We’re all just sentient sacks of water…We’re all just sentient sacks of water…

11 March 2013 by Jane Withers

We’re all just sentient sacks of water…

Jane Withers about her passion for H2O

I describe my own addiction to water as hydrophilic - a lifelong obsession that has taken me bathing in many places, from hammams in Istanbul to Hot springs in Wakayama, from the Gulf of Aden to the Sea of Finland to the Dead Sea. We all know that water is life; it feeds the earth’s ecosystem, flows through our cities, our homes, our bodies, and our lives. It’s essential to our existence and a portal to our dreams. Yet, largely through the way we use and abuse this most precious and contested resource, we face a global water crisis. In H2O and the Waters of Forgetfulness, ph..

Cotopaxi Ecuador, 2009 Photo: Klaus Thymann for Project Pressure


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That Year of DesignThat Year of Design

11 March 2013 by Noora Mattila

That Year of Design

Helsinki 2012: To remember or to forget...?

Looking back on the year of design in Helsinki, there is little on the surface to indicate that the occasion was exploited to the full. On a more generous note, however, it is not always apparent what seeps through into the public conscious and what aftereffects might be generated. To analyse that, several more years must pass. Still, we now freshly reflect on the year that was, attempting to eke out any obvious notable benefits.

Kamppi Chapel, designed by K2S Architects.


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PAC-ing It inPAC-ing It in

10 March 2013 by Lyle Rexer

PAC-ing It in

Let the (retro) games begin!

If it were a choice between Pac-Man, Pong, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong, which one would win out? Well, at this point in time that’s not of great import, of course, but once upon a time, everyone had a favourite. At present those quirky video games are confined to nostalgia. However, it does all of us good to stop for a second and realise the then and now, if only to marvel at the difference between the extraordinary simplicity of those games of yore, and the visually sophisticated and conceptually innovative ones of today. And we do not feign to suggest that the latter should be d..

Pac-Man, 1980 Designed by Toru Iwatami of NAMCO LIMITED, now NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. A gift of NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. Image courtesy of NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.


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10 March 2013 by Cathelijne Nuijsink


The complex ways of Akihisa Hirata

As a Japanese architect proud of his nationality, Akihisa Hirata is keen to exercise a working approach that is both highly Asian and radically ecological. Further to this, he firmly believes that while sensitively nestling into their surroundings such that the natural characteristics of such are fully utilised, housing complexes need to foster relationships between the various inhabitants. In other words, he is an architect that precisely answers the needs of our time. With rooftops that dip and dive and stairs that become entirely tangled betwixt floor levels and individual units, he ..

Sketch of the housing proposal for the city of Kamaishi by Akihisa Hirata


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Apocalypse How: Faking SandyApocalypse How: Faking Sandy

10 March 2013 by Lyle Rexer

Apocalypse How: Faking Sandy

A new art form arises out of disaster

Humans are bizarre. Taking a perfectly awful storm situation and adding to its already gory-enough documentation entirely (as opposed to the perfunctory partially) fictional images and stories is one of those phenomena that could be considered useless, uninspired and wasteful. Or it could as well be thought of as inventive, light-hearted and amusing. Either way it is curious. Perhaps it’s just that the city of New York stimulates this sort of larger-than-life activity. Then again, modern technology makes it so readily doable.    

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10 March 2013 by Patricia Parinejad


Structures of spontaneous architecture in Rio’s favelas

As a kind of tribute to the many gifted and nameless builders who created the less than-appreciated and oft-despised favela architecture, photographer Patricia Parinejad offers a rich tome of images documenting the marvels of the Brazilian favelas- the organic maze of structures, spontaneously created architecture, and wealth of individuality expressed in endless inventive permutations. Loaded with vivaciousness and ingenuity, these buildings and the particular people who inhabit them are both beautiful and dignified.

Patricia Parinejad



10 March 2013 by Cathelijne Nuijsink


The complex ways of Akihisa Hirata

As someone who learned his craft under the expansive wings of Toyo Ito, Akihisa Hirata has since blossomed into a butterfly of a different colour. His various projects in Japan, Chile, and Taiwan illustrate a skilful ability to fashion internal and external space so as to eke out the maximum gain environmentally, socially and aesthetically, while incorporating the natural attributes offered by the local landscape.

