As 2012′s Design Capital of the World, Helsinki has positioned itself as one of the most rapidly expanding and innovative centres for design and architecture. Crane.tv embarks on an early-morning fishing trip from the city’s harbour with one of the last remaining fisherman to sail out every day. On the trip we are joined by Finnish design legend Harri Koskinen, also known for his work at renowned glass and ceramics company Iittala. Inspired by his heritage and growing up on the Finnish countryside, he talks us through natural surroundings as an inspiration and the importance of looking back at Finnish traditional housing for the country’s unmistakable slick and minimal design language.
During the opening of the 13th Venice Biennale, we had the chance to talk with Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov, partners at SPEECH and curators of i-City, the Russian pavilion, awarded with a Special Mention at the Biennale.
i-City presents us the Strolkovo Innovation Center, a new development that aims to concentrate intellectual capital around five clusters (IT, Biomed, Energy, Space, Nuclear Tech), with projects by David Chipperfield, SANAA, OMA, Herzog & de Meuron, Stefano Boeri, SPEECH, Valode & Pistre architectes and Mohsen Mostafavi among others (more details about the project itself in a future article).
An interesting project, presented in detail with a big amount of information that remains invisible inside the space of the pavilion. A series of QR Codes wrap the inside of the Russia pavilion spaces, and all you can sense at first is light and space. At the entrance you are provided with a tablet, and you walk around the pavilion scanning these codes to obtain the information about Strolkovo.
On the lower level, a dark interior is perforated with peep holes that show images of former Soviet Scientific Towns, a legacy from the past that serves as background of the Strolkovo project.
New York based artist and director Jonathan Turner highlights the details of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House (1903-05) in Buffalo, New York. Part of a multi-structure estate, the Martin House serves as a prime example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie House ideal, with strong horizontal lines and planes, deeply overhanging eaves, a central hearth, prominent foundation, and a sheltering, cantilevered roof. Although the complex suffered considerable damage over the decades, the Martine House Restoration Corporation (MHRC) has raised funds for a complete restoration of the complex, which began in 1997 and continues on today. (more…)
In the following videos you can see Toyo Ito, curator of “Architecture. Possible Here? Home-for-all”, along with collaborators Akihisa Hirata and Sou Fujimoto, discussing what Architecture means to them, the role of architects in our society, and how they approached the Biennale’s theme “Common Ground” on this particular exhibition, which reunites Japanese architects and an architectural photographer collaborating on the design of houses for those affected by the 2011 tsunami.
We thank the Japan Foundation for this interview.
Akihisa Hirata and Sou Fujimoto videos after the break:
After the raging success of the REDDRESS exhibit at The London Design Festival in 2011, Aamu Song and Johan Olin have spent the past year traveling through Russia and working on several new projects. This summer they’ve also given birth to Salaukkapa or ”Secret Shop’, a mini retail point near the Helsinki harbour selling some signature COMPANY items. Song and Olin swear by localism in design. From woven slippers to wooden puppets representing the varied Finnish fauna, all products are made by locals who continue to practice traditional techniques. And when they are not traveling through Russia or Europe, the design duo love to pick and cook mushrooms in the middle of the Finnish forests, a must for every visitor of ‘the land of one thousand lakes’.
As a contribution to the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, Noero Architects showcase two powerful works of art in their exhibition Common Ground / Different Worlds to reveal that architects, and artists alike, work to reinterpret, reinvent and transform preexisting ideas and forms. However, Jo Noero, Principle of Noero Architects, believes that the “difference between good and bad work lies in an understanding of that which is shared and common and the ability to transform these ideas into forms and spaces which are both useful and satisfying within the community in which the work is located.”
Noero spent six months hand drawing a 1:100 plan of the historic shack settlement in Port Elizabeth, known as the Red Location District, as a protest against contemporary architecture’s abandonment of the plan, which Noero describes as the common ground for all architects. Featured alongside the 9m-long drawing is the artwork Keiskamma Guernica, a tapestry made by fifty women from the Hamburg Women’s Co-operative from the Eastern Cape that reinterprets Picasso’s Guernica to illustrate their anger towards AIDS/HIV’s impact on South Africa. The featured film above, titled “Red Location Precinct”, supplements the exhibition by revealing the surrounding context of the district and taking viewers inside the Museum of Struggle, the digital library, an archive and an art gallery that are all part of a complex, designed by Noero Architects, that honors the settlement’s turbulent past and provides surrounding community with opportunities for education, employment, and artistic expression. Continue after the break to learn more.
