For Shellshocked New Yorkers, Post-Election Subway Therapy

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In Manhattan’s Union Square subway station, a display of Post-It notes became a visual protest against the results of the November 8 Presidential election.

Say this for psychic turmoil: it stirs the creative soul. From Hemingway to Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf to Frida Kahlo, the most powerful artistic expression rarely emanates from a place of equilibrium and serenity. For many Americans—New Yorkers, in particular—neither equilibrium nor serenity comes easily, and, in the days and weeks following the Presidential election, emotional dissonance reached an apex not seen since 9/11. And so, Subway Therapy provided a highly original, if ultimately feeble, salve. Matthew ‘Levee’ Chavez, a New York-based artist, is the founder of the Subway Therapy project, a collaborative endeavor which requires the participation of passing strangers, and which predates the election—but sticks to its original premise: give frustrated and perpetually vexed subway riders Post-It notes and a pen, and they will write.

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The brainchild of Matthew ‘Levee’ Chavez, the post-election Subway Therapy project encouraged New Yorkers to voice their dissent over the election outcome.

“When people are overflowing with emotion, help channel their energy into something good,” explains Chavez. “Subway Therapy is about making people smile, laugh, and feel less stress. I believe people grow and learn through dynamic conversation.” With stress at its zenith on November 9th, Levee parked himself in the tunnel of the 14th Street subway stop in Manhattan, and encouraged New Yorkers of disparate origins—but an overwhelmingly single worldview—to record their outrage and sorrow, dissension and shock on tiny colored paper squares; and then, one by one, adhere them to an endless expanse of tiled subway wall.

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Stretching the length of a wall in Union Square station in Manhattan, a mosaic of Post-It notes containing personal expressions about the Presidential election.

Part art piece, part theatre, part protest movement, the post-Election Subway Therapy project remained, ultimately a classic New York City enterprise: a spontaneous collective experience, a portrait in resourcefulness, an imaginative stab at quelling the chaos of an unthinkable moment. It was also, surprisingly enough, quite pretty, presenting a vivid mosaic of color that, for a few dreary weeks, enlivened the grey and harsh florescence of subterranean city life, while beckoning even the most harried subway traveler to stop and read, if not write.

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Messages of affirmation and hope mingled with less optimistic declarations.

Sticky notes spread to other subway stops, most notably the Union Square station, one of downtown’s major hubs, which played canvas to an ever-thickening paper display of aphorisms and affirmations, exhortations and exclamations, each hastily scribbled in marker or pen or pencil. Governor Andrew Cuomo made a visit (and a written contribution), and scores of tourists took it all in, jaws dropped, reading, filming, saturating their Instagram feeds. Like many a New York City experience, Subway Therapy proved ephemeral, the notes methodically taken down in mid-December, their impact duly noted and recorded for posterity. The New-York Historical Society stepped in to preserve a portion of the Union Square display, and then offered up its own entrance wall to keep the project alive through Inauguration Day. Only in New York.

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Post-It notes form a mosaic of color in an otherwise grey NYC subway station.

Images: Promila Shastri

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Pantone 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery

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Calling it a refreshing and revitalizing shade, Pantone has selected Greenery as its 2017 Color of the Year.

After choosing TWO colors as its 2016 Color of the Year, Pantone went the traditional route this year, selecting Pantone 15-0343, better known as Greenery, as its 2017 Color of the Year. “Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings…a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew,” explained the color authority, adding that “Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”

While last year’s dual selection of Rose Quartz and Serenity—pink and blue—brought with it distinct political and social overtones related to gender roles and gender itself, Greenery makes a more subtle inference to current events. “The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world,” Pantone announced. Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman was more specific: “Greenery bursts forth to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment…satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize.” My, don’t we all wish a color could do all that?

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Pantone 15-0343, or Greenery, is the 2017 Color of the Year

Via Pantone

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In London, Contemporary Christmas Tree Art Installations

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In the newly refurbished rotunda of London’s Tate Britain, an upside-down Christmas tree installation by artist Shirazeh Houshiary.

London’s gone mad for Christmas trees. How else to explain what’s happneing all over town with evergreens—namely, a trio of festive installations that pay homage to the pine tree in ways best described as unusual.

