The 1 percent have something to celebrate this week, as residents-only dining by the world’s best chefs have a moment. Meantime, Banksy is dealing with his own capitalism-based woes by opening a brick-and-mortar store in London. Here are the biggest things happening in and around our industry this week.
Architecture reaches new heights
Swiss conceptual artist Not Vital has gone to extremes in the pursuit of the perfect view. By combining the words architecture and sculpture, the artist coined the term scarch and applies it to each of his projects—proving he has always tried to challenge the status quo. “It all started in Africa,” he told Wallpaper about why he continues to build these masterful home-like posts. “There, the sunsets are so short and intense, and I wanted to build something to watch them from. And then I kept going.”
House to Watch Three Volcanoes is conceived of bamboo and straw, which Vital designed solely to frame the views of the three volcanoes surrounding the land. Located in a remote village close to the city of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, it’s one of the greatest examples of his hybrid practice yet. The property’s defining feature is its narrow, black steel exterior staircase comprising 39 steps. Without the assistance of a handrail, a seemingly ordinary climb turns into a Hitchcock-like act of tension.
Capitalism comes for art
Gross Domestic Product is the latest from English artist and activist Banksy. However this time, his powerful statements on the state of the world is in the form of a brick-and-mortar store in London filled with a peculiar line of products that speak to his art and image. The impetus behind the project was “possibly the least poetic reason to ever make art,” Banksy said in the statement about the trademark dispute with a greeting card company that forced him to open the store in the first place. In true Banksy fashion, the items—he calls them “impractical and offensive”—include cans of paint, dilapidated doll sets, disco balls, and handbags made out of bricks. The pieces will be available for purchase online. Yet, according to Vice, the store also speaks to a larger problem faced by graffiti artists as brands try to “commodify the increasing mainstream art form,” adding that “Banksy’s new store shows how unresolved the issue of trademarking graffiti art really is.”
Lifestyles of the rich and the famous
For New York’s most affluent—specifically those who live on Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row—the good life has only become richer, thanks to a new residents-only restaurant at 220 Central Park South by venerated chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the lavish residential tower is home to America’s wealthiest, including Sting and hedge funder Ken Griffin, who purchased the most expansive penthouse in U.S. history for $238 million. Despite the ubiquity of Jean-Georges eateries around the city, this exclusive amenity “is attractive to ultra-high net-worth buyers,” Pamela Liebman, chief executive of Corcoran, told the New York Post. “You never have to leave the building. You can go right downstairs and know that everything will be perfect.”
The grass isn’t always greener
Anne Hidalgo had ambitious goals for sustainability ever since she was elected mayor of Paris five years ago. But the path to making the city green is truly a winding one. In an interview with The New York Times, she expounded on the controversial measures she’s taken, including shutting down the highway along the Right Bank of the Seine and turning it into a park, declaring war on all motor vehicles, and making the first four Arrondissements car-free one Sunday per month. “There’s been very violent reactions to our green policy at times,” she told the paper. “What we’ve undertaken is a whole program of adaptation, of putting nature back in this city. But, you know, all changes are difficult.” With 8,000 projects in the works to make the city more pedestrian friendly, the mayor seems to realize one thing that some of her critics may be in denial about: the climate emergency is already here.
Looking back to get ahead
In our September issue, we interviewed at eight thought leaders who have sparked an important conversation around the future of design. Of course, no one firm has impacted our industry more than Zaha Hadid Architects. Since the revered architect’s untimely passing in 2016, Patrik Schumacher has taken the reins of the London-based firm. The sometimes-controversial architect is passionate about what he does, as well as the future of the firm, telling HD that the lessons he learned from Hadid are indispensable. “Not only did we keep the firm afloat—indeed, we thrived and expanded—but we held on to our ambition to catch the most prominent projects to excel, to innovate, to astound. I believe we are fulfilling Zaha’s legacy best by defying expectations and further pushing the boundary of what is possible.”