Wishing everyone the beauty of the season…

…and the warmth of Winter’s light.

Buon Natale | Glædelig Jul | Joyeux Noël | Merry Christmas


“If you can design one thing…”

“…you can design everything.” ― Massimo Vignelli

If there were any concerns that New York City, the self-appointed capital of the world, was becoming complacent and erecting too many, cookie-cutter towers, two recent developments should end that.  The first, which we discussed on the page for architecture, was the design plans for Hudson Yards, an area on Manhattan’s west side.  The second, and no less noteworthy, is BIG / Bjarke Ingells’s VIA 57 West, a building which combines the Scandinavian practice of shared urban spaces with American bravado of pushing the limits on what a skyscraper can achieve.  Residents enjoy enviable views and a lush garden in the middle of the epitome of the urban jungle.

“Every great architect is, necessarily, a great poet.”

“He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.” ― Frank Gehry

When it comes to visual poetry, famed Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava’s arguably greatest and most ambitious project was unveiled with much-deserved fanfare at New York City’s reimagined World Trader Center.  His gorgeous transportation hub, Oculus, reminiscent of a bird’s wings, is less about stunning architecture and daring design and rises to something even greater―that of art.

Air & space…

It’s fairly common to complain about modern air travel, that the days of glamour and luxury have been replaced by the mundane and tedious tasks of simply transporting passengers from point A to point B.  Recently, however, there have been significant changes–transformative in nature if not downright revolutionary.  Boeing’s groundbreaking Dreamliner, for example, is intended to define travel with sensuous curves and subdued lighting; Airbus’ A380, aka The Double Decker,” is a technological marvel with bravado to match.  It then leads to the proverbial question :  what is the next step in aviation ?  The latter company may have answered when it introduced its new Airspace, a revolutionary redesign of passenger cabins.  This is no mere paint job.  Airbus has completely reimagined the flying experience from the passengers’ point of view with contemporary lavatories; customizable ambient lighting; interiors defined by clean and sleek lines; larger and more accessible overhead storage bins; wider seats; and, unobstructed under-seat foot space.  Airbus has clearly realized the journey is as important as the destination.

Welcome to the Republik…

Celebrated author Victor Hugo once said, “There is nothing more interesting than a wall behind which something is happening.”  We sometimes perceive architecture, art, and design as a collection of intangible ideas, behind a wall, and inaccessible.  Welcome to the newly redesigned Concept Republik, intended to chip away at that proverbial wall and in doing so, show how design surrounds and influences us.


The Shard, London, The United Kingdom. © David-Kevin Bryant

Through the Looking Glass…Smartly.

The Whitney, the formal name of which is The Whitney Museum of American Art, has transformed itself, not just in terms of its new location, between New York City’s High Line and the Hudson River, but also because of its new home, designed by none other than Renzo Piano, an architect who recently designed the headquarters for the New York Times.

The Whitney-02

© The Whitney

Rather than taking his usual minimal approach and giving the museum sleek lines and wrapped in glass, the renowned architect went in a different direction altogether.  It has received a lukewarm reception as the exterior appears like a hodgepodge of partially completed ideas which never are fulfilled.  Missing is what many expected to be a grand statement, like Hearst Tower, for example, which rises in dramatic and modern fashion from it’s historically protected, street level entrance.

The Hearst Tower-01

© commons.wikimedia.org

Herein lies Piano’s genius, however.  What he has achieved is only appreciated once you enter the building.  Missing are narrow and jumbled corridors and galleries separating people from one another.  Instead, huge spaces and generous amounts of natural light flood greet you.  In other words, don’t stand outside and simply admire the great architecture.  Come in and experience the great art.  Brilliant.

The Whitney-03

© The Whitney

No longer is The Whitney the adopted little step sister to the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world’s greatest art institutions, or The Guggenheim.  Now, she sits at the dinner table on equal footing with the others.