Saturday, January 23, 2010

New York 2010 - Cooper Hewitt

Warmed up a bit on Tuesday, only -5c. Took a leisurely wander up Madison and Park Avenues so that Anna could make notes on current men's fashion trends in the up-market shops. Turned out not to be such a good ideas as by the time we got there the Guggenheim was heaving - decided to give it a miss and moved on to the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum which was delightfully quiet.
Unfortunately they had only one gallery open but this housed a retrospective of the Design Awards so was well worth visiting.
Tod Williams & Billie Tsien Architects experimented with molten bronze on metal mesh to form the facade of the American Folk Art Museum. Described on their website as; an idiosyncratic home for idiosyncratic art. The metallic facade catches the glow of the rising and setting sun and offers subtle shifts of colour as the weather changes through the day.

This is another stunning building that takes you by surprise among the standard glass box skyscrapers.

Ned Khan's Wind Silos project won the Landscape Design award in 2005. I though that the information from his website was fascinating: Wind Silos - International Trade Center, Charlotte, North Carolina. 2006. An 80’ tall by 450’ long facade of a parking structure was covered with a series of undulating metal screens evocative of grain silos. The corrugated and perforated stainless steel screens that form the silo structures were designed to allow ventilation of the parking structure while creating a visual screen.
A 16’ tall band, composed of thousands of wind-activated, 6-inch diameter stainless steel disks, runs the entire length of the facade, rising and falling with the contours of the silos. The polished surfaces of the disks capture the colors of the sky and sunlight.

Another group that caught my eye were Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects. LTL have produced a number of superb interiors including Tides Restaurant in New York.
I was particularly taken with the use of bamboo skewers to create the sculptural ceiling

Later in the day we took a trip down to Union Square so that I could see the 'Big Bang' sculpture. At the very top is a hand, symbolising the hand of God, below this is the explosion on sun and shock waves of the 'big bang'. At the bottom is a chunk of rock that symbolises the Earth, the long line stands for the passage of time.

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