The Scramble to Purchase Items From Joan Didion’s Estate

Upstate New York’s Stair Galleries has been inundated with inquiries about items from Joan Didion’s upcoming estate auction. “An American Icon: Property From the Collection of Joan Didion” will include furniture, home decor, books, artwork, journals, portraits and all kinds of ephemera from the various Californian homes and Upper East Side apartment she shared with her husband, John Gregory Dunne. The most affordable lots will start at $100, while the most expensive is expected to be a Richard Diebenkorn lithograph, estimated to sell for around $70,000. Lisa Thomas, director of Stair Galleries’ fine arts department says, “Everything in the sale helps to paint the picture of how she lived in her private space.” The auction catalogue was released today, in accordance with an exhibition running from 31 October to 15 November—though the auction itself will take place in Hudson, NY on 4 November. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Sacramento Historical Society, as well as Parkinson’s research and patient care at Columbia University. Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of Stair Galleries

Award-winning bedside clock has a built-in pill dispenser that reminds you to regularly take your medicines

Snagging the coveted Red Dot Design Concept Award in the Best of Best category, the +CLOCK is an automatic pill organizer and dispenser that functions like a clock but distributes pills at the time set by the user. “It is intended to establish a routine for the user to take the medication on a regular basis”, says designer Ju Chan Ho. “When it is time to take medication, +CLOCK plays an alarm that the user has set and distributes the pills to the tray.”

The +CLOCK isn’t merely a clock. It’s more of a habit-building device that also happens to tell the time, hence the name +CLOCK for the fact that it’s also a clock. The gizmo sits on any bedside table and comes with an appearance comparable to the Tmall Genie Queen smart mirror. Underneath its large clock face sits a carousel featuring 28 slots for daily meds. You can input medicines based on days or the time of the day, with the ability to fill up to 28 slots. This effectively means the +CLOCK lets you schedule up to 28 days of medicines or a week of medicines if taken 4 times a day, giving caretakers enough time to refill the next lot once the pills have been dispensed. When it’s time to take your meds, the +CLOCK alerts you with an alarm that dispenses the pills when you snooze it, helping you build a habit to take your medicines!

The +CLOCK is a winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2022.

Designer: Ju Chan Ho

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This wooden stool offers a sustainable replacement for a common household product

No matter what part of the world you’re in, you’d probably come across a plastic stool that is employed for different purposes around the house. Of course, it is primarily a seat, but sometimes it’s also used as a makeshift side table for holding tools while you work around the house. Some more daring people even use it as an ad hoc ladder, though that largely depends on the build and stability of the stool. No matter the purpose, this kind of stool has become so ubiquitous that it could be one of the most common uses of plastic in the market. Of course, such a stool doesn’t need to be made from plastic, and this design translates that into wood with some additional quirks that make it stand out.

Designer: Antoine Laboria

Wooden stools are easy enough to make, but one that has the durability of the common thermoformed plastic stool presents a few more challenges. It gets even more complicated if you try to recreate the unique and somewhat iconic form of the plastic original, a form that doesn’t translate cleanly to wood. Throw in some requirements about sustainability, and you’ve got quite the design puzzle.

Thanks to thermoforming, plastic stools often have contours and curves that would be impossible to recreate on wood except through carving. That is definitely a possible solution to recreating the plastic stool faithfully, but it is also expensive and impractical, unlike these sundry pieces of furniture. The Plastic Translation Stool design tries to reinterpret the lines of the plastic stool instead, resulting in a form that is somewhat similar yet also unique, giving the wooden stool its own character.

Those legs alone, however, won’t be enough to offer the same stability as the plastic counterpart, so an additional element had to be added. Birch plywood buttresses distribute some of the force evenly across the beechwood legs, which, in turn, hold the buttresses together. These interlocking parts provide not only architectural stability but also visual accents to what would otherwise be a plain-looking stool.

Unlike a thermoformed plastic stool that comes as a single piece, this wooden reinterpretation has to be assembled together. It doesn’t require screws or nails, though, making the assembly easier and the packaging simpler. It is, after all, supposed to be a more sustainable option to the plastic stool, and such an alternative would need to not only be made from sustainable materials but also be sustainable right to the very end.

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Halloween’s Intrinsic Connection to Queerness

Throughout recent history—from the 1940s to the ’70s and ’80s—Halloween has been a vehicle for queer people to embrace who they are. Case in point: Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. In its first year in 1976, the parade drew 160 attendees who were predominately Black trans folk, drag queens and other people in the LGBTQ+ community. As a celebration of all things different and taboo, the holiday made breaking homophobic laws (like not being allowed to dress in drag) not only acceptable but expected. Because of this, Halloween often acted as an awakening for drag queens. The event, writes journalist Abby Moss for i-D, is “often called ‘gay Christmas,’” because it invites liberation with friends and chosen family as opposed to the festive season which could include interacting with homophobic family members. “For people who don’t fit into traditional heteronormative roles, Christmas can [be] exhausting at best; at worst, triggering. Halloween, on the other hand, remains a queer playground,” continues Moss. Read more at i-D.

