Test Drive: Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet : On safari in the wild new vehicle that's limited to just 99 units

Test Drive: Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet

by Aaron Kohn

There is something special about cars that should never be. Last week, we got to ride along in one which came close to never being realized: the first-ever Maybach SUV. On the heels of the highly successful AMG G 63 6×6 and G 500……

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Link About It: 32,000 Drinking Straws Turned Camera

32,000 Drinking Straws Turned Camera

From the inventive imagination of Cliff Haynes and the late photographer Mick Farrell, this wondrous photographic device allows lights to pass through 32,000 10-inch black drinking straws, encased in wood, before striking photo sensitive paper. As……

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Es Devlin's Grammys stage set for Katy Perry featured picket fence that turned into "divisive wall"

Stage designer Es Devlin has revealed how she worked with Katy Perry to create the backdrop to the singer’s politically charged performance at the Grammy Awards last night.

Perry performed her new song, Chained to the Rhythm, which was written in response to the recent US presidential election.

The set featured a typically American home surrounded by a picket fence that grew into a wall, referencing President Donald Trump‘s plans to build a wall between the USA and Mexico.

“She had the idea,” the London-based designer told Dezeen. “She wanted to make a perfect little, normal Americana world, a perfect little picket-fenced house, and wanted to grow it so it becomes this divisive wall.”

The performance ended with the house exploding while the American constitution was projected onto the stage.

Released on Friday, Perry’s new song contains the lines “So comfortable, we’re living in a bubble, bubble/So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble”.

Devlin said: “The song was definitely in response to the election results. She has made a pop song with a Trojan Horse stacked away inside it. If you listen to the lyrics, it’s pretty clear her take on it is how we didn’t know how half the country felt – and now we know.”

London-based Devlin worked intensively with Perry and her team of producers and choreographers over a three-week period before the show, emailing and phoning ideas and sketches back and forth.

Devlin worked by interpreting Perry’s lyrics, sketching ideas directly onto the lyric sheets, which she’d scan and send back to Perry in the USA.

“It’s mechanics, it’s picket fences which have to grow, little perfect American houses that have to explode and whole ceiling elements have to revolve,” said Devlin, who usually designs theatre and concert sets rather than made-for-TV extravaganzas like the Grammy Awards.

“It’s the kind of a thing that in a theatre might take three or four months, or could take a year,” she said, speaking to Dezeen two weeks before the performance, the nature of which was a closely guarded secret.

“But in this case I’m responding to lyrics to a song that hasn’t even come out yet; nobody has heard the song,” she added. “I heard it down the phone; I heard it on a link that exploded after I listened to it 10 times.”

Devlin also created sets for Adele, Daft Punk and The Weeknd at this year’s Grammy Awards, despite the fact that TV shows are not her favourite medium.

“[Katy Perry] sort of steered me back and forth with what the song is about,” she said. “And then really all the effort is about not letting it get diluted, because a TV performance is a treacherous medium to step into. It’s eminently susceptible and vulnerable to dilution, to homogenisation, into ugly TV, into ugly horrible music TV, which is mainly ugly and horrible.”

The performance marks a return to music for Perry, who has not released an album since 2013’s Prism.

More recently she has become active politically, supporting Trump’s presidential campaign rival Hillary Clinton, taking part in marches, producing a public service announcement opposing Trump’s calls for a Muslim registry and openly supporting Planned Parenthood, a sexual health non-profit organisation whose state funding Trump has threatened to cut.

“She wants to use the role she’s got to say stuff,” said Devlin, who agreed that musicians today had lost the political edge of previous generations. “We’ve had twenty years of people getting lulled into forgetting what resistance is,” she said.

Devlin has designed touring stage sets for artists including Kanye West, Lady Gaga and U2, but this is the first time she has worked with Perry.

“Artists often start like that [with me],” Devlin said. “They have these performances where the visual aspect is as important as the musical aspect. They want to try and start new relationships with visual artists on those terms because it’s quite small and it’s quite manageable, it’s not as a big of a commitment as doing a whole tour.

“But I struggle with is as I find it a really hard medium to do anything really relevant or useful as usually it’s so prone to dilution.”

