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.
Posts tagged with "Kickstarter":
Miles Kemp, the brains behind a new virtual-reality visualization software for architects, has been around architects and builders for as long as he can remember. The son of a contractor, Kemp took his first job with an architect at the age of 14. By age 21, he was on a team at SOM. Kemp eventually made his way to SCI-Arc, where he completed an M.Arch2 in 2006 with a thesis on robotics. Since then, Kemp, the founder and president of Variate Labs, has worked on over 100 interactive media projects. “I’ve always been into this idea of user-experience design, of being able to create almost like a conversation between people and the built environment,” Kemp said. Kemp’s latest venture is Spacemaker VR, software that allows architects to share virtual reality models with clients and other designers. The program exports 3D design files from a variety of formats (including .osg, .dae, .wrl, and .3ds) into walk-through models for viewing on a head-mounted display or two-dimensional screen. Users can simultaneously project the same view in mono or stereo to multiple displays, and control movements through the virtual space using a keyboard or mouse. Real-time snapshots and videos captured while in the virtual model can be saved for later viewing. According to Kemp, Spacemaker VR has the potential to change the way architects work in two crucial ways. “First and foremost, it is a one-of-a-kind presentation tool, so that designers can communicate with other people in a better way,” Kemp said. In addition, by allowing architects to experience the spaces they create early on in the design process, Spacemaker VR encourages experimentation and risk-taking. “Architects can really push the limits of their imagination earlier in the process without risk,” Kemp said. “It’s easier to design insane things and test them earlier in the process.” The current version of Spacemaker VR is a “base model” Kemp explained, focused on visualization. “For now what we’re trying to do is get a simple product out that has really easy-to-use features so that people without a technical background can use it.” Kemp and his colleagues at Digital Physical, the company behind Spacemaker VR, are working on features that allow architects to design in real time from within their virtual spaces. Digital Physical is currently fundraising for Spacemaker VR on Kickstarter. The campaign ends this Saturday, December 14.
Last July, AN covered the story of SOAK, a portable pop-up spa designed by engineering group ARUP and art and design studio Rebar. Inspired by a healthy hedonist ideology, this urban rain-water and solar-powered ecological bathhouse seeks to reclaim everyday wellness and develop a model that works without heavy consumption of resources. The project has been under development for years now, but has now finally launched a Kickstarter campaign. It will only be funded if at least $240,000 is pledged by January 1, 2014. (Rendering: Courtesy REBAR)
In a hybrid of LEGO and origami, Paper Punk has created their first boxed set of punch-and-fold, customizable paper building blocks. Urban Fold is the California-based company’s newest creation by founder Grace Hawthorne, a designer, author, and artist from San Francisco who currently teaches at Stanford University’s d.school (Institute of Design). The set gives builders the opportunity to create a paper city in punchy colors and patterns, inspired by Berlin graffiti and the photography of Matthias Heiderich. Urban Fold contains 48 buildable shapes and 697 stickers, an urban planning map, and an idea guide to creating the shapes of the world’s most popular cities. Each paper building block comes in a bright shade and/or a geometric pattern and the stickers can transform triangles into spires, quarter circles into windows, or squares into moveable pedestrians. For Hawthorne, the boldness of the set was key, “I wanted to create an urban-minded build/play experience that was also eye-candy, just impossible to resist because it’s bursting with colors, patterns, cool graphics,” she said in an interview for Mediabistro. These multi-colored blocks can be arranged and stacked with complete creative freedom and, like traditional wood building blocks, can be built up and knocked down for infinite construction and reconstruction. If a builder prefers a minimalist look, the shapes can also be folded inside out to be all white. “I refer it to an open box set because there are so many pieces to it," Hawthorne commented, “What anyone can create with it is only bounded by their imagination.” After 16 months of testing, Paper Punk's imagination brought forth the innovative project, but only with funding can it come to reality. In the same way that her company was launched last year, Hawthorne has taken to a Kickstarter campaign. With a $33 backing pledge, builders of all ages can own a Urban Fold architecture toy set. The funding period ends on December 2nd and the company promises a shipping date in time for the holidays.
