November 3 was a big day for Amazon, with the opening of its first brick and mortar store, Amazon Books. The location? Seattle, of course. The 5,500-square-foot store inside the upscale University Village shopping mall replaced the former Blue C Sushi restaurant. Who designed the store? Amazon relied on its in-house design team in collaboration with external partners, Amazon.com spokesperson Deborah Bass told AN. Materials and layout are pretty traditional: there's light wood, dark trim, brick, and narrow aisles. Many have made comparisons to the typical bookstore aesthetic of yore. "The store, in Seattle’s University Village, is notably (and, of course, ironically) Barnes & Noble-like in its aesthetic. There’s a lot of wood. There are a lot of shelves. There are a lot of books! The dream of the 90s is alive in Seattle, apparently," writes The Atlantic. But forget the typical spine-out book layout. Instead, books are arranged cover-out, many alongside unedited (but oftentimes truncated) customer reviews from Amazon.com. There's an overt fusion of books and tech. Titles are stocked, influenced, and arranged by Amazon.com data and curators: customer ratings, top sellers lists, niche audience ("Most-Wished-For Cookbooks", "Gifts for Young Adults", "Coloring Books for Grown-ups"), purpose ("100 Books to Read in a Lifetime") and of course, by genre. There are Amazon devices throughout: Kindles, Fire Tablets, Fire TVs, Echo. Prices are the same as online. But there's a catch: Amazon prices are not listed on the books themselves. Browsers must either download an Amazon app to scan the books for current prices or use one of the price-checking kiosks in the store. Amazon Books is the second bookstore to open in U-Village, after Barnes and Noble closed in 2011.
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Now in its third year, the Alice Award has announced that The Open Road: Photography & the American Road Trip written by David Campany and published by Aperture (New York), is its 2015 winner. Campany and Aperture will take home a $25,000 prize. https://vimeo.com/105063589 Company's book was selected from a whittled down shortlist of five contending publications that have previously been recipients of a Furthermore grant. Furthermore President Joan K. Davidson initiated the award in honor of her mother, Alice Manheim Kaplan, who cherished illustrated books. Building an established collection, she treated them as works of art viewing them as an "essential document of a civilized society." Echoing this sentiment, the Alice Award strives to safeguard and preserve these values that exist within a well-made illustrated book, acting as a catalyst to the slow reading movement that recognizes this. The creation of such a publication requires the commitment and harmonization of writers, editors, designers, and publishers, and their friends, something the Alice Award is keen to reward. The other shortlisted works can be seen below: The awards jury insluded: Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram; Paula Cooper, Paula Cooper Gallery; Maira Kalman, artist and illustrator; Gianfranco Monacelli, director of the Monacelli Press; and Jock Reynolds, director of the Yale University Art Gallery.
Hennessey + Ingalls is a rarity in an age when bookstores that survived the rise of Amazon are often indistinctive superstores or exercises in hipster curation. Los Angeles’ long-established mecca for art and architecture is neither. Fans were nervous when the store shuttered its Hollywood annex in Space Fifteen Twenty last spring. While the Santa Monica store on Wilshire and 2nd will close at the end of the year, it will reopen in a new space at One Santa Fe, the mixed-use development complex designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture. When Reginald Hennessey first set up the store in 1963, it catered to an up and coming community of artists, architects, and art enthusiasts. The tradition of stocking its wooden shelves with rare, sometimes out-of-print books has continued to enthrall readers from around Los Angeles and has even managed to attract the attention of design institutions from all over America. The family owned store was passed down from Reginald to his son and finally grandson, Brett, who now runs the business. He was responsible for computerizing the operations and increasing the store’s online presence. Initially based out of Santa Monica with a branch in Hollywood, the business had to close down the latter due to an increase in rent and a smaller customer base. The store, currently 8,000 square feet, is downsizing to a smaller, but better-located 5,000-square-foot location in the Arts District. “We were focusing on Downtown L.A. and crossed paths with Michael Maltzan. It just turned into a really good partnership because One Santa Fe is right up our alley. The curation of businesses there are kind of what we like most about it,” said Brett Hennessey. The bookstore anticipates a bigger customer base at its new location, located right across the street from SCI-Arc, a few minutes away from FIDM, and even close by to the University of Southern California. “People can drive in from 360 degrees around us. The problem with Santa Monica is that only half the side can drive to the store” quipped Hennessey. Hennessey + Ingalls will celebrate the last holiday season out of Santa Monica and will open its doors again in February 2016. This time in DTLA.
