Posts tagged with "adam nathaniel furman":

Placeholder Alt Text

International designers team up to paint the power of architectural ornament

In Veszprém, a historic medieval town in western Hungary, 12 designers have coated walls of an aging school to illustrate the significance of architectural ornamentation and what it means for and to young architects today. The Elementary School of Music (formerly the Industrial School) was designed by Hungarian architect Lajos Schoditsch, a building which sits across the street from the Petőfi Theater, designed by another Hungarian, István Medgyaszay. Both buildings are integral to the city's architectural history and represent the changing use of motif and ornament in Hungarian architecture. Both are also scheduled to be renovated, with the now-vacant Elementary School of Music due to become an office building serving the theater. Seizing the moment before the renovation, the Hungarian practice Paradigma Ariadné, led by Dávid Smiló, Attila Róbert Csóka, and Szabolcs Molnár, saw the chance for architectural intervention. Working with Heléna Csóka, the curators of the 12 Walls project invited designers from across Europe to come up with wall installations that riffed on the history of ornament embedded in the former school. The result is a series of painted walls vying for visual attention in a cacophony of color and ornamentation. Each wall has its own agenda, courtesy of the 12 designers. The walls serve as standalone works but end up interacting with adjacent and nearby painted walls to create a dazzling landscape inside the vacant building. The designers and collectives commissioned include: Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop, Enorme Studio, False Mirror Office, Gyulai Levente, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Andrew Kovacs, MNPL Workshop, Giacomo Pala, Space Popular, TREES, Very Good Office, and Paradigma Ariadné itself. "Many emerging architects and studios are struggling to settle with the repeatedly omitted, yet constantly resurfacing ornament," the curators said in a statement. "Presenting different approaches by young collectives, the works at the exhibition examine the current roles and boundaries of the ornament, by appropriating the late Industrial School’s empty, undecorated walls." The majority of the walls are awash with bright colors. Austrian-based architect and researcher, Giacomo Pala's wall, titled, Frank Variation, riffs on the work of Austrian architect, Josef Frank. According to Pala, he was one of the first modern architects to deal with ornament, and Pala's work abstracts the late architect's approach to city planning, interior schemes, and watercolor architectural paintings. British designer Adam Nathaniel Furman's wall, Diadema, bursts with even more color. In a kaleidoscopic arrangement, brightly colored triangles and ellipses splay out across the wall creating an almost 3-D illusion. "Ornament is not a language. Ornament doesn’t speak," he said in a short text describing his work. "Ornament is the flush in the cheek, the color of life in the eye…it is the vigor of the fleshly moment captured in time for anyone and everyone who enters a space. Diadema is a taste of this, a crowning moment of chromatic delight in miniature." Space Popular, formed by Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg and based in London, has created one of the few walls to use text. At first glance, Tilt Lines looks like it was made with CAD sketching tools, but the piece was crafted by hand instead of digital tools to depict what Space Popular describe as an "endless mass." "Working with the line in 3-D space highlights the fact the we tend to identify spaces with enclosures," the firm added. "This notion is challenged when we are given a brush that draws in mid-air and we desperately try to fill in surfaces, consequently making everything look like gingerbread houses." Only one installation refrains from using color and that comes from MNPL Workshop from Odessa, Ukraine. The monochrome pattern has a hidden message, however. "By eliminating unnecessary decorative elements for modern society, modernism created a perfect environment for filling with elements of marketing and advertisement," said MNPL in a statement. One such element is a corporate logo and numerous logos have been embedded into the black and white ornamentation by MNPL.
Placeholder Alt Text

Are we all postmodernists now?

