Designing ‘Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies’

( all images and text via Pentagram’s blog )

Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies opens today at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station.

Lisa Strausfeld and her team, in collaboration with the author and architect James Sanders, have designed the exhibition Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies that opens today in Grand Central Terminal. The month-long multimedia exhibition, based on Sanders’ classic book by the same name, relates the hundred-year plus history of filmmaking in and about New York City in a display of original scenic backings, film footage, production stills, and exhibition panels complete with quotes, location shots, art department drawings and renderings.

At rear, a backdrop of the old Penn Station from The Clock (1945).

Large rear-projection screens play signature scenes from films like Manhattan (1978).

Celluloid Skyline was designed to create an environment that recalls the cinematic experience, and the exhibition takes full advantage of Vanderbilt Hall’s dramatic interior, a space itself so representative of New York and one of the few rooms in the city large enough to hold the exhibition’s contents. “This is not a conventional museum-style exhibit, but rather a vast, immersive, magical environment that allows people to walk into the ‘movie New York’ of their dreams,” says Sanders.

The highlights of the exhibition are the four gigantic “scenic backing” paintings used in such films as Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and Vincente Minnelli’s The Clock. These meticulously rendered cityscapes, some more than 25 feet high and 60 feet long, have never been publicly exhibited and are hung on scaffolding around the perimeter of the room. The result is a space in which visitors feel, in Sanders’ words, “as if they are actually inhabiting the various environments of the filmic city—streets, skyscrapers, rooftops, theaters, waterfronts, interiors—allowing viewers to come away with a greater understanding not only of the moviemaking process, but of the urban character, texture and significance of the real city.”

Full article + images here >


Filed under: architecture, art, films, space/place, urban

Stereographic Projections by Seb Przd

( via everyone forever )

Seb Przd Flickr Account


Filed under: architecture, art

Michael Wolf and the Architecture of Density

( via magical urbanism )

Michael Wolf's Architecture of DensityGerman-born photographer Michael Wolf documents the extreme densities of Hong Kong. His series ‘Architecture of Density’ rarely contain images of people, instead letting the extreme scale of the buildings remain as the focus. The images are stunning, though I’m not quite sure how to react. It’s overwhelming to view the scale and enormity of the buildings, and then realize that people live there. The post-modernist in me wants to decry the lack of humanity in the high rises. But these images aren’t hopeless. After all, we created those buildings, right?

Michael Wolf's Architecture of DensitySays Rebecca Walker (.pdf):

A close look at one of Wolf’s architectural images uncovers irregularities such as plants, laundry and scaffolding that interrupt the orderly design of monolithic apartment buildings.

Michael Wolf's Architecture of Density

The monotonous regularity of each façade is given a distinct personality through human details.

Michael Wolf's Architecture of DensityAdds Kenneth Baker (another .pdf):

Various images describe the facades of monstrously tall and repetitive residential highrise buildings, views cropped to make the structures appear as if they might extend indefinitely, upwards and down.

Link via design industry. More after the jump Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: architecture, art

Moving the Vatican Obelisk

( via pruned )

Domenico Fontana, Della Trasportatione dell'Obelisco Vaticano, 1590

The epic choreography of moving the Vatican obelisk, as illustrated by Natale Bonifacio for Domenico Fontana’s 1590 manuscript Della Trasportatione dell’Obelisco Vaticano.

Domenico Fontana, Della Trasportatione dell'Obelisco Vaticano, 1590

The obelisk was carved during the reign of Nebkaure Amenemhet II (1992-1985 BCE), and originally stood in the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis. The Roman emperor Caligula brought it to Rome in 37 AD as one of many tokens of the Roman conquest of Egypt, and was erected on the spine of his eponymous circus, later renamed for Nero.

Finally in 1585, Pope Sixtus entrusted Domenico Fontana of moving the 330-ton Aswan granite the quarter mile or so to St. Peter’s Square. The operation was carried out using hemp ropes and iron bars weighing 40,000 pounds, plus 900 men and 72 horses, and took about 5 months to complete. It was no easy move. Nevertheless, the entire event proved to be a spectacle, captivating the city’s populace.

Domenico Fontana, Della Trasportatione dell'Obelisco Vaticano, 1590

We would be remiss if we didn’t briefly mention that the relocation of the obelisk capped the tail end of the slow but nevertheless epic reconstruction of the city of Rome by the papacy after the Western Schism.

When the popes returned from their Avignon sojourn, they found the city nearly deserted, a hulking heap of trash, the center having the look of a backwoods country. It looked beggarly; or as Petrarch described the one-time center of the world, “a matron with the dignity of age but her grey locks disheveled, her garments, and her face overspread with the pallor of misery.”

