The Galaxy’s First Space Hotel Will Open in 2027, and Other News

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

Voyager Class, the galaxy’s first space hotel

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.

Voyager Class, our solar system’s first-ever space hotel, will make its debut in 2027.

Bringing a whole new meaning to “room with a view,” the California-based startup Orbital Assembly Corporation has announced plans to build the first space hotel, set to open in 2027. Composed of two concentric rings—one for docking, one serving as the backbone of the structure—Voyager Class will house a restaurant, bar, gym, cinema, spa, and rooms for around 400 people. The rotating space station will also have the capacity to produce varying levels of artificial gravity by increasing or decreasing the rate of rotation. 

The relaunched UK culture publication The Face will soon debut a TikTok talent agency.

Following a feature story titled “New TikTok Rebels” in its Winter 2020 issue, The Face will go beyond simply observing the stars on Gen Z’s favorite social outlet—it’s going to cultivate them. Dubbed Accelerator, the agency will develop creative talent and consult with brands on campaigns for the platform, which now has more than one billion users in 150 countries. Launched in 1980, the magazine has a reputation for sussing out cultural figures, from putting an unknown Kate Moss on the cover in 1990 to its recent FKA Twigs cover shot by Charlotte Wales. 

Chapultepec Park, Mexico City

A cultural complex in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park faces setbacks as its architect drops out.

The future of a $440 million cultural complex in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park is being called into question. Benjamin Romano of LBR&A Arquitectos withdrew his participation in the project after the local government said his proposal for a pair of pedestrian bridges failed to meet technical structural criteria. Construction work on the bridges was meant to start last summer and be completed within one year, but the project sparked fierce resistance from locals and campaigners, who claimed that few of the required environmental impact studies were carried out to support its approval. According to Mexico City governor Claudia Sheinbaum, the proposal would “require the cutting down of a large number of important trees” in the park. Other construction plans include a new contemporary art hub designed by Renzo Piano.

A new immersive digital format takes center stage at this year’s Exhibit Columbus event.

Curated by Iker Gil and Mimi Zeiger, the third iteration of Exhibit Columbus—an exploration of architecture, art, design, and community that activates the legacy of Columbus, Indiana—is expanding on the theme of current social climate. From March 19–26, New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, What is the Future of the Middle City? will allow visitors to survey 13 site-specific, future-focused installations. Meanwhile, participants from around the world are invited to join online and listen to live-streamed presentations. 

Microsoft’s new Mesh meeting platform uses mixed reality to simulate in-person gatherings.

According to Kinect and HoloLens inventor Alex Kipman, Microsoft’s latest meeting platform creates a hybrid out of AR and VR called “mixed reality.” The new technology, called Mesh, makes it possible to feel like you’re in the same place with your coworkers via a new feature called “holoportation,” which allows users to appear as themselves in a virtual space. Powered by Azure, a digital stage presented in real time with Mesh-enabled applications, the software works with 3D physical models—anything from furniture to jet engines to new sports stadiums—in a shared virtual space to collaborate and iterate on holographic models, regardless of physical location.

Pink Atmosphere (1971) at Cal-State Fullerton. © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Judy Chicago’s smoke-based artwork for Desert X gets canceled over environmental concerns.

An ephemeral Judy Chicago artwork at this year’s Desert X biennial won’t see the light. After the Palm Springs writer Ann Japenga raised environmental concerns over the smoke-based artwork, Desert X organizers canceled the artwork for fear of becoming embroiled in even more controversy. (Desert X faced intense criticism for staging its 2020 edition in Saudi Arabia, a country marked by human rights violations.) Chicago, who was “surprised and upset” by the decision, worked for three months with the environmental nonprofit Living Desert to ensure that the artwork wouldn’t harm local wildlife. Until the biennial finds a new venue for Chicago’s work, you can enjoy her technicolor smoke plumes via this new AR app.

The Boy Scouts will establish a victims’ fund by selling its stash of Norman Rockwell paintings.

The Boy Scouts of America plans to establish a victims’ fund to deal with payments arising from a spate of lawsuits over sexual abuse claims. More than 85,000 former scouts have made such allegations against leaders within the organization, which faces at least $300 million in legal fees and is now struggling to stay afloat. Besides securing funds from local councils and proceeds from insurance policies, the Boy Scouts is curiously selling off its collection of Norman Rockwell oil paintings to cover the costs. More than 50 canvases by the prolific 20th-century painter, notable for his idealistic portrayals of American life and an annual contributor to Boy Scouts calendars, are among hundreds of artworks whose sale could contribute to the compensation funds. 

Black Square by Gregory Orekhov. Photography by Ivan Muraenko

Today’s attractive distractions:

Redesign the entire city of Paris with this realistic (and addicting) video game.

This pristine deck of playing cards honors prominent Black historical figures.

Experience infinity at Gregory Orekhov’s illusory new installation in Moscow.

A powerful new compendium celebrates women’s perspectives on sexuality.

All Stories