Other recent projects by Devlin that have been published on Dezeen include a temporary mirror maze created in a London warehouse and a fashion show for Louis Vuitton at Oscar Niemeyer’s Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Niterói in Rio de Janeiro.

The post Es Devlin’s Grammys stage set for Katy Perry featured picket fence that turned into “divisive wall” appeared first on Dezeen.

Donald Trump to "design or negotiate" cheaper option for Mexico border wall

US president Donald Trump has vowed to lower the cost of the wall he plans to build along the country’s border with Mexico by using a cheap design.

Trump suggested that his involvement in the design of the controversial wall would help to bring down the estimated $21 billion (£16.8 billion) it will take to construct the barrier.

“I am reading that the great border wall will cost more than the government originally thought, but I have not gotten involved in the design or negotiations yet,” he tweeted on Saturday.

“When I do, just like with the F-35 FighterJet or the Air Force One Program, price will come WAY DOWN!”

Trump’s original figure for the 2,000-mile-long wall was $12 billion (£9.6 billion), but a leaked report from the Department of Homeland Security estimates that the cost could be as high as $21 billion (£16.8 billion), with construction taking up to three years.

The 650 miles of fencing already in place along the border came at a price of $7 billion (£5.6 billion), and Trump’s plans involve extending the barrier through mountainous terrain, which would be more expensive.

The president has repeatedly called for Mexico to foot the bill for the wall, but the country is refusing. A 20 per cent tax on all imports from Mexico has been proposed as a way to fund the project.

Earlier this month, a spoof of an Ikea flat-pack furniture kit was put forward as a tongue-in-cheek option to make the barrier affordable.

Since Trump announced the plans for the border wall during his presidential campaign, architects and designers have responded in a variety of ways.

Mexican firm Estudio 3.14 visualised the “gorgeous perversity” of the idea as a giant pink barrier influenced by the architecture of Luis Barragán, while Miami firm DOMO Architecture + Design created renderings that show a series of landscaped features along the border instead of a fence or wall.

The post Donald Trump to “design or negotiate” cheaper option for Mexico border wall appeared first on Dezeen.

Supreme unveils checkerboard edition of Alvar Aalto's iconic Stool 60

New York streetwear brand Supreme has released a special-edition version of a three-legged stool originally designed by Alvar Aalto in the 1930s.

The brand has updated the modernist designer’s iconic Stool 60, adding a bold checkerboard graphic and the Supreme box logo to its circular seat.

A version of the Aalto Bench 153A is also included in the brand’s Spring Summer 2017 collection, which goes on sale in store on 16 February.

The stackable Stool 60 has been in continuous production since 1933 and is now manufactured by Artek. Its seat is supported by three bent wood legs – a feature that became distinctive of Aalto’s furniture design.

The stool is now part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Supreme Artek collaboration

Supreme was founded in 1994 by James Jebbia, with its first store located on Lafayette Street in downtown Manhattan.

Alongside its own line of clothing and accessories, the brand regularly collaborates with other labels such as The North Face, Nike, Levi’s, Vans and Timberland.

Supreme Artek collaboration

It now has 10 locations in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London and most recently Paris – which features interiors designed by London studio Brinkworth.

Aalto, who died in 1976 at the age of 78, is one of the most famous Finnish architects and designers in history. He designed his own museum in his hometown of Jyväskylä, which was recently the subject of an international competition to create an extension connecting it to another Aalto-designed building.

His other key buildings include the Säynätsalo Town Hall (1952), and a range of public and university buildings in Helsinki.

The post Supreme unveils checkerboard edition of Alvar Aalto’s iconic Stool 60 appeared first on Dezeen.

Stuart Semple creates cherry-scented version of Anish Kapoor's Vantablack

Artist Stuart Semple has revealed his latest creation in an ongoing colour battle with Anish Kapoor – an “open source” cherry-scented version of the Vantablack pigment exclusively licensed to Kapoor.

The Black 1.0 Beta pigment is described by Semple as the “flattest, mattest, blackest art material on the planet”, and can be purchased by anyone – excluding Kapoor – for £16.99.

It comes in two parts – a super-black matt pigment and an acrylic copolymer base that smells of black cherry.

