Posts tagged with "Kanye West":

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Travis Scott tweets that he is applying to Harvard GSD

Travis Scott announced on Twitter that he is applying to Harvard this week. Someone from the rapper's team confirmed to Page Six that he is applying to the GSD. While the chart-topping performer does not have a background in design, he does have experience with the Ivy League university where he recently appeared for a question-and-answer session titled “A Master Class on Creativity." He is also not the only rapper to embrace the GSD. Years before he launched Yeezy Architecture, Kanye West famously appeared at the school in 2013 where he told a crowd that he spends a lot of time with architects and respects the profession. West went on to say at the school, "I believe that utopia is actually possible—but we’re led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political. So in no way am I a politician—I’m usually at my best politically incorrect and very direct." The two rappers are close to being family; Scott has a child with Kylie Jenner, younger sibling to Kim Kardashian West, who is married to Kanye West. The two collaborated on a single earlier this year but have not worked together on designs—yet.
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Celebrities are using private firefighters to save their neighborhoods

As the Woolsey and Camp Fires continue to burn across California, razing a combined total of nearly 250,000 acres and destroying entire towns, celebrities are turning to private firefighting teams to keep their homes safe. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian reportedly hired a team of private firefighters to save their $60 million mansion in Hidden Hills, protecting the rest of the neighborhood in the process. Big insurance companies like Chubb and AIG offer firefighting services to high-rolling clients as preventative measures. As The Atlantic noted, Wildfire Defense Systems, a private company from Montana, currently has 53 fire engines on the ground in California and is working to safeguard 1,000 homes. At a time when climate change-accelerated wildfires are occurring year-round, the privatization of a form of public infrastructure has become more commonplace as well. West and Kardashian first picked up the 15,000-square-foot mansion in 2014 for $20 million, and it’s estimated that the power couple has sunk another $20 million in renovations into the property. Belgian interior designer and staid space enthusiast Axel Vervoordt has been collaborating on the house’s interior, and West revealed a sneak peek of the highly-structural space back in April during a Twitter meltdown. The couple’s private fire team was able to prevent the encroaching Woolsey Fire from reaching a heavily forested field behind their property by digging fire breaks. Because the house sits at the back of a cul-de-sac, it’s likely that a meltdown at the West-Kardashian mansion would have spread to the rest of the block afterward. The privatized history of firefighting in America is well known, dating back to when roving bands of firefighters used to squabble for territory throughout the 1800s; the first responders to put out a fire were the ones rewarded by the insurance companies. Those competitions often saw squads setting fires to intentionally throw off their rivals, but the practice thankfully died out in the second half of the 19th century as government ownership became the norm. A decision in 2010 by firefighters in rural Tennessee to let a house burn down because the owner forgot to pay a $75 fee drew national scorn, but privatized firefighting services are coming back in a big way. The National Wildfire Suppression Association, a group that offers (and lobbies for) private firefighting services currently represents more than 10,000 employees and 150 wildfire contract service companies. It’s estimated that it can cost insurance companies at least $10,000 to send a private team into the field, putting the service far out of the reach of most homeowners. Thanks to the encroachment of the urban environment into wilderness areas, and dry conditions and higher temperatures caused by climate change, the era of megafires in California may be here to stay. But whether the protection afforded to the megawealthy, normally thought of as a common good, remains out of reach for the masses will remain an open question as these fires only become more prevalent.
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New York architect launches guerrilla radio station about community uplift and food