To begin with, there’s the Tate Britain’s upside down Christmas tree, an installation by the Iranian-born artist Shirazeh Houshiary, currently on view in the gallery’s refurbished rotunda. Centered and held aloft by wires, the tree is natural and unadorned, save its roots, which, having been given a gold-dipped makeover, remain the installation’s falshiest and most ornamental part. Explains the artist, “I would like us to contemplate that the pine tree is one of the oldest species and recognize the roots are the source of its continued stability, nourishment and longevity,” Houshiary, a celebrated sculptor, continues a Tate tradition of artist-commissioned Christmas tree interpretations—a tradition started in 1988, and put on hold in 2013 as a massive renovation project commenced. Tate Britain’s Director, Alex Farquharson, is pleased. “This tree fits the new space perfectly, allowing a different generation to experience the majesty of Houshiary’s work in the striking setting of the new entrance and staircase.”

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In the lobby of London’s Claridige’s hotel, a Christmas Tree installation by designers Jony Ive and Marc Newson greet visitors.

Across town in tony Mayfair, the Claridge’s hotel lobby has been given over to an immersive Christmas tree experience created by Apple’s design gurus, Jony Ive and Marc Newson. “Our aim was to create an all-enveloping magical experience that celebrates our enormous respect for tradition while recognizing our excitement about the future and things to come,” say the designers. To that end, Ive and Newson leverage both mother nature and modern technology for their seasonal installation: an ethereal forest of real birch trees, glowing boxes of photographed birch trees, artificial snow, and an orchestra of colored lights, all of which converge for a moody, magical tableau which visitors can traverse for a fleeeting few weeks.

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British artist Alex Chinneck has created a sculpture that appears to show a Christmas tree ensconced in a block of ice.

Elsewhere in London—in the city’s King’s Cross neighborhood, to be exact—British artist Alex Chinneck has created another art piece in which a Christmas Tree figures prominently. Fighting Fire with Ice Cream is, in typical Chinneck fashion, an optical illusion in which a real Christmas tree, measuring 17 feet high, appears to be encased in a huge block of ice. The ice, in question, however, is actually a carved resin sculpture into which the tree is ensconced, and the melted section at the installation’s bottom is fashioned from wax. Explains the artist, “I was thinking about a seasonally relevant material and landed on the idea, like a fly-in-an-ice-cube.”

Via Dezeen

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Time Magazine Names Iconic Stahl House Photograph Amongst its Most Influential

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Named one of the most influential photographs in history by Time Magazine, this image of Stahl House was created by Julius Shulman in 1960.

A ravishing black-and-white photograph of Stahl House—an enduring symbol of modernist architecture—takes its place amongst portraits of Che Guevara and Demi Moore in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Images of All Time. One of only 3 man-made objects featured in Time’s 100 selections (the Hindenberg airship and Montana’s Fort Peck Damn are the other two), Stahl House is also one of the few aspirational shots featured in a roundup of painfully potent landmark moments extracted from America’s story—replete with wars, political unrest, famine, AIDS, and 9/11. In such weighty company, this iconic image of Stahl House—the most famous and widely disseminated photo from Julius Shulman’s architectural portfolio —is a welcome respite of breathtaking beauty, one that, according to Time,  ‘… perfected the art of aspirational staging, turning a house into the embodiment of the Good Life…’

It is, of course, hard to imagine anything but a good life being lived in Stahl House, aka Case Study House 22, architect Pierre Koenig’s Mid Century masterwork designed for Clarence ‘Buck’ Stahl in 1959 as part of Southern California’s Case Study Program. Nestled into the Hollywood Hills, it remains the apotheosis of modernism’s love affair with glass and concrete, geometry and elegance, killer views and steely glamour. While it may be impossible to take a bad photo of a house this camera-ready, in 1960, Julius Shulman found a way to make the penultimate Stahl House statement. Says Time, “To show the essence of this air-breaking cantilevered building, Shulman set two glamorous women in cocktail dresses inside the house, where they appear to be floating above a mythic, twinkling city. The photo…is the most successful real estate image ever taken.”

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Another 1960 image of Stahl House by Julius Shulman

via Time Magazine

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Time Magazine Names Iconic Stahl House Photograph Amongst its Most Influential

stahl-house-by-julius-shulman

Named one of the most influential photographs in history by Time Magazine, this image of Stahl House was created by Julius Shulman in 1960.

