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The latest dirt from our very own gossip columnist, Aric Chen.

Eavesdrop Issue 03_02.16.2005

In a global exclusive, EavesDrop has obtained several unauthorized photographs of Rem Koolhaas and Philippe Starck. No, silly, the two designers weren’t caught “together.” They are, however, both pictured frolicking poolside—no, not with each other!—at the Raleigh Hotel during December’s Art Basel Miami Beach art fair. Imagine Koolhaas wedged into a burgundy Speedo with powder blue gussets, and Starck stuffing his face with freedom fries while sipping Zinfandel with a (topless!) woman, believed to be current squeeze Alice Lepers. Oh la la! Alas, our stringent Standards and Practices prevent us from publishing the revealing pics. Anyhow, we should be focusing on “real celebrities,” as Koolhaas, looking something like an ostrich (minus the big feathery body), reportedly admonished our paparazzo. Starck, meanwhile, was apparently too busy comparing his own bosom with that of Lepers.

We’ve given up trying to figure out what you architects consider fun. Last month, throngs of you excitedly turned out at the Tribeca bar MI-5 for a design showdown between Matthew Johnson of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Jason Carlow of Smith-Miller + Hawkinson. The event, called the Master Disaster Architect Duel and sponsored by the LVHRD Foundation, pitted the two against each other in a heated one-hour charrette observed by over 500 revelers, organizers say. The design brief was to create a futuristic luxury hotel and government office complex for the year 2050 when, presumably in the name of spreading democracy there, the United States takes over the moon. At the finale, attendees were asked to cast ballots for either Johnson’s upside-down step pyramid or Carlow’s scheme of three inclined towers that meet at the top. Art continued its imitation of life when a draw had to be declared due to reports of widespread voting fraud.

Remember the International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA)? Founded in 1951, the once legendary annual gathering—which attracted everyone from George Nelson and Louis Kahn to the likes of Robert Rauschenberg and Gloria Steinem—has lost steam in recent years. However, now the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) wants to change that. We’re told the organization, which has been expanding its mission across design disciplines, will take over the management and programming of the conference beginning this summer. As part of the deal, the AIGA will provide a one-time infusion of $50,000 and provide its services for an annual fee of just one dollar. (Where are all the other sugar daddies out there?) “The conference will remain multidisciplinary,” maintains AIGA executive director Ric Grefe, who will assume the same IDCA title. This summer’s edition will be an invitational brainstorming session, with the new, improved conference debuting in 2006.

We’ve lost track of Jean Nouvel’s on-again, off-again meatpacking district project for developer Stephen Touhey. But it sounds like the French architect’s failed 1999 design for a nine-story hotel in Dumbo may be getting its second act as apartments. As of press time, both Nouvel’s office and developer Two Trees Management were keeping mum. However, we’re told that the repurposed structure will largely keep to the original plan, which calls for it to be dramatically cantilevered over the East River.


Aric Chen