Earlier this year, when architect Dong-Ping Wong branched out to start his own firm, he found himself going through name after name but none seemed to have the right ring. Finally, the word “food” occurred to him. Ridiculous at first, it wouldn’t leave his head, and so it stuck. Food, the firm, was born. Food, said Wong, is “something that everyone has an association with and a relationship to.” It is something people “can come together around.” Food as an architecture firm name, he points out, is unfortunately also very hard to Google. But that hasn't stopped them from working on projects for clients ranging from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to Kanye and Kim Kardashian West. But it's their most recent project, Office Hours, where the name's magnanimous universalism really shines through. For Office Hours, Food has taken over a storefront on East Broadway in New York’s Chinatown for three weeks of programming centered around an online radio station (to be distributed in more permanent format later) as well as various community projects and events. All manner of creative people, like chef Angela Dimayuga, artist Jon Wang, designers Chen Chen and Kai Williams, SO-IL partner Jing Liu, DJ Venus X, and creative director Heron Preston have come through and spoken on the air. As the website for Office Hours notes, the events, like actual office hours, also serve as an “open invitation.” People can come in and listen, and youth are particularly encouraged. In fact, Food members have stopped by the public library on more than one occasion to invite kids and teens in and people have come in off the street to do work or check out the "reading room." Office Hours is committed to promoting people of color and those who live in the largely-immigrant neighborhood. As the project description notes, “In New York City, one in four Asian Americans live below the poverty line…Unsurprisingly, many young people that grow up in this environment self-limit what they see themselves being able to do.” The purpose of Office Hours, in part, is to expand this range of vision and imagination by introducing youth to the whole array of future possibilities for themselves. The space, which is laid out with some wiggly custom-made gray plywood tables held up by Ikea desk legs, has hosted happenings for all ages—from drawing lessons to impromptu happy hours. Office Hours continues through November 16 and all are invited to intend. The schedule and the live stream are available on Food's website.
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Sightings at the Venice Biennale and news from the UC Berkeley expansion

Eavesdrop from Venice We were wondering if we would see any celebs in Venice this year—perhaps Brad Pitt and Neri Oxman would be strolling the Giardini, or maybe Kanye West would show up at the Arsenale. But instead, AN editors ran into none other than legendary comedian and actor Chevy Chase, who was spending the week at the Biennale. Chase was in town because his old friend, photographer Peter Aaron, was showing a series of pictures about pre-Civil War Syria. Aaron’s wife wasn’t able to make the trip, so Chevy—an old college friend—came with him. The pair was spotted dining with the Architectural League’s Anne Reiselbach at a small osteria in the San Polo neighborhood. What national pavilion at the Venice Biennale seemingly featured more Americans than the U.S. Pavilion? The Dutch! With GSAPP’s curatorial program—including Mark Wasiuta, Felicity Scott, and Dutch Pavilion curator and CCCP grad Marina Otera—talking to themselves and their friends, as well as Beatriz Colomina in bed with other (mostly New York) friends, it seemed more like a U.S. academy than the actual U.S. pavilion. Now that Eva Franch i Gilabert is packing up her paella pans and heading to Brexitland, the Storefront for Art and Architecture needs a new director. It is currently assembling a list of prospective directors from over 100 applicants. A new director will need to be in place by early fall. In the world of architects’ archives, two of the biggest have recently been promised to major collecting organizations, and we will reveal them shortly. Stay tuned. People's Park No More
The University of California, Berkeley recently announced intentions to make good on a 70-year-old plan to convert the university’s People’s Park into a student housing site. The school hopes to replace the notorious park—site of the 1969 “Bloody Thursday” police violence incident—with new student housing structures containing up to 1,000 beds. The move will displace many of the people currently living in and around the park, which officials have likened to a “daytime homeless shelter.” Plans for the site are still in the works, but the university is considering dedicating a portion of the site to supportive housing and social services. The housing is due to be completed by 2022, according to a UC Berkeley spokesperson.
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Renderings unveiled for Yeezy Home’s first affordable housing prototype

Less than a month after launching the Yeezy Home architecture studio, Kanye West and collaborators Jalil Peraza, Petra Kustrin, Nejc Skufca and Vadik Marmelado have unveiled initial renderings for a prefabricated affordable housing prototype. Renderings for the speculative design project were unveiled via Peraza’s Instagram account over the weekend. The images depict photorealistic renderings of concrete paneled apartment interiors and are labeled as a “low-income housing scheme” by Peraza. The slick interior images betray the minimal-meets-sumptuous vernacular West favors, showcasing views of a sleek, sun-lit kitchen and an atmospheric courtyard. A third view acquired by Highsnobiety depicts a white-walled room that connects directly to the aforementioned, window-paneled courtyard.  The project images come as West attempts to expand into the world of architecture and urban design following a visit to the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). West recently unveiled views of the Yeezy Offices in Calabasas, California undertaken with the designer Willo Perron. In the past, West has worked with OMA, Family, John Pawson, and Alex Vervoodt on personal design collaborations, as well. Peraza is a long-time collaborator with West and has worked on the rapper’s DONDA clothing line in the past.  A project timeline or site for the low-cost housing scheme has not been announced, but considering Peraza’s ongoing work with Face Modules, a prefab commercial pod system, it could be that the scheme is designed for mass application. West’s interest in low-cost housing comes along amid languishing urgency surrounding a nation-wide housing crisis. Experts widely agree that a shortage of affordable housing units nationwide is fueling income inequality, economic stagnation, and a growing homelessness epidemic, though little has been done about it. The designers’ efforts mirror those of another celebrity-turned-developer—Elon Musk—who has proposed making bricks from the mud excavated from his tunnel boring activities in Los Angeles, in order to build affordable housing.
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Look inside Kanye West’s Yeezy Studio, his headquarters in a California office park