A ravishing black-and-white photograph of Stahl House—an enduring symbol of modernist architecture—takes its place amongst portraits of Che Guevara and Demi Moore in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Images of All Time. One of only 3 man-made objects featured in Time’s 100 selections (the Hindenberg airship and Montana’s Fort Peck Damn are the other two), Stahl House is also one of the few aspirational shots featured in a roundup of painfully potent landmark moments extracted from America’s story—replete with wars, political unrest, famine, AIDS, and 9/11. In such weighty company, this iconic image of Stahl House—the most famous and widely disseminated photo from Julius Shulman’s architectural portfolio —is a welcome respite of breathtaking beauty, one that, according to Time,  ‘… perfected the art of aspirational staging, turning a house into the embodiment of the Good Life…’

It is, of course, hard to imagine anything but a good life being lived in Stahl House, aka Case Study House 22, architect Pierre Koenig’s Mid Century masterwork designed for Clarence ‘Buck’ Stahl in 1959 as part of Southern California’s Case Study Program. Nestled into the Hollywood Hills, it remains the apotheosis of modernism’s love affair with glass and concrete, geometry and elegance, killer views and steely glamour. While it may be impossible to take a bad photo of a house this camera-ready, in 1960, Julius Shulman found a way to make the penultimate Stahl House statement. Says Time, “To show the essence of this air-breaking cantilevered building, Shulman set two glamorous women in cocktail dresses inside the house, where they appear to be floating above a mythic, twinkling city. The photo…is the most successful real estate image ever taken.”

stahl-house-in-color

Another 1960 image of Stahl House by Julius Shulman

via Time Magazine

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GUBI Shines a Light on Greta M. Grossman

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The Gräshoppa Floor Lamp by Greta Grossman is one of the many design reprisals undertaken by GUBI.

If you find yourself suddenly in-the-know about Greta M. Grossman, you can thank GUBI. The Danish design brand, which is equally focused on the past and present, has been instrumental in introducing a whole new generation of design enthusiasts to Grossman, a Swedish-born architect and designer who became a key contributor to the modernist movement, but whose name never gained the luster of her male contemporaries, Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. Chief amongst the iconic Mid Century products that GUBI has reprised is a collection of modern lamps designed by Grossman in the 1940s and 1950s, each piece instantly recognizable for its restrained beauty, brass detailing, and anthropomorphic form.

Shop the GUBI Greta Grossman Collection here >

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The GUBI Gräshoppa Table Lamp by Greta Grossman, a 1948 design, is available in 5 colors.

Without a doubt, the most famous of Greta Grossman’s designs is the Gräshoppa collection, a suite of lamps—floor lamp, table lamp, and pendant light—that features tubular steel stem, conical steel canopy, and burnished brass detailing. The Gräshoppa Floor Lamp, in particular, has become a modern interiors staple, owing its cult status to an elegantly angled body and conical head—an immaculate composition that uncannily mimics the human form. First produced in 1947, the lamp’s free moving head and painted steel shade make for an ideal directional light source with a minimal amount of glare.

Shop the GUBI Gräshoppa Collection here >

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The Cobra Table Lamp, designed in 1950, gets its name from its hooded shade.

Like many of her fellow European designers, Greta Magnussen Grossman left the continent for America, immigrating to Southern California in 1940. There, she designed more than a dozen modernists houses that bore the rectilinear, glass-glad profiles, open floor plans, and expansive views that came to define California modernism. A key (female) figure of the esthetic that would eventually be known as Mid-Century Modernism, Grossman also created a slew of innovative furniture and modern lighting designs—like her whimsical and dynamic Cobra Lamps, so named for their flexible arms and oval shades, reminiscent of a cobra’s hooded head. Grossman’s Cobra Table Lamp was a celebrated design, shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1951 as part of its Good Design exhibition series. The GUBI Cobra series includes Cobra Floor Lamp, table lamp, and wall lamp.

Shop the GUBI Cobra Collection here >

gubi-g10-floor-lamp

Greta Grossman’s G10 Floor Lamp, a 1950 design, has a distinctive angled stem and brass detailing.