Mock-up the housing proposal for the city of Kamaishi © Akihisa Hirata


That Year of DesignThat Year of Design

10 March 2013 by Noora Mattila

That Year of Design

Helsinki 2012: To remember or to forget...?

It’s a dubious exercise assessing a yearlong event in direct hindsight. On the one hand, it’s quite unfair as a gauge since it’s so extraeasy to be critical afterwards, but on the other hand, it is useful to analyse situations while they are still fresh, as this is more likely to produce critique of a constructive nature. Placing Helsinki’s design year under surveillance, it would seem that there was much room for improvement.

The Pavilion, designed by Aalto University students for WDC Helsinki 2012


Caught by LightCaught by Light

10 March 2013 by Lyle Rexer

Caught by Light

The Helsinki School

The emergence of the Helsinki School has been impressive. Entering the scene out of the blue, as it were, the work of its photographers is now gracing the world stage. Without as easy a description of style as that of works coming out of the Düsseldorf Art Academy or the Bauhaus, it nonetheless contains the same sort of unified intrinsic power. There is certainly much to be said for northern light...

Mirror (blanket), 2011 by Anni Leppälä. © Anni Leppälä, courtesy of Gallery TAIK

scandinaviahouse.org helsinkischool.fi

Sprawl and RenewalSprawl and Renewal

10 March 2013 by Cristina Guadalupe Galván

Sprawl and Renewal

Urban madness / part 2

So here is part two of our double-loaded article. As you know, in the first part, DAMn° dug into the roots of ‘urban renewal’ and ‘urban sprawl’ via interviews with Herbert Gans and Denise Scott Brown, to gain insight into how these phenomena have come about in the first place and how they have evolved. Now we look at Detroit’s Lafayette Park as a case in point, through the eyes of the editors of the new book Thanks for the view Mr Mies.

The Townhouse Block of Lafayette Park (from an old postcard)

placementpublication.org pruitt-igoe.com

Silent Star ShiningSilent Star Shining

10 March 2013 by Veerle Devos

Silent Star Shining

The ever-so modest Bertjan Pot

Very occasionally one comes across a designer who is fully concentrated on design and totally unoccupied with the status of achieving any form of notice or fame. Bertjan Pot is one such fellow. Quietly working away in an intuitive manner, remaining fascinated by all aspects of materials, processes, and technology, he uses his energy to create. With the billowing praise of fellow designers as additional evidence, he is clearly a rare bird.

Beafeater for Lensvelt by Bertjan Pot


Storm WarningStorm Warning

10 March 2013 by Lyle Rexer

Storm Warning

MoMA’s Barry Bergdoll on Hurricane Sandy and New York’s possible future

Post-Sandy New York provides a very interesting testing ground for finding a bonafide preventative solution to the physical damage done by the surge of weather patterns that are devastating cities at an ever-increasing rate worldwide. The fact that there was an entirely relevant architecture exhibition at the MoMA immediately preceding this latest disaster is noteworthy. DAMn° speaks with the curator to explore the links and extract the viable solutions.

Proposed ‘greening’ of Lower Manhattan by Architecture Research Office (ARO)

moma.org aro.net narchitects.com bairdarchitects.com

Apocalypse How: Faking SandyApocalypse How: Faking Sandy

10 March 2013 by Lyle Rexer

Apocalypse How: Faking Sandy

A new art form arises out of disaster

The vast number of fake images that were generated subsequent to the Sandy superstorm in New York is impressive. Not that it is logical to produce even more terrifying scenarios than those that reality imposed, but the prolific nature of the activity attests to the phenomenon that New York somehow attracts tales of sharks invading the streets, and the like.

Making NoiseMaking Noise

10 March 2013 by Anna Sansom

Making Noise

Haroon Mirza’s sights and sounds

The works of British artist Haroon Mirza are electric - sensually, physically, and emotionally. Using sound, light, and objects, he concocts incredible scenarios that befuddle as much as stimulate the spectator. What is it? Is it noise? Indeed, and much more. In short it is an amalgam of local inspiration, the translation of borrowed ideas, and different media that are re-contextualised into a vibrant interplay of acoustics, objects and space.