Starting with Nicholas V in the mid-15th century, the popes as master urban planners set about returning the city back to economic prosperity and to pastoral preeminence in Christendom. Old roads were opened up, and new ones built. So were new palaces, churches, and piazzas. Entire neighborhoods were razed down, others cleaned for re-habitation. Monumental schemes were planed, re-planned, and then finally executed. Broad, straight roads swept through the landscape, irrespective of the hilly terrain and existing grid, connecting all the mother churches to the city gates, with each other, and to various other holy sites.

Pilgrims soon circulated about the city in a sort of dynamic theatricality. From one church to another church, from one relic to another, praying, chanting, giving offerings and receiving absolution, traversing the urban landscape as if it were a stage, and using the vast store of saintly sculptures and monuments as props.

It was as carefully choreographed as moving the Vatican obelisk.

Domenico Fontana, Della Trasportatione dell'Obelisco Vaticano, 1590

Domenico Fontana, Della Trasportatione dell'Obelisco Vaticano, 1590

Domenico Fontana, Della Trasportatione dell'Obelisco Vaticano, 1590

We would be remiss as well if we didn’t briefly note that most art historians seem to like to comment that not only did the obelisk provided the ideal visual anchor and spatial coherence to a large, open public space but, with the mounting of a cross on the summit, this once trophy of Roman imperialism became a trophy of the Catholic church. The triumph of Christianity over paganism, etc., as it were.

Of course, one can only wonder who will make this trophy of a trophy into their own trophy one thousand or so years from now.

Or in a bit of performance art inspired by Busby Berkeley, will Maurizio Cattelan steer through the Baroque avenues of Rome four parade balloons in the exact shape and dimensions as the minarets of Hagia Sophia? With a cast of thousands and the entire content of Bioparco di Roma? It’ll be a new Roman triumph, passing through the Arch of Constantinople. The minarets will get stuck and so must be deflated. Cities in Western Europe and Muslim countries will riot.

Domenico Fontana, Della Trasportatione dell'Obelisco Vaticano, 1590

(Also read about Ramses II’s 10-hour journey through the streets of Cairo in this BBC News article. Apparently tens of thousands of people lined the streets to witness the spectacle.)

Della Trasportatione dell’Obelisco Vaticano


Filed under: architecture, art, design

Amsterdam – First Google Earth European 3D City

( via digital urbanism )
Amsterdam is now available in 3D via Google Earth – rendered in the current grey building standard with photorealistic landmarks it can’t compete with the new cities being rolled out by Microsoft’s in Virtual Earth – such as Buffalo in the US and Swindon/Brighton in the UK – see our post on Populating the Digital Earth for more info and movies.

Nevertheless its still impressive:

Of note is Engadget’s reporting of the forthcoming Where 2.0 conference with announcements due on the use of technology used to scan building faces and improve the 3D portions of Google Maps and Google Earth.

Sadly we are not going to Where 2.0 – unless someone send us – but keep checking the Google Earth blog as Frank Taylor will be blogging from the event.

Filed under: architecture, space/place, technology

Interview with Joep van Lieshout

:: Designboom presents an interview with Joep van Lieshout, with 11 photos and a movie.

Interview here >



Filed under: architecture, art, design, space/place


( via Eikongraphia )

B_Nieuws - 10 examples of what inspired architects
B_Nieuws – 10 examples what inspired architects

B_Nieuws, the three-weekly periodical of the Faculty of Architecture of the TU Delft, this week published “10 examples [of] what inspired architects”. Or more precise: what the student-editors of the printed A3-size paper think 10 buildings look like.

According to Wikipedia satire is often practiced as a way to be critical and “sometimes with an intent to bring about improvement.”

Here however this is not the case. The irony is just too cheap. And moreover, we’ve seen these critiques already too often. We’re done with it.

It has something of a parody of Eikongraphia (I would love that!), but in the end it just underscores with a big marker that iconography exists. Instead of a critique of iconography it becomes an affirmation of it. When you make form, metaphors automatically pop up.