Image courtesy of Walter Leporati/Getty Images

Maya Lin Studio designs spiral-shaped arts centre for Bard College

Maya Lin Bard

New York City-based Maya Lin Studio has designed a spiralling plant-covered performing arts centre for Bard College in New York together with US studio Bialosky and Partners that will sit next to Frank Gehry‘s Fisher Center.

Maya Lin Studio, which is headed by artist and designer Maya Lin, released a project rendering showing a grass-covered structure that spirals up from the ground level around a courtyard.

The 25,000-square-feet (2,322 square-metre) building will hold facilities for the Gehry-designed Fisher Center, which hosts a well-known residency program for the performing arts and opened in 2003.

Large windows will create “biophilic environment”

According to Lin, the shape of the new arts centre was intended to connect the structure with the surrounding woodlands.

Despite the low profile of some aspects of the structure, double-height windows will be installed to create a biophilic environment for the performers who will use the five studios included in the program, which will be connected by “gathering hubs”.

The central courtyard in the middle of the spiralling structure will also be used for performances and rehearsals.

“The sloping land will allow double-height studios to open fully to the meadow and woodlands, connecting artists, students, and faculty to the landscape while creating a unique and strong architectural presence,” said Lin.

“We are designing a high-performance, energy-efficient, low-carbon building that will be sensitive to its site, reflecting my aesthetic and my concern for the environment,” she continued.

New building to “expand the Fisher Center’s identity”

Construction on Lin’s design will begin in 2023 on the 20th anniversary of the Fisher Center.

“I have long admired the Fisher Center, and to be able to create a new building in close proximity to it allows me to create a quiet and respectful dialogue with Frank Gehry’s magnificent work,” said Lin.

“Frank was my teacher at Yale, and it’s particularly meaningful for me to design this new building in relation to his.”

Lin will work with Bialosky and Partners on the project, as well as with acoustic consultants Charcoalblue.

“Once completed, the building will expand the Fisher Center’s identity beyond the walls of Gehry’s stunning landmark, to become a cultural campus comprising both the Gehry and Lin building,” Bard College said.

Other recent projects by Lin include an installation of dead trees in Manhattan to raise climate-change awareness and  designs for a sculpture to be placed in the gardens of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.

The images are courtesy of Maya Lin Studio. 

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BC designs Francis Gallery LA to celebrate Korean art and culture

Dark walls at Francis Gallery LA

Gallerist Rosa Park has opened a space in Los Angeles to showcase the work of Korean artists and designers, with interiors by local studio BC intended to reflect the country’s visual culture.

Francis Gallery LA is Park’s second location and is an expansion of her original gallery in Bath, UK – both presenting the work of emerging Korean artists.

Dark walls at Francis Gallery LA
Places of worship informed the interiors of the gallery on Melrose Avenue

Situated on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, the new space was designed with Lindsey Chan and Jerome Byron, founders of LA-based BC.

The duo preserved the building while transforming the inside with references to traditional Korean architecture and art.

Paintings hung on walls
The inaugural exhibition displays the work of six artists, including photography by Koo Bohnchang

These include a curved partition wall influenced by a moon jar and a contemporary re-interpretation of a hanok courtyard.

“The space was conceived to pay homage to Korean art and design in subtle ways – whether it was in the curve of a partition wall, the colour palette of the interior paints, or the profile of a low bench in the courtyard,” said Park.

Corner view with window
BC designed the gallery to be pared-back yet warm

Places of worship like chapels and monasteries were also referenced in the design. These were accentuated by the use of “humble materials” and pared-back forms.

Although minimal, the intention was to ensure the gallery still felt warm and inviting, as well as provide an appropriate setting for the pieces on show.

Resin stools
Rahee Yoon’s translucent acrylic blocks are among the works on show

“I think this emotional connection to a space, to a work, is central to what I’m doing with Francis,” Park said.

“It was of great importance to me that the space acted as the ideal framework to house works that I hope will move people.”

The inaugural exhibition at Francis Gallery LA is titled Morning Calm, on view until 7 January 2023, and features the work of six artists of Korean descent.

Bo Kim, John Zabawa, Koo Bohn Chang, Nancy Kwon, Rahee Yoon and Song Jaeho are all at different stages in their careers.