Berkeley designers propose building this pavilion entirely out of books, and you can help kickstart the project
Leaders of the Bay Area Book Festival (taking place June 5–7 in Berkeley) are teaming up with arts group Flux Foundation to make Lacuna, a wood-framed, yurt-like structure containing over 50,000 books, all donated by the Internet Archive. The "participatory" installation, designed with built in benches and alcoves, will have walls literally made out of stacks of books. Ceilings will be made of book pages attached to guy wires. lt will sit in Berkeley's Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park, creating what organizers call "a reflective space that offers contrast to—and respite from—the busy energy of the festival." In a digital world, this reminder of books' physicality, and the opportunity to read them and reshape the space, should be a major draw—especially as many bookstores still struggle to stay open. The project is still seeking funding. You can contribute to its Kickstarter campaign here.
Forget, albeit momentarily, the speculated death of the print product. Romanian bookstore chain Carturesti has poured millions of dollars into the restoration of a 19th-century former bank building to house its second-largest retail outlet. Featuring a breathtaking high ceiling with a central skylight and dramatic byzantine marble colonnades, the Carturesti Carusel, which literally translates as “Carousel of Light” retails over 10,000 volumes and 5,000 albums and DVDs. Located on the famous Lipscani street in Bucharest’s Old Town, the old-world, nearly all-white edifice comprises 1,760 square feet of retail space and six floors accessible by curving staircases reminiscent of carousels. The main floor and basement contain an art gallery and media space for cultural events, while the top floor is occupied by a bistro. The serially repurposed building closed down in 1948 back when it was the Chrissoveloni Bank. It was then converted into a men’s clothing store and subsequently a department store, before being seized during the Romania’s Communist period. By 1990, the building was back in the hands of the illustrious banking family when it was recovered by its current owner Jean Chrissoveloni, who commissioned local architect Square One to execute its restoration. “We minimized the chromatic elements in order to make room for the play of lights and shadows generated by the central skylight,” a Square One architect told Curbed. “The sinuous shape of the floors creates a dynamic atmosphere similar to a moving carousel.”
For those in the A/E/C practices, there is little doubt about the greatest gift of all: time. While AN can't source that elusive asset for you, we have assembled a collection of material goods that are designed to make life a little more elegant, efficient, and even fun. Happy holidays to all! Elements Collection J. Hill's Standard A fresh take on Irish cut crystal, this barware is marked by cuts and textures of varying depth, creating a graphic language. Designed by Scholten & Baijings. Ossidiana Alessi Fabricated out of cast aluminum, this old-school, new-style espresso makers comes in three sizes. Designed by Mario Trimarchi. Bauhaus Chess Set Chess House No prancing steeds or earnest foot soldiers here: Wood cubes, spheres, and cylinders comprose this 1923 chess set. Designed by Josef Hartwig. Glass House Snow Globe The Glass House You'll never have to battle the traffic on I-95 or shovel the snow at this finely crafted miniature masterwork. Flo Bedside/Desk Light Lumina Italia Rotate the head of this minimalist light fixture to focus the LED beam where it's wanted. In varnish-coated aluminum and steel, the fixture is also available in clamp, wall, floor, and grommet styles. Designed by Foster + Partners. FollowMe Lamp Marset Cordless and rechargable via USB, this oak-handled lamp shines a diffuse light through its polycarbonate shade. Designed by Inma Bermudez. Prismatic Scarves notNeutral From the product-design branch of Los Angeles-based architects Rios Clementi Hale Studios, these thirty-inch-square silk scarves are based on color studies for a competition project. Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography Yale University Press Featuring more than 250 plates, this book by Philadelphia Museum of Art curators Peter Barberie and Amanda N. Bock chronicles the career of the seminal photographer. Louise Fili, Perfetto Pencils Princeton Architectural Press Graphic designer Louise Fili celebrates Italian typography with these two-tone pencils; related items include notecards and a book. Qlocktwo W Watch Biegert & Funk In this reactionary design to a digital world, a grid of 110 letters illuminates the time in text form. And it's multi-lingual: The watch communicates in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Arabic. Brut Nature 2006 Louis Roederer Of his design for the packaging for this vintage, Philippe Starck says, "The contents are so potent I decided to design a bottle that was stripped of any superfluous embellishment." Shape of Sound Artifice Books Architect Victoria Meyers examines the dynamic relationship between architectural forms and materials and acoustics in this amply illustrated book. Snøhetta Limited Edition, XO Contemporary Cognac Braastad Adding Scandinavian cool to a classic French product, the graphic design team at Snøhetta uses subtle metallic colors and hand-lettering to reinvigorate the image of the stodgy spirit. Archaeologist Chopstick Rests Spin Ceramics Impeccably details and finished, these glazed clay pieces are both naturalistic and abstract in form. Eight pieces to a set; designed by Na An.
