Posts tagged with "Charles Renfro":

Hot Tub Design Machine: New York’s Van Alen Institute launches its annual auction of out-of-the-box architectural experiences

If you have ever longed to explore nature with your favorite architect or discuss the built environment in your bikini, now you'll have the chance. Well, for a few bucks, but in the good name of architecture. The Van Alen Institute has launched its online auction of Art + Design Experiences to coincide with its Spring Party, going down this Wednesday in Lower Manhattan. The auction list boasts exclusive and out-of-the-box experiences with top critics, famed architects, and professionals in the arts and design fields. Some of the more compelling items, or activities, to bid on, include: —A Fire Island hot tub roundtable with architect Charles Renfro at his mid-century modern beach house. —Testing the smoke ring generator at Copenhagen’s new waste-to-energy power plant with Bjarke Ingels. —A helicopter ride on Norman Foster's personal helicopter through London’s skyline, including the architect’s own icons. —A bird watching expedition in an iconic urban park with Jeanne Gang. —Joining Sotheby’s chairman Lisa Dennison for her daily salon blowout ritual as she offers tips on building a blue-chip art collection, followed by a personalized tour of MoMA's permanent holdings. Visit the auction site to check out and bid on the offerings. Bidding closes on Wednesday, May 20. Get your digital paddles ready.

Architectural Stars Align at Storefront for Art & Architecture Benefit

The architecture social calendar in New York includes a bewildering array of benefits, parties, fundraisers, and charity auctions. But the yearly event that brings out the most party loving architects is the Storefront for Art and Architecture's benefit and art auction. The Storefront always gets the most fabulous venues for its events and this year's was beyond spectacular: the 1893 Bowery Savings Bank. Designed by Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White the space takes up a huge through block site between the Bowery, Grand, and Elizabeth streets. The interior is a riot of colorful Siena marble walls, mosaic floors, faux marble scagliola columns, coffered ceilings, and stairs and skylights made of cast iron. This nearly indescribable landmark was the perfect venue for Storefront's grand director Eva Franch and even more grand board president Charles Renfro to introduce the gala's honored guests Olafur Eliasson and the composer, vocalist, and choreographer Meredith Monk. They appeared on a high balcony and spotlight like opera stars, talked about the importance of the Storefront to the arts community in the city and asked everyone to bid aggressively on the art works in the auction. Robert M. Rubin, Storefront board member, bid on a small Louis Kahn sketch. Other works by Ann Hamilton, Kiki Smith, Terence Gower, and Denise Scott Brown all sold to eager buyers. Bernard Tschumi, who donated a print from his Manhattan Transcript series, also bid on and, with his wife Kate Linker, gazumped all other bidders to take away a magical Meredith Monk print of a musical score. The event bought in a total of $344,370 to the Storefront.  

RAD & RED at Storefront for Art & Architecture’s Spring Fundraiser

The Woolworth Building just a few short blocks from Zuccotti Park—the spiritual home of the Ocuppy movement—was itself bathed in radical red last night to celebrate the iconic "red" work of Barbara Krueger and Bernard Tschumi. The two celebrated figures were being honored by the Storefront for Art and Architecture at their annual Spring fundraiser. The yearly event always brings out a fun mix of young and distinguished professionals who come to support the Storefront and drink with friends and collegues. For the event last night everyone was asked to wear something red, and many did including Rick Scofidio who had one long red sock rolled over his pants leg, Archigramer Mike Webb carried around a red tequila laced drink, and Bernard Tschumi wore his iconic red scarf. Storefront board president Charles Renfro (with sorta red glasses) and Beatrice Colomina introduced Tschumi and Kruger at the top of the building's grand marble staircase, but the echo in the room made it impossible to hear a single word of their introductions. Never mind everyone on the staircase looked so fashionable, especially the resplendent Storefront Director Eva Franch. Ms. Franch, who makes all of her own clothes, wore a brilliant red, loopy draped dress that could only come out of the inspired mind of a Catalan like Ms. Franch. View more photos of the event at Storefront's Facebook page.

Sox Populi

Charles Renfro models J. Crew's Ludlow Suit. (Courtesy Archidose) Times are tough for architecture, but is it time for starchitects to begin taking on other jobs on the side?  John Hill over at A Daily Dose of Architecture spotted architect Charles Renfro's newest gig—J. Crew model—which is helping Renfro to become a household name. Appearing in a two-page ad running in the latest issue of Fast Company, Renfro is sporting a trim, tailored outfit of fine Italian fabrics, otherwise known as the Ludlow Suit, and some dazzling multi-colored socks. "This is what they mean by style with substance," says the copy. (Oh, that's what they mean...) Who should J. Crew pick for its next architecture model?

Critically Costumed For Storefront

"Banality," the theme of Storefront's Critical Halloween costume fundraiser, was manifested in an array of clever--and occasionally perplexing--forms on Saturday evening at the 3-Legged Dog in Manhattan. Blizzard-like conditions did not deter a group of over 250 design-o-philes and at least one (in)famous party crasher from getting decked out in spandex, foam, plush, rubber, tulle, and acres of cardboard. The weather did prevent Liz Diller from arriving to judge the costume contest, but her fearless partner Charles Renfro stepped into the breach, and channeling Damien Hirst in a rhinstone-studded skull mask ("Greed"), took his place alongside judges Wangechi Mutu (embodying Pantone's "Bluebird") and Justin Davidson (dressed as an architecture critic). Each of the three judges picked a winner, and all the winners happened to come in pairs: "Eyes of the Beholder" (Lisa and Ted Landrum); "1:1 Human Scale, male + female" (Kyle May and Julia van den Hout); and the intriguing "Doll Face" (Mark Kroeckel/moustache and Alison Cutlan).  Some architects riffed on their own current work in the costumes (Jing Liu/SO-IL, Meissen exhibition) while others seem to reflect more a state of mind (Bjarke Ingels/BIG, King Kong with colleague Daniel as the Empire State Building; Mitch Joachim/Terreform1 as "Not Bucky"). Now Storefront and Domus are sponsoring an online People's Choice contest. Whose costume gets your vote for most critically banal? See the line-up here.  