Stones VI by John Zabawa
An abstract painting by John Zabawa hangs on a dark wall

Their painting, photography, sculpture and ceramics all explore Korean identity in an international context and offer insights into the artists’ cultural heritage.

“With Los Angeles being home to the largest Korean community in the United States and Park having roots in both Seoul and LA, the debut show seeks to explore the nuanced connections between the two places,” said a statement from the gallery.

Courtyard with low bench
References to Korean architecture at the gallery include a contemporary interpretation of a traditional hanok courtyard

LA’s art scene has grown exponentially over the past decade, and the city is now home to many new galleries and exhibition spaces.

Well-known names that have opened their own locations there include Hauser & Wirth and The Future Perfect, while others like Marta are using modernist buildings like Neutra’s VDL II House to exhibit.

The photography is by Rich Stapleton.

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Sphere Flatware Set

In the 1980s, Hong Kong-born Izabel Lam designed the Sphere five-piece flatware set, an undulating dinnerware collection with small textured knobs and gentle curvature inspired by the sea. Now re-issued exclusively for Casa Shop, the timeless cutlery (available in bronze or silver) continues to charm.

My ArchiSchool spotlights ten student architecture projects

Render of a house with arches

Dezeen School Shows: an open structure butterfly house equipped with an underground water tank and a home informed by the design of a tent are included in Dezeen’s latest school show by students at My ArchiSchool.

Also included are a partially submerged observatory and a house located in a forest featuring bedrooms with views over a tree canopy.

My ArchiSchool

Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

School statement:

“My ArchiSchool provides an introduction to architectural education and digital design for those seeking knowledge and skills to aid their future career aspirations.

“The Hong Kong-based organisation offers in-person and online courses to help young people develop 3D modelling skills that can be applied to future careers in architecture and urban planning.

“Geared towards children and teenagers between the ages of six and 18, the various stages of tuition start at beginner level, and progress to cover a range of tools, interfaces and outputs.

“A variety of program packages are offered to those wishing to develop a wide range of skills over several sessions. These include writing and portfolio development, while the most comprehensive package concludes with an exhibition of student work after eight months of study.”

Render of a butterfly house in snow

Designing my Butterfly House by Jack Lee

“Inspired by the shapes of the leaves and the wings of butterflies, Lee created a butterfly house with an open structure and a motif of leaves and wings.

“The butterfly house will be supported by its own water supply tank underground in order to ensure there is clean water to operate the facilities.

“The design of the underground water tank merges with the open space design to form part of a landscape design connecting the local environment.”

Student: Jack Lee
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Render of a house with arches inside a forest

Designing my Futuristic House by Gabriella Ng

“Ng designed her futuristic house inside a forest. The house is designed to be ‘island-like’ and the ground floor would be open most of the time, facilitating real, natural ventilation.

“The private rooms, including bedrooms, would be allocated on the upper floor, allowing visitors to enjoy the views of the forest.

“Ng noted that the most beautiful future would be living inside the ‘heart’ of nature.”

Student: Gabriella Ng
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Render of a partially submerged villa

Designing my Green Resort by Chloe Wong

“Informed by her love to travel, Wong designed a villa by the sea. It features an olive-shaped glass structure for visitors to sleep under the sky and witness the water level rising and falling.

“The biggest building among the villas is the reception area, where guests check-in and out.

“Wong chose the olive shape as it is a self-standing structure that does not rely on columns in the interior areas, making the panoramic view more enjoyable.”

Student: Chloe Wong
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Render of an observatory tower

Designing my Greenfield Insect Observation Tower by Valerie Zhang

“Zhang designed her observation tower by articulating different sizes of triangles to provide efficient structural systems and allow natural light through.

“She arranged the tower in three different tiers of design, with the topmost one having triangular slots for natural ventilation.

“People could visit to watch the surrounding environment. Scientists could catch insects and study them on the middle floor, which is enclosed with a full glass facade system, with the ground floor open to visitors and students for learning and exhibitions.”

Student: Valerie Zhang
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Render of a house made from tents

Designing my Futuristic House by Andy Lam

“Andy Lam’s futuristic house is inspired by tents.

“Lam created a sizeable communal living area in the middle, with the smaller tents serving as individual bedrooms.

“In order to create harmony, he designed the whole complex with timber structures. Timber is often used for boatmaking, which Lam used so the house could stand in water without erosion or emitting harmful substances.”

Student: Andy Lam
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Render of a home located on the beach

Designing my Futuristic House by Mason Yang

“Yang has always wanted to live by the seaside. He created his futuristic house to be submerged in the water when the tide is high.