Revisiting Postmodernism Sir Terry Farrell and Adam Nathaniel Furman RIBA Publishing $47.90 In their new, amply illustrated book, Revisiting Postmodernism, from RIBA publishing, architects Sir Terry Farrell and Adam Nathaniel Furman construct a cross-generational account of postmodern architecture’s birth, evolution, and eventual decline in America and Europe, placing special emphasis on the movement’s development in their native UK in the 1980s, ’90s, and early 2000s. As the title suggests, the work revisits—and is thus a revision of—a well-known disciplinary narrative. Readers unfamiliar with the subject would do well to begin with first-wave accounts before engaging with Farrell and Furman’s somewhat idiosyncratic views—Charles Jencks’s Language of Postmodern Architecture, for example, or the more academic and comprehensive The History of Postmodern Architecture by Heinrich Klotz. From the start, Farrell and Furman exhibit a sincere enthusiasm for the works gathered in Revisiting Postmodernism, privileging careful, sensitive readings of mostly built individual projects over theoretical generalizations and broad cultural criticism. The works cited are almost entirely illustrated with brightly colored photographs, foregrounding the authors’ endorsement of postmodernism’s potential for populist appeal and mass communication, while affirming critical theorist Fredric Jameson’s assertion that “many are the postmodern buildings that seem to have been designed for photography…” What Farrell and Furman’s text offers is a charming and highly digestible breeze through a famously difficult and hotly contested series of interrelated developments in architectural aesthetics, art practice, academic pedagogy, and theories of city planning from the late 1960s to the present day. The authors present complementary accounts of postmodern architecture’s more than 50-year life cycle through an aggregation of loose chronological narratives, speculative asides, biographical anecdotes, and generous nods to a host of B-side projects and lesser-known offices. The text glosses over oft-recited narratives of competing factions (the Grays, the Whites, the Chicago Seven, and the Silvers) and the contentious positions of their critical/philosophical avatars (the phenomenological, semiotic, psychoanalytic, and Marxist rhetoric that marked academic discourse at that time), favoring the trajectories of projects and bodies of work. Revisiting Postmodernism’s unique contribution to a now-rapidly expanding collection of postwar alternative histories (see Jorge Otero-Pailos’s excellent Architecture’s Historical Turn) is its focus on the much-decried middle and late periods of the movement. This period, Farrell suggests, was ushered in by Paolo Portoghesi’s Venice Architecture Biennale in 1980, and while other critics view the 1980 biennale as the beginning of the end for the once-radical, ideologically charged trajectories of figures like Michael Graves, Aldo Rossi, Charles Moore, and Robert Venturi, Farrell declares it a “watershed.” By Farrell’s account, Portoghesi’s “Presence of the Past” set in motion two decades of unprecedented cultural and financial investment in a variety of interrelated postmodern styles. Indeed, both Farrell and Furman devote a great deal of their attention to the urban (at times, massively) scaled, public and corporately funded works by offices like Ricardo Bofill, CZWG, Richard Rogers, César Pelli, Helmut Jahn, Philip Johnson, and Graves. Farrell’s own giant-scale work from that period, such as his MI6 Building at Vauxhall Cross (1994) and Alban Gate in the City (1992), epitomize the marketability, populist agency, and aesthetic and material limits of high postmodern. Farrell and Furman avoid too-easy critiques of a corporately sanctioned, populist, historical (read: reactionary) architecture built in the wake of Reagan and Thatcher. Instead, they interpret the moment of MI6 and the pre-Disney work of Michael Graves as remarkable anomalies in the history of architecture and capitalism. As Furman writes: “Younger architects, critics and the public were blinded to the incredible opening up of the profession that it had brought about, to its transformation of how planners and architects related to the city, to history, to heritage and the contemporary world, and to how buildings could say something, could tell stories and generate atmospheres…” Farrell and Furman conclude with hopeful, if somewhat disorienting, speculations, briefly touching on the neo-postmodernisms of a younger generation (offices like FAT and WAM) that began to take root in the shadow of corporate pomo’s polemical and commercial decline. The authors seem to suggest that fluid, global networks of information, materials, cultural exchange, and capital have happily rendered us all default postmodernists in this second decade of the 2000s. Where cultural critics like Fredric Jameson paranoiacally theorized the rise of a ubiquitous “postmodern hyperspace,” that is, a space that accurately renders our collective incapacity to map the “multinational and decentered” networks that engulf us, Farrell and Furman celebrate the potential of a multivalent, multicultural architecture of the future—a communal, urban architecture presaged in the first and later waves of postmodernism.
Placeholder Alt Text

Specsheet > String Tied, This Year’s Holiday Gift Guide

We asked our editors, architect friends, and fellow design aficionados what they are putting at the top of their wish lists this year. The result is a compilation of rarities, outrageous objects, curiosities, and other items that you would want but would never buy for yourself.

