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The West Hollywood Design District Presents Decades of Design 1948–2014
November 19, 2014–February 2015
The first-ever retrospective exhibition uncovering, examining and celebrating six decades of rich design history in West Hollywood. The curated ­­gallery will showcase design pioneers and present tastemakers through bold graphics, photographs and original product.

FOG Design + Art Fair
January 15–18, 2015
Benefiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), FOG Design+Art is a four-day celebration and exploration of modern and contemporary design, architecture, and art with dynamic exhibits, custom installations, art galleries, lectures, and discussions with leaders in the art and design worlds.

Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio
February 20–May 24, 2015
This February, the Hammer Museum will present the West Coast debut of Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio, featuring the imaginative work of British designer Thomas Heatherwick and his London-based studio. Heatherwick is known for his unique design concepts ranging from products, such as a handbag for Longchamp, to large-scale structures like the new distillery for Bombay Sapphire Gin.

 

 

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Monday
Jan132014

Book Review: Crucible of Invention

By Michael Webb

Think Dutch: Conceptual Architecture and Design in the Netherlands.  Bilingual text by Jeroen Junte and David Keunig. Daab/Frame Publishers. $175.

A third of the Netherlands lies below the present sea-level and the first priority is to live with, above and even on water. So it’s appropriate that this provocative survey should begin with a focus on water. Here are inventive bridges, a floating mosque, and a half-submerged  tax office, as well as water purification devices.

The subtitle  of the book is misleading: these are all concrete solutions, not blue-sky ideas, and perpetuate a centuries-old tradition of problem-solving. In his introduction, editor Robert Thiemann sees the financial collapse of 2008 as a decisive turning point for architecture. “The young designer of today is not, and has no wish to be, a star architect, but rather an anonymous team-player in a collective association of people in search of the correct moral and aesthetic attitude,” he writes. That may be true for idealists, and the spirit of collaboration in the profession is strong, but one suspects that many team players covet the success of OMA, MVRDV, and UN Studio, who have parlayed fame into global practices.  A financial crisis doesn’t change human nature, and established firms that took a hit in 2008 are bouncing back.

Resilience and inventiveness are the greatest national assets. A country brought to the brink of starvation in 1945 is now one of the most prosperous and progressive in Europe. Its transportation infrastructure and social amenities dazzle visiting Americans, who may never enjoy such a civilized environment. In contrast to Italy and France, which live on memories of a glorious past, the Netherlands looks to the future, and these 500 pages of creative work by fledgling firms demonstrate that faith is well founded. Objects and buildings are grouped by theme. It’s impossible to summarize a collection as rich and stimulating as this. Though the price is steep, Think Dutch is a must-have for every architect and designer in search of inspiration and a wish to believe that the best may be yet to come.  

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