“The design recalls his memory of the colourful umbrellas on the beach. Besides the main structures of his house, he added a group of open structures for parties by erecting temporary shelters to be supported by these open frameworks.

“He created a house flexible for various events so that more people could enjoy coming back to nature.”

Student: Mason Yang
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Render of a butterfly house in a wooded area

Designing my Butterfly House by Sofiya Baskakova

“Baskakova created an open structure to serve as a butterfly house.

“The house includes a space growing plant species used for feeding the caterpillars, with another group of plant species at the perimeter, enabling a continuous supply of food for developing butterflies.

“The butterfly communities will be attracted to gather around the house, rather than being caged. Therefore, it was essential for the butterfly house to have an open framework.”

Student: Sofiya Baskakova
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Render of an astronomy tower made from glass

Designing my Astronomy Tower by Ayden Zhang

“Zhang created his astronomy tower in the shape of a prism. The core structure is made from concrete with the façade system created using aluminium.

“This incorporates the ascending access to the small flat roof, which can be used for rest and stargazing.

“The inclined facades of glass would minimise the reflection of light while people inside the tower can enjoy the view outside.

“Zang suggests the tower be built on a beach instead of a mountain, as he would like to make it accessible to more children.”

Student: Ayden Zhang
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Render of an observatory on a beach

Designing my Observatory by Alfred Fong

“Fong designed his seaside observatory next to a big rock so that part of it is immersed in water.

“The roof platform is covered with operable roof cladding, with the lower part of the observatory to be enclosed with glass.

“This allows visitors to see the beach and the ocean from a high view, which contrasts well to the stargazing also available.”

Student: Alfred Fong
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Render of an astronomy tower with walkway

Designing my Astronomy Tower by Evan Sun

“Sun was inspired by the worshipping rituals in Asian cultures when designing his astronomy tower, which has a very long stairway.

“He opted that visitors could use the time to walk up the stairway to relax their minds from their daily lives.

“The shape of the tower recalls the temples in Asian regions, and the additions of glass allow more natural light inside.”

Student: Evan Sun
Course: Architectural Design Program 1.0

Partnership content

This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and My ArchiSchool. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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NYC to Require Salary Ranges Be Included in Job Postings

Starting in November, a new NYC law will go into effect that requires companies with at least four employees to include the lowest and highest salaries for any job it posts. These incomes must accurately reflect what the company will be ready to pay prospective hires. Colorado made pay transparency mandatory earlier this year, and California and Washington are slated to follow suit in 2023. As past research—including one study in Denmark where this disclosure law is in effect—has shown, providing the salary for job openings critically helps narrow gender and racial income disparity. Additionally, the transparency will help job-seekers save time and equip them with the resources they need to negotiate for fairer pay. Learn more about the new mandate at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Bullet-shaped electric hydrofoil superyacht tender can casually reach speeds of 40 knots even on rough waters

By floating above the water instead of resting on it, the Alte Volare greatly reduces drag, giving you a yacht that can glide through even rough tides without breaking speed!

The Alte Volare is what they call a tender, or a boat that carries passengers (and sometimes cargo) to yachts or ships positioned off the coast. Designed by the superyacht specialists at Cockswell, the Alte Volare is the result of a years-long technical study that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible “when it comes to fusing advanced engineering with intelligent design.” The elongated ‘limousine tender’ features a combination of an electric powertrain, retractable hydrofoils, and a sleek fuselage-like hull, and was unveiled as a technical study this month at the Monaco Yacht Show.

Designer: Cockwells

The Alte Volare’s USP is its ability to hover over water, instead of on it. Its design features an incredibly aerodynamic hull with a razor-sharp bow that slices through both water and air. The e-tender features two retractable foils, one on the front with an electric powertrain built into it that propels the boat, and a rear foil that incorporates the control surfaces for steering, braking, etc.

If you’ve ever tried running underwater, you’d know that it’s much more difficult than running on land (or basically through air). Water offers more resistance, leading to higher drag that slows boats down, even though boats are just partially underwater. With a hydrofoil, however, the boat’s hull sits above water instead, and that drag is therefore greatly reduced. It also means that waves don’t slow the hydrofoil down, and the Alte Volare uses that to its advantage, slicing through water and air like a sniper’s bullet at speeds of up to 40 knots (74 km/h).

The boat seats as many as 10, along with a 2-person crew, and features seating areas at the front (or the bow), right behind the cockpit, and even at the stern (or the rear). No matter where you’re seated, occupants are treated with a stunning view of what’s around them, thanks to a predominantly open structure. The seating area behind the cockpit is covered with large glass panels that provide a panoramic view too (which people can retreat to if it starts raining).

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