The spaces within Kanye West’s Yeezy Studio in Calabasas by designer Willo Perron are as one might expect: austere, moody, enigmatic.  The 14,390-square-foot adaptive reuse project, first reported in an exclusive at PIN-UP magazine, is housed within one of the ubiquitous raw concrete suburban office parks located in Calabasas, California, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Designed by longtime West collaborator Perron, the equal-parts rough and minimal office spaces contain a mix of production facilities for West’s Yeezy-brand clothing line, a recording studio, and meeting spaces, among other uses. Perron has worked with West for over a dozen years on a variety of design projects, including concert stage designs, album covers, and fashion shows, and has a long resume loaded with collaborative design projects for other musicians and celebrities, including Kendrick Lamar, Rhianna, Florence and the Machine, and Tame Impala.  Included in the facilities are a room lined with black-painted wooden shelves that extend seamlessly into a glass-enclosed meeting room. The shelves are supplemented by chunky wooden tables that can be found throughout the premises. The black plywood and MDF tables show up again in a meeting room, where they compliment collections of cast concrete benches inspired by steel highway supports, and in a conference area and lounge, where the benches work as coffee tables for an oversized, 30-foot-long off-white sofa. The large room is bisected by a pair of columns, grounded by polished concrete floors, and is populated by three sets of worktables and eight all-black display boards.  The multi-monochromatic spaces echo West’s collaborations with Axel Vervoordt for the rapper’s nearby home in Hidden Hills and speak to an interest on the part of West to mix and match visual modes. This sensibility, always present in West’s music, is also on display in the various Yeezy clothing lines, which blend a sort of dystopic thrift store aesthetic with riffs on high-end, ready-to-wear, and throw-back fashions.  Perron told PIN-UP that the facilities were “the very beginning of the utopia,” nodding not just to West’s totalizing aesthetics but also to the artist’s ongoing interest in architectural design.  West recently announced the intention to start up a so-called “Yeezy Home” arm of his eponymous creative studio. The endeavor will aim to include architectural and urban design in West’s growing collaborative art practice, which already includes music, film, fashion, and performance art initiatives. 
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Kanye West launches “Yeezy Architecture” studio after visit to SCI-Arc

Following another recent Twitter spree and a series of problematic, rambling public interviews, multidisciplinary artist and designer Kanye West has announced the creation of a new architecture arm called “Yeezy Home” that will seek to expand West’s creative output to include architectural and urban design.  In a late-night tweet, the Hidden Hills, California-based rapper solicited the talent of aspiring designers, calling for “architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better.”  https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/993221454740185088?s=21 West’s cryptic tweet comes just over a week after the controversial creative visited the Southern California Institute of Architecture’s (SCI-Arc) Spring Show, a showcase of the school’s spring semester work. The visit prompted a tweet from Kanye highlighting the work of M.Arch I student Ashley Morgan Hastings and her desalination-focused project.  Following the visit, West tweeted out praise for the student: https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/990734224670867456?s=21 West has a long history of associating himself and collaborating with architects and designers, including a 2012 collaboration with Dutch architects OMA for the design of the 7 Screen Pavilion project, a pyramid-shaped projection room used to screen West’s Cruel Summer film at the Cannes Film Festival.  Amid an earlier tweetstorm two weeks ago, West unveiled Axel Vervoordt-designed the interiors for the mausoleum-like Hidden Hills home shared with wife Kim Kardashian. The top-secret designs follow previous collaborations with New York City-based Family and London, England-based architect John Pawson.  After proclaiming his “obligation to show people new ideas” following West’s renewed support for Donald Trump in a recent song, Kanye’s latest foray into design seems to be more involved, however. CityLab reports that the rapper recently purchased a 300-acre property in Los Angeles that West intends on developing himself. In a wide-ranging interview with Charlemagne Tha God, West hints at his future plans, saying, “Yeah, we’re going to develop cities.”
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Kanye West reveals Axel Vervoordt home collaboration during tweetstorm

