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.
Shantell Martin Reimagines an Italian Design Classic
Shantell Martin’s dreamy doodles have graced abandoned chapels, Converse sneakers, and giant screens at the World Trade Center. Now, they’re bringing her uplifting message to the Camaleonda Sofa, a timeless staple of Italian design envisioned by Mario Bellini in 1970. The iconic sofa has uplifted interiors for decades with its sumptuous curves and domestic ease, but has lately seen a meteoric resurgence in popularity as aesthetes encountered the elegant statement piece on their Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards while reimagining their living spaces during lockdown, which may explain why B&B Italia reissued the sofa this past year.
And last week, during action-packed Miami Art Week festivities, the furniture brand’s Design District showroom hosted a lively event in which Martin spontaneously applied her signature scribbles onto a white edition of the sofa in front of a live audience, who watched in awe as her freehand drawings effortlessly brought the sofa to life. Martin drew inspiration from the sofa’s name, a hybrid of the Italian words “camaleonte” (chameleon) and “onda” (wave). “This was a natural starting point and something that I felt fundamentally a core aspect to my work as an artist,” Martin says. “So I wanted to create a calm and immersive experience around not only this iconic design, but around this idea of functional adaptability and nature.”
Pak’s Gamified NFT Sells for $91.8 Million, Dethroning Beeple
When Beeple sold his now-infamous Everyday: The First 5000 Daysfor $69.3 million, the then-unknown digital creator became the world’s most valuable living artist seemingly overnight—and spurred an ongoing NFT bonanza. During this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, however, another NFT sale by the pseudonymous art collective Pak has broken Beeple’s record. Their latest NFT project, called The Merge, attracted more than 28,000 buyers that acquired 266,445 digital tokens of the artwork for $91.8 million on Nifty Gateway.
The sale kicked off with a twist that creates a Hunger Games economy among collectors. The starting value of each individual unit of The Merge was valued at $575, steadily rising every six hours. Earlier this week, collectors received one NFT with their accumulated units. When one collector buys NFTs from another, the buyer’s NFT increases while the seller’s NFT is destroyed. Essentially, the more secondary sales, the scarcer the mass. Sales will be tracked on a leaderboard, with the top five and top 100 buyers receiving a special “style class” with yet-to-be-determined benefits besides bragging rights. Let the games begin!
In China, a cultural center that resembles giant blocks of ice cubes is taking shape.
The new Xinxiang Cultural Tourism Center, a building that resembles “ice cubes” made using frosted glass panels designed by architects Qiang Zou and Mathieu Forest, is the latest addition to the city’s tourist district. ‘It is a question of hiding—while showing—to provoke mystery and the desire to approach,” say the architects. “The ice crystals capture the light and give it back. The building thus seems to emit the light it receives like a mass of inhabited ice.”
The parents of the Michigan school shooter were discovered hiding in an artist’s studio.
On the heels of the tragic shooting at the Detroit’s Oxford High that left seven injured and four dead, the parents of the 15-year old shooter, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after the duo thought it wise to arm their child with a handgun despite warnings from school of their son’s dangerous behavioral patterns. On the run, the parents took refuge at Andrzej Sikora’s studio, where officials secured them into custody after receiving a tip of their whereabouts. Although Sikora has not been formally charged, further investigations with the artist loom in his role of harboring fugitives.
A new drinking den imbues Piraeus, Greece, with the electric nightlife of Singapore.
Conceived by Athens firm Studiomateriality, Uncle Tan’s Drinking House offers a playful mix of Asian-based cocktails alongside the fable of its fictitious owner, who settled in Greece to search for his family. Under the backdrop of vibrant neon lights and cartoon dragons offset with concrete and steel finishings, the luminous space scatters anecdotes of the mythical Uncle Tan to give bar-goers a chance at understanding his life. Spoiler alert: fishing rods from his fishing career, aged recipe books, and family portraits are some of the residing clues.
An ancient Roman villa has been unearthed by a pair of British farmers in England.
A casual stroll through a family-owned farm has turned into a groundbreaking discovery: nestled eight feet below the soil on a Rutland County farm in the East Midlands, multiple 1,700-year old mosaics that sported imagery from Homer’s “The Iliad” were excavated—a milestone discovery of Roman artifacts in England over the past century. The surfaced artwork is slated for further investigation as a listed Scheduled Monument, but for now, a team of archaeologists note that the medieval piece shares recurrent motifs from dining and entertainment room floors of an aged Roman complex during the 3rd and 4th century.
A sports mogul’s fortune earmarks $200 million for museums in New York and Detroit.
Established by late American sports figure Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., the organization is granting $60 million across a decade into smaller endowments for 13 capital museums situated in Michigan and Upstate New York. Although some institutions on the roster are receiving annual grants of $500,000 and $100,000, the arts organisations receiving the largest sums are Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Institute of Arts, with $700,000 each.
Today’s attractive distractions:
The latest Google Doodle somehow makes cooking and cutting pizza infuriating.
Now you can bathe in a pool of Pepto-Bismol at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Indulge in a much-needed distraction with this year’s most shared gifs and clips.