a panorama of design
This article is part of our Design Special section on how looks, materials and even manufacturers evolve.
rugs that reflect
For German-born designer Jan Cath, who now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, carpets are not just decorative items; They also reflect global politics. His “Rag Bomb” exhibition of 11 handicraft works at the Alte Bruderkirche, a church in Kassel, Germany, follows a modern tradition by artisans in troubled countries of weaving images of violence and war into textiles.
“They are very personal,” he said.
Through September 25, in conjunction with the art exhibit “Documenta,” “Rag Bomb” features pieces ranging in size from throwing to 10-by-14-foot ops that can command an entire room.
His scenes – rendered in a pop art-inspired style – include fighter jets, guns, tanks and refugees. In one, a Syrian family disembarks from a boat on a Greek island as a military helicopter soars above a starry night sky. In another scene, adapted from the 2006 book “Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes” by Kyle Cassidy, a man proudly shows an automatic rifle in the living room with his family.
Mr. Kath executes each design digitally before translating it into the color of hand-made wool and silk, dyed with natural dyes. The technique he uses for handcuffing dates back to ancient Persia. He said it takes three to five months for each rug to compete.
A new collection celebrates everyday design
Graphic designers create forms of communication from books to billboards to gum wrappers. Yet whether printed or digital, the life span of these designs is fruit-flying, and there are not enough archivists in the world to sift through the mountains of such artifacts for conservation.
Coming to the rescue of leaflets, typefaces and ticket stubs is the People’s Graphic Design Archive, a crowdsourced database that recently went live after eight years of development. The digital archive, which currently holds approximately 5,000 items, allows anyone, anywhere in the world, to upload – and thus keep – any piece of the almanac.
Inspired by “A People’s History of the United States”, Howard Zinn’s 1980 book, which expanded the definition of events deemed to be worth documenting, the collection takes several approaches. Louise Sandhaus, who directed the project with Brockett Horn, Briar Levitt and Morgan Sarsi, said, “To tell a great history of a culture represented through graphic design, you have to account for everything that culture has produced. ” That means ensuring the existence of designs, such as the South Korean crayon package celebrated by design historians and the 200-peso coin from Colombia, are not “just a select few canonized and fetishized items”, Ms Sandhaus said.
Participants are asked to upload content that is at least 10 years old. Submissions may include finished projects and sketches, photographs, correspondence, oral histories and other sources that illuminate the design.
Upgraded centuries old library
When the centuries-old Richelieu Library in Paris’ second arrondissement reopens this month after a decade-long renovation, visitors to its ornate Oval Room can see that the previous assortment of chairs has been replaced with more sleek seating.
The Aurea chair – designed by Patrick Jouin, prototyped by the French national furniture-heritage consortium Atelier de Recherche et Creation du Mobilier and manufactured by Alki, a company in France’s Basque region – is crafted from oak and has a black leather seat And yet it is the first chair specially commissioned for the Oval Room.
Before drafting his design, Mr. Jouin visited Richelieu and observed a mix of seating in the different rooms, including rows of high-backed canoe chairs.
“They had chairs that didn’t belong to the space,” he said by telephone. “They were very ornate, very French classic. It’s working well at Versailles, but it doesn’t work in this library. So I wanted to design a small serious chair for a place to study. I wanted to Was that it should be prudent.”
While the Oria without the flaky has a mid-century modern air, Mr. Jouin said he was more inspired by the room’s existing wooden tables. “If I am impressed,” he said, “I would say that I am more impressed by Shaker style than anything else, this idea of beauty with a simple, pure act.”
The chairs also suit the library’s location in another way: the orrea name for a page of a book is Basque.
A new Massachusetts theater offers a glimpse behind the scenes
Imagine stepping into a theater lobby and peering into the dressing room. You can do just that at the former performing arts center at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. The now $107 million building, completed last month, is welcoming students for the fall semester. (And don’t worry, the cast will be able to close a veil for privacy.)
“The Beehive,” as the space is known, is no ordinary theater lobby. It has a grand central courtyard with a cafe that will serve as a center for the performing arts as well as the larger Holy Cross complex. The atrium’s glass walls will give visitors a glimpse into the inner workings of the school, from classrooms to galleries and event spaces.
Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the former performing arts center is organized in a cross shape (not a reference to the college or its Catholic affiliation), beehive with four wings: a 400-seat proscenium-style wood-lined main theater ; 200-seat flexible black box theatre; a wing of practice and production spaces; and the Cantor Art Gallery Wing, which includes a media lab geared towards augmented reality, virtual reality and electronic music creation.
The goal, according to the project’s lead architect, Charles Renfro, was to adapt the building to spontaneous creative uses. “Many education places are very determined,” he said. “We wanted to provide a space so that welcoming and flexible students would feel compelled to make it their own.”
Reflecting on the red brick and limestone of the 19th-century Collegiate Gothic architecture of the Holy Cross, the center is made of Cor-Ten steel and glass fiber-reinforced concrete. The building replaces part of a parking lot, and will serve as a central point for pedestrians on campus. Students will enter the arts center from the corners of the building, which are planted with a variety of landscapes, including a small amphitheater and a meditation garden.