The release of the pigment follows an ongoing colour feud between Kapoor and Semple, which began when Kapoor secured exclusive rights to use VantaBlack in artworks.

Recently, Semple released the “world’s pinkest pink” and banned Kapoor from using it. However, the artist got his hands on it and posted a picture of his middle finger dipped in the paint to his Instagram account with the caption “Up yours #pink”.

“This whole colour war has gone too far,” Semple said. “He’s hoarding the black to make wristwatches, run off with my Pink and given everyone the finger. We’ve got a better black now so it’s time to bury the hate.”

Although Semple’s version of Vantablack is still in its testing phase, he hopes that the artist community will experiment and help him make it as strong as its exclusive counterpart.

“Black V1.0 Beta is also the world’s first open-source art material, with the pigment separated from its base to give artists an almost infinite set of possibilities in creating their own paints,” said the artist.

As with the Pink pigment, it will be sold on the artist’s website. But customers must confirm that the “paint will not make its way into the hands of Anish Kapoor”.

They are obliged to agree to a legal declaration that states: “You are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor.”

Kapoor’s Vantablack is currently the blackest substance known – so dark that it absorbs 99.96 per cent of light.

Vantablack is made up of a series of microscopic vertical tubes. When light strikes the pigment, it becomes trapped instead of bouncing off, and is continually deflected between the tubes.

It was developed by British company NanoSystems for military purposes and astronomy equipment, but the company allowed Kapoor to be the only artist able to use it.

However this has sparked outrage amongst other artists, including English painter Christian Furr – who told the Mail on Sunday that he felt Kapoor was “monopolising the material”.

“I’ve never heard of an artist monopolising a material. Using pure black in an artwork grounds it,” he said. “All the best artists have had a thing for pure black – Turner, Manet, Goya. This black is like dynamite in the art world.”

Anish Kapoor was born in India in 1954, and came to Britain in the 1970s. His previous works include a series of womb-like orbs in the Paris’ Grand Palais, and an inflatable mobile concert hall for earthquake-affected areas.

The post Stuart Semple creates cherry-scented version of Anish Kapoor’s Vantablack appeared first on Dezeen.

"Crystalline" roof by Theo Hotz zigzags over Vienna Central Station

A+Awards: Swiss firm Theo Hotz Partner Architekten has created an undulating cover for platforms at Vienna’s Central Station, which received an Architizer A+Award last year.

The new sculptural roof was added during an overhaul of the station, located south of the city centre in an area undergoing extensive regeneration.

Vienna Central Station

The project formed part of a masterplan for the transportation hub and the surrounding area, with Hotz and local architects Ernst Hoffmann and Albert Wimmer responsible for the architectural design.

“Vienna’s new central station project is pivotal to the city’s transport policy as it enables trains to converge in a single location for the first time,” the team said.

Vienna Central Station

The canopy comprises 14 diamond-shaped space frames, arranged in five rows that follow the lines of the tracks and each of the platforms.

Punctured in the centre by a skylight, the segments are staggered to produce a zigzagging effect over the station, and allow in light through glazing in the gaps in between.

Vienna Central Station

The faceted surfaces are clad in glossy, pale-toned panels, evoking the appearance of giant crystal structures.

“The angled lines of the soffits reflect those of the folded plate structure above and their triangular surfaces create a striking crystalline form that produces stunning light effects,” said the team.

Vienna Central Station won in the Bus and Train Stations category at the 2016 A+Awards.

Organised by Architizer, the awards promote and celebrate the year’s best projects and products.

Vienna Central Station

Their stated mission is to nurture the appreciation of meaningful architecture in the world and champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life. Find out more about the A+Awards ›

The post “Crystalline” roof by Theo Hotz zigzags over Vienna Central Station appeared first on Dezeen.

A Cushy Chair Inspired by Samurai Armor and Insects

Each year, Stockholm Design Week keeps design enthusiasts up-to-date on the latest in the design world. A piece of furniture that caught our eye during this year’s show is the result of a collaboration between Stockholm based design studio FÄRG BLANCHE and the recycled textile-based flooring company, Bolon. Together, the two very different studios came up with the bug-like LONG NECK chair.

