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Democracy, artful photography at work in Philly polling places

It's a little bit cool, a little bit weird, but the varied polling places of Greater Philadelphia inspired photographer Ryan Donnell to create Behind the Curtain: The Philadelphia Polling Project, reports Wired.

The idea to record these unusual polling stations cropped up in 2006 in conversations between Donnell and his wife, who is the City Hall Reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News. They put the idea on ice for a couple of years while Donnell was getting out of the freelance game and building a commercial editorial photography business. When 2008 came around with its momentous sense of history, Donnell knew it was the right time.

"The Philadelphia Elections Board actually posts a list of all the polling stations and every place has a small description next to the address, such as 'Residence' or 'Storefront' or 'Water Department Laboratory,' says Donnell. "So I made a list of the weirdest sounding places, packed-up my Hassy, tripod and film in my car and basically just drove all over the city of Philadelphia for about 10 hours on Election Day. I've done that every election since November 2008."

Original source
: Wired
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Alessi: Ethical and Radical opens at Phila. Museum of Art

The world-renowned Italian manufacturer of designer household objects has long collaborated with top architects and designers, and the resulting artistic innovation is the subject of of a new exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, reports ArtNow Magazine.

On November 20, 2010, Alberto Alessi, President of the company and grandson of its founder Giovanni Alessi, will be honored at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with Collab's distinguished Design Excellence Award.

"The objects in this exhibition demonstrate the results of Alessi's unique, risk-taking approach to design and, consequently, how they blur the boundaries between industrial manufacturing and art," said Kathryn Hiesinger, Curator of Decorative Arts After 1700.

The exhibition is organized into two sections: family and factory history and a survey of past, present and future Alessi objects by collaborating designers, including the radical experimental projects Tea and Coffee Piazza of 1983 and Tea and Coffee Towers of 2003. The introductory section includes a map of the exhibition plan designed by Alessandro Mendini.

Original source: ArtNow Magazine
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Philly's championship 100 mpg hybrid goes to Poptech

Sixteen year-old Azeem Hill, part of the after-school team that beat out top competitors for the Automotive X-Prize by building a sporty hybrid car that can get 100 mpg in the city, is profiled by Treehugger at annual big-idea conference Poptech.

They entered the car in the Automotive X-Prize, and beat out numerous top competitors--MIT and multimillion dollar tech firms among them. Hill and Hauger brought the car to this year's Poptech, and I caught up with them to get the story.

And yes, he and his classmates had to learn everything that goes into making a hybrid car--from the relevant physics to the design applications to the under-the-hood mechanics. How else could they build this. Azeem's instructor, Simon Hauger, created the after-school hands-on hybrid car program 13 years ago, and decided a couple years ago to aim for the X Prize.

Original source: Treehugger
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WSJ: The Barnes in a new light

The new home of the Barnes Foundation along the Ben Franklin Parkway is both challenging and controversial, and the Wall Street Journal's hard-hat tour reveals a new take on classic art.

Tod Williams, of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in New York, pointed out the siting of key features: a three-story garden that will interrupt the art galleries; a long, low water feature near the visitor entrance; a cantilevered light court connecting the galleries with an L-shaped building containing a caf´┐Ż, gift shop, auditorium and other amenities.

Another innovation is a small second-floor gallery that will house Matisse's famous 1905-06 painting "The Joy of Life," currently in a stairwell and difficult to see. "It was not [handicapped] accessible," Mr. Williams said, "so we were able to break the rules. There were not too many opportunities, but that was one of them."

Decisions on interior details are still being made. Using a full-scale model, Mr. Williams said, "We are investigating changing the color of the wood, we're investigating changing the color of the fabric, we're investigating whether to use the exact moldings that they used. We're investigating the floor. One of the things that may be controversial is detailing that is more contemporary."

Original souce: Wall Street Journal
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Philadelphia Film Festival's big kickoff indicative of city's cinematic scene

The Wall Street Journal breaks down the movie madness in Philadelphia, where the 19th annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicked off last week with a visit from Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky.

Festival organizers were clearly hoping to open the festival with a bang and overshadow the confusion over Philly's cinematic scene that sprouted two years ago. Originally, TLA Entertainment and the Philadelphia Film Society (PFS) sponsored the Festival. In late 2008, creative differences arose between PFS founder Ray Murray and PFS members. There were also arguments over how to approach fundraising.

