Renzo Piano has designed a limited-edition handbag for the Italian fashion brand Max Mara to match his newly completed Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The leather, top-handle bag, inspired by the "pure design and sophisticated materials" of the Whitney, features distinct ribbing inspired by the museum's facade.
"Our aim was to apply one of the most characteristic elements of the museum project - the facade - to the bag: hence the idea of the modular strips enveloping the exterior," said Piano in an interview with Max Mara. "We tried to maintain a simple, pure design, working only on the details by applying a creative use of technology and placing the accent on respect for the materials."
According to the New York Post, Renzo Piano has been commissioned by Michael Shvo and Bizzi & Partners to design his first US residential tower. Planned to rise in the southern Manhattan district of Soho at 100 Varick Street, the Piano-designed tower will include up to 280,000 square-feet of housing and reach nearly 300 feet. Featured amenities include a "gated private driveway" and "automated parking." Stay tuned for more details.
In the following article, originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Renzo Piano", Paul Clemence talks with the Italian master of museum design about the design process and philosophies that have brought him such tremendous success in the field - from sketching, to behaving with civility, to buildings that 'fly', Piano explains what makes the perfect museum.
There's a reason why Renzo Piano is known as the master of museum design. The architect has designed 25 of them, 14 in the US alone. Few architects understand as well as Piano—along with his practice, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)—what board directors, curators, and even the visiting public needs and wants in a cultural institution like a museum. When I spoke with Donna de Salvo, chief curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art, whose new downtown digs were authored by RPBW she remarked on the how the curators' input was often incorporated into the final building design. “Our curators and the architects had an ongoing dialogue throughout the design of this building," de Salvo says. "The physical needs of the art were a priority for Renzo and his team, down to the most seemingly minute detail. Our curatorial voice was central to the discussion and has given us a terrifically dynamic building, a uniquely responsive array of spaces for art.”
But what often goes unmentioned is how well Piano's buildings, particularly his museums, connect to their surroundings. The buildings not only perform well, but they integrate themselves into the life of the city, as if they have always been there. From Beaubourg to The New York Times Building, they fully embrace the space and energy of their urban contexts. Now, as two of his newest and very high-profile museum projects near completion—the renovation and expansion of the Harvard Art Museums (due to open this Fall) and the Whitney Museum of Art (expected to be in use by Spring 2015)—I had a chance to meet with Piano at his Meatpacking District office to talk about the creative process, criticisms, contemporary architecture, and “flying” buildings.
In this interview with Daniel Libeskind, originally featured on Metropolis asQ&A: Daniel Libeskind on Italy, Product Design, and the State of Architecture Today, Paul Clemence talks to Libeskind about his perspective on Italian culture, its influence on his career, and his most recent foray into product design.
When you talk to Daniel Libeskind, no single question has a simple answer. From his days as a young musical prodigy (he played the accordion) to his directorship at Cranbrook Academy, not to mention his voracious passion for literature, the fascinating episodes of his life all come together, informing his approach to design and architecture. His career path is an unusual one. And while that is true for many architects, his is particularly interesting, where each twist and turn, no matter how ostensibly disconnected, seem to have always prepared him for his next step. Take his two highest profile jobs, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the master plan for Ground Zero. The two are intrinsically linked—the museum’s official opening to the public in 2001 was originally scheduled on September 11. The project had taken 13 years of political maneuvering to realize. Similarly, Libeskind's World Trade Center site master plan was marred by a decade of delays and alterations, which threatened to blot out his original design intentions. One monumental task after the other, eerily similar in challenging circumstances, both offering the architect a rare opportunity to helm projects richly entrenched in emotion, symbolism, and historical significance.
Now as his career moves beyond these two important projects, the architect's connection to Italy is beginning to play a pivotal role in his work. He moved there after his time at Cranbrook, when he was looking for new career challenges. Libeskind has been back in America since he was commissioned the Ground Zero project, but he recently opened up a studio in Milan, where he, his wife, and son oversee the firm's forays in product design.
I am standing with Christine Binswanger, senior partner of Herzog & de Meuron, a few hours before the Perez Art Museum Miami opens it doors to the public for the first time. All around us, construction workers are making last minute adjustments, while troublesome clusters of VIPs take their first peak into the museum's airy, austere galleries. The excitement is palpable.
And yet I can't unpeel my eyes from the huge, hurricane-proof window before us. They offer enormous views of resplendent Biscayne Bay and the six-lane, 5.6km Macarthur Causeway that crosses it. Throbbing with traffic, the causeway is the kind of thing that, I imagine, people come to museums to forget. So I ask Binswanger, the museum's project architect, how her team approached this design problem.
"Problem? What problem?" says Binswanger. "That is what Miami is about. Anyway, I find it beautiful. Don't you?"
Suddenly I do. Or at least I find beautiful the building's wide-open embrace of Miami, causeways and all. And I suspect that this visual (and programmatic) permeability to the city's realities—natural and manmade—will define PAMM's institutional success.
In this interview, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Norman Foster on Niemeyer, Nature and Cities", Paul Clemence talks with Lord Foster about his respect for Niemeyer, their meeting shortly before the great master's death, and how Niemeyer's work has influenced his own.
Last December, in the midst of a hectic schedule of events that have come to define Art Basel/Design Miami, I found myself attending a luncheon presentation of the plans for the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, by Foster + Partners. While chatting with Lord Foster, I mentioned my Brazilian background and quickly the conversation turned to Oscar Niemeyer. Foster mentioned the talk he and Niemeyer had shortly before the Brazilian’s passing (coincidentally that same week in December marked the first anniversary of Niemeyer’s death). Curious to know more about the meeting and their chat, I asked Foster about that legendary encounter and some of the guiding ideas behind his design for the Norton.
