Pritzer Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid has unveiled her first project in New York City, a condominium at West 28th Street near the city’s High Line pedestrian park. Her characteristic materials, which bend into sensuous curves much like Frank Gehry’s titanium designs for the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, are showcased spectacularly. The High Line’s Standard Hotel, which sits atop the park, has been that urban project’s focus for some time. It now has competition.
…what do you do for an encore ? For Italian coffee company Illy, the answer was simple. Design the cup in which the espresso is served and in the process, also make it great art. Painstaking research took place to ensure their cup was the right height and the porcelain the proper thickness. The handle was also redesigned and re-positioned to guarantee comfort and practicality. And then the company brought in world-renowned artists and young talent to adorn the finished product, and in many cases created limited editions which are signed and numbered. Michelangelo Pistoletto, for example, whose From One to Many exhibit was featured prominently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, was given creative freedom in his designs, as was artist / writer / director Julian Schnabel and Liu Wei. The sets are not cheap. But then again, sitting down to a fine cup of espresso with a piece of art, an act of passion in the minds of many, is priceless.