Cheese grater Forma  Zaha Hadid for Alessi Zaha Hadid Architects designed a cheese grater that follows the same aesthetic of her most iconic works: organic shapes derived from natural forms. Composed of a sculptural black base that holds a punctured, mirror-polished stainless-steel grater, the ergonomic shape is designed to fit comfortably in the palm of the user’s hand. $80 | alessi.com 1st Floor Blue Mug Adam Nathaniel Furman for Sir John Soane’s Museum Shop “In the grand classical manner of the very best salons of old, this mug is raised up on a vaulted arcade so that it may occupy the airy summit of its own piano nobile. Elevated above the common detritus of your breakfast table, this dining item elegantly maintains the dignified sanctity of your morning brew.” $32 | soane.org Guatemala Throw CoopDPS for ZigZagZurich This brightly patterned woolen Nordic blanket is the work of Nathalie Du Pasquier and George Sowden—the founding members of the Memphis Group. Part of the Post Crisis Collection, referencing the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, the blanket features geometrics mingling with abstract organics in a wash of the iconic duo’s famously bright, bold primaries. $203 | zigzagzurich.com Frank Tray Good Thing Purveyor of all things mundane and manufacturer of everyday objects, Good Thing made something that is especially banal into something quite useful and amusing. Using an industrial metal-forming technique to shape siding into a hotdog wrapper–like detail, this handsome catchall is a useful tool for storing a sausage, as well as loose change, keys, makeup, etc. $24 | supergoodthing.com Half Timbered T-shirt Sam Jacob Studio Sam Jacob Studio devised this T-shirt with an edge-to-edge silk-screened Pugin-esque black and white motif. Like “architecture for your body,” the graphic pattern is a tribute to the op art effect of buildings like the Elizabethan manor Little Moreton Hall, and is also a twist on the artifice of mock-Tudor suburban buildings. $40 | samjacobstudio.com A Piece of Kahn - Travertine Earrings Pico Design for the Yale Center for British Art Inspired by the architecture of Louis Kahn, these earrings are part of the Moth/Butterfly Collection, a collaboration between Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) and Pico Design. Geometric in form, the sterling-silver jewelry has brushed and oxidized finishes that envelop a travertine cuboid recovered from the recent renovation of the Kahn-designed YCBA. $125 | picomeanslittle.com | YCBA Museum Shop, corner of High and Chapel Streets, New Haven, CT
Placeholder Alt Text

MVRDV’s stacked desires, Zaha Hadid’s latticework roofs, and other updates from the architects of Instagram

At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) Last Friday, Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV opened The Why Factory (W)ego: The Future City is Flexible, a bright new installation for Dutch Design Week 2017 in Eindhoven. According to MVRDV co-director Winy Maas, the project is "based on the hypothesis that the maximum density could be equal to the maximum of desires." https://www.instagram.com/p/BaguLgZBAbV/?taken-by=mvrdv AN contributor and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman shared an alarmingly value-engineered facade in the UK. Beneath the fake brick, a hollow duct–a compelling metaphor for our current newscape. In the comments, there is a bit of hope: Furman and friends list British architects who would never do such a thing, like Sergison Bates, FAT Architects, Outram, or Caruso St. John. https://www.instagram.com/p/Baqmp7ag80u/ Bloomberg is getting a new $1.3 billion, Foster+Partners-designed headquarters in London. The bronze fin-covered building boasts artwork and installations by Cristina Iglesias, Michael Craig-Martin, Olafur Eliasson, and Langlands & Bell. Eliasson's No future is possible without a past crowns a central room within the building, resembling the silvery surface of a pond inverted onto the ceiling. https://www.instagram.com/p/Ban9Gxvnt8u/?taken-by=studioolafureliasson Zaha Hadid Architects completed the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC) in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The 70,000-square-foot, five-building complex includes an auditorium, library, exhibit hall, and a prayer room sheathed in white latticework (pictured below).  https://www.instagram.com/p/Barov2bFJr6/?taken-by=zahahadidarchitects
Placeholder Alt Text

The town hall as democratic monument: a manifesto

What town halls are—their names, their forms, their programs—and the way they relate to the public and the city have changed dramatically over the centuries. Each new incarnation evolves from the last, building up a rich legacy full of successes and lessons that can be brought forward into future manifestations.

In Britain, the 1800s were an era of dramatic change, tumultuous growth, vigor, and pride for British cities, all anchored and guided by the Victorian Town Hall. The typology’s eloquent facades spoke of civic pride, communal purpose, economic strength, and artistic verve. Their interiors contained multipurpose halls, whose size and opulence made Buckingham Palace seem twee and quaint.

After World War II, in a national equivalent of the pioneering reforms of the great liberal mayors of the 19th century, gone were the vast republican Roman temples competing with the beautiful behemoths of British neo-baroque, the people-palaces of competing virtual city-states. In their place came modernity and a corresponding universal design language that spoke of a shared future and universal values.

