Aug 24 2020
Design Dispatch
The James Beard Foundation Awards go on hiatus, Arlene Shechet’s color therapy, and the superyachts of the skies.
“Words are important, and never more so than today.”


James Beard Foundation Suspends Awards Program

For the first time in its 30-year history, the James Beard Foundation’s annual Awards program—long viewed as the Oscars of the food industry—will not name any winners in 2020. The decision comes as the food industry continues to suffer the grave consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused most restaurants across the United States to close their doors and furlough workers. The Foundation cites substantial and sustained upheaval caused by the pandemic, which has created an environment in which they believe assigning awards will do little to further the industry in its current uphill battle.

“We didn’t come to this decision lightly,” says James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach. “The uncertainty of this time for our industry is already a hard reality and considering anyone to have won or lost within the current tumultuous hospitality ecosystem does not in fact feel like the right thing to do. In short, an honor which we know is held in high regard, at the moment, felt minor when compared to the dire situation we’re in.” Reichenbach also announced plans for the Foundation to address and rectify industry-wide inequities after conversations about racial justice have driven calls for change in the food industry.

A ceremony planned for September 25, which will be broadcast live on Twitter, will instead celebrate previously announced honorees and focus on storytelling surrounding the historic challenges the food industry faced this year. The Foundation will also forgo its traditional Awards in 2021, instead toasting industry leaders who’ve made a significant impact within their communities. “As we strive to provide an Awards program with the highest ethical standards, we know that the right move is to step back and take stock of the nominees’ and honorees’ achievements,” says Reichenbach. “We look forward to bringing the Awards back when the industry is once again ready for them.”


What Else Is Happening?

Check-Circle_2x The lawsuit seeking to block the Obama Presidential Center from being built gets defeated.
Check-Circle_2x A statue of Harvard’s first Black graduate offers a path forward for rethinking monuments.
Check-Circle_2x Maurizio Cattelan rejects Damien Hirst’s plea to swap any work for his duct-taped banana.
Check-Circle_2x Archaeologists unexpectedly uncover rare artifacts in the floorboards of an English manor.
Check-Circle_2x New York upholds a recent ban on single-use plastic bags—and will start enforcing it soon.
Check-Circle_2x An imperiled 1952 Frank Lloyd Wright residence in Arizona narrowly escapes demolition.

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Will Choui has fine-tuned a system of evolving, transforming, and repeating two-dimensional geometric shapes and sheet material into bold, skeletal forms to create unconventional furniture that, in his words, “do what they have to do and nothing else.” Each piece in the RISD graduate’s growing portfolio carries an air of optimism and elegance, a result of the intense purity achieved by being utterly streamlined and stripped down to the essentials.



Arlene Shechet: Together

When: Until Aug. 30

Where: Pace Gallery, East Hampton

What: For the past few months, Arlene Shechet has been busy searching for joy during a time of extraordinary upheaval. Instead of creating works that reflected her own darkening mood during the early days of the pandemic, she decided to make things that reflected what she needed: color therapy. The results are intimate, bust-like sculptures that marry form with seductively textured applications of color achieved through a newly discovered glazing technique, signifying a sense of hope.



Member Spotlight: Studio Seitz

Studio Seitz is a New York design studio that, along with their lineage of Swiss makers, seeks to revitalize art forms that are quickly fading away. The passion and care from their family of craftsmen instills the honesty that cannot be replicated in mass manufacturing. This commitment allows for the preservation and modern interpretation of functional and heirloom furniture that’s built to last.

Surface Says: Upholding the reputation of Swiss craftsmanship, Studio Seitz calls upon traditional techniques to create pieces of a distinctive, modern simplicity. Balancing form and function, the objects please with both their performance and appearance, from a sleek wooden dresser to a stoneware dog bowl.



Today’s Attractive Distractions

The makeup artist Mimi Choi transforms her body parts into photorealistic snacks.

Are zeppelins positioned to become the new superyachts of the skies?

Suede shoes seem to have a timeless appeal, even during the summer.

Natural deodorants and “clean cosmetics” are becoming ubiquitous.


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