Divisive rapper Kanye West has been on a tweeting spree lately, and just dropped a series of photos from the Hidden Hills, California, house that West has been collaborating on with Belgian interior designer Axel Vervoordt. West had been taken to task earlier in the day by Twitter users after the rapper professed his love for Donald Trump (and earned a retweet from the president in the process). In response, and to prove that he wasn’t in the “sunken place,” West released a suite of photos of his and wife Kim Kardashian’s 15,000-square-foot home, currently undergoing an interior renovation. Vervoordt’s influence can definitely be felt throughout; the designer is known for his use of light, raw materials, and a washed-out color palette to highlight a space’s structural qualities. The polished concrete floors, vaulted ceilings, and long sightlines will likely highlight West’s art once the renovation is complete (it's estimated that West and Kardashian have already spent $20 million on the project). While the team-up might seem like an odd choice, West and Vervoordt seem to have formed a bond based on art. West recently interviewed the designer for The Hollywood Reporter, and repeatedly expressed his admiration for Vervoordt’s ability to evoke emotion from a space. “It was an immediate connection,” said Vervoordt. “I could feel that you were really in love with things. Even if people think we come out of two different worlds, the act of meeting makes one another stronger. You were so spontaneous, totally true and intense. Now we're working on a house together, and I've learned from you because you have great taste. We talk about things, we change things.”
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Meet the architect behind Kanye West’s 50-foot volcano, Los Angeles mansion, and design-savvy baby-proofing

Ironically, there are few surer ways to emerge from obscurity than to be hired by Kanye West. For Romanian architect Oana Stanescu, who designed a 50-foot stage-prop volcano for the rapper’s Yeezus tour, it meant finding a way to reconcile pop culture with utilitarian design. Stanescu and her partner Dong Ping-Wong, of New York–based design firm Family, recently completed the Hong Kong flagship store of Off White, a high-end streetwear brand founded by Virgil Abloh, West’s creative director. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Stanescu declined to reveal what other Yeezus-related projects are forthcoming, but she was reportedly hired to baby-proof and redesign the 9,000 square-foot, faux-French-Italian Los Angeles mansion the rapper shares with wife Kim Kardashian and daughter North West. As one of the designers behind the Kickstarter-backed +Pool project, which seeks to install a floating pool in the East River, Stanescu is persistently, if inadvertently, in the public eye. When queried about her name being dropped by the gossip tabloids after she designed West’s volcano, she pragmatically told the New York Times, “Design is at its best when it’s collaborative. I’m interested in pushing the boundaries of what architecture can do.” West made an appearance at +Pool’s Fall Swim Benefit in at Jane’s Carousel in Dumbo to support Stanescu’s project, set to be the world’s first water-filtering pool when it opens in 2017. The plus-shaped pool can reportedly clean 500,000 gallons or river water per day. Meanwhile, Stanescu has been photographed accompanying West on architectural field trips to seek inspiration for his pared-down Paris home, where she is adding a baby room. But she is not the only top designer West has consorted with—the rapper has also consulted household names Dirand, Vervoordt and Tristan Auer, neglecting an unspoken competitive code of conduct in the design world. “Right now Kanye is just sponging things up, observing how these people work,” Stanescu told W magazine. The architect first met West when he hired Rem Koolhaas’ Office of Metropolitan Architecture, where Stanescu used to work, to design a viewing pavilion for his short film Cruel Summer at the Cannes Film Festival 2012.
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Imma let you finish, but Kanye West had the best minimalist Manhattan bachelor pad of all time