Known for his superior design and unparalleled craftsmanship, the 2009 Pritzker Laureate and 2013 RIBA Gold Medal Award winner, Peter Zumthor, was recently invited to speak at the School of Architecture in Tel Aviv University. In a lecture titled “Presence in Architecture - Seven Personal Observations,” Zumthor shared some of the inspirations behind his greatest projects, giving us insight into his poetic, intelligent, (and some might say) “nearly divine” mind.
Zumthor’s Seven Points on “Presence,” after the break...
For architects, Louis Kahn's Kimbell Museum has long been hallowed ground. For Renzo Piano, who designed the museum's first major expansion, it was also an enormous difficulty to overcome. His addition to the museum could be neither too close to Kahn's building, nor too far. It had to solve a parking problem, yet respect Kahn's distaste for cars. It had to respond to Kahn's stately progression of spaces—and that silvery natural light that make architects' knees go wobbly. And yet it could not merely borrow from Kahn's revolutionary bag of tricks.
Keep an eye out, or you might miss the Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (a.k.a. MuBE, pronounced MOO-bee). Widely considered the masterpiece of Pritzker Prize-winner Paulo Mendes da Rocha, the building was in fact born out of the desire to have no building at all. When in the 1980s an empty lot in Sao Paulo's mansion-laden Jardins district was slated to become a shopping mall, wealthy residents successfully lobbied to create a public square instead. To sweeten the deal and ensure the land stayed commercial-free, they hired Mendes de Rocha to create MuBE. Completed in 1995, the 7000-sq-meter museum hunkers down beneath ground level, thus preserving what in Sao Paulo is that rarest of luxuries: a public green space.
Expressing his desire to learn from the mentorship, Peter Zumthor stated: “I agreed to be a mentor because I believe in the professional exchange of people of different backgrounds, talents, skills and age. I highly appreciate the fact that Rolex offers funding for this professional artistic exchange and research outside of everyday economics.”
The Herzog & de Meuron designed Parrish Art Museum in Long Island, NY is captured here by brazilian photographer Paul Clemencefrom Facebook.com/Archi-Photo. This photo gallery very elegantly emphasizes the building's delicate placement on the landscape as well as its natural surrounding beauty of which the architects took their inspiration. Clemence also captures the project's moment of outdoor shelter that surrounds the building to emphasize the importance of the site and its interaction with the art within.The full photo gallery can be viewed after the break.
With his incredibly prolific portfolio of architecture, sculpture, furniture and design, the late Oscar Niemeyer truly left his mark on Brazil, and the world, over his 104 years. The Brazilian great is proof that quantity needn't destroy quality.
Check out the extensive list of Niemeyer's major works, after the break...
New York-based architectural photographer Paul Clemence has shared with us recent images and his thoughts on Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s new student residence hall that is being constructed in downtown Boston. The 21-story, $61 million building is planned for completion this year. Boston is not particularly known as a destination for trendy, contemporary architecture; but some new buildings are beginning to change that perception. From Diller Scofidio Renfro’s Institute of Contemporary Art to Norman Foster’s new wing at The Museum of Fine Arts to the recently completed Renzo Piano addition to the beloved Gardner Museum, the city’s urbanscape is getting a much needed updating. And now, a soon to be finished bold new project by the firm ADD Inc is bringing a colorful twist to the mix. They are the designers behind the new MassArt Students Residence Hall. Continue reading for more.
MY- AMI, A virtual and digital exhibit of architectural photography by Paul Clemence, has been extended to be on view until January 17th as part of the Design into Miami event, which started in November. A look at Miami’s unique urban landscape can be seen through Clemence’s refined eyes. From the mundane to the exquisite, from “starchitects” to ” anonymous”, from glamourous Lapidus to cutting edge Herzog & de Meuron and contemporary Arquitectonica and Chad Oppenheim. From dyzzing glass atriums to swimming pools ( a most Miamian architectural “equipment” ), Clemence gives us his take on how he perceives the city. The photos selected for the show speaks of details, of moods and brings us a feel of what is to be in that constant evolving, cosmopolitan, creative and liberating city, its colors, its shapes and even a little splash. The exhibit will be partially in display at the RS showroom and continuing online at here. More images after the break.
Architecture + Art merging via photography, by Paul Clemence, are a collection of photographs at the exhibit, “BOOM (Design) Contemporaneo” taking place from August 29th to October 10th in Sao Paulo, Brazil and is free to the public. Zaha Hadid, Paul Clemence, Milano, Design, Massimiliano Fuksas, Frankfurt, Shopping, New York and Art are all converging in this one place via Paul Clemence’s photography at BOOMSPDESIGN 2011. More information on the exhibit after the break.
Photographer Paul Clemence shared with us some photos of 100 11th Ave, a residential tower in Chelsea by Jean Nouvel. This building is almost complete, and it has a strong presence from across the river, or when seen from the High Line. I remember that a month ago, I was looking at it from the High Line and a lady next to me said “how old is that building?”. Despite the fact of its high tech curtain wall, using 1647 different window panels, the building looks ancient, almost like a left over from the old waterfront. The variation of the windows is not only on their size, but also the inclination and the glass tint, giving this building a unique facade. More photos after the break: