70s values

70s values

Monday, 19 October 2015



Image above: architectural model by students Koutsioumaris, Mpouranta, Rouni:

"One of the great beauties of architecture is that each time, it is like life starting all over again", said Renzo Piano architect of the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, down in the river delta at Faliro bay area, in Athens, Greece.

In the beginning was the Word...and then was a plan?-)
The senior students of Semester 9 - Urban design class of the School of Architecture in NTUA (National Technical University of Athens) conceived and designed 22 proposals of urban planning notions that would transform the SNCC surroundings and gradually evolve the urban character of the whole city of Athens. The then-call exhibition Site Effects, was born out of this effort, to decipher this new architectural landmark by super-exposing new solutions for the area's and the city's sustainable plan of future urbanism.

The times seem to impose such thinking:
Peter Vetsch' eco/earth housing is back under the public eye again, the Sauerbruch Hutton architects in Berlin, win the annual German Architecture price for Immanuel protestant church-declaring Sustainability over Glamour as the new Moto, Ackerhelden association in Germany rents gardening space to citizens of the German capital...and the living legends of Japanese architecture,Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki act against Zaha Hadid's original plan for the National stadium in Tokyo, for reasons of ecological and cultural sustainability of the surroundings -together with the 33000 signatures of the locals...

The titles of the projects vary significantly, covering a broad spectrum of design approaches: Urban frames - Urban virus - Mold and time - Crossing wedges - Urban implant - Persephone's garden - Tesselate - Unreeled nature - Adversed cities - Squares, water, metal bars - Den(-c-)ity - Cracks on the urban web - Point, section, plane - Spatial passage - Unnatural praise - City layers - Fragments.

In the colloquial supporting event, two of the exhibition curators- Faculty professors As. Prof.Ariadni Vozani and Ad.Prof. Anrdreas Kourkoulas, presented the central axis of the course- a number of data, questions and notions regarding the SNCC project, as the students' principal survey of its connection to the city of Athens and its expansion to the sea. 
A make- or- break architectural point for the area AND the city of Athens- a fact that architects/Professors D. Karidis, Y.Peponis, Y.Aesopos and Ad. Professor in Urban Planning, Meta Berghauser Pont illustrated thoroughly, by a series of examples and similar attempts (older and recent) in other capital cities like Berlin, Genova, Hamburg, Bilbao, in comparison with studies of urban network planning in Medina, Atlanta, Singapore, Stockholm, Amsterdam, New York, Chicago, Barcelona. They elaborated on the possible configurations of the final equation: the old Athens, the sea front or barrier, an immense architectural and financial investment, its network and its cultural impact (or not), a crisis (or not) and a critique, the future possibilities of this new "Acropolis" or a new urban Guetto - and the final outcome: a starting point?
A brave, new activity, hopefully- that leads to a creative, unlimited, urban function, for all the citizens - of the Athenian town and of the world. A new generation of designers - architects contemplate heavily on this vision, soon to be a reality, ready to use.
For more information on the exhibition Site Effects 22 Proposals - held on the SNCC Visitors Center until the 18th of October 2015 and its parallel events and archives, please check:





Warm regards?-))

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

DESIGN SCANDALS...thoughts over a turbulent industrial culture

Secrets, lies, unorthodox practices, incorrect techniques, unethical trade, colossal financial interests: all create the image of fierce competition in design industry the last century of its tremendous explosion. Many stories occur, regarding some legends of creativity, historical industrial units and ambivalent, yet extremely popular final products. It is getting so difficult and awkward, to choose certains dark facts/events from such a long line of production evolution...stigmata on Design history' immaculate body.

a. Coco Chanel's tries to trip up the Wertheimer family, current owners of the Chanel brand.

In 1924, Coco Chanel made an agreement with the Wertheimers creating a corporate entity, "Parfums Chanel" on which she had a share of only 10% of the stock, a fact that displeased her, making her trying to get bigger control of the company the following years, in vain.
World War II brought with it the Nazi seizure of all Jewish owned property and business enterprises, providing Chanel with the opportunity to gain the full monetary fortune generated by "Parfums Chanel" and its most profitable product, Chanel No. 5. The Wertheimers, were Jewish, and in May 1941, Chanel used her position as an "Aryan" to petition German officials to legalize her right to sole ownership. Chanel was unaware that the Wertheimers, anticipating the forthcoming Nazi mandates against Jews had taken steps to protect their interests. Prior to fleeing France for New York in 1940, they had legally turned control of “Parfums Chanel” over to a Christian, French business man and industrialist, Felix Amiot. At war's end, Amiot turned "Parfums Chanel" back over to the Wertheimers.