If you’ve ever felt the need to spend the next few months tucked away in a sturdy, yet comfortable cocoon—perhaps because of winter or the currently chilly political climate—look no further… 

LONG NECK’s shape is both organic and structured—taking inspiration from samurai armor and insects. The stiff armor inspiration, which can be seen in the chair’s shape, is contrasted with the choice of textile as the main material. The fabric gives the chair an insect-like personality, most closely resembling a pill bug

The chair is so quirkily lopsided and endearingly misshaped that I want to go right up and hug the monstrosity—as long as it doesn’t bite.

LONG NECK’s design process is equally as alluring as the chair’s final structure:

Overall a fun and unexpected piece as the result of an unexpected collaboration. Stockholm Design Week came to a close yesterday, but you’ll be able to catch LONG NECK as part of the ARMOUR mon AMOUR collection showing at Milan Design Week this April.

The Harambe Bike


You’ve seen a lot of vehicles inspired by cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, even the stallion. However, the Yamaha Nazo chooses to look at the gorilla instead. The Nazo’s frame does great justice to the gorilla’s form, with the frontal leaning posture and the heavy forearm inspired front fork.

Plus, the silver and brown combo work brilliantly well, matching the hide of the silver-backed gorilla. Loving this!

Designer: Omar Alfarra Zendah







Buckminster Fuller Challenge's 2017 Call for Entries, a Webcast with frog's VP of Design and 21 Designers Attempts at Solving an Architectural Mystery

Jumpstart your week with our insider’s guide to events in the design world. From must-see exhibitions to insightful lectures and the competitions you need to know about—here’s the best of what’s going on, right now.


Happy Anniversary to: 2017 Fuller Challenge

Buckminster Fuller issued an urgent call for a design science revolution to “make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.” Answering this call is what the Fuller Challenge is all about. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the unique prize that encourages applicants to take a full systems approach to solving real-world problems.

Online competition. Submit your entries before March 31, 2017.


Solve an Architectural Mystery at: Follies, Function & Form

This exhibition unites 21 visionary architects and landscape architects to address one of the great mysteries at Olana State Historic Site: the summer house. In the 1886 “Plan of Olana,” a detailed blueprint of Frederic Church’s vision for his large-scale designed landscape, the plan’s details are largely accurate, yet it contains a structure labeled “Summer House” for which there is no documentary evidence.

New York, NY. On view through April 22, 2017.


Webcast with frog’s VP of Design, Fabio Sergio — It’s Free and Open to Anyone!

Design has been evolving, rapidly changing our concept of what design is, what designers do, and how design creates value for organizations and society. In this webinar discussion, frog VP of Design, Fabio Sergio will briefly introduce the expanding role of design, providing examples and practical advice on how to embrace design as a strategic asset. This webcast is free and open to anyone!

Online. February 15, 2017 at 12:00 PM EST.


An Academic Experience: IIT Institute of Design 2017 Spring Open House

IIT’s Open House takes place this week! During the event, Helen Tong, consumer insights manager at SC Johnson, will share her experiences at ID and how she has utilized her skills to develop her career and become a more holistic problem solver. Guests will also have an opportunity to participate in breakout sessions with staff, students, and faculty and tour their space and view materials developed in current courses.

Chicago, IL. February 16, 2017 at 5:30 PM.


Walk Through Time at: Beverly Buchanan—Ruins and Rituals

Beverly Buchanan explored the relationship between place and personal, historical and geological memory. This exhibit presents approximately 200 objects, including sculpture, painting, photography, drawing, and notebooks of the artist’s writing as well as documentation of performances. A new video installation of her existing earthworks is presented for the first time.

Brooklyn, NY. On view through March 5, 2017.


Past Winner: Under Armour’s 3D ARCHITECHs

Claim Your Fame by Entering: A’ Design Award and Competition

This prestigious awards program is the world’s leading international annual juried competition for design. The A’ Design Accolades are organized in a wide range of creative fields to highlight the very best designers from all countries in all disciplines. Entries to the competition are peer-reviewed and anonymously judged by an influential jury panel of experienced academics, prominent press members and established professionals.

Online competition open through February 28, 2017.

Check out the Core77 Calendar for more design world events, competitions and exhibitions, or submit your own to be considered for our next Week in Design.