GUBI’s reprisal of Greta Grossman’s G10 lamp collection—originally produced for the Swedish manufacturer Bergboms—is amongst the brand’s releases of long forgotten designs. A lesser known Grossman creation, the GUBI G10 Floor Lamp (a pendant lamp is also included in the G10 series), features the designer’s trademark combination of angled stem and distinctive lampshade. Simultaneously refined and industrial, the G10 Floor Lamp, first introduced in 1950, manages the Grossman feat of being both classic and innovative, vintage and of-the-moment.

Shop GUBI Modern Design here >

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Digital Art: MOMA Acquires Original Emoji Set

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Created in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita, the original set of 176 emoji illustrations is now in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Don’t accuse the Museum of Modern Art of being too big for its…brushes. The famous gatekeepers of masterworks by Van Gogh, Picasso, and Warhol, announced last week that it had acquired for its permanent collection the original set of emoji, the 176 digital pictograms developed in 1999 by Japanese phone company NTT DoCoMo. This latest digital acquisition comes 6 years after the @ symbol was welcomed into the collection of MOMA’s Department of Architecture & Design—and where these original emoji will also reside.

While emoji are abundant and ubiquitous today, it’s useful to remember that in 1999, a decade before Apple’s App Store opened, they were revolutionary. The ‘Father of Emoji’ is Shigetaka Kurita, whose work for NTT DoCoMo included creating heiroglyphics for the first major mobile Internet system, and who found inspiration in China’s pictographic written lanugage and Japan’s manga tradition, among other sources. Kurita’s resulting suite of 176 charmingly rudimentary symbols would lay the groundwork for the evolution of emoji from 1999’s primitive pixel arrangements to today’s sophisticated animations.

In announcing the acquistion, Paul Galloway, the department’s Collection Specialist, waxed poetic. “These humble masterpieces of design planted the seeds for the explosive growth of a new visual language,” he wrote, adding, “Emoji tap into a long tradition of expressive visual language…augmenting both the expressive content of the text and the overall aesthetic quality of the printed page .” And you thought those smiley faces were a waste of space.

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Two of the 176 pictograms that make up the original emoji collection, created for Japanese phone company NTT DoCoMo.

Via MOMA, the Wall Street Journal

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Lamp Dance: Hector Serrano’s Ballet Pendant Lamps for Arturo Alvarez

Lamp Dance: Hector Serrano’s Ballet Pendant Lamps for Arturo Alvarez

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Aside from their ethereal beauty, Spanish lighting designs by Arturo Alvarez have one thing in common: SIMETECH®, the proprietary patented material composed of stainless steel mesh and silicone, on display in the majority of the brand’s modern lighting designs. A highly malleable and moldable material, SIMETECH® is a key component to the sculptural, asymmetric forms that define Arturo Alvarez lighting designs—and never more so than in the brand’s recent collaboration with Valencia-based designer Hector Serrano, whose Ballet series elevates SIMETECH® to its most graceful heights yet.

Save 20% on Arturo Alvarez Modern Lighting >

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The designer explains, “At the beginning, I didn’t know how to contribute with something new and I felt a mix of sensations: on one hand, insecure about my ability to accomplish the assignment, on the other hand, respect for the work done by Arturo. I decided to keep going, but taking it from the beginning as an experiment. I would try and make something attractive, but if I wasn’t able, I would simply quit.”

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While Serrano’s misgivings about working with the material ultimately proved unfounded, working with SIMETECH® had its challenges—namely, its idiosyncratic tendency to do what it pleased. “…we made several prototypes, and it was a disaster: we were forcing the material to behave in an unnatural way. So I realized I had chosen a wrong way to face the project and I should start all over again.”

Save 20% on Arturo Alvarez Ballet Pendant Lamps >

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Back tot he drawing board—literally—meant delving into the materials’ specific properties and allowing it to dictate the resulting shapes, rather than the other way around. “I needed to give it freedom to seek its own way. I realized the less manipulation, the better the results.” Hours of cutting and folding later, and with a slew of prototypes to show for it, Serrano arrived at the suite of 3 deceptively delicate, elegantly organic volumes that make up the Ballet series. The collection’s name, Ballet, was “a wink to the beauty of its forms and the constant dance of lights and shadows.”

