Design Dispatch

Artist Sam Durant resurfaces from the “Scaffold” controversy with a drone, and Other News

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

Untitled (Drone) by Sam Durant.

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.

Artist Sam Durant resurfaces from the “Scaffold” controversy with a drone in New York.

The multimedia artist is revealing his first full-scale sculpture in public since “Scaffold,” a piece about capital punishment located at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center that caused quite the controversy back in 2017. Durant’s new work, a glossy white fiberglass sculpture of a General Atomics MQ-1 Predator drone, will sit atop a 25-foot tall pole and rotate in the wind on the High Line at 30th Street. Sized to scale of the actual dimensions of the remote-controlled military aircraft with a wingspan of 48 feet, it will be more or less the real deal—sand the cameras, landing gear, or weapons.

Heritage groups decry plans to demolish Brutalist building in Derby, England.

Designed by Casson, Conder & Partners in 1977, the Derby Assembly Rooms served as an events venue in the city’s medieval marketplace. After a fire shuttered the building in 2014, plans to refurbish it were scrapped due to spiraling costs. Architects and heritage groups across the U.K. are speaking out against the city council’s announcement, saying it will have a negative impact on the environment and the town’s cultural history. A pop-up market is being proposed as a short-term replacement while the issue is debated.

Mimi Lien, The Green's designer, took into consideration the physically and visually impaired individuals, creating gentle curves and wide-open sightlines.

Lincoln Center of Performing Arts’ outdoor plaza will be transformed into a green park.

After copious event cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Manhattan’s Lincoln Center of Performing Arts’s outdoor plaza will soon turn into a green park and outdoor performance venue dubbed “The Green.” Beginning May 10, the Restart Stages initiative will install 14,000 square feet of astroturf along with architectural elements including ramps, raised seating, and semicircular hideaways atop of Josie Robertson Plaza.

43% of people in the U.S. museums industry have lost income due to the pandemic.

A recent survey conducted by American Alliance of Museums (AAM) found that 43% of people in the U.S. museums industry have lost income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with an average decline in wages totaling 31%. Most affected have been independent contractors and consultants, who depend on the on-going shifting needs of museums, with more than half of their contracts canceled or indefinitely postponed. In the wake of museum openings, many have struggled to obtain new agreements, resulting in an average loss of more than half of their pre-pandemic income.

Allbirds pledges to use wool only from regenerative sources by 2025.


The clothing and shoe purveyor has tall plans to manufacture its products from more sustainably farmed wool fibers within the next year, kicking off its four-year plan to work with existing suppliers to shift its sourcing entirely by 2025. Allbirds’ standing commitment to more earth-friendly practices aligns with fashion’s on-going interest in better farming practices that will help brands globally meet ambitious environmental benchmarks. Allbirds’ commitment to regenerative agriculture aims to restore soil health and biodiversity, allowing more carbon to be drawn into the soil, resulting in more vegetation in the process.

Google is working on a Pixel Watch, according to reports.

Google is planning to release a smartwatch under its Pixel brand.

Google is plotting a wrist takeover with its soon-to-hit shelves Pixel watch. The tech giant purchased smartwatch technology from Fossil in 2019, and its recent acquisition of Fitbit, will surely give it skin in the arm game. Fitbit already targets the hugely addressable market Apple is trying to pursue through partnerships and healthcare providers. Jon Prosser, a YouTube personality known for leaking tech hype, recently divulged prospective renderings of what the Pixel Watch may look like.

A documentary about Trevor Paglen sheds light on his view of satellite voyeurism.

Artist, photographer, and geographer Travis Paglen has dedicated much of his career to shedding light on mass surveillance and data collection. A new documentary by Yaara Bou Melhem debuting at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival details his most grandiose project yet: deploying the world’s first celestial art object, a reflecting satellite, which can be seen from earth for several weeks before spontaneously combusting in outer space. “Unseen Skies” will call attention to the thousands of satellites currently orbiting the earth, many of which are solely existing to “watch us.” Bou Melhem sees past that, depicting the project as a lens into how Paglen uniquely approaches life and art.

“Are u on wikifeet?”

Today’s attractive distractions:

MIT offers free access to 34 major architecture books.

An interview with the man who keeps uploading my feet to WikiFeet.

New coach Gus Malzahn embraces player Twitter-handle jerseys.

Jacquemus’s cobalt blue pop-up flower shop in Paris.

All Stories