Theaster Gates Launches Design Incubator With Prada, and Other News

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Theaster Gates teams with Prada Group to launch an incubator for designers of color.

Long before this past year’s cultural reckoning about the lack of diversity within the design industry, Theaster Gates was working to carve out space for Black and brown creatives through his Chicago-based Rebuild Foundation. Now, the multidisciplinary artist and activist has teamed with Prada Group to launch the Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab, a three-year incubator for emerging designers of color in the fields of furniture, industrial, graphic, and fashion design. “Practitioners of color grow when they have opportunities to make, debate, and ask hard questions within and outside of their fields,” Gates said in a recent interview. In its first year, the lab will host public programming on Chicago’s South Side, Los Angeles, and New York City. The inaugural class will be announced in October.

Ongoing Taliban control in Afghanistan may place a primeval Buddhist citadel at risk.

Elevated above a $50 billion copper reserve 25 miles southeast of Kabul, the historic Buddhist settlement Mes Aynak is at risk due to a joint initiative by the Taliban regime and a myriad of Chinese mining companies. The site is perched atop 55 million tons of copper ore and plays host to 400 statues, multiple monasteries, and other architectural antiquities. Although the preliminary discussions with China were paused, these economic contracts are expected to be revived under the Taliban. The logistical consequences of these plans forecast the implementation of railways and mass excavation sites among other developments. “It’s the first real documentation of the relation of the Buddhist community with industrial activity,” comments Philippe Marquis, the head of the Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is very important in the history of Buddhism. We never before had the opportunity to understand the link between this community and the economical and political life of the country.”

Allbirds is entering the stock market with legitimate promises of sustainability.

Based in San Francisco, Allbirds has taken the shoe industry by storm with their line of sustainable footwear. The company is now preparing to expand by entering the stock market with an offering of $100 million and an optimistic valuation of $2 billion upwards, as recorded by Bloomberg News. Although the brand’s move is straight from the playbook of other D2C brands by altering their e-commerce and digital presence to physical stores and conventional advertising, it’s listed as B-Corp and is legally obligated to disclose its finances when it comes to enhancing social systems as well as the environment. Now, Allbirds’ pledge of sustainable operations and manufacturing come with legal weight behind them.

European airlines are banning cloth masks due to their questionable efficiency.

Amidst an insurgence in the Delta variant, major European airlines such as Finnair, Air France, and Lufthansa have banned cloth masks for passengers. The shift in travel protocol sanctions the use of medical-grade masks as opposed to their fabric counterparts due to the skepticism of mask outlets not meeting global health guidelines. According to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency, N95 and surgical masks offer 95 percent and 71.5 filtration respectively whereas cloth masks range from 26.5 percent (cotton) to 79 percent (nylon). Although the global trend of sporting fashionable cloth masks may be drawing to a close, the altered travel policies serve as a reminder of the benefits in erring on the side of caution.

ICON completes 3D-printed houses in Austin designed to withstand natural disasters.

Using ICON’s proprietary technology and a stronger, more resilient building material, Logan Architecture spearheaded the design of the four-unit development of 3D-printed homes, a partnership with developer 3Strands. In addition to the added durability against natural disasters, the Austin-based ICON’s dwellings provide a vision for solving the housing shortage. The company has already built 3D-printed homes in Mexico and is working with NASA and Bjarke Ingels Group to develop construction systems for the exploration of Mars. 

Camille Miceli has been appointed the new artistic director for Emilio Pucci. 

The LVMH-owned label Emilio Pucci has named Camille Miceli as artistic director. Despite having no formal fashion training, Miceli’s background in the garment industry and academic accomplishments have witnessed her land stewardships at the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Karl Lagerfeld, and Dior. Miceli is often described as a “story book character” due to her nonchalant fashion style, and her appointment at Pucci nods to a shift in brand strategy—one that strays from runway splendor to focus on personality. As Miceli is moving to Milan to settle into her role, fans of the label will be waiting patiently for her debut in spring 2022.

Today’s attractive distractions:

The Guggenheim Bilbao drops a rap video to raise funds to repair a Jeff Koons sculpture.

Netflix hires the Queen of Denmark as a set designer for a Karen Blixen fantasy film. 

Pandemics are often forgotten to history, but this German museum keeps them alive.

Shortly after releasing Donda, Kanye West was spotted on a secretive art tour in Berlin.

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