Design news in May: skateboards, stations and sculpture | Design

Building for the future must be the goal of all good design. This month’s news articles contain great examples of architects and creatives trying to do just that. Skateistan Charitable Education Initiative is building safe places for children to learn and have fun in Afghanistan, South Africa and Thailand in the hope of reaching some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Meanwhile, creatives from six continents exhibit designs that offer solutions to the challenges of our time at the London Design Biennale. Very different projects, both with the aim of making the world a better place.

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Skateboarding in a war zone

The quarterpipe of Skateistan’s new Bamyan Mubaraka skatepark Photography: Skateistan

Starting this month, children and youth in Bamyan, Afghanistan will be able to learn kickflip, ollie and find freedom on a skateboard thanks to Skateistan, a nonprofit that empowers children through decks and education. Skateistan was founded by Australian Oliver Percovich. He arrived in Kabul in 2007 as a university researcher. He started loaning his own skateboards to the kids in the area and saw how much they loved using them. The idea for Skateistan was conceived and Percovich and his organization opened the first skate park in Afghanistan. Skateistan has also built classrooms to provide education for some of the street children who have visited, is a safe haven for girls, and has facilities for children with special needs. Skateistan then opened schools in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Johannesburg, South Africa. Bamyan’s location is the fifth.

An international team of skatepark builders oversaw the construction, supporting local construction teams. Three Afghan Skateistan staff also completed their first apprenticeship in building skateparks under the project.

“We are extremely excited to expand the scope and reach of activities in Afghanistan,” said Percovich. “We are excited to soon bring Skateistan’s unique blend of skateboarding and creative education to hundreds of other of the world’s most vulnerable children. “


New tableware from Ottolenghi

Feast - the new tableware collection by chef Yotam Ottolenghi in collaboration with artist Ivo Bisignano
Feast – the new tableware collection by chef Yotam Ottolenghi in collaboration with artist Ivo Bisignano Photography: Emma Lee

If you’ve ever wondered what the best way to present chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s vibrant and colorful food is, then the man himself has provided the answer. Ottolenghi collaborated with Italian artist Ivo Bisignano to create a collection of ceramic tableware called Feast, which is as vibrant and colorful as his food.

There are over 100 items in the set – from glasses and cutlery to more plates than you ever thought you would need – painted with very Ottolenghi designs. Along with the smiley faces and abstract vegetables, the range features the letter O in case you forget where it came from. “I have an obsession with the O,” admits Bisignano. “The O of a face, the O of a circle, a point, a colon and, of course: the O of Ottolenghi.”

The eponymous chef – who is Bisignano’s friend and frequent collaborator – believes that the new tableware is a representation of his restaurants and cuisine. “We tried to tell Ottolenghi’s story in objects,” says the British Israeli leader. “It’s a story of tension between the earthy and the sophisticated, tradition and novelty. Apparent opposites, existing together in dynamic harmony.

A feast for the eyes, nothing less.

The party tableware is now available for pre-order online and will be on sale from June 1


Highlights of the London Design Biennale

Extract from From Green to Red by Beatie Wolf, a work created from climate data
Extract from From Green to Red by Beatie Wolfe, a work created from climate data Photography: Beatie Wolf

As artistic director of this year’s London Design Biennale, Es Devlin asked a pressing question: How can design provide solutions to the great challenges of our time? Installations around the world aim to provide answers.

Alongside pavilions from countries such as Norway, Japan, Ghana, Germany and Canada, there will be the first pavilion for the African Diaspora which celebrates the evolution of heritage and the creative work of people of ancestry. African. The pavilion is overseen by industrial designer Ini Archibong who wants it to be a catalyst for conversation on race and equality. Another initiative for 2021 is the Global Goals Pavilion, which celebrates the United Nations goals for sustainable development by installing a forest of trees in the courtyard of Somerset House.

Other highlights include Design in an Age of Crisis, an exhibition showcasing radical design innovations across social, labor, health and environmental categories. Exhibits include Lot, a London land reserve that allows the public to claim unused land for community greening projects and a work-from-home clock that organizes time spent between work, family and friends. Artist and musician Beatie Wolfe created a piece of art for the event. From green to red was built from 800,000 years of climate data.

If Devlin is looking for answers, the design community has made sure they don’t need to look any further.

The London Design Biennale is at Somerset House, London, June 1-27


Improving British Railways

A rendering of 7N Architects' winning plan for Britain's small stations
A rendering of 7N Architects’ winning plan for Britain’s small stations Photography: 7N Architects

The Edinburgh firm 7N Architects won a Network Rail / Royal Institute of British Architects competition to imagine the future of British stations. Participants were asked to focus specifically on how small stations could be improved to provide travelers with a better experience. Anyone who has spent time on a UK branch line will probably agree that there is room for improvement. The winning design is a nice blend of the kind of civic tradition that is fading in small UK towns – and membership in the future.

The front of the station has a clock tower reminiscent of the Trumpton idyll, a traditional landmark and a useful meeting place. There are also dipping canopies on all platforms which look good and also – most importantly – will prevent rain while waiting for a (late) train. These blankets will consist of photovoltaic panels, which means that they will also be able to generate renewable energy.

7N Architects – who were also commissioned to represent Scotland at the Venice Architecture Biennale this month – were deemed to have ‘put passengers at the heart of their design’ by Rail Minister Chris Heaton -Harris, who said: Ideas for competitions like this will be a game-changer when it comes to designing the stations of the future that deliver a first-class experience to all passengers. “

Maybe we finally get there.


Ten years of Hepworth Wakefield

Artist Barbara Hepworth with her piece Sculpt 52
Barbara Hepworth with plaster Single form at the Morris Singer Foundry, May 1963. Photograph: The Hepworth Photograph Collection. Courtesy of Bowness / Morgan Wells

The Hepworth Wakefield is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and marks the occasion with Barbara Hepworth’s biggest show since the artist’s death in 1975. Among the many works of art, artifacts and glimpses of Hepworth’s creative process, this A gigantic retrospective will also present his sculptures from the Festival of Britain. , Turning Forms and Contrapuntal Forms, which will be brought together for the first time in 70 years in Hepworth Wakefield Garden.

The sculptures were Hepworth’s first public commissions and marked a turning point in his career. Ten feet tall, Contrapuntal Forms was his greatest work at the time. Carved from two huge boulders of Irish blue limestone, it shows two abstract figures “mixed into one sculpted and rhythmic form,” according to the English artist of the time. Turning Forms, on the other hand, is a rotating work of concrete painted white on a steel frame. It turned out to be a perfect embodiment of the celebration of the Science, Technology and Industrial Design Festival.

“Hepworth believed sculpture was fundamentally public and played an important role in shaping cities and privacy,” says Eleanor Clayton, Curator of Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life. “We are delighted to bring together these two major sculptures. “

Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life runs until February 27, 2022 at Hepworth Wakefield


The art, crafts and trade of knitting

Ashleigh Douglas, future textile manager at Dumfries House
Ashleigh Douglas, future textile manager at Dumfries House Photography: Prince Foundation

Calling all knitters: The Prince’s Foundation is encouraging anyone on hand with needles and yarn to contribute to an art installation for its head office in Dumfries House in Ayrshire. The educational trust wants to cover the Adam Bridge in Dumfries with a colorful knitted patchwork blanket created by an international army of artisans. Maybe not what John Adam envisioned when he designed the bridge in 1760, but times are changing.

The idea is to celebrate a traditional skill that can earn you money, give you a feeling of well-being and also make you discover new friends. “Knitting is very relaxing and known to have multiple benefits, such as reducing depression and anxiety, and increasing feelings of usefulness and inclusion,” says Ashleigh Douglas, future textiles manager. for the Prince’s Foundation.

This project is part of a collaboration between the Prince Foundation and the Joseph Ettedgui Charitable Foundation, an initiative known as Knitwise. This aims to train local hand knitters to a professional level to sustain the skill and provide a source of income.

Anyone wishing to help with the installation must send in 8 ” knitting squares. The use of recycled yarns is appreciated, as is the submission of pre-assembled squares. If you’re an absolute beginner, check out Dumfries social media channels for knitting tutorials.

Contributions to the art installation should be brought to the attention of Knitwise and posted to Dumfries House, Cumnock KA18 2NJ

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