Table of Contents
Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.
BY THE EDITORS
August 14, 2023
The Design Dispatch offers expertly written and essential news from the design world crafted by our dedicated team. Think of it as your cheat sheet for the day in design delivered to your inbox before you’ve had your coffee. Subscribe now.
Have a news story our readers need to see? Submit it here
Montalba Architects Touches Up a Beverly Hills Landmark
Beverly Hills is home to a bevy of distinguished architecture, but few stand out like Edward Durrell Stone’s landmark Perpetual Savings and Loan Bank building. Sporting a Romanesque facade of repeating arches, the eight-story structure now known as 9720 Wilshire recently underwent a renovation by award-winning local firm Montalba Architects. While the revamp touched the lobby and basement, its finest moment sits outside in the plaza. There, the firm replaced a fountain that once housed a gold-plated Harry Bertoia sculpture but was decommissioned in 2010 after a series of leaks. In its place is a circular light well—made of backward-arching bronze prongs that mimic the curves of the facade—that drops into the basement, where a glass-clad sunken garden of evergreen landscaping brings in the light and creates a tranquil focal point. —Ryan Waddoups
Malin Gallery, with locations in Manhattan and Aspen, has closed its doors amid allegations of unpaid debts to vendors and artists. A former employee claimed that the gallery owed money to multiple parties, while the gallery’s founder, Barry T. Malin, denied the allegations, stating that some parties owed money to the gallery. Malin informed artists of the closure via email, citing “unfortunate and unforeseen events,” and has engaged a consulting firm to handle the closure, prioritizing the payment of any outstanding balances to artists. The Aspen space, which opened in 2021, is now vacant, and the gallery’s most recent exhibitions closed in May.
Virgin Galactic successfully launched its first tourists to the edge of space, including a former British Olympian who bought his ticket 18 years ago and a mother-daughter duo from the Caribbean. The space plane’s brief flight provided passengers with a few minutes of weightlessness before gliding back to a runway landing at Spaceport America in New Mexico. This milestone allows Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to begin offering monthly rides, joining the space tourism business alongside Blue Origin and SpaceX. The flight marked the first time women outnumbered men on a spaceflight, and Virgin Galactic’s ticket-holder flight reached 55 miles high, with about 800 people currently on the company’s waiting list.
Bangkok’s iconic “robot building,” known for its distinctive design resembling a giant robot, has lost its key features during a renovation by the building’s owner, the Thai arm of United Overseas Bank (UOB). The changes sparked an outcry from heritage campaigners and groups, who’ve called for better protection of the city’s architecture. UOB Thailand stated the renovation aims to promote environmental sustainability and enhance employee well-being, with a focus on reducing energy consumption by 15 percent. Critics are urging the bank to find a way to improve energy efficiency while preserving the facade’s unique design, reflecting a broader need for changes in how sites of special importance are identified and preserved.
Waymo and Cruise have secured approval to operate their paid robotaxi services 24/7 in San Francisco, following a contentious six-hour public hearing. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted 3-to-1 in favor of the companies, allowing them to operate at any hour and charge for rides, marking a significant victory for autonomous vehicle operators. The decision was met with mixed reactions from residents, with concerns raised about traffic jams, road safety, and job loss, while supporters praised the potential benefits for disabled riders. The CPUC urged the companies to address these concerns and warned that they could limit or revoke permits if problems persist.
The Supreme Court has blocked Purdue Pharma from proceeding with bankruptcy arrangements that would have granted the Sackler family broad protection from opioid-related civil claims. The decision arose from Purdue Pharma’s reorganization in bankruptcy due to its role in the opioid addiction crisis, with the Sackler family agreeing to contribute up to $6 billion to Purdue’s reorganization fund on the condition of release from civil liability. The court will hear arguments in the case this December, and the government has criticized the plan as an “exceptional and unprecedented” abuse of the bankruptcy system. The settlement was initially agreed upon between the Sacklers and eight states in March.
AI’s increasingly human-like capabilities have been haunting this screenwriter.
Illinois’s governor recently unveiled the famed butter-clad cow at the state fair.
Critics can’t quite wrap their minds around Nike’s strange multi-font branding.
Adding a pinch of salt to coffee can tame bitterness and supercharge its flavor.