According to Claire Kohler, the director of production of Philadelphia Cinema Alliance, when the "personality clashes" and differences became "pronounced," Murray and TLA formed the Philadelphia Cinema Alliance (PCA), a competing organization that would also produce its own film festival called CineFest. In short, PFS puts on the Philadelphia Film Festival, which runs in the fall, and PCA puts on CineFest, which took a break in 2010 but which will run in spring 2011.

Original source: Wall Street Journal
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Connecticut arts panel looks at Philadelphia murals for inspiration

Members of the Norfolk Arts Commission visited Philadelphia last week to get a close-up look at some of the thousands of works of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Programs, reports The Hour.

"I was blown away by how these community murals in Philadelphia brightened the neighborhoods. It's inspiring to hear the stories of how these murals got made, and how it brought the community together," Becker said. "This is how to revitalize neighborhoods and instill a sense of pride, something I see Norwalk needs help with."

Launched in 1984 to combat graffiti, the city of Philadelphia Mural Arts Programs now bills itself as the largest public art program in the United States.

Original source: The Hour
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Flying Kite among new online operations tackling local news

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on two online news publications that have launched recently, including yours truly.

As the market for news fragments, new models for journalism are emerging. Two of those experiments, Flying Kite and Patch, launched in Philadelphia last month.

"This is a fresh way to get fresh content about all the innovative things happening in our city," said Danielle Cohn, (Philadelphia Convention and Visitors) bureau spokeswoman.

Original source
: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Read the full story here.

Tuned Pale Ale sounds great after a few beers

Philadelphia design company Tuned has created a beer bottle that doubles as a musical instrument, reports Pitch.

Tuned is a design company that draws its inspiration from sound. The beer bottle (at right) for Tuned Pale Ale can actually be used as an instrument in several different ways. The label features the musical notes that correspond to your level of beer while the grooves along the side (near the drinker's thumb) can be strummed with a bottle cap. The beer's six-pack holder can even be flipped over and turned into a tongue drum.

Tuned has actually been produced and drunk, but it's not currently on the market. If you happen to own a brewery or were looking to get into the bottled-beer business, the designers behind Tuned are looking for a distributor.

Original source: Pitch
Read the full story here.

superfluid's virtual currency could be perfect for thirsty creatives

An engineer and physicist have teamed up to form superfluid, a social twork that helps creative talent collaborate, reports Technically Philly.

It's a novel idea based on a growing number of localized currency systems, like Ithaca Hours in New York. With these local systems, currency is kept within a community, be it Ithica or superfluid.

Currently, Solomon and Vasilic are working on the gig full-time, along with three others who are half-time. The team is preparing to announce a "well known" partner in the virtual currency before the end of September. They've also recently launched a contest to promote the new virtual currency with the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy.

Original source: Technically Philly
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Live music venue, rock museum proposed for Fishtown

Grasso Holdings has proposed converting a Richmond Street industrial building in Fishtown into a live music venue and museum for Philadelphia's rock and roll stars, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The project would be housed in roughly 34,000 square feet of a 75,000-square-foot building at 2055 Richmond St. Grasso Holdings has the property under agreement and is in the early stages of the project in terms of financing, design and seeking neighborhood support and zoning approvals.

The facility would be able to accommodate about 2,600 people and would incorporate high-tech features that would create an interactive experience for concert-goers. The facility is being designed with the fans' experience as the focal point, said one person with intimate knowledge of the project and that starts from the moment a ticket is purchased.

Original source: Philadelphia Business Journal
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Drexel's Smart House a living laboratory of sustainability

Led by Drexel University students and faculty advisors, the Drexel Smart House is pushing the envelope when it comes to sustainably improving the quality of life in urban residences, reports Forbes.

The group has received several EPA grants in support of its work (an impressive feat for a student organization) as well as other funding from the university and community groups. Seven of the students have already received LEED AP certification through their work in the student group.

Other similar projects exist in a handful of schools across the country; however, this project is unique in that it is a rebuild of a house in an urban environment.

Source: Forbes
Read the full story here.

146 design Articles | Page: | Show All
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