See the Arturo Alvarez Ballet collection here >

Via Arturo Alvarez

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Modern Lighting Sale | Save up to 25% on Top Brands

Innermost Stupa Collection

The Innermost Stupa Collection of modern pendant lights is composed of resin.

We’re in the midst of a major Modern Lighting Sale, featuring a range of celebrated and innovative lighting brands from around the globe. Lasting through the end of October, this sale offers of up to 25% off on pendant lights, chandeliers, table lamps and modern floor lamps by well-known contemporary design names, like Tom Dixon and Louis Poulsen, and bright new stars, like Britain’s Innermost and Denmark’s Lightyears.

London-based Innermost combines ‘very British’ design sensibilities with the irreverence intrinsic to the punk music scene to arrive at a collection of contemporary lighting designs that carry unexpected wit and surprising elegance all at once. The Innermost Exclusive Modern Lighting Sale features a 20% savings on the entire collection, through October 17th only.

Shop the Exclusive Innermost 20% Off Sale >

Lightyears Caravaggio Modern Pendant Lamp

A trio of Caravaggio Matte Pendant Lights by Lightyears

Denmark’s Lightyears is a Danish design studio known for sleek contemporary lamps that merge traditional Scandinavian design sensibilities with state-of-the-art technology. Clean forms, tactile materials, and industrial elegance are Lightyears hallmarks—characteristics evident in the best selling Caravaggio and Juicy pendant lamps.

Save 15% on Lighting by Lightyears >

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Pablo’s new Giraffa Table Lamp is a whimsical new design, available in 3 finishes.

The latest from San Francisco’s Pablo includes Giraffa, a whimsical table lamp that bears the stylized form of a giraffe’s neck. Available in 3 different finishes, Giraffa, along with all Pablo modern lighting designs, remains on sale at 15% off through October 31st.

Shop the Pablo Lighting Sale here >

Cirque by Louis Poulsen

Cirque pendant lights by Louis Poulsen, are equally suited to residential and commercial settings.

Other featured brands on sale during this month-long Modern Lighting Sale include Denmark’s venerable Louis Poulsen (above) and California’s Cerno (below). Floor lamps, ceiling and wall lights, table lamps, and modern pendant lights are all featured in this sale, which lasts through October 31st.

Shop the Modern Lighting Sale here >

Cerno Calx Pendant Light

The faceted Calx is a stunning new LED pendant light from Cerno

Save 15% on Lighting by Cerno >

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Annual Blu Dot Sale : Save 20% on Modern Furniture, Lighting & Decor

Annual Blu Dot Sale : Save 20% on Modern Furniture, Lighting & Decor

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The Annual Blu Dot Sale presents an opportunity to save on a whole range of modern furniture, lighting and home accessories by a popular contemporary brand—and includes best selling designs and new arrivals alike. The sale, which lasts through October 30th, features 20% off on all Blu Dot modern furnishings. Save on the famous Real Good Chair (above, and below), an origami-like creation that ships flat, and can be folded along perforated lines to create a comfortable dining or side chair.  Available in a range of colors, the Blue Dot Real Good Chair is a great option for dining room, home office, or guest room.

Save 20% on Blu Dot through October 30 >

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Save 20% on the Blu Dot Real Good Chair >

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The Blue Dot Punk Lamp cuts a compact, immensely simple profile, featuring a monochromatic powder coated steel base and shade, topped off with a solid walnut wood switch. Three finishes—charcoal, white and metallic copper—and an exceedingly reductive profile give the Punk Lamp its irresistible visual appeal, while its diffused lighting ups the ante on ambience.

Save 20% on the Blu Dot Punk Lamp >

blu-dot-field-lounge-chair

With its Mid-Century overtones, the Blu Dot Field Lounge Chair must surely be an icon-in-the-making. A curved, sculptural shell and roomy cushioned interior boldly invokes the Saarinen Womb Chair, while the powder-coated steel base adds a distinctly contemporary touch.  Designed to unlock the secret of lounging without guilt,the Blu Dot Field Lounge Chair looks cuts a handsome profile on its own, or paired with the equally stylish Field Ottoman.

Save 20% on the Blu Dot Field Lounge Chair & Ottoman >

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