Design Finds

From a pop-up exhibition in Britain documenting American progression through the eyes of its printmakers, to a young photographer capturing Hong Kong’s bustling metropolis, read our list of topical, innovative and inspiring design finds from the week.

Pablo Picasso’s painted masterpieces get a 3-dimensional metamorphosis

In this project by designer Omar Aqil, Pablo Picasso’s painted masterpieces get a 3-dimensional makeover. Using cinema 4D-ray, photoshop, and illustrator, the Pakistan-based creative re-imagined six of Picasso’s figurative works as contemporary 3D graphics. Titled ‘Mimic’, the series of visual experiments offers an alternative (and highly modern) interpretation of some of the world’s most famous artworks.

Trace 60 years of a superpower in this major new exhibition, ‘American Dream’, on show at The British Museum

Tracing 60 years of a superpower, the past six decades have been among the most dynamic and turbulent in US history: from JFK’s assassination, Apollo 11 and Vietnam to the AIDS crisis, racism and gender politics. Responding to the changing times, American artists have produced prints unprecedented in their scale and ambition.

Starting with the explosion of pop art in the 1960s, the exhibition ‘American Dream’, now showing at the British Museum, includes works by the most celebrated American artists, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Taking inspiration from the world around them – billboard advertising, global politics, Hollywood and household objects – American artists have created highly original prints to rival their paintings and sculptures.

The pop-up is running 9 March – 18 June 2017, book your tickets here:


Wrap House by Apollo Architects features a repetitive wooden structure

This house in Matsuyama, Japan, designed by Apollo Architects, features a repetitive wooden structure that rises up from the floor to continuously form a column-free, shell-like space. The homeowner, a graphic designer working in advertising, acquired a piece of land on a hilltop with beautiful views and requested the residence’s design to be airy and open. The exposed-concrete wall is finished with a cedar-panel pattern, while the galvanized steel surface panels of the building create a clear yet tranquil contrast, producing an exterior-interior appearance.

Moscow’s ‘Massacre of Mass Housing’, a big mistake?

The Moscow government has just launched the biggest demolition programme in the city’s history. Its goal is to get rid of 8 000 5-story residential buildings constructed in the Soviet era — probably the biggest programme of erasure of modernist architectural heritage in world history. Earlier this year, on 21 February, the mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin and the president of Russia Vladimir Putin launched this demolition campaign. Dozens of entire housing estates will be torn down and replaced with new ones.

In an essay by Kuba Snopek, he explains the importance of preserving generic modernist architecture, focusing on Moscow’s microrayons — the vast, state-funded housing estates built in the Soviet era.

‘In the essay, I explained the spatial and cultural values these prefabricated landscapes had. I also speculated about how one would go about preserving architecture that completely lacks uniqueness. The essay ended with a provocative statement: we should put Belyayevo — the most generic of all Soviet estates — on the UNESCO heritage list,’ he says. The decision to tear these modernist architectural milestones down is thus, to many, a big mistake. For a further read into Snopek’s opinion visit Arch Daily.

Mid-career manifesto: Sir David Adjaye pauses to reflect on his design philosophy

Sir David Adjaye’s new book ‘Constructed Narratives’, edited by Peter Allison and published by Lars Müller, is an informal manifesto of the architect’s design principles and architectural approach, reflecting on almost 25 years of work.

Following the completion of Washington’s Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (SNMAAHC) in September 2016, and then receiving a knighthood this year, the book marks a poignant moment in time for the mid-career architect. ‘Making this book helped me to organise my approach and philosophy in a much more formal way than I had ever done previously,’ says Adjaye.
For the full read on SNMAAHC click here.

Andy Yeung’s drone photography captures Hong Kong’s urban jungle

Hong Kong is widely acknowledged for its distinct architectural identity and seemingly impenetrable urban landscape of skyscrapers. The city’s tightly-packed residential towers are some of the tallest in the world, and have been studied and documented by a range of local and international photographers for their visual and structural characteristics.

Andy Yeung, a photographer based in Hong Kong, captures the bustling metropolis from a completely new perspective for his series ‘Urban Jungle’. Documented via a drone camera, the images depict the architectural sprawl from hundreds of metres high, highlighting the extreme heights and dramatic depths covered by Hong Kong’s crowded cityscape.