Jean Nouvel and Mia Hägg presented “Meetings Lines” at the Venice Biennale. For ‘Common Ground’ they decided to show their finalist project for the Slussen Masterplan competition, an ambitious urban design project that seeks to replace much of the degenerated water and transportation infrastructure in the heart of Stockholm. The project proposes three different public spaces, designed as living links for the city, inspired by infrastructure such as the Rialto Bridge in Venice.
More about the exhibit after the break.
The World Architecture Festival is only a few weeks away. This intense architecture event will take place in Singapore on Oct 3rd-5th, a city where architecture is everywhere, as you can see on the above video.
More than 500 projects will be displayed WAF festival gallery, and 300 presenters are getting ready to share their work with the world. 95 internationally renowned architects and thinkers are shaping up to critique over 30 different award categories in front of WAF’s audiences. 60 of the leading names in global architecture are preparing to share with you their thoughts on 25 of today’s most crucial questions. And last but not least, the drinks are on ice for 4 nights of celebrations!
Speakers include Thomas Heatherwick, Will Alsop, Eva Castro, Neil Denari, Jim Eyre, Wolf D. Prix, Moshe Safdie, Ma Yansong, and more.
Keep in mind that these are the last days to register at a reduced price, so hurry up!
Sir Terence Conran transformed Britain’s homes with Habitat. Here, the much-loved high priest of British design opens up to Crane.tv at his home in Berkshire about his long and varied career. Credited with helping in the regeneration of the Shad and Tower Bridge area in London, including the Design Museum, Conran has also built a restaurant empire, with institutions like Bibendum and the Boundary under his belt. We talk to the man about all things design, including his advice for young designers.
“The emphasis of the 2012 Biennale – explains David Chipperfield – is on what we have in common. Above all, the ambition of Common Ground is to reassert the existence of an architectural culture, made up not just of singular talents but a rich continuity of diverse ideas united in a common history, common ambitions, common predicaments and ideals. In architecture everything begins with the ground. It is our physical datum, where we make the first mark, digging the foundations that will support our shelter.”
We’ve already introduced you to the Danish Pavilion exhibition Possible Greenland, on display at the 2012 Venice Biennale, featuring possibilities that lay in store for Greenland in light of geographic changes caused by the increased rate of ice and snow melt. Henning Larsen Architects has now shared with us their portion of the exhibit, Greenland Migrating, a project developed in collaboration with David Garcia Studio and KITAA Architects. Curating the exhibit are Danish-Greenlandic Professor in geology Minik Rosing and Copenhagen-based NORD Architects.
Join us after the break for a closer look at the project. (more…)
This year’s 13th Venice Architecture Biennale provided the backdrop to the British Pavilion’s Venice Takeaway exhibition. Commissioned by the British Council and curated by Vanessa Norwood and Vicky Richardson, Venice Takeaway responds to Biennale director David Chipperfield’s theme of Common Ground. The project began in April this year when ten teams went to ten countries to gather ideas to change British architecture. Crane.tv interviewed the ten teams, including Aberrant Architecture and Smout Allen, to hear about their findings and their proposals for the future of British architecture. The exhibition will run in Venice until 25 November 2013 before relocating to London where it will be housed at RIBA from 25 February-27 April 2012.
The video above follows Roots Design Workshop, a group of young architects, as they embark on the tall task of constructing a lighthouse on the isle of Tiree, a beautiful remote Scottish island. This film, created by Martin Glegg, highlights the emerging gap between the world of digital design and getting one’s hands dirty and aims to inspire a new generation of architects to stop staring at their computer screens. Text Courtesy of Martin Glegg.
Award-winning landscape gardener, Andy Sturgeon, creates natural spaces with a strong design aesthetic. One of the top ten landscape designers in the UK, we talk to Andy about the ways in which he works with nature and is inspired by other forms of design outside his field. Crane.tv travels to Surrey to visit one of his current projects – a private garden halfway through the building process.
We found this great short video by London-based illustrator, artist and animator Patrick Vale. The Manhattan perspective is taken from the Empire State Building looking south toward the new development of the Freedom Tower. The Flat Iron building lies in the foreground, while the Brooklyn and Verrazzano Bridges anchor the eastern edge with Jersey City’s Goldman Sachs Tower flank the western edge. After marveling at the final illustration at the end of the time-lapse clip, we were hooked and wanted to see more of Vale! Check out more illustrations by Vale – including great ones of Florence and London – after the break.
Which is your favorite? (more…)