The Tokyo Olympics Bans Foreign Spectators, and Other News

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

Tokyo Olympic Stadium by Kengo Kuma

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will proceed as scheduled, but foreign spectators are banned.

As organizers remain determined to hold the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games this summer amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they’re forging ahead with plans to ban international spectators. Though the organizing committee has been racing to institute safety measures to protect both participants and locals from the pandemic, concern has been running high among Japanese citizens, the majority of whom believe the Games should be postponed again.

Miami’s cultural community isn’t keen on a new sculpture park dedicated to cats and dogs.

A proposal for a new sculpture park teeming with four-legged friends is drawing ire among Miami’s cultural cognoscenti. Spearheaded by Miami commissioner Joe Carollo, the $896,000 project would bring a pack of 50 animal statues in Maurice A. Ferré Park near the Pérez Art Museum in an effort to boost tourism. Locals report feeling blindsided by the project and lack of artist-designed alternatives. Voicing disdain for the project, Pérez Art Museum director Franklin Sirmans cites a “vibrant history of art in public places,” such as works by Claus Oldenburg and Ed Rusha, that have recently elevated the city’s cultural profile. Other major figures in Miami’s art world such as Rosa de la Cruz, Jorge Pérez, and Design Miami founder Craig Robins have also voiced opposition. 

Mylo garments by Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney debuts the world’s first garments made out of mushroom-grown leather.

Reversing the fashion industry’s staggering environmental impact will be no easy task, but Stella McCartney is showing measurable progress. McCartney, a lifelong vegan, has stayed away from animal hides and leathers throughout her namesake label’s two-decade lifespan, and believes the toxic chemicals used to craft leathers are the worst offenders. She now debuts a collection of ready-to-wear made out of mushroom mycelium leather, or what material innovation agency Bolt Threads has coined “mylo.” While the debut garments only consist of a jet-black bustier and utility plants, the innovation carves a crucial path forward in the future of sustainable fashion.

Jean Nouvel’s Light of the Sea wins the design competition for the Shenzhen Opera House. 

The Pritzker Prize–winning architect Jean Nouvel’s radical Light of the Sea entry integrates with the coastline and features a transparent “floating” roof instead of the traditional enclosed form of an opera house. Featuring an opera and a concert hall, the two spaces will be connected by a public path and visual corridor. 

Illuminated River by Leo Villareal

Leo Villareal unveils the world’s longest public artwork along the River Thames in London. 

As part of the Illuminated River project, five more London bridges will soon be illuminated. Featuring LEDs designed by the American artist Leo Villareal, the project will visually connect the city’s bridges through a network of kinetic-like lighting sequences and color schemes that highlight the architecture and history of each one. Beginning next month, the Westminster Bridge’s lattice work will be lit by soft emerald hues, emulating the green benches of the House of Commons’ debating chamber. The Lambeth Bridge’s scarlet glow, meanwhile, will emulate the red benches of the chamber in the House of Lords. The lighting installations extend the meaning in the paintwork of both bridges, which has long symbolized the two-chamber parliamentary system.

Zeev Aram, legendary designer who introduced Britons to Corbusier and Breuer, dies at 89.

The furniture and interior designer Zeev Aram, whose Altra Table was depicted in David Hockney’s Portrait of Sir David Webster (1971), is credited with introducing Britons to Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, and Charlotte Perriand at his Aram Store on King’s Road in the 1960s. He was also celebrated for giving a platform to the country’s rising talent at his annual graduate show, notably Thomas Heatherwick and Jasper Morrison, and attracted international attention to architect and designer Eileen Gray in the ‘90s.

Nike’s Swarovski Air Max 97 sneakers

Today’s attractive distractions:

Björk is celebrating the terrifyingly hypnotic eruption of an Icelandic volcano.

We think the world can get behind ephemeral tattoos that fade after a year. 

Sixteenth-century dinner parties often used knives printed with sheet music

These lavish Nike Air Max 97s are decked out in 55,000 Swarovski crystals.

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