The hospitality and design industries respond to the international protests against racial injustice and police brutality, famed Bulgarian artist Christo has died, and U.S. manufacturing comes back. All this and more in this week’s Five on Friday.
Famed Bulgarian artist Christo dies at 84
Influential artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff died of natural causes at his home in New York on Sunday, May 31st. He was 84. Javacheff produced artwork under the mononym Christo often in collaboration with his late wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009. The pair gained widespread fanfare for monumental, environmental interventions such as The Gates in New York, the London Mastaba, and the Floating Piers on Lake Iseo in Italy. ArchDaily reports that Christo lived in New York for 56 years, arriving in 1964, despite never developing a fluency of English.
NOMA redefines mission in statement from sitting president
The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) has published a statement on its website in response to international protests against police brutality and systemic racism. The statement, issued by the organization’s current president Kimberly Dowdell, who is also a principal at HOK, calls upon the architecture community to honor its role in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
“We are calling on our members and our broader professional community to condemn racism and take an active role in eliminating the racial biases that account for a myriad of social, economic, and health disparities, and most importantly, result in the loss of human lives—black lives. As architects, we are professionally responsible for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The tragic execution of Black Americans at the hands of people infected by racism has plagued our nation for generations,” the statement reads. “Over NOMA’s five decades of existence, we have borne witness to the seemingly endless tragedies perpetrated against Black Americans and people representing other communities of color. After careful consideration, NOMA has determined that this moment is ripe for us to take a far stronger stance. We have been advocating for justice throughout our history and now is the time to clearly articulate what matters to us the most.”
Hotel CEOs voice support for worldwide protests
U.S. hotel leaders voiced their solidarity with ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism worldwide during the Virtual Hospitality CEOs Check In Panel on Tuesday June 2nd. The webinar was streamed as part of the 42nd annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.
“With respect to the protests, it’s very concerning that we continue to see the existence of and persistence of racism in this country and prejudice in many places around the world,” said Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian. “The frustration level and the outpouring of emotion is completely understandable given how long this persists and how it keeps repeating itself. So, we really need to step up and get more engaged.”
According to Skift, Hoplamazian also acknowledged the opportunity at hand for the hotel industry to do more, particularly for its diverse workforces, saying, “As companies that have a very, very diverse employee base, we really must take more affirmative steps to address the situation. That’s really what this is a call to action to do.”
AIA outlines measures for reopening buildings
A press release from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) introduces three new and enhanced tools to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission in buildings. Compiled by a team of architects, public health experts, engineers, and facility managers, the new framework comprises measures that account for social distancing standards and overall wellbeing. Tools include the development of risk-management plans for buildings; use of the AIA re-occupancy assessment tool, which provides an upgraded strategic framework for reopening a range of buildings from schools to restaurants to senior living facilities; and the COVID-19 ArchMap, in which architects can input design strategies that will mitigate risk of COVID-19.
“Communities need guidance for reopening buildings safely during the pandemic,” says 2020 AIA president Jane Frederick. “This initiative used credible science and current infectious disease data to develop practical strategies that can help businesses reopen their doors more safely during this pandemic.”
U.S. manufacturing begins to resume
In part two of our series focusing on manufacturing, products and associate editor Matt Dougherty examined the manufacturing practices of U.S. companies as they slowly come back online amid COVID-19. In conversation with brands including Currey & Company, BermanFalk, Valley Forge Fabrics, and Fabric Innovations, industry leaders discuss navigating barriers ranging from shipping to intentional design.
“Everything from public areas and suites to headboards and other vertical surfaces will be evaluated,” says Nicole Meier, director of branding for Ultrafabrics. “The expectations for aesthetically pleasing and durable materials, both hard and soft, will be greater than ever.”