As globalization, deregulation, and the European dreams reached their respective zeniths in the 2000s under New Labour (with a similar zeitgeist in the United States), architecture once again took on a starring role in the perpetual transformation of our cities. Private capital mingled with state funding to deliver colorful new spaces that mixed consumption and education, profit and provision, in an apotheosis of a historical compromise between society and the market.

We are living through what is perceived to be one of our democracy’s most intense crises in generations, which means it is in fact the perfect moment to build monuments to its rebirth. In crisis lies the greatest opportunity for reinvention. In each island of progress may there rise democratic monuments of symbolic sustenance and practical pageantry, for our sprawling cities, for our expanding towns, for the many and for the few; beauty, but for everyone.

It is time for the town hall as a democratic monument: architectural plurality in compositional unity. Architecture can be eloquent, and in using color and richly saturated materials, we can create buildings that embody us, our collective dreams, and our sense of communal identity. A democratic monument’s public face is proposed to be a large civic facade, designed in a contemporary manner, but echoing older structures—such as our Gothic Cathedrals—in its forthright form and ornamental exuberance. Encrusted in richly colored and patterned tiles, manufactured using the latest digital ceramic technologies, and designed by local artists, it presents a proud, joyfully new beacon of confidence to its city.

The next incarnation of the town hall is to be a monumental embodiment of our evolving liberal democracy as it moves into another new phase of energetic activity and robust invention. One in which architectural language and expression can both embody and reconcile the perpetual tensions between market and state, and minority and majority. One in which a fragmenting society and a diffuse urban realm are given new symbolic anchors that neither ignore the deep veins of difference, nor impose an arbitrary uniformity, but celebrate the constant tensions, debates, and engagement that keep any one aspect of society from eclipsing the others.

Council leaders and mayors will time-share the same halls of state with LGBT groups, unions, trade bodies, music festivals, and faith events, all within interiors that make the shopping centers of a generation before seem dull and meaningless.

Civic interiors in which durable, permanent, chromatically vivid decoration will be brought back into public architecture. The bright nothingness of white paint and aluminum panels will no longer be the default non-color, but rather all the hues we love so much in nature and art will be deployed to once again fill our city halls and collective interiors. Digital decal ceramic printing of large decorative schemes will fill entire volumes in combination with varied translucent glazes, will create rooms that glitter and glow. 

The glazed tiles will reflect the changing weather outside and the activities inside, suffusing the internal atmosphere with a strong and distinct sense of place, a potent color-filled “somewhere,” rather than a white “anywhere.” Expensive marbles will be placed next to pink and baby blue terrazzo, as well as next to cheap, but robust, laminates in lemon yellow and orange, green plastics and lavender powder-coated steel, while glazed tiles will meet ochre travertine and puce anodized aluminum.

It is vision of public space that uplifts and embraces through ornament, materials, and color.

Placeholder Alt Text

Adam Nathaniel Furman designs hyper-vibrant furniture installation for Milan Design Week 2017

London-based Adam Nathaniel Furman once described a project of his as "eye gougingly colorful." The work in question was a conceptual reaction to the monolithic concrete Corviale housing scheme in Rome. A designer, critic, and champion of postmodernism, Furman has now designed four equally colorful works with an Italian inflection. This time, however, no eye gouging is necessary. Furman was commissioned by Camp Design Gallery for the Milan Design Week/Fuori Salone 2017 to create this new installation, titled 4 Characters in the First Act and curated by Marco Sammicheli. It comprises furniture described by Furman as "bursting with personality." The four pieces are all named. Introducing: Angiolo (aside unit); Anselmo (a table); Annibale (a cupboard with legs); and Augusto (a triangle cupboard). Drawing inspiration from Italy, and what Furman describes as "its incredible ability to always mix, and synthesize, influences from all around the world," the highly decorative pieces draw from Korean, Balian, Thai, and Chinese imagery. Furman continued, noting how the styles he draws upon have been "updated with a bright, glowing, and joyful 21st century aesthetic." The four A's (Angiolo, Anselmo, Annibale, and Augusto) have been made with traditional Italian craft, using hand-made Lombard timber carpentry and painted steel. "Imagine a Thai business lady, and an Italian backpacker, spending a long, exciting, passion and drug-fuelled night together in a Chinese club," said Furman. "Well these pieces are the embodiment of this kind of wonderful, sensual and aesthetic trans-continental exchange." "In an age of increasing isolationism and gloom, this is a collection that picks up on Marco Polo's legacy, and is the celebratory, colorful expression of a desire to travel, and to meet and make exciting, strange new things," he added.