Reflecting the Stars on the Hudson

With the High Line getting the lion's share of attention lately, Hudson River Park feels more neighborhoody then ever. Last night's opening of public art installation by artist/performer Jon Morris of Windmill Factory felt pretty down home with everyone sprawling out on the grass around Morris, who explained the inspiration for his light show which sits out in the water. Growing up in Beria, Kentucky, Morris could see the stars, but in New York light pollution made the experience impossible.  His idea was to sprinkle a little stardust onto the Hudson in the form of solar powered LEDs attached to the tops of pilings from a long departed pier. New Yorkers are in the midst of a deep infatuation with their industrial past. Call it nostalgia, call it reappropriation, call it what you will, but nowhere is it better exemplified than in the High Line. And so there's probably no one better to comment on new art using old infrastructure than Charles Renfro, of High Line-designers Diller Scofidio+Renfro. Renfro recalled how Morris approached him with the idea of placing lights on the pilings about two years ago. Renfro asked him a few key questions: Have you contacted anyone at the Army Corps of Engineers? (No.) Do you know anyone from Hudson River Park? (He did, a friend of a friend who knew somebody.) What about the technical logistics? (He knew someone who worked at Google.) The friend from Google became one of the key players in the installation. Adam Berenzweig is used to dealing with rooms full of computer power, but here he was dealing kilobytes and radio technology, that go under water twice a day at high tide. "It was pretty thorny," he said. The biggest surprise about the project is the relatively low cost, around $25,000. And that it was completed in two years, from concept to execution. Renfro said he was surprised that the project got past Riverkeepers, the the Hudson's ever-vigilant oyster bed protectors. At the river's edge a panel overlooking the pier sends a signal out to the lights, which respond by forming a constellation. When not acting as Orion, the lights dim and flicker gently, shifting from cobalt blue to white. The scene is quiet and subtle, perhaps best happened upon rather than sought out.

Dancing on Cobblestones

Last Friday, we hosted a party with Architizer at the Dom Showroom on Crosby Street. Valcucine was showing off its latest wares as part of ICFF, including a special line called in glass, with pieces by Thom Mayne, Alessandro Mendini, Steven Holl, and Winka Dubbeldam, who was in attendance with fellow architect-about-town Jonathan Marvel. Other notables included Charles Renfro and photographer Adam Friedberg, plus a few delightful bottles of scotch and duck sliders by Savoy's Peter Hoffman, making for the delightful evening.

Ciao, Bryant Park

The AP first reported last night, and the mayor confirmed it earlier today: Fashion Week is departing Bryant Park for Lincoln Center. But not just any Lincoln Center. The new-and-improved, Diller Scofidio + Renfro-approved Lincoln Center. According to Bloomberg--in this case, we mean both the mayor and his eponymous news service, via the latter link above--the festivities will take place at the center's Damrosch Park. We emailed the ever-fashionable "R" in DS+R, Charles Renfro, to get his take on the news:
In general, Fashion Week is one of the most vibrant events that New York has to offer. We are pleased that they have chosen Lincoln Center as their venue. It suggests that Lincoln Center’s efforts to shift perceptions of the facility from elitist acropolis to popular forum have been effective. Those efforts include the redesign of course, but also include more youthful and affordable programming. For heaven’s sake, I saw Sufjan Stevens perform there. And my tickets were free!
Now while we agree with that sentiment, Fashion Week seems to run counter, more exclusive elitism than than inviting populism. Still, our dear Renfro persists:
Like most events at Lincoln Center,  one can purchase tickets to Fashion Week tent shows, though I will admit that price points are higher than the current $20 Met cheap seats. And they sell out fast. Fashion Week is not that different than a Giants game: If you have any desire to go, you can buy a ticket. If you can get one, a seat on the 50 yards line will set you back $700 while a fashion week tent ticket will set you back $150, and all the tent seats are essentially 50 yard line seats.
If you say so. As for the park itself, "We haven’t moved into that phase of the redesign yet," Renfor wrote, and it remains to be seen if, whether, or how Fashion Week might impact the redesign--a rather controversial one at that, because it will remake one of Dan Kiley's more famous landscapes. Best known for free summer concerts--we especially enjoyed Mahmoud Ahmed last year--the new digs will almost certainly be fancier than the former ones, at least after DS+R is through with them. The trade offs: far less subway access--the Times points out that Chelsea Piers posed a similar challenge in 1997--and a departure from the industry's psychic home, the Garment District. Still, the move was inevitable, as Times fashion writer Eric Wilson makes clear:
Although the fashion shows, now operating as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to reflect a corporate sponsorship, were welcomed in Bryant Park in 1993, there were frequent clashes with the management company that controls its maintenance and security. The dispute intensified in 2006, when the Bryant Park Corporation announced it would no longer allow the shows to happen in the park, because they were interfering with plans to operate a skating rink in the winter and public use of the main lawn in the late summer.
And so, greener pastures have now been traded for chicer ones.