Tom Kundig On CH


Parent (sister? godfather?) website Coolhunting profiled Tropolism book reviewee Tom Kundig last week, talking to him and finding a great youtube video of his projects in motion.

Imagine Coney: First Glance

From our roving correspondant, Saharat Surattanont, we get this report on Imagine Coney:

Last night, the Municipal Art Society (MASNYC) showcased their proposal for the redevelopment of Coney Island. Underscored by the financial realities of such an endeavor, their master plan of “big ideas” outlined the process for revitalization. The stated goal was to develop a viable economic paradigm without sacrificing the authentic flavor of Coney Island.

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Tropolism Exhibitions: Toplight


In keeping with our museums for antiquities theme, we were interested to see the Berlin museum for the Temple of Pergamon show up in the press images for Toplight, a review of architectural skylights at the CCA in Montreal. In a masterful ironic statement, the Pergamon Museum's "1904 museum catalogue claimed that the Pergamon altar could be appreciated in its 'original light'." The exhibition is organized around case studies from the last couple hundred years to track natural skylighting in architecture.

The Pyramids In Today's Egypt


Today The New York Times posts a little memo from Cairo touching on the relationship of modern Egypt to its ancient past. These are issues touched on in the book we finished recently, and the article stars Zahi Hawass, the cultural minister so prominently featured in Loot.

“A man without history is a man without humor,” said Galal Amin, an economist and author who has written about Egypt’s modern decline. “A man with history is more likely to have humor, because he is more likely to see the irony in things, how things were and how they turned out to be. And patience.”

Star Wars: A New Heap


Our favorite Death Star artist John Powers has posted a fascinating essay about Star Wars, Minimalism, and Modernism called Star Wars: A New Heap over at triplecanopy. This goes beyond his wonderful visual associations (like the original Star Wars text crawl and Robert Smithson's Heap of Language from 1966) and does research into the origins of the aesthetics of Star Wars, placing them squarely in the contemporary art of the late 1960s, including hard connections like the creative team from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Oddessy, who were in turn tightly connected to Minimalist and Modern Art.

Urbanism and Basketball


Free Darko, The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac, posted an essay last week about how urban planning could affect basketball coaches. It starts from silly relationships (basketball and skyscrapers, tall men and tall buildings), but quickly takes a more sophisticated tack. He looks at the effect of height restrictions on cities and ends up challenging height restrictions on basketball positions. It's a fascinating cross-pollination that we'd like to see more of. Tropolism loves sports.

Sori Yanagi, Friend Of Your Home


Sori Yanagi, long considered the Charles and Ray Eames of Japan, has designed so much flatware, mixing bowls, dishes, cutlery, kitchen tools, pots, pans, plates, that you are able to stock several kitchens. If you can get the stuff. MoMa, bless its heart, does its usual thing of giving us a few bits (5 pieces of flatware). You can get more of the flatware at Unicahome, for the completists among us (like me!) who need that shellfish fork to complete their collection.

What's less readily available in the USA and Europe are the plates. I had the honor of being received by Mr. Yanagi in 2004 at his studio, and after showing me his prototypes for the latest pots and pans, and his to-kill-for book collection, he showed me the shop upstairs. There were half a dozen lines of plates, some of handmade/handpainted ceramic, others more modern. Our favorites were the rounded square black and white plates (pictured above in the lower left), if only because they were microwave safe and had matching tea cups, saucers, and every shape of plate one could imagine. At the time the only way to acquire these was to purchase them at the store and have our hotel ship them back to the USA; we're happy to say that these days you can get them from the Japanese online store designshop, who will arrange shipping overseas via major shippers. I am also partial to the Marumon series (and the companion Musubimon series), also pictured above at lower right. Designshop has this and several other pieces, including the iconic bird-shaped soy sauce pitcher (pictured above left).

Tropolism Newsletter 1.3


Tropolism Newsletter 1.2 included the book review Loot and some of our favorite ideas of the week. Newsletter 1.3 goes out this weekend. To get your copy, sign up now in the top far right email field on this page.

Furniture Friday: Microcoasts


As seen everywhere on the internets (I don't care, I love them anyway) are the Microcoasts by Vicente Guallart. Like a semi-permanent beach chair they make what would normally be an uncomfortable shore into a great place to spend the day. Being between Barcelona and Valencia isn't half bad, either. We need a new category for this one: "Exterior Design".

Tropolism Films: Bodega Down Bronx


Today is a screening of the new film Bodega Down Bronx. From the Center for Urban Pedagogy's announcement: "This past year, students from New Settlement's Bronx Helpers and CUP teaching artist Jonathan Bogarin investigated bodegas in the Bronx. The group interviewed bodegueros, visited their suppliers, and met with congressional representatives, health professionals, and alternative Bronx food establishments. They made a documentary to pass along what they learned." Watch the trailer here.

The screening is at 5:30 at CUNY Law School Auditorium, 65-21 Main Street, Flushing, Queens, NY.

Pretty Pictures: Night Houses #1

sleeperlight.jpg red%20lines.jpg houseonbeach.jpg 1. Sculptured House by Charles Deaton, as seen in the Woody Allen Film, Sleeper. 2. Aatrial House by KWK PROMES. 3. House on the beach by Javier Artadi Arquitecto.

Thermal Baths of San Pelligrino


Design renderings for the Thermal Baths of San Pelligrino by Dominique Perrault Architecture have been released, and they are trippy. The 'perforated like a tree canopy by a French Architect' meme is continued with the all-over skin of this building. From the exterior, it looks like glowing boulders that have tumbled down the mountains; from the interior, it's surprisingly warm and beautiful. In the big spaces the filtered light effect is like seeing a whole forest. It is soft and sublime at the same time.

Tipped off by Designboom.

El Croquis Goes Digital


One of the pleasures of my job is getting updates like these: El Croquis is offering digital versions of its magazines. In one swoop the twin problems of acquiring and storing their oversize formats is disappeared. Of course you don't get the pleasure of having a huge page with a flawless image or superdetailed plan, but there are advantages to the digital option. We'd rather have a proof copy of the master PDF file, but we'll settle for the Zinio system for the time being.

The New Acropolis Museum: Almost Open


Reading Loot got me wondering how far along the new museums underway in Cairo and Athens were. The New Acropolis Museum, designed by Bernard Tschumi, is complete and they are moving the artifacts in. There was a great walkthrough of the building here. All that's left, of course, are the Elgin Marbles. We've always wanted them relocated simply because they are so terribly displayed in the British Museum. The book clued us into the fact that the other half of the marbles pretty much live in Athens, and that the new museum there has already prepared space for the returned Elgins. The new building looks perfect for the location, and the subtle ways it mimics the experience of visiting the nearby Acropolis is exactly what this building needed to do well. Tschumi does monumental and it's a hit.