The Month in Design

Design was in the air this month, and we took in great heaving gasps of it as we ran from one event to another (and from one blog to another). New work was released, exhibitions were exhibited, and awards were awarded. For those who feel like the month passed them by, here’s our shortlist from May’s cornucopia of design news:

A Pavilion Fiasco at the World Expo

What could possibly go wrong with an event that combines Shanghai and showiness? The pavilions. The U.S. pavilion has been called “a sorry spectacle,” and don’t even get us started on the terrifying animated baby mannequin in front of the Spanish pavilion. The only point of agreement, it seems, was the general nostalgia for the great Expo designers of yore.

AIAHonored by the AIA

Early this month, the American Institute of Architects announced the 2010 AIA/HUD Secretary’s Awards and the 2010 AIA Housing Awards. But the ones to really look out for are the seven young firms that won the New Practices New York awards: EASTON+COMBS, Archipelagos, Leong Leong, Manifold SOFTlab, SO-IL, and Tacklebox. Their prize-winning work will be on view at New York’s Center for Architecture from July 15.

PritzkerThe Pritzker Ceremony and the RIBA Awards

A galaxy of starchitects and other glitterati descended on New York’s Ellis Island for the Pritzker Prize ceremony, where the Japanese firm SANAA received architecture’s biggest prize. Meanwhile, 101 buildings received the architectural excellence award of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

frank_gehry_6Frank Gehry Stirs Up a LEED Controversy

Frank Gehry’s cavalier comments on the LEED ratings system raised a few hackles. While the focus of the discussion shifted from Gehry to the legitimacy of the ratings themselves, New York’s Bank of America tower was awarded LEED Platinum, making it the greenest skyscraper in town.

VueNuitMai2010_RH-0137The Pompidou-Metz Opens

Shigeru Ban’s remarkable building for the Centre Pompidou’s first satellite museum, in the French city of Metz, was finally opened to the public on the 12th. The opening exhibition, Masterpieces? examined the notion of the masterpiece, past, present and future, through a selection of almost 800 works of art.

london-bus2A New Bus for London

The Mayor of London has unveiled a swanky, futuristic, energy-efficient replacement for London’s iconic Routemaster. To be built by Wrightbus, the new design will feature the “hop-on hop-off” rear open platform of the original Routemaster. The new buses are expected to ply London’s streets in 2012, in time for the Olympics.

mascotshome_0Olympic Mascots Unveiled, to Jeers

It’s one design debacle after another for the 2012 London Olympics. First the logo, and now the mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, have raised an outcry. Critic Stephen Bayley has called them “horrible computer generated Smurfs for the iPhone generation.” Fortunately for the Brits, the most successful Olympics have apparently had the worst mascots.

dataLincoln Center Greened

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s grassy intervention at Lincoln Center is now open to the public. This new addition is part of a years-long, $1.2 billion overhaul. Reactions to the nip-and-tuck of Alice Tully Hall last year were generally positive, but the new lawn has been described as the design’s most striking feature.

mcdonoughMcDonough Announces New Institute

William McDonough, of Cradle to Cradle fame, launched the Green Products Innovation Institute (GPII) on the 20th. The GPII will bring together thought leaders and practices from industry, academia, government, and communities to further advance the Cradle to Cradle philosophy, and will take over Cradle to Cradle certification and protocols from the MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry).

ICFF2010BluDotWinning at ICFF

For furniture obsessives, New York’s annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair was this month’s biggest (and most exhausting) design extravaganza. The ICFF Editors Awards recognized 17 outstanding exhibitors. Blu Dot and MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) were among the winners; you can find the complete list here.

ex_triennial_wdnWhy Design Now?

The simple question posed at the National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, is answered by 134 groundbreaking projects from 44 countries. The exhibition itself is an exercise in environmentally responsible design, and will be on display until January next year.

Have we left something important out? Add to our list using the comments form below.

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