In a recent Q&A with the Boston Globe, Daniel Libeskind made it clear that when it comes to books, he doesn't just look at the pictures. Titles on the architect's current reading list reflect a predilection for essays and short stories—Borges, Melville, and Walter Benjamin, among others. He told the Globe that he keeps a set of Edgar Allan Poe stories on his bedside table. With so many tomes simultaneously clamoring for his attention, it would be fitting if Mr. Libeskind's library furnishings included his Reading Machine (above)—one of three contraptions he designed for the 1986 Venice Biennale. But alas, the device is no more, having met a bizarre fate. Based on Renaissance engineer Agostino Ramelli's 1584 "Book Wheel" invention, Libeskind's version ended up in a Venetian warehouse after the show. Eventually it was shipped to Geneva for an exhibition at the Palais Wilson. The day before the installation, though, the machine was incinerated, victim of a terrorist's firebomb.
In just the nick of time for outdoor summer weekends in New York City, Norton Architecture and Design Books has released a Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes. It's a concise and beautifully illustrated guide to thirty-eight public spaces that claims to be the "first wide-ranging survey of New York urban landscapes from the first half of the nineteenth century to, well, tomorrow." Researched and written by Francis Morrone and Robin Lynn with photographs by Edward Toran, it's focus is not just Manhattan and its celebrated public spaces like Times Square and the High Line but also on little-known sites like the Concrete Plant Park on the west bank of the Bronx River and Erie Basin Park and Newtown Creek Nature Walk in Brooklyn. It also features the relatively-unknown (at least to me) Urban Garden Room in the Bank of America Tower and my favorite Liz Christy Garden on the northeast corner of Houston and Bowery. This is perfect book to consult before your relatives come to town and expect an insider's tour of the city or before you pass by an unknown bit of green in the city. Many of the urban landscapes described in the guide are likely known only by nearby residents or only the most keen city observers.
Though books typically fall outside the scope of what we consider to be architectural products, we're making an exception for Thames & Hudson's new publication, Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography. Those familiar with Corbu's much photographed architectural work may not know that he was something of a shutterbug himself. According to the publisher, he not only "harnessed the power of the photographic image to define and disseminate his persona, his ideas and buildings," but his influence on the medium led to the rise of photography in general. From another perspective the book provides a more intimate way to access Le Corbusier's creative process and some of the surprising inspirations behind his work, including images of him in his preferred office attire—his birthday suit. Images courtesy of It's Nice That.
Calm like Rahm. Halloween might be over, but we couldn't resist sharing this Facebook photo of Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel riding public transit with zombies! The photo was posted with the following caption: "In case of a zombie apocalypse, remember to stay calm like Rahm." (h/t Transportation Nation) S, M, L, XL, XXL. The AIA-Chicago has released their latest round of awards and the Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin takes a look at the winners, lauding the range of project scales undertaken by Chicago architects, from a small pavilion to the world's tallest building. Tracking LA. While Chicago has zombies, LA County has some cold hard cash. Everything Long Beach reports that eight key transportation projects were awarded $448 million including a 6.7 light rail line that is expected to become one of the busiest lines in the U.S. Sacred sale. Bankrupt mega-church Crystal Cathedral has found a buyer for their expansive, starchitect-studded Southern California campus (think Philip Johnson, Neutra, and Meier). The LA Times says Chapman University will pay $50 mil for the site, allowing the slimmed-down church to stay and eventually buy back their core building. Philly reads. In this economy, small book stores—especially architecture book stores—are struggling to keep their doors open. Philly is bucking this trend as the AIA Philadelphia opens up a new shop working with the Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Washington Square.
Many have lamented the disappearance of so many architecture book stores in recent years, chief among them the much-missed Prarie Avenue Books in Chicago. The Graham Foundation is doing their part to begin to fill that void by selling a selection of books at their stately home, the Madlener house. Tonight, the Foundation is hosting a holiday party and book store launch, from 5-8pm. The delightful exhibition, Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown, is also on view. Stop by and stock up. The Graham Foundation, 4 West Burton Place, Chicago.
Among the dozens of books that arrive in our office, I found myself quickly drawn into Alan K. Lathrop's handsome new guide Minnesota Architects: A Biographical Dictionary. The volume includes nearly forgotten 19th century architects all the way up to leading contemporary practitioners like Vincent James, David Salmela, and Julie Snow. While the book might sound like a dry reference, Lathrop includes concise descriptions of the individuals and firms, including their educational and professional lineages. Black and white photographs, both contemporary and historial, illustrate the book, and most are larger than the postage stamp-sized images found in many guides. Lathrop also connects professional collaborations between individuals, so the book feels like a yearbook for the state's architects. It's a form of refence book that should be copied. For now, Minnesota Architects is poised to become the new standard reference for anyone looking to learn more about the state's rich built heritage and its well developed professional culture.