Surface’s Most Popular Stories of 2017

The 10 articles that captured your attention this year, from our exclusive first look at Kanye West’s Calabasas Collection to a survey of hospitality’s latest trend: reclaimed motels.

Where to begin with 2017? Like years before it, the past 12 months have had their fair share of the good, the bad, and the ugly (see over-the-top designer christmas trees, yachts built for millennials, and the closing of one of New York’s grandest hotels). But that’s not to say that the last 300-some days haven’t taken unique turns of their own, making 2017 a year we won’t soon forget—for better, and for worse. We lamented the loss of Azzedine Alaïa, esteemed fashion designer and friend of Surface, who left this earth in November at the age of 82. We questioned the power of good design to protest in an age of nihilistic memes and anonymous shitposting. We asked a group of culinary and art world notables to debate whether food is art. We pondered A.I.’s potential to totally overthrow the world as we know it. We also celebrated Mexico City’s evolution as a design destination, recognized the work of gallery owner Rossana Orlandi in championing groundbreaking talent, and got a first look inside architect Alexander Gorlin’s quiet transformation of Eero Saarin’s legendary Bell Labs. Through it all, we launched The List—our online directory for the very best companies working in design—and a new questionnaire that gives a glimpse inside the hearts and minds of emerging and established designers alike. But of all the articles we published in 2017, these were the top stories according to you, dear readers. And while the year may be coming to a close, their relevancy is not, making them worth reading if you missed them when they debuted—or taking a second look another time around.

1. Kanye West Releases His Calabasas Collection

Four months after the debut of our Kanye West cover story from November 2016, we got the exclusive privilege to announce Yeezy’s Calabasas Collection, and shared images of the looks photographed by Dan Regan and styled by A$AP Nast. Read more »

2. Matías Duarte’s Material World

Our cover story for 2017’s Technology Issue profiled a man you might not know by name, but who most certainly has a hand in your everyday life, whether you realize it or not. We mean, of course, the man who brought design to Google. Read more »

3. The Death of Retail as We Know It Is Upon Us

Surface Media’s CEO on why brick-and-mortar shops need to dramatically rethink their ways—or die. Read more »

4. Who Said Byredo Is Just a Fragrance Company?

The brand’s founder, Ben Gorham, continues to push the brand out of its comfort zone with a new collection of leather goods and a slew of interiors projects on the way. Read more »

5 . The Surface 4/20 Gift Guide

Our list of the most elegant marijuana smoking accessories, which double as objets d’art. Read more »

6. Chef Daniel Humm on Eleven Madison Park’s Greatest Hits

Right before closing for renovation, the World’s Best Restaurant gave us an exclusive look at the dishes it served on its final tasting menu, a compendium of the best dishes served at the restaurant since chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara joined in 2006. Read more »

7. Buffalo, New York, Is Staging a Comeback

With a slew of major restorations, adaptive reuse projects, and big-budget expansions reigniting enthusiasm for the city’s dynamic architectural past, a cultural renaissance is finally taking shape. Read more »

8. Why Norman Foster Is the Perfect Architect for Apple and Bloomberg

The British architect has transformed the 21st-century city with his massive-scale buildings. Can he cement his legacy with his new philanthropic organization? Read more »

9. Reclaimed Motels Are America’s Hottest Hotel Trend

The biggest hospitality trend to sweep the country this year was the tender overhaul of 20th-century motels into stays with contemporary tastes. Read more »

10. Sterling Ruby: Stretching the Canvas

The L.A.-based artist has become a renaissance man for the end of the world, his sinister-looking output spanning far beyond art objects and traversing into the realms of fashion and interior design. Read more »

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