The utilitarian Manhattan loft formerly owned by rap mogul Kanye West bespeaks deep pockets and a distaste for cluttering decor. The 1,585 square foot bachelor pad, which West sold in 2013 for $4.5 million, is an ultra-minimalist expanse of French limestone and pear wood—and not much else. Completed in 2007 by illustrious Italian designer Claudio Silvestrin, the one-bedroom loft boasts 12-foot-high ceilings and an open floor plan for “continuous flow of space” with no partitions separating the living area, kitchen, and master suite. Right angles and straight lines reign in the unflinchingly geometric design, the freestanding stone kitchen island aligning perfectly with the refectory-style dining table. The only other monolith of stone to break the monotony is the sculptural bathtub adjoining the master bedroom, which has its own walk-in dressing area. Keeping the stripped-down look from veering into hospital corridor-like severity are hidden light sources at the base of the walls and near the ceiling, while the soft white walls, textured flooring and large windows along two sides of the square loft provide almost-homey touches. As the architect couches it, the spartan design "conveys a feeling of solemnity that is elegant rather than intimidating." West moved into the space in 2008, while it was still under construction, selling the fourth-floor unit on West Houston Street for $4.5 million in 2013. These views of West’s loft include renderings of the celebrity abode along with photos taken by brokers after he had moved out.
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Yeezus! What a Jury! The Living and The Dead at MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program

The MoMA PS 1 jury process that selected the “100 percent organic pavilion Hy-Fi” for its 2014 pavilion may have been a contentious group. The museum announced last month that David Benjamin, the principal of Brooklyn-based firm The Living, would design the temporary structure. But several sources have told Eavesdrop that one of the short listed firms (Collective-LOK, PARA-Project, WOJR, over,under, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, LAMAS, Pita + Bloom) was in fact told that it—not Benjamin—had won the design competition. The architects were told to come to a PS 1 meeting to discuss moving forward as the winner, but after waiting for an hour they were told that a member of the jury was not there and the meeting could not take place. They waited patiently for another hour until they were asked to go home and wait—“don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Later that week, a MoMA official contacted the firm and told them that, actually, Benjamin and his firm had been selected as the winner of the coveted summer pavilion—oops, sorry. It was, of course, a devastating blow. So devastating that the architects are not willing to talk about the episode. So MoMA will go forward with the “organic” brick pavilion. Benjamin employer Columbia University reported in its May 15 GSAPP newsletter that “Kanye West and GSAPP faculty member David Benjamin (M.Arch ‘05) are working on a ‘strictly confidential’ project.” Though other sources claim that this project involves a “new type of movie theater and 3D entertainment experience,” can we expect Benjamin’s partner to take part in PS 1’s usually rollicking summer party to inaugurate the pavilion?
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Tomas Koolhaas Starts Kickstarter for “REM” Documentary, Interviews Kanye

Last year, just around this time, AN sat down with Los Angeles-based cinematographer Tomas Koolhaas to discuss his highly anticipated film, REM, about his Pritzker Prize-winning father. Casting aside the dusty architectural documentary formula of conceited talking heads and lifeless shots of seemingly uninhabited buildings, the younger Koolhaas set out to explore the “human condition” around some of his father's most high profile projects. Now the film is nearly complete, but with grant money running dry, the filmmaker has turned to Kickstarter to pull in the final funds to push through the post-production process, and has released two new clips to promote the project: the film’s first official trailer and an interview with "the Rem Koolhaas of hip-hop," Mr. Kanye West. As Tomas Koolhaas told AN last year, "my concept has always been more focused on human interaction with the work, just because I find that more interesting, and it’s the least explored aspect." From "free runner" bouncing off the walls of the Casa da Música in Porto, Portugal to Chinese migrant workers constructing the CCTV building in Beijing and a homeless man spending his days within OMA's Seattle Central Library, Koolhaas' film seeks to capture a variety of modes of interaction that people and buildings engage in. By turning his attention towards these real-life stories that highlight the diverse intersections of human life and architecture, Koolhaas hopes to capture varied social, physical, and cultural experiences of a building instead of the same armchair theories that are fed to us in most design documentaries. And what does Kanye West have to do with all of this? Why don't you just watch and see for yourself.