Mar 24 2021
Design Dispatch
A design raffle supporting AAPIs, Epstein’s mansion slated for a “spiritual makeover,” and Kelly Wearstler’s desert garage.
“I still feel the beauty of a book—I still believe in that beauty.”


An Instagram Raffle That Uplifts the AAPI Community

What’s Happening: The design industry has come together to launch #DesignforATL, a raffle of design objects donated by 80+ studios in support of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) following a recent spike in hate crimes.

The Download: On March 16, a gunman murdered eight people—including six women of Asian descent—at spas and massage parlors in Atlanta. Hate crimes against the AAPI community have recently experienced a sharp uptick, with the advocacy organization Stop AAPI Hate reporting nearly 3,800 hateful incidents during the first year of the pandemic. Protests quickly ensued across the U.S. to spread awareness of racism against AAPIs, and many in the community, while still reeling, have been sharing experiences they may have previously stayed silent about.

A concerted effort within the design industry has started to take shape. Jenny Nguyen, the founder of disruptive public relations firm Hello Human, recently teamed with Ladies & Gentlemen Studio co-founder Jean Lee and Tantuvi founder Arati Rao to organize #DesignforATL, an Instagram raffle in support of the AAPI community. More than 80 studios, including Brendan Ravenhill, Calico Wallpaper, Eny Lee Parker, In Common With, Rosie Li, Peg Woodworking, Pelle, Slash Objects, and Sukrachand have donated objects to support the cause.

The organizers are posting the available design objects on the @designforatl Instagram account. To buy tickets, users must donate to the nonprofit Asian Americans Advance Justice’s Atlanta chapter, a civil rights group that’s raising money for the hate-crime victims and their families. The fundraiser ends on Sunday, March 28, and winners will be announced on Tuesday, March 30.

In Their Own Words: “First and foremost, we felt helpless as to what to do after the Atlanta attacks,” the organizers said in a statement. “Racism is such a complex issue and it’s hard to know where to start. This fundraiser gave us a place to start, to help the victims’ families and for us, as community-first people, it made sense to use our existing skills and networks. But there’s more complex and difficult work to be done to break down white supremacy. This is just the start.”

Surface Says: While we hope even more initiatives in support of AAPIs will soon launch within the design industry, this fundraiser is an excellent starting point. And this won’t be the last time we’ll hear from Nguyen, Lee, and Rao, who are already working on a second act.


What Else Is Happening?

Check-Circle_2x Buyers of Jeffrey Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion pay a steeply discounted $51 million.
Check-Circle_2x With ties to Jeffrey Epstein, Leon Black unexpectedly steps down as Apollo Chairman.
Check-Circle_2x The artist Krista Kim unveils Mars House, the first digital home sold on the NFT marketplace.
Check-Circle_2x The Park Avenue Armory postpones its program after performers contract Covid-19.
Check-Circle_2x Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio imagines a conceptual floating hotel in the Persian Gulf.
Check-Circle_2x Facebook teases an AR concept with a dynamic wrist piece that adapts to your environment.

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Wrensilva Teams With an Album Cover Artist for a Limited-Edition Poster

“I’ve been at the intersection of art and music for a long time and what I’ve found is that when two inspiring art forms intersect, it gives you a remarkable feeling,” says John Van Hamersveld, reflecting on his prolific oeuvre of album covers. For the past five decades, Van Hamersveld has immersed himself in music, specifically rock’n’roll, designing record jackets for iconic albums such as The Beatles’s Magical Mystery Tour and The Rolling Stones’s Exile on Main Street. His drawings stand alone as masterpieces in their own right, rekindling memories and igniting new emotions with their vibrant hues, trippy undertones, and stylistic typography.

Wrensilva has deep roots in craftsmanship and design, hand-making consoles from American hardwood in California and embracing both analog and digital technologies. Its co-founder and CEO, Greg Perlot, called on Van Hamersveld to capture the brand’s ethos. Known for his integration of drawings by hand with digital editing and production methods, and, namely, his deep appreciation of music, Van Hamersveld channelled his learnings into the California record console brand’s new limited-edition poster. Featuring a Wrensilva console with music spiraling into a swirl of sound, it exudes the experience of playing “your favorite vinyl.”



On the New Creativity Cleaning Up Cannabis’s Reputation

Cannabis is experiencing a sudden coming of age; as legalization continues to ripple across Canada and the rest of the world, the herb has taken a contemporary leap that has elevated it from the grungy stoner days to a refined industry that caters to everyone who’s a friend of the plant. From the rebellious to the CEOs, hippies, yuppies, mommas, and poppas, there’s a product for each kind of consumer out there.

Two books in particular—High on Design (Gestalten, 2020) and Branding Bud (Quick Trading Publishing, 2021)—delve deep into exploring this aesthetic and cultural shift by analyzing the new branding and creativity behind a flower in search of cleaning up its reputation. The editor and author behind each project—Santiago Rodriguez Tarditi and David Paleschuck—recently spoke about current and future trends.



ICYMI: Atelier Van Lieshout Is Building a Cultural Complex in Rotterdam

In 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, Joep Van Lieshout purchased a cavernous 21,500-square-foot studio in Rotterdam’s then-seedy M4H area near the harbor, where he staged the autonomous living experiment AVL-Ville seven years prior. As time passed, the design provocateur acquired more than 100,000 square feet of adjacent plots with the AVL Mundo Foundation with the goal of developing a cultural complex. His plans are finally coming to fruition: Visuals have been unveiled for Brutus, a community that, according to a statement released by the studio, “heralds a new model for urban renewal that doesn’t automatically push out creatives once neighborhoods upgrade.”


3D printing, but make it fashion.⁣ Ross Lovegrove worked with architect and computational designer Arturo Tedeschi to create the tall fine mesh shrouding the sole of this mesmerizing ILABO shoe, which covers the wearer’s foot like a curtain and opens at the toe and heel.



Member Spotlight:

Magis is a design company founded in Italy in 1976. Magis products are all made in Italy—a guarantee of high quality. This is in line with the firm’s tradition, which developed from its craft and cultural roots, as well as from the evolving styles and industrial growth of the 1980s and ’90s.

Surface Says: Magis products embody daring contemporary design—from Konstantin Grcic’s Chair One to Thomas Heatherwick’s Spun chair.



Today’s Attractive Distractions

Kelly Wearstler dreams up a desert garage for Lebron James’s electric Hummer.

Ikea launches a cookbook dedicated to whipping up recipes out of food scraps.

Check out the ingenious way Amish people turn lights on without using electricity.

Krispy Kreme offers free doughnuts every day this year if you’re vaccinated.


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