Neutelings Riedijk's design for the Groninger Forum Competition featuring a creature from Star Wars
Neutelings Riedijk’s design for the Groningen Forum Competition featuring a creature from Star Wars

Bakema & van de Broek's TU Delft Aula featuring a frog
Bakema & van de Broek’s TU Delft Aula featuring a frog

Cesar Pelli's Patronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur featuring corn cobs
Cesar Pelli’s Patronas Towers featuring corn cobs

More images here > 

Filed under: architecture, art, space/place

Pontificial Lateral University Library – Italy

( via the coolhunter )
Libraries aren’t generally known for amazing architecture but this incredible one in Italy has us dying to get there amongst the books. Pictured below, it’s actually an extension on the existing library at the Pontificial Lateran University, which houses new reading rooms and an Auditorium. The incredibly stylish space was designed by Rome firm King Roselli, who took totally fresh approach to the project by employing features not usually seen in these types of spaces, such as a curved ceiling, angular stair-casing and vast glass paneling.


The university holds an outstanding collection of books numbering around 600,000 volumes, some of which date back to the 16th century, whose subjects for the most part coincide with the principal academic courses: philosophy, theology and law. The bulk of them are now deposited in the newly restored compartmentalized underground vaults equipped with an adequate fire extinguisher system and humidity and temperature control. Learning has never been so glamorous.

By Laura Demasi

Filed under: academic, architecture, design


( via bldgblog )

I’m still reeling from the announcement of Postopolis! – but the good news keeps on coming.

To make a long story still rather long…

Back in January, Alan Rapp, the art, design, and photography editor for Chronicle Books, attended a BLDGBLOG event hosted by the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

Alan and I met, kept in touch, had a pizza, talked about David Cronenberg; and then, last month, we organized an event together in San Francisco.

Somewhere in there the idea of a BLDGBLOG book came up – which I soon turned into a formal proposal… and now it’s official: Chronicle Books will be publishing a BLDGBLOG book in Spring 2009 – and my head is spinning!

I just can’t even believe how many possibilities there are with this thing. It’s a little crazy.
In a nutshell, though, it’ll be divided up into three major sections – Architectural Conjecture, Urban Speculation, and Landscape Futures – covering everything I’ve already covered here and more…
From plate tectonics and J.G. Ballard to geomagnetic harddrives and undiscovered New York bedrooms, by way of offshore oil derricks, airborne utopias, wind power, inflatable cathedrals, statue disease, science fiction and the city, pedestrianization schemes, architecture and the near-death experience, Scottish archaeology, green roofs, W.G. Sebald, flooded Londons of the climate-changed future, William Burroughs, Andrew Maynard, LOT-EK, Rupert Thomson,
The Aeneid, shipbreaking yards, Die Hard, Pruned, Franz Kafka, Rem Koolhaas, tunnels and sewers and bunkers and tombs, micronations, diamond mines, Mars, Earth, lunar urbanism, fossil cities, sound mirrors, James Bond, the War on Terror, earthquakes, Angkor Wat, robot-buildings and the Taj Mahal, Archigram, the Atlas Mountains, refugee camps, Walter Murch, the Maunsell Towers… and about nine hundred thousand other topics, provided I can fit them all in.

There will be interviews, essays, quotations, photos, original artwork – and hopefully even a graphic novel, strung throughout the book. And it will be well-designed and affordable! And it will put all existing architecture books to shame. Every single one of them. Except maybe a few…

Continue reading >

Filed under: architecture, art, design, films, space/place

LightHive by Alex Haw

( via dezeen )


LightHive, an installation by Alex Haw, is at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London until 1 June.


The installation consists of a constellation of over 1,000 suspended LEDs, arranged to recreate the position of every light source in the AA building.


Each LED replicates the intensity, colour and direction of the real light sources, combining to form a 1:6 model of the way light plays through the building.


The LEDs are controlled by infra-red cameras, switching on and off and changing in intensity in response to changes in light use throughout the building.

Continue reading + detail images > 

Filed under: architecture, art, design, space/place, technology

Icff 2007: part three

oh.my..my..!! again..a wonderful coverage and beautiful works / design(s) !!

( all images and text via design*sponge )

alright- we made it! the last day of icff coverage. it was a fantastic three days covering everything and running from place to place trying to catch it all. though the show wasn’t the best i’ve ever seen, it was great to see everything in one place and meet some of the designers i’ve admired this year. so, without further ado: the last day! [“co-pilot” boat-inspired stools by kandice levero. each one has a working compass so you know which way you’re faceing when you swivel]

i’ve written about this piece by charlotte lancelot before but it was great to see it in person this time. sooo much texture, i love it!

ceramics from paige russel– she was definitely one of the standouts at this year’s show.

these little ceramic cup and saucer sets had a light that changed colors inside. a little novelty but still pretty cute. part of the designboom mart (which kicked major, major butt this year)

amy adams‘ cute new frida lamps. i love the handle for easy transport.

fun little hook/cup/tiles at the designboom mart.

