monea Collection by Robert McKinley. Photography by Nicole Franzen

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Robert McKinley’s Debut Furniture Line Is an Ode to Italy

Interior designer Robert McKinley has a new accolade to add to his name: furniture designer. Known for being the mind—and finely attuned eye—behind sleek, captivating interiors gracing both coasts, his 11-piece Monea collection exudes livable elegance. Named for his mother, the collection taps into McKinley’s Italian heritage and prominently features Murano glass, Italian marble, and Italian linen across its focused edit of lighting, sofas, and coffee tables. Monea’s pieces are poised to bring the McKinley’s in-demand eye to any space, no gut reno required. “My hope is that the pieces in this collection will be used often—touched, loved, and sat on,” McKinley says, “because true art is found in how we live.” —Jenna Adrian-Diaz

San Francisco Art Institute’s Diego Rivera Gallery. Image courtesy SFAI

The San Francisco Art Institute closes, calling a Diego Rivera mural into question.

“Two years after the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) first announced that it would consider suspending classes due to a lack of financial viability, the 151-year-old university has closed for good. According to a recently released statement, the SFAI will continue to exist as a nonprofit organization in order “to protect its name, archives and legacy,” which includes stewarding a famed Diego Rivera mural on the campus. Over the last two years, a number of possible outcomes were floated to avoid the SFAI’s closure. The first was the potential sale of its massive Rivera mural—valued at over $50m—but outcry from local artists and leaders was so vociferous that city officials unanimously voted to designate the mural a historic landmark, complicating any efforts towards its potential sale.” [H/T The Art Newspaper]

Herbert W. Franke, the pioneering digital artist and Web3 experimentalist, dies at 95.

“Herbert W. Franke, a pioneering digital artist, scientist, and writer of both nonfiction and science fiction, died last week at 95. During the course of his life, Franke witnessed enormous changes in technology, and he used his art to reflect and record these shifts. His practice evolved as technology did. In the 1970s, he used the technology available to him at the Siemens research lab in Germany to make early computer animations using interactive 3D systems. Decades later, he began to enlist blockchain technology to make NFTs on his laptop. For Franke, art was a way to see the beauty of math, and math was a way to make art. He had a large variety of interests, all of which he would pursue throughout his life even as he made his living as a freelancer.” [H/T ARTnews]

Construction startup Vantem is raising capital to build cost-effective net zero housing.

“Vantem is a startup construction company manufacturing high-efficiency, net-zero homes at competitive costs and low embodied carbon. The company recently raised a Series A round of investment from the Bill Gates-founded firm Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Net-zero homes, buildings that produce as much energy as they use, are typically cheaper to own than standard housing. Still, they often involve high construction costs since they require advanced building technologies and engineering. Vantem aims to change this dynamic by employing modular construction technology.” [H/T ArchDaily]

Xavier Espai Corberó’s house near Barcelona. Photography by Mari Luz Vidal for Openhouse Magazine

A surreal complex by Xavier Corberó will become public space for a Catalonian town.

“Like a three-dimensional De Chirico painting or an Escher staircase to nowhere, the labyrinthine Espai Corberó near Barcelona defies architectural logic, being designed “without plans, obeying only space and poetry”. “It’s not my home, it’s a place I made with the help of patrons and buyers as a home for my sculptures,” the artist Xavier Corberó told the art magazine AD shortly before his death at 81 in 2017. Now, five years on, the site is to be acquired for €3 million ($3.07 million) by the local council in Esplugues de Llobregat to be used as a public space.” [H/T The Guardian]

The world’s first biodynamic tequila distillery sits atop an extinct volcano in Mexico.

“Esrawe Studio collaborated with architect Francisco Pardo to design the world’s first biodynamic tequila distillery, envisioned crowning the top of an extinct volcano in Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico. The project is at the heart of a new agro-tourism ecosystem that weaves along a continuous corridor of sustainable agriculture and free-range. In addition to the distillery, the ‘Biodynamic Community’ proposal will be home to a carefully tended extension of biodynamic agro-ranching, agro-tourism, natural hot springs, ranches, ethnobotany for homeopathic products, regional cuisine from edible gardens, sale of homegrown products, workshops for the practice and teaching of traditional crafts, a cultural center, and school, artist residency, and seminars.” [H/T Designboom]

Tommy Hilfiger’s next New York Fashion Week show will also take place on Roblox.

“Fashion Week will soon take over the metaverse as well as New York City. Tommy Hilfiger plans to put forth a physical show while simultaneously recreating the show on Roblox, with all tangible products shown available to buy immediately. The upcoming “see now, buy now” showcase marks the brand’s first NYFW appearance in three years. As models showcase the brand’s Autumn 2022 offerings on September 11—walking a real-life runway at the Skyline Drive-In in Brooklyn—Roblox avatars will recreate the scene wearing the same (albeit digital) pieces while walking through a virtual version of New York City. Users of the gaming platform will be able to purchase digital exclusives related to the show, although details of those pieces have yet to be announced.” [H/T Input]

Image courtesy Roger Dubuis

Today’s attractive distractions:

Tony Hawk plans to build the biggest skatepark in the Sandbox metaverse.

Hajime Sorayama’s sultry robots inspired a sleek Roger Dubuis timepiece.

Watch an acorn slowly sprout into an oak tree sapling the course of 196 days.

Juicy Couture velour tracksuits are back in style, whether we like it or not.

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