This article is part of our latest design special on Multi-Generation Living and New Definitions of Family.
Find fertile soil in odd lots
The fourth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennale from September 17 to December 18 focuses on the untapped potential of the urban landscape. The show, called “The Available City”, takes place largely on vacant lots across the city.
“We view the plots as a collective space,” said David Brown, curator of the biennale, who worked with community partners to develop the 18 projects.
One, “The Living Room” (a rendering is on the left), instead uses an existing permaculture garden run by the Community Christian Alternative Academy, a high school that uses the space to teach students about growing food .
Bittertang Farm, an architecture firm, designed a series of biomorphic wooden totems – when you squint you might think of the natural waves depicted by artist Charles Burchfield or an imaginative vision by Dr. Seuss. They form a kind of square that includes several cage-like shapes made of woven willow strands.
“We try to be playful in a formal sense,” says Antonio Torres, one of the company’s founders based in Chicago.
Michael Loverich, the company’s other founder and its Seattle-based partner, said touching the hardware is encouraged: “We want that interaction.”
Mr. Loverich noted that the wooden pillars were full of nooks and crannies that plants would house, as well as canopies for birds and insects. “All of these crevices are living spaces,” he said. Given the emphasis on community, the team also hired a local chainsaw carver to sculpt them.
In contrast to many temporary biennial projects, “The Living Room” is to be retained as a permanent addition even after the exhibition. As Mr Torres put it, “This gives something back to those around you.” Chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org
Global high-end design within reach
This September, Design Miami plans to bring together gallery owners and collectors who are interested in celebrating and buying high quality global design, often at high prices, during its Basel fair. But before the personal meeting of Art Basel in Switzerland, the company also wants to cast its spell over first-time collectors from afar.
On September 5th, Design Miami is offering a new online shop called DM / BX, which will exist alongside the web marketplace that was established last year. While this webshop currently sells a few pieces for tens of thousands of dollars, DM / BX has a curated selection of handcrafted small series or one-off items priced from $ 50 to $ 2,500.
Each year Design Miami fairs welcome around 70,000 people, but “There isn’t something for everyone to buy and there isn’t a great display of all the different segments of the design market,” said Jennifer Roberts, General Manager of Design Miami. DM / BX lets curious new consumers buy cheaper work that might not make it to a show – like a Diego Faivre stool ($ 810) above or an upcycled woven lampshade by Álvaro Catalán de Ocón ($ 680); designmiami.com.
The cantilever chair introduces itself in a new way
The cantilever chair has been reborn many times. It hit the Bauhaus made of cool leather and steel, thanks to Mart Stam; got a groovy 1960s revamp from Verner Panton; and still blooms in Marcel Breuer’s Cesca design that can be seen all over Instagram’s dining rooms.
On September 18th it will be presented again at the London Design Festival, this time by the London designer Jasper Morrison. In collaboration with the British manufacturer Isokon Plus, Mr. Morrison designed the Iso-Lounge and reinterpreted the archetypal cantilever design as a slim line made of plywood. The piece, offered in a light birch or oak, is priced at $ 2,325.
“The design was loosely based on one that was never built and that appears on the company logo,” wrote Morrison in an email. “I’m very much in favor of looking back and refreshing what has been done before (or not done in this case).”
The Iso-Lounge will be unveiled in an Isokon Plus installation at 14 Cavendish Square as part of the London Festival, which is taking place in various locations across the city. Until September 26th; londondesignfestival.com.
A lamp that creates the illusion of fire
Hiroto Yoshizoe may not be the first designer to be drawn to light, but he is exceptional at creating an illusion of fire using an acrylic teardrop and a few LEDs. His new Hymn lamp, which will be unveiled at the Milan Furniture Fair on September 5th, is inspired by an old-fashioned candlestick in a bowl. Swinging on a wire loop in a glass ball, the teardrop-shaped element breaks the light, which shoots up through a twisted metal tube and flickers like a dancing candle flame that no draft can stifle.
“The original inspiration comes from my experience at a cathedral in Florence, Italy, where I was touched by the beauty of the candlelights that lit the room,” Yoshizoe wrote in an email from Tokyo. He compared the mood created by fluttering flames to the tremolo of a voice singing in a church choir.
Hymn, produced by the Japanese company Ambientec, burns continuously for about three hours before the lithium-ion battery has to be charged. The lamp is about seven inches tall and comes in an anodized aluminum finish in black (for about $ 335) or gold (for about $ 362); ambientec.co.jp.