MET chandelier– part of the pure austrian design booth.

more beautiful ceramics from paige russell‘s studio.

this wooden bench had just the right amount of detailing. [designer info coming soon]

one of the highlights of design season was meeting denyse schmidt in person- she’s as sweet and lovely as her work. i loved the linens hanging behind her in the photo.

i loved this metallic bicycle-print wallpaper from flavor paper. they’re always right on top of the wallpaper game…

this was the first chair i saw at the show- it wouldn’t exactly match my home’s look but darn was this thing cool. and of course, it was so cool i lost my notes on it. will find asap.

boca grande‘s storage unit was one of my early favorites- it’s finished with auto paint, which gave the piece a nice high gloss.

peter loh showed a seriously beautiful glass table made with legs of reclaimed douglas fir.

lisa albin‘s cute children’s chairs in a new walnut finish.

door hooks and small side table from viable.

i loved these bright pink flor tiles from interface‘s commercial division.

lush, rich new rugs from emma gardner. i love the way emma plays with colors that are both super saturated and wonderfully muted.

cup and saucer with metallic detailing from areaware.

this rug really had to be seen to be appreciated. my camera can’t do it justice. warp and weft‘s pink carpet was one of my lust-after items this season.

wiggly, borderline alien-like lighting from vitra. very cool but about two steps away from giving me the creeps.

i covered these at milan but i had to show them again- tom dixon‘s stunning metallic lamps.

i loved these glass tiles from brooklyn glassworks. sorry, my camera really crapped out on this shot.

niche modern showed some great new styles at icff- i love the little pointed-bottom lamps.

adorable cuckoo clocks from progetti italy.

more pieces from the amaridian booth at icff. these rockers and chaise were designed by south african designers- i loved all the vivid red they used.

the cut-outs in tony meredith‘s slashBackslash chair gave it such a nice, airy feeling.

fun textured lighting from norman copenhagen.

i loved these colorful ceramic tiles from modcraft.

a lovely throwback to days of yore. this lamp was made from an old-school hoover vaccuum cleaner. kitschy, but fun. [artist info coming asap]

icff really was all about babies and kids this year- this convertible crib from industREAL design flips and turns into a chair when your baby is old enough to leave the crib behind.

i loved this simple but sleek seating from ana linares.

lamps and bowls from pure austrian design.

this luxurious wooden table from eros reminded me of golf tees- in a nice way, of course.

all of celery‘s furniture came with a bamboo mallet for easy construction and disassembly.

snap together glasses from angela at inv/alt design.

cup and saucer clock from umbra.

it was so nice to meet caitlin of rebound designs

Filed under: architecture, art, design, fashion, graphics, space/place

Next Stop, Accounts

( via cr blog )


Harry Beck’s London Underground map continues to exert its influence on contemporary design, this time as the central feature of the re-fitted offices for digital agency, Poke. A striped aluminium cable tray snakes around the space carrying all the unsightly wires over the heads of the workers below and adding a splash of colour to the standard-issue concrete and white. Feeling nosey? Let’s poke around some more (sorry)…

The project cost £360,000, for which architects Quinn kitted out the 850 square metre warehouse space in (of course) Shoreditch – Poke are in the same building as ad agency Mother. “The challenge was,” apparently, “to make the space a memorable, yet hard-working environment for a team of 60 creative staff.”


A continuous concrete wall curves through the space, forming a kitchen and meeting rooms as it goes. As Poke work primarily in digital media, the architects decided to make a feature of the one thing thay can’t do without – the cabling. The aluminium tray runs the full expanse of the office, branching out where the various switch points are located, just like the Underground system.


The tray’s coloured bands also act as a wayfinding system as it flows through the interior; from the lift core and clockwise through a reception area via satellite meeting rooms and a central kitchen to an expansive open plan studio, terminating outside over a south facing terrace.

Filed under: architecture, art, design, graphics, space/place

ICFF 2007: Inhabitat reports

( via inhabitat by Emily )

International Contemporary Furniture Fair 2007 - Inhabitat Reports

Every May in New York City, the flowers bloom, the cold winter weather becomes a distant memory, and thousands of thousands of avid design fans flock to the Javits Center for the tens of thousands of square feet of the newest and coolest from the design world. We attended ICFF expecting the usual whirlwind, but were pleasantly surprised by the amount of thoughtful, green, and engaging items we found. Like anything else, ICFF is a mixture of the good, bad, and the boring, but we found ourselves pleased by the diamonds in the rough that demonstrated a greener, more thoughtful approach to design. Read on for our highlights from ICFF.

