This week’s biggest architecture and design stories on Dezeen



  • The cover of David Bowie’s Blackstar album, released just days before his death, was designed to reflect the musician’s mortality, according to his graphic design collaborator Jonathan Barnbrook.
  • This week on Dezeen: the designer behind David Bowie’s Blackstar album artwork revealed its true meaning in an exclusive interview and we looked ahead to the era of the “megatall” skyscraper.
  • More architecture | More interiors | More design | More news

  • Rotterdam-based architecture firm OMA also released images of its renovation plan for Berlin’s KaDeWe department store.
  • Rotterdam is fast becoming a centre for innovation, according to architects we interviewed this week.


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Chicago Architecture Biennial has half a million attendees



  • Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015: organisers of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial have counted more than 500,000 visitors and the city has renewed its commitment to host another edition in 2017.
  • “The first-ever Chicago Architecture Biennial was an unequivocal success, exceeding our expectations for attendance and bolstered Chicago’s reputation as the vanguard of architectural thinking on the national and international stage,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
  • The Chicago totals far exceed those of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, which counted 228,000 visitors.
  • Writing in Dezeen, Sam Jacob hailed the biennial as being “rooted in the visionary, imaginative tradition (rather than history) of Chicago itself.”
  • An outgrowth of the city’s Cultural Plan, the city created the biennial to showcase Chicago’s legacy as a birthplace of modern architecture and reassert its centrality to global architectural discourse.


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ArandaLasch adds pleated concrete facade to Tom Ford store



  • US firm Aranda\Lasch has completed a store for fashion designer Tom Ford in the Miami Design District, featuring an angular facade that references bold Art Deco motifs (+ slideshow).
  • Robins, co-founder of the Design Miami fair, is turning the area into a neighbourhood dedicated to fashion, design, architecture and dining spaces.
  • Inside the Tom Ford store, menswear and womenswear are split up over the two floors.
  • The architecture studio – which recently designed looping Railing chairs made of metal pipes for Design Miami – referenced patterns and shapes typical on the Art Deco-period architecture around Miami in its design for building’s facade.
  • “Inspired by the pleated Art Deco patterns found in architecture and fashion, the facade is given a texture that revives the exuberance and ornament of Miami’s golden era,” the studio told Dezeen.


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Chinese contractor begins work on $137m new town in Panama



  • Photo: The ground-breaking ceremony, attended by the president of Panama (China Construction America)

  • The contractor, which is the American subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation, was awarded the scheme on 4 August.
  • The police intervened to keep the demonstrators from disrupting the ground-breaking ceremony.
  • The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Juan Carlos Varela, the president of Panama.
  • The scheme will also host a campus for the University of Panama for West Panama.


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FitzSimons’s installation is meant to explore how we “view, think and dream” about homes



  • Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015: a stark installation on the Chicago lakefront by artist Sarah FitzSimons features the outline of a traditional two-storey American house (+ slideshow).
  • Her work has been exhibited in cities around the US.

    House is on view in Chicago through 25 October.

  • Titled House, the structure sits on a beach along Lake Michigan, with a part of it submerged in water.
  • The temporary installation has no roof, walls, nor cladding – leaving it intentionally open to the elements.
  • FitzSimons used aluminium poles and joints to create the outline of a typical two-storey home found in the American Midwest.


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Lift-off! My 90-second ride into the future of virtual reality



  • For all the hype around 3D virtual and augmented realities, however, the technology still necessitates strapping a device to your head.
  • For anyone who has experienced virtual reality (VR) before, or been in any kind of simulator, the experience is all rather underwhelming, particularly after the warnings of motion sickness and expectations of an immersive bucking bronco ride.
  • Signing a health and safety waiver and confirming that I’m not overly sensitive to noise, I am strapped into a padded vest and virtual reality goggles and invited to straddle the turbine – and ominously told to hold on tightly.
  • Before you know it, you’re floating somewhere above an imaginary landscape and landing back in the room 90 seconds later.
  • Which is something that the spectacular downfall of Google Glass revealed the general public – if not hardcore gamers – are still very reluctant to do.


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Art, design and architecture: what to see in autumn 2015



  • The last British Art Show was the best so far.
  • AS

    The dynamism, unexpectedness and sheer abundance of the art market makes these art fairs a window on the new – and the old.

  • Jonathan Jones

    Groundbreaking attempt to place pop art in its global context or another rehash of familiar names and images?

  • This long-overdue survey should allow us to focus more on the art, less on the man.
  • The spiritual art of the past echoes in his work – martyrs, triptychs, meditation, all that sacred jazz.


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Architects seek $2.9 billion to build ‘Lord of the Rings’ city Minas Tirith in U.K.



  • Architects seek $2.9 billion to build ‘Lord of the Rings’ city Minas Tirith in U.K.

    Crowd-sourced projects with lofty aspirations are a dime a dozen, but Jonathan Wilson’s Indiegogo proposal is asking for many more dimes — nearly $2.9 billion — to build the “Lord of the Rings” city of Minas Tirith.

  • If the nearly $2.9 billion goal isn’t reached by the late-September deadline, no contributors will be charged the amount they pledged.
  • “We settled on Minas Tirith, as we felt it represented the most realistic and sustainable project.”
  • Living in England’s Worcestershire County, Wilson said he came up with the idea to build the city after watching a marathon of its corresponding movies with his friends.
  • In addition to posting updates on the Indiegogo page, Wilson is updating fans on project progress on Twitter, via his @RealiseMinas account.


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