Haroon Mirza in his studio in London; Photo: David Bebber

hepworthwakefield.org clickfolio.com/haroon/ tate.org.uk

Trouble in ParadiseTrouble in Paradise

10 March 2013 by Anneke Bokern

Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise A Rio towering Inferno

This is the tale of a tower. A tower that formed part of a group of four many years ago but had the dubious honour of being the only one to remain unscathed, being uninhabited all this time and thus inadvertently becoming quite the perfect record of the 76 identical buildings that were conceived in 1970. Two Dutch artists have embraced this marvel and are doing the utmost to package the story in a sharable form.

Looking at Niemeyer’s Torre Abraham Lincoln in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro Photo © Wouter Osterholt and Elke Uitentuis

youtube.com/watch?v=DrzfKxFWtmw youtube.com/watch?v=kM04g1u6lrA

Secrets from RussiaSecrets from Russia

10 March 2013 by Aamu Song & jOhaN olin

Secrets from Russia

Learning from Matryoshkas

Aamu Song and Johan Olin are otherwise known as COMPANY, a design practice based in Helsinki. At the beginning of last year they followed an urge to discover what went on behind factory doors in Russia, with a desire to learn about the traditional handcrafted processes. So off they went. The result was an active collaboration with six such factories whereby they have developed designs that utilise those traditional techniques to create contemporary crafted objects.

Girl & Boy Stools. A matryoshka seat with storage space inside Manufactured in Semenov, Russia by Oksana, Igor, Galina, et. al.


An Architect’s PleasureAn Architect’s Pleasure

10 March 2013 by Sam Steverlynck

An Architect’s Pleasure

Luc Deleu’s Spielerei

After forty years in practice, Luc Deleu is every bit as strong-willed as ever. Seeing the world as a universe to embrace and architecture as a simple matter of building things that make sense, he has proven his point in many and various ways, some of them pleasingly obtuse. Having been more appreciated in the visual arts than in architecture per se is telling for both the institution of architecture and this architect’s modus operandi.

Construction X, 2012, Limerick, Ireland; Photo: Adrian Butler


Countering HollywoodCountering Hollywood

10 March 2013 by Leonora Sartori

Countering Hollywood

Alvernia Studios flexes its muscles

This is a story about what is essentially a case of natural justice. Unrivalled like for-ever, Hollywood has proceeded to unabatedly dominate the film production industry from the word go. But not for much longer, we surmise, as the East Europeans are now muscling in on the act. With the new Alvarnia Studios in Krakow, Poland has created a facility that can fulfill all the needs of contemporary film production, and then some.

images Giuliano Koren


Memento MoriMemento Mori

10 March 2013 by Sam Steverlynck

Memento Mori

Renato Nicolodi’s take on remembrance

This young Belgian artist has a thing about bunkers. And formal monuments of all sorts. And he realises his passion in the form of sculptures that evoke a sense of remembrance. Regardless of the difference in scale that most of his works possess, they are, nonetheless, structures that propose to the viewer an imaginary space, having an impact that very much resembles that of its readily imaginable large-scale version.

Amnis I, 2012


Water WaysWater Ways

10 March 2013 by Inês Revés

Water Ways

Some companies in the sanitary industry are doing their utmost in research and technology to accomplish a better product. Others are bent on achieving more sustainable ways to save water in the production process itself. A few are engaged in more ambitious projects that go further than the development of a product.

Jane Withers. Photo: Walter Bettens.



10 March 2013 by Walter Bettens


There’s no business like snow business…

What with Poltrona Frau turning 100, Hansgrohe and Duravit taking the bathroom to a new level of experience, and the launch of a storybook about Bolon, the news is pretty racy. Add to that the latest in products - we’re talking seats and sofas, clocks and coat racks, lamps and cutlery, to name but few of the latest wares to hit the marketplace.

Konstantin Grcic and his Bench B for BD Barcelona, released at imm cologne - a nod to Mies’ Barcelona Chair

Goldfish CultureGoldfish Culture

10 March 2013 by Harald Gründl

Goldfish Culture

Harald Gründl’s Manifesto

To illustrate the often ridiculous human approach to water consumption, Harald Gründl compares people to fish. Assuming his responsibility as a designer and urging others to also pay attention to the environment by creating products that consider the water footprint involved in their manufacture, he is quick to suggest that we would do best to take up the culture of the goldfish.

The Consequences of Design, installation, IDRV in collaboration with KISD, by invitation of imm cologne


Company news

Company news
Fritz Hansen invited 7 architects to redefine Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 chair 
** read all about it in DAMnº51**