Thursday, March 20, 2014

ODD BITS: Architects unite in campaign to save "Russia's Eiffel Tower"


Prominent architects from all over the world have joined in writing an open letter to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, asking him to prevent the scheduled demolition of a singular construction that's been dubbed "Russia's Eiffel Tower". The 160 meter-tall Shukhov communications tower in Moscow, a 50-story structure of steel latticework, is noted for its light weight relative to its height, and for its clever use of linear elements to create non-linear spaces. It is considered to be one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century. 

Completed in 1922, Shukhov Tower was designed to facilitate the spread of Soviet-era Communist propaganda. The historic structure is said to have inspired architects and designers from LeCorbusier to Sir Norman Foster.
Influential designers who have recently signed the petition include Tadao Ando and several other Pritzker Prize winners; Elisabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the firm that is currently undertaking the expansion of MOMA NY; and William Baker, the engineer of Burj Al Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building. The group, led by Vladimir Shukov's great-grandson, is campaigning for the structure to be nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List.

To read more about this, link here to an article in the March 19 issue of the Guardian newspaper.

Mr. Putin, DON'T tear down this tower!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ODD BITS: Mad Men graphics going psychedelic for final season

Milton Glaser, the wildly popular American graphic designer best known for his I NY logo and iconic Bob Dylan poster, has been recruited by Mad Men's creator Matthew Weinstein to create advertising posters for the show's final season. This is a true case of art imitates life imitates art! According to a recent article in the NY Times: "Probably more than any graphic designer of his generation, Milton Glaser forged the sophisticated, exuberant advertising look of the late 1960s -- the time 'Mad Men' is now traversing." His work publicizing the show’s new season will soon begin appearing on buses and billboards around the country.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

EXHIBITION: Light Fair International coming to Las Vegas

What better city could there be to host the 2014 Light Fair International expo -- the global stage for lighting, design and technology innovation -- than flashy Las Vegas? This year's show will run from June 3-5 at the Las Vegas Conference Center, with more than 500 exhibitors plying a huge variety of wares for residential and commercial buildings. Speakers representing the fields of architecture, design, engineering, government and energy conservation will lead workshops on a wide variety of subjects.

New to the conference this year will be forums focusing on healthcare and hospitality. The Hospitality Lighting Forum will address the relevance of lighting in lodging, restaurants, theme parks and convention facilities. The Healthcare Lighting Forum will explore the best of current and near-future lighting practice as it relates to high-quality patient care and the healthcare environment. Seminars will include discussions about collaborative design, story-telling through lighting, LED retrofit savings and state-of-the-art renovations. 

Check out some of the hotel deals available to people attending the expo!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

BOOK NOTE: The Secret Language of Color

If the dreariness of this endless winter has started to give you the blues, I recommend this book as a tonic to the spirits. It's beautiful, illuminating, and lots of fun! (My full review is below the cover image.)

The Secret Language of Color: 
Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, hard cover,  240 pages, more than 500 color photos and illustrations, $29.95.

In their engaging and comprehensive volume, authors Joann Eckstut and Arielle Ekstut explore the subject of color from every imaginable angle -- spiritual, biological, chemical, sociological, artistic and historical, to name but a few. Open the book to any page and you'll find a plethora of diverse images and intriguing insights. The chapter on red is particularly vibrant, with photos of and informative notes on a blazing Russian revolutionary poster, a gathering of cardinals at the Vatican, a matador at work, and the sparkling ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz. Violet, Elizabeth Taylor's famously favorite hue (as well as mine), is noted as the color of royalty, and is passionately described as "exquisite, delicious, and desirable." Each of the six colors of the visible spectrum has its own chapter, alternating with sections covering broader subjects: earth, the universe, plants, humans and animals among them. Along the way, short sidebars answer questions such as "How do animals see color?" and  "Why are waves white?", and reference expressions like "red herring", "green with envy" and "talk a blue streak". If you are enchanted by color, this is the book for you.