To see our full spread of photos from the event, check out our Flickr Feed >
ICFF 2007
ICFF lobby at the Javits Center

Sibir Designs, CD Lamps, ICFF 2007
Sibir Designs CD Lamps

DForm, ICFF 2007
DForm Booth
“Hungry” Silverware Chandelier by FabbianSilverware lamp, ICFF 2007

ICFF 2007, Tord Boontje, Nanimarquina, Little field of flowers
Jill with Tord Boontje’s Little Field of FlowersRug for Nanimarquina

Continue reading >

Filed under: architecture, art, design, space/place, technology

Networked bodies: art, culture, environment and sustainment in cyberculture

( via networked_performance )


Lucia Leão

:: jun 14.2007 :: 7:30 pm @ i-People: Av Vergueiro 727, next to the Vergueiro Subway Station.

The relationships between art and nature have always been present in the human history. Since pre-historic times, draws of animals in caves reveal the aspiration to represent and/or control nature. Enigmatic pre-historic monuments and planetary observatories are also amazing samples of man interventions in order to understand the surrounding environment and its movements. From the Egyptian frescos, passing through moments of the Renaissance and 18th century art, the landscape becomes the environment for building narratives and, often, it takes an ornamental or symbolic character. The landscape paintings, not by chance, are very frequent and popular in the colonialist expansion periods and show very clear relationships between the territorial conquest and the aspiration of representation.

In the 20th century, starting in the 60’s, a radical transformation happens: the art stop seeing the nature only like an object for representation and the artists start interacting directly in natural spaces. In that period, artworks emerge pointing to several readings of the environment, among them: nature and space problems (Richard Serra); light transformations, time effect and visitor’s interaction (Robert Morris and Nancy Holt); environment and consumption (Christo); actions and incisions in the environment (Michael Heizer and Alberto Burri), among others.

Continue reading >

Lucia Leão is interdisciplinary artist, PHD in comunication and semiotics from PUC-SP and post-PHD in arts from UNICAMP. Author of several articles about art and new media and of the books “The Labyrinth of Hipermedia: architecture and navigation in cyberspace” (1999) and “The Aesthetics of the Labyrinth” (2002). She organized the Interlab collections, with international papers: Labyrinths of the Contemporary Thinking (2002), with nomination for the Jabuti Award; Cybercultura 2.0 (2003); e Derivas: cartography of the cyberspace (2004). Lucia is professor at PUC-SP and SENAC. As artist, she has exhibited, among other places, at ISEA 200, Paris; Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Campinas (MACC); XV Biennial of Sao Paulo; II International Biennial of Buenos Aires; ArtMedia, Paris; FILE -SP (2002); Arte Digital Rosario 2003; Cinético Digital, Itaú Cultural (2005); Mostra SESC de Artes (2005) e FILE Rio 2006.

Filed under: architecture, art, consciousness, design, fashion, films, locative, new media, physical computing, research, social, space/place, technology

The TransHab: “interiors in space”

( via bldgblog )

[Image: NASA’s TransHab module, attached to the International Space Station. TransHab designed by Constance Adams; image found via HobbySpace].

Last week, Metropolis posted a short article by Susan Szenasy discussing a recent talk given by NASA architect Constance Adams.

Adams designed the TransHab, an inflatable housing module that connects to the International Space Station. Her work, Szenasy explains, shows how architects can successfully “interface people with… interiors in space” – with strong design implications for building interiors here on Earth.

[Image: NASA’s TransHab module; image via HobbySpace].

As Metropolis reported way back in 1999, Adams’s “path to NASA was a circuitous one. After graduating from Yale Architecture School in the early 1990s, she worked for Kenzo Tange in Tokyo and Josef Paul Kleiheus in Berlin, where she focused on large projects, from office buildings to city plans. But in 1996, when urban renewal efforts in Berlin began to slow down, she returned to the United States.”

That article goes on to explain how her first project for NASA was undertaken at the Johnson Space Center; there, she worked on something called a “bioplex” – a “laboratory for testing technologies that might eventually be used” on Mars, Metropolis explains. The bioplex came complete with “advanced life-support systems” for Mars-based astronauts, and it was thus Adams’s job “to design their living quarters.”

A few years later came the TransHab module. If one is to judge from the architectural lay-out of that module, we can assume that domesticity in space will include “bathrooms, exercise areas, and sick bays,” as well as “sleeping and work quarters,” an “enclosed mechanical room,” a few “radiation-shielding water tanks,” and even a conference room with its own “Earth-viewing window.”

Continue reading >

Filed under: architecture, design, space/place, technology