Another day, another Kickstarter campaign. On the heels of several successful museum and gallery exhibition campaigns, Woodbury University Hollywood Gallery (WUHO) has decided to start a campaign for an upcoming exhibition celebrating the groundbreaking visual communication work of Los Angeles–based designer Deborah Sussman. Entitled Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles!, the exhibition, which is set to open in December, will be the first retrospective of her early environmental graphic design work, honing in on projects from her days at the Eames Office up to the 1984 Olympics. Sussman, whose work has been at the interface of graphic design and the built environment for more than 60 years, helped create striking visual imagery for Seattle’s Opera House, Disney World in Orlando and the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, to name just a few early projects. The exhibition, which is curated and organized by Catherine Gudis, Barbara Bestor, Thomas Kracauer, and Shannon Starkey, will include the gallery exhibit, a panel discussion and a poster publication featuring around 50 unique objects and images that represent Sussman’s early- to mid-career work.
Artists in Flint, Michigan are used to morbid analogies, but Spencer’s Art House is literally using a funeral home to “demonstrate Flint’s potential for rebirth.” The project turned a 120-year-old mortuary in Flint’s historic Carriage Town neighborhood into an alternative space for artists, designers, and engineers. It’s a gut rehab and then some, but the project has attracted the full force of Flint’s artistic community. Vacant 15 years, the space has hosted concerts, puppet shows, community meetings, and other events since various artists and student groups began to fix it up. Flint’s Public Art Project passed along the news that the team launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $12,000. Their project uses only recycled materials, reclaimed from construction dumpsters, occasional donations, and to-be demolished houses around the city. In addition to clearing debris in Spencer’s House, the team has added weatherproof siding, rainwater harvesting systems, and an outdoor amphitheater.
Marina Abramović owes 4,765 hugs to the supporters of her successfully funded $600,000 Kickstarter. Last month, the artist launched the online campaign to fund her own Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) in upstate New York, a performance center conceptualized as a laboratory that will be dedicated to the practice of long-durational performance art and the “Marina Abramović Method.” Project donations ranged from $1 to $10,000 and all donors are invited to receive a personal hug from the artist in a future performance event called “The Embrace.” With help from social media, celebrity interest, and a few encouragements from Abramović herself, the center surpassed its goal by more than $60,000 before the end of its month-long funding period this past Sunday. Designed by OMA’s Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu, the center’s focus is the large hall where Abramović and other performance artists will show six-hour art pieces to an audience donning lab coats. Contracted to stay for the duration, visitors will be trained in the Marina Abramović Method, being led through a variety of sensory exercises in rooms surrounding the great theater space. A few weeks ago, a viral video of pop singer Lady Gaga practicing the Method in the nude raised interest in the MAI campaign. Last month, rapper Jay-Z’s recent six-hour performance of “Picasso Baby” at Pace Gallery in New York City paid homage to Abramović’s 2010 The Artist is Present performance at the Museum of Modern Art. Even the artist herself posted a playful clip, explaining how many long durational performance artists it takes to screw in a lightbulb. With celebrity support and interest generated through Abramović's #whyMAI blog and Reddit Q&A sessions, this unique vision is now on course to be realized. Overall, the Kickstarter campaign raised $661,452 and MAI became the largest cultural institution to be funded in this way. Soon, OMA will begin to transform a 29,000-square-foot former theater in Hudson, New York, into an institute devoted solely to long durational performance art, definitely the first of its kind.
The clock is currently ticking on fundraising for Marina Abramović’s proposed Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI), a performance art center designed by Rem Koolhaas' OMA. The facility is planned to be set in a former theater in Hudson, New York. On July 26th, the artist launched a $600 thousand Kickstarter campaign to fund the institute she hopes will develop new forms of the long durational—six hours or more—performance art she is famous for. Abramović has teamed with OMA architects Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas to gut the current building and design a multi-level, multi-room performance hall in which visitors will stay for a minimum of six hours (as signed by contract upon entrance). With the Kickstarter campaign fundraising goal, which must be fulfilled by August 25th, the team will transform the building's state of disrepair into a conceptualized laboratory: a performance and education space where visitors will wear white lab coats and participate in the Marina Abramović Method of durational performance art. The artist means for MAI to become a center of interaction across topics, “foster[ing] collaborations between art, science, technology, and spirituality, bringing those fields into conversation” and her designing architects have taken the mission to heart. For the New York Times Art Beat last year, Shigematsu said he and Koolhaas planned on “creating a one-of-a-kind typology” for MAI’s less than typical theater program. In the Abramović Method, participants become the art they simultaneously view. The current OMA architectural models their interpretation of Abramović's unique vision. OMA plans specifically-purposed rooms surrounding the central performance space, which will be visible throughout the facility. Abramović believes the institute fills a current void in the art world as a place for people to satisfy their “immense desire to slow down and connect to themselves and to one another in a live setting.” She hopes that MAI will show the work of several long durational performance artists across a variety of genres.
In 2005, the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles became one of the most notable buildings in U.S. history to be torn down. Now a new documentary, After 68: The Rise and Fall of the Ambassador Hotel, is hoping to tell its story. Its filmmakers are raising money to finish the project through a Kickstarter campaign. Directed by Camilo Silva, the film explores the history of the hotel, once a symbol of LA's opulent westward expansion. The Ambassador hosted, among others, Albert Einstein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, Salvador Dali, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Frank Sinatra, and Charlie Chaplin, and every U.S. president from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon. And of course Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at its Coconut Grove nightclub, a location that also hosted six Academy Awards ceremonies. In 2005 the beleaguered hotel was torn down to build a $600 million school complex for the LA Unified School District. The film digs into the building's past and the controversy over its end, and captures the oral histories that are some of its only remaining memories. The Kickstarter campaign ends in two weeks.
Los Angeles-based landscape architect and indie filmmaker Evan Mather is crowd-funding his to way to his first feature-length film. After having produced a series of experimental time-lapse videos about the built environment—including 12 minutes to Vegas— he’s launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund From Sea to Shining Sea, a 105-minute documentary celebrating the diverse American landscape. Moviegoers will be able to cruise the Interstate Highway System from coast to coast through the extensive video collage, which Mather hopes to complete some time next year. Commentaries and factoids will be layered on from noted landscape architects, geographers, journalists, and those Kickstarter supporters who have similar cross-country jaunts to share. Based on the trailer, it looks like the film will be one part simulated science class, one part awe-inspiring imagery and one part epic road trip. So if you don’t have the days/weeks that it would take to drive across, this may be the next best thing.
It's as much a part of the architect's image as a drafting desk or a T-square: sitting around a table with a client when the moment of inspiration hits and the first image of a new building is hastily scrawled on a napkin. But why limit yourself to two dimensions in hatching your new idea? In the age of 3D printing, the napkin sketch could be completely transformed by a new instant-prototyper: the 3Doodler pen, which would allow you to draw your idea in real time rising up from the tabletop. And the public seems eager to give it a try, already contributing over $1.8 million to the 3D-printing pen on Kickstarter with nearly a month left to go. The concept by robotics and toy-makers, Peter Dilworth and Maxwell Bogue, uses the same fast-drying plastic strands as many commercially available 3D printers and operates much like a glue gun, allowing designers to literally lift the 3Doodler pen from a solid surface and begin prototyping in thin air. The project's Kickstarter page also suggests drawing over stencils—a series of building elevations for instance—and piecing them together to create a model in minutes. The 3Doodler could be yours by backing the Kickstarter campaign for as low as $75.
Brooklyn has increasingly become home to a number of internet start-ups, and now the crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, is the most recent one to put roots down in the borough. Greenpointers reported today that Kickstarter has already started construction on its new 29,000-sq-ft headquarters at the former Eberhard Faber Pencil Co. Factory in Greenpoint. The plans for the landmarked building will include an inhabitable greenroof, gallery, theater, and office space. Ole Sondresen is in charge of the renovation, and from what it looks like, he’s had his hands in a number of local projects, such as Etsy’s new headquarters in DUMBO, the Williamsburg Complex, the recording studios for Carl Barc and The National, and several restaurants and boutiques. Sondresen will also reuse the steel trusses salvaged from the factory’s old roof for a glass courtyard.