Interior Designers Share Their Favorite Bathroom Design Trends For 2020
Native Trails While the modern styles of the last decade evolved into a more contemporaryRead More
Consultant Says Need For Affordable Housing In Naperville ‘is Just Going To Get Worse’
Naperville’s need for affordable housing will only grow if the city doesn’t take steps toRead More
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While the modern styles of the last decade evolved into a more contemporary look for homes overall, the pendulum is still swinging. Right now, design is at a bit of a crossroads. While clean, modern lines and the color white have been the dominating look for bathrooms in recent years, what’s old is becoming new again, with retro and vintage elements starting to emerge.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that bathroom design is a major commitment. Whether a space needs a gut renovation, soft refresh or could benefit from a weekend project, the question is how to design something that won’t feel dated in five, perhaps even ten years from now. I spoke with several top interior designers to get their take on bathroom design trends for 2020.
Sustainability has become a major priority in the design industry, with manufacturers trying to develop eco-friendly building materials and furniture. The Mendocino Tub by Native Trails is a perfect example of this. “We know that sustainability shouldn’t compromise style,” says Naomi Neilson, Founder and CEO of Native Trails. “Our latest artisan-made product release, a gorgeous freestanding bathtub, is a great example of that.”
A natural solutionNative Trails
The Mendocino tub is handmade from groundbreaking NativeStone, which is an eco-friendly blend of natural jute fiber and cement. It has a real modern-yet-earthy, rustic-yet-sleek look.
Creating A Spa At Home
And what better place to have a soaking tub than in a large master suite? Master suites with spa-like bathrooms have been a trend for years and are here to stay. This also exemplifies how wellness has become a greater cultural trend, according to Vian Abreu, Senior Interior Designer at Interior Marketing Group. “The most common trend we’ve seen in bathroom design for 2020 is towards creating a spa-like experience with a strong emphasis on wellness and relaxation,” she says.
Some examples of spa features for the home are heated floors, steam showers, aromatherapy with HVAC scenting, and heated or cooled vanity drawers for towels or skincare, as well as built-in speakers.
Retro Vintage Styles
While many are choosing to incorporate new technology into bathroom design, others are opting for a more vintage aesthetic. Peter Bowles, who is the Founder and Managing Director of Original BTC believes this is because social media has put a great emphasis on creating one of a kind spaces. “In order to achieve this, bathroom design is taking a nostalgic turn, recalling vintage styles that echo the flair and functionality of the 1930s and 1960s,” he says.
A vintage touchOriginal BTC
“This is certainly true for lighting, as well as other areas, such as bath furniture and tile work. Our Art Deco-inspired Pillar Offset Wall Light is an excellent example of this, available in a weathered brass