More on :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Wertheimer

b. Hugo Boss support to the Nazi regime designing and clothing production

The fashion company that epitomizes contemporary German Chic has done service to Hitler's government.The founder Hugo Boss created the company in Metzingen in 1923 and then the factory in 1924. Boss joined the Nazi Party in 1931, two years before Hitler came to power. By the third quarter of 1932, the all-black SS uniform (to replace the SA brown shirts) was designed by SS-Oberfuhrer Prof. Karl Diebitsch and Walter Heck (graphic designer).
Hugo Boss company produced these black uniforms along with the brown SA shirts and the black-and-brown uniforms of the Hitler Youth. Some workers are acknowledged to have been French and Polish prisoners of war forced into labour. In 1999, US lawyers acting on behalf of Holocaust survivors started legal proceedings against the Hugo Boss
company over the use of slave labour during the war. The misuse of 140 Polish and 40 French forced workers led to anapology by the company.
After World War II, Boss was fined for his support of Nazism and was not allowed to vote.

More on :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Boss_(fashion_designer)

c. International arms manufacturer Pietro Beretta central share holder: the Vatican

Founded in the 16th century, Beretta is the oldest active manufacturer of firearm components in the world.
Few people know though that the company is controlled  by the Holding SpA Beretta and the majority shareholder of the Beretta Holding SpA after Gussalli Ugo Beretta, is the IOR  (Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank)  private institution founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII and headquartered in Vatican City.

More on:

d. Do fashion designers follow practices of "extermination" of unsold clothes?

Does fashion industry burns unsold clothes and accessories in order to "prevent" pattern theft by its competitors, so they don't make cheaper imitations - and stop further economic exploitation of the goods by internet merchants and Outlet shops, leading to "devaluation of the brand"? Yes- it is unfortunately- the answer. Millions of clients started to realize and condemn those practices though, forcing the companies to donate and recycle eventually... Check more on this fascinating, yet deeply shocking subject on:


e. Worst car scandals list in history do not include only Volkswagen

VW is just the latest. Takata airbags scandal is another from the "Egypt Plagues" of the industry...The Japanese manufacturer of airbags has recalled airbags in some 19.2 million vehicles in the U.S. due to a tendency of the device to deploy with too much force, sending metal scraps flying into the passenger cabin. Eight deaths and about 100 injuries in the U.S. have been attributed to the defect.
According to a New York Times report, Honda, one of the companies using the bags, and Takata knew about the dangerous airbags for years before disclosing it to the public and issuing recalls. In early September, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that its investigation is expanding to include a wider range of airbag types made by Takata.

More on: http://fortune.com/2015/09/26/auto-industry-scandals/

f. Zaha Hadid is out of Tokyo Olympic Stadium project for reasons of sustainability of the urban landscape and eco-system

Zaha is dismissed from constructing the plan ...it all started when Tokyo-based architect Toyo Ito and Pritzker Prize-winner Fumihiko Maki organized an online petition to stop the construction of the new sports arena.
They argue that the stadium, which will be as tall as a 20-story skyscraper once built, will be totally out of scale to its location and will ruin the Meiji Shrine Outer Gardens. Nearby residents will be forced to relocate. The architects propose, instead, saving the city’s existing Meiji Jingu Gaien Stadium, which is scheduled to be demolished in July to make way for the new project. The petition ultimately gathered more than 33,000 supporters.
More design scandals -including Zaha's resignation- for the past year in this amazing article:


g. Steve Jobs, Apple and controversy: Who stole what (or what Steve really stole from others?)

Linux, Android. Microsoft, Samsung (a huge vendetta, a true saga of consequent lawsuits, especially post-iPhone presentation to the public)...A labyrinth of accusations and a blurry perception of where observation stops to give its way to a new invention...Steve Jobs is often quoted as saying “Good artists copy, Great artists steal” (though he was quoting someone else). Check the list in this fantastic on-line survey, about the company's products, based on a pre-existing platform.


..... ..... .....

Many times I wonder what would be the fate of the two large "Grand confort" armchairs, (designed originally in 1928 by a team of three design legends: Le Corbusier; his cousin and colleague Pierre Jeanneret; and Charlotte Perriand)...in the Olympic Airways glorious lobby at Syggrou Avenue, Athens. Were they authentic? They were not in a pristine condition- they do seemed quite old ... Were they prototypes, imitations or Cassina copyright-protected later production? ...What happened to them after the OA headquarters closed down in 2009? They ended up in a high rank official's play room or in an antiques fair? or even worse: thrown in the public pit?

Photo bellow: http://oliverwolfson.com/category/modeling/

Be well-Stay safe?-))