Louvre Hopes to Find Rightful Owners of Paintings

Image Credit: CNN.com

In an effort to find the rightful owners of hundreds of works of art, the Louvre is displaying paintings stolen by Nazis during the occupation of France in the 1940s. Currently, 31 paintings are hanging in two rooms of the museum, on permanent display until their heirs are found. This is just a small portion of the 296 works held by the Louvre, and an even smaller percentage of the paintings left to be returned. An estimated 100,000 were looted in total, with 60,000 given back immediately after the war. Other museums, including the Musee d’Orsay and the Chateau de Versailles, have custody of some of the remaining works.

It’s a long process, however, to turn over the paintings, and in 2012, the French government established a working group to handle it. Those stepping forward to claim their families’ possessions must provide proof in the form of receipts, photographs or testimonies and verification can take years. The government maintains a database for this National Museum Recuperation effort, known as the Rose Valland List, named after a French curator who risked her life to keep notes on the stolen artwork.

Source: The Telegraph and Dazed

Sensory Profusion

Image Credit: Sound Scene, 2017–18; Sanne Gelissen (Dutch, born 1988), Sanne Geeft Vorm (Eindhoven, Netherlands, founded 2016); Glass fiber laminate, wood, metal; © Design Academy Eindhoven Photographs. Photo by Femke Rijerman; Courtesy of Sanne Gelissen / COPYRIGHT: Courtesy of Sanne Gelissen

Typically at museums, we ambulate among walls of flat paintings, dissuaded from approaching, altogether unable to interact with the works of art we are encountering—except through purely seeing them. In an antithesis to this, “The Senses: Design Beyond Vision” exhibition invites one to experience art through one’s four other perceptive senses. Dozens of touchable, sniffable, audible pieces categorized into 11 themes provide unique explorations of our technologies, communication channels and rituals. The collection highlights how sensory design can enrich our lives as humans and augment our journey through this world. Many exhibits engage multiple senses so as to make them accessible to people with a range of abilities.

“The Senses: Design Beyond Vision” is open at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City from April 13, 2018 to October 28, 2018. An accompanying 224-page exhibition catalog is available, and includes essays from the curators as well as other leaders in the field of multi-sensory design.

Source: Archinect and Cooper Hewitt

Subverting Perceptions

"Strength in honor" - 2016

Image Credit: Aida Muluneh

Ethiopian-born, but globally-raised, photographer and artist Aida Muluneh employs bold colors in her visual works to undermine viewers’ inclination to categorize. After graduating from Howard University in Washington D.C. and working as a photojournalist, Muluneh began asking whether the medium of photography was truly neutral. Pushing back against stereotypical representations of Africans and African Americans, the artist creates stunning images of face-painted models set against colorful backdrops.

Her work is part of the “Being: New Photography 2018” exhibition, on display through August 19, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Source: Washington Post

Short Story Vending

Image Credit: Olivier Alexandre/Short Edition via NYTimes

In an era of byte-sized information rapidly and widely dispersed at the touch of a screen comes a vending machine for short stories. French publisher Short Edition offers The Short Story Dispenser, a kiosk that spits out stories on paper that resembles a store receipt. There is no cost for this literary service, all you do is choose the length of time you’d like to spend reading. Stories are sourced from an online collection hosted by Short Edition, which holds competitions to amass the content for their catalog. Libraries and schools are some obvious locations where these dispensers have been seen popping up in the United States, but the potential is there for them to be any place where one finds themselves waiting and might otherwise reach for their smartphone.

Source: NYTimes

Designing Our Perception of Time

Image Credit: Spoon & Tamago

Long before the railroads gave us standardized time, people used hourglasses to measure its passage. A precise amount of sand falls from one chamber to another and a set duration of time goes by; flip it over with the same result. Its shape is iconic, so much so that its form colloquially represents time itself despite the fact that it has all but obsolesced as a functional tool.

This year’s Milan Design Week saw the hourglass—unchanged for centuries—completely reimagined by Japanese design studio Nendo. Folks at the studio not only restyled the object but used it to explore our very conceptualization of time by altering the mechanisms by which we normally expect an hourglass to perform. Some of the redesigns incorporate a series of chambers allowing bold-colored sand to travel between them at different rates. See all four inventive takes and their explanations here.

Source: Spoon & Tamago

Photo Series “Noct Angeles”

Image Credit: Tom Blachford via Cool Hunting

Taken in any other city, Tom Blachford‘s photographs of Los Angeles would be utterly unremarkable. They portray such ordinary things as empty residential street corners, puddles in alleyways and glowing back porch lights. Devoid of people, motionless and eerie, these photos capture one of the more image-conscious places in America in a stark but not unflattering new way.

Setting out to shoot LA without any of the cliches, Blachford found that his intention to shoot “day for night” was undermined  by a rainy forecast. His prior series “Midnight Modern” was shot using the opposite technique, with moonlight masquerading as day time, but this too was nixed due to LA’s extreme light pollution, which gives the sky a chronic glow. In the end, Blachford found that the technique of simply shooting in the rain at night produced better results than he could have anticipated.

Source: Cool Hunting

Zaha Hadid Architects Exposes Gender Pay Gap

Photo Credit: Dezeen

A change in the law in the UK requires architecture firms to reveal gender pay gaps in staff salaries. Zaha Hadid Architects, now lead by Patrik Schumacher, shows that women are paid 19.6 percent less than men. The figure was calculated by comparing the median salaries of the men in the firm and the median salaries of the women. The firm claims that this disparity is caused by having more men in higher paid senior positions.

Architects that employ 250 people are required to publish salary cap figures each year and Dezeen has created a gender pay cap calculator for firms to use that are not required to make the figures public as part of an initiative to expose the gender pay gap in architecture firms.

Source: Dezeen

NYSID Highlights Historic Advertisements

An advertisement displays Yale Burge’s love for antiques and oriental decor.

The New York School of Interior Design recently debuted a selection of four images that allow users to unearth the historic advertisements from Yale Burge, an interior-design pioneer of the past century.

Yale Burge was known for his innovative popularization of the “French country look,” often replicating the aesthetics of European antiques. A partner at the Burge-Donghia design firm and owner of an antique store, Burge was a leading interior designer up until his death in 1972. Burge’s antique store on the Upper East Side of New York City was open for decades; it only recently closed in 2013.

While a full-fledged French country style like Burge’s may not be making a comeback anytime soon, antiques are on trend—especially with pops of color like the rich tones Burge loved to use. Get inspired by browsing the selection of advertisements here.

Sources: The New York Times, The NYSID Online CollectionElle Decor, Design Curial

NYSID Photos Showcase Women’s History

Sheila Chapine (middle) stands amongst other faculty and administration at the New York School of Interior Design in ca. 1955. Photo credit: New York School of Interior Design.

Interior design was an emerging field at the turn of the 20th century, and many of its first practitioners were women. Accordingly, many of the images in the New York School of Interior Design’s (NYSID) centennial album document women who dominated the design world, built their own businesses and became published authors.

One such woman was Sheila Chapine. Born in Ontario in 1918, Chapine later attended NYSID, one of New York’s most prestigious interior design schools. She went on to graduate in 1940 and become a registrar and lecturer of color for 45 years. Chapine also worked as a career counselor and events planner during her time at NYSID as well as volunteering at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House and St. James’ Church. 

Though interior design may have been originally viewed as “decorating” , and therefore a socially acceptable career path for women in the 1900s, interior design has proven to be one of the most important professions of the century because many people spend the majority of their life inside buildings and the design of a room can have great psychological and physical impacts on inhabitants.

For more photos of women who changed the world through design, check out the NYSID Flickr collection here.

Sources: The New York School of Interior Design, The New York Times, Research Gate, InteriorDesign.net

New York School of Interior Design Debuts New Online Catalog

Taken from the NYSID online archive, the page of Vogue in 1953 features an article on Major Tom Lee, who had an apprenticeship at “R.H. Macy of New York” before handling the display of a Christmas show at Rockefeller Center and an interwoven display at the New York World Fair.

The New York School of Interior Design recently expanded their online database to include a finding tool for users to search through their centennial collection. The “Archives & Special Collections” online archives catalog  allows users to identify the material they wish to consult before setting up an appointment to see the collection in person. The historic archive is composed of decades-old photographs, architectural sketches, news articles and memorabilia that date back to the early 1900s. The school first launched their image collection back in 2013, in expectation of the centennial debut of the archive; finally, it has arrived.

The purpose of creating the NYSID Institutional Archives was to document the history and evolution of the interior design profession. Similarly, Interior Design Special Collections material showcases the interior design work of designers, design firms and publications over the years. The stories these photos capture range from local historic preservation to hospitality projects.

Because the school was founded in 1916, the institution has access to photos that document not only the historical value of interior design but also related to the disciplines of business, fashion, urban studies, and anthropology. The New York School of Design special collections are open to the public by appointment.

Sources: The New York School of Interior Design

The Narrative of New York’s Police Architecture

Image Credit: Kris Graves.

Photographer Kris Graves has documented all of New York City’s 77 police precinct buildings. The architectural styles used evolved over the years, reflecting trends in architectural design as well as the police force’s evolving needs. During the 19th century, most precincts were built in the Romanesque or Classical Revival styles, By the 1960s, the buildings were largely un-ornamented.

Now, New York City’s police force is considering how their precinct buildings’ architecture impacts their relation to the community. While Brutalism may have its merits in the history of design and architecture, there is little doubt that a monolithic concrete building may fail to appear like anything other than a fortress. In a time when the tension between police and the communities they aim to serve has perhaps never been higher, precincts hope to convey an openness through the design of their buildings. The most recent proposals feature interior public spaces to allow community meetings and engagement.

This documentation was undertaken as part of an ongoing examination by Urban Omnibus and the Architectural League of New York entitled The Location of Justice. The project seeks to examine “the pervasive and often overlooked infrastructure of criminal justice in New York and the spaces that could serve a more just city.”

Source: Urban Omnibus

Focus on Landscape Architecture: Courses beyond Curriculum

Entering into the field of landscape architecture, one must love to learn, since it is an inherent part of a discipline that pulls from an array of knowledge bases, including ecology, art, history, sociology, architecture…the list goes on. Fortunately, there is no shortage in the Austin community of places to supplement your education:

  1. The Contemporary Austin Art School
    The Contemporary Austin is an art museum that has locations both downtown and on the lake on the west side of Austin. The Art School offers adult classes in the spring and summer for many fine arts topics, including drawing, painting and photography.
  2. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
    Part of the UT School of Architecture, the Wildflower Center is located south of Slaughter Lane in Austin. Here, you can take a variety of classes from nature-loving experts, such as watercoloring, plant identification and botanical illustration. They have single-day workshops as well as courses offered in multi-week sessions. Refer to their calendar, as events happen daily, and remember that UT students, faculty and staff get free admission to the Center!
  3. The University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes
    If you want to learn Adobe software, interior design, native plant gardening or anything in between, Informal Classes offers an array of non-credit programming to compliment your semesters. Each course is different in its time requirements, location and fees, so be sure to browse the catalog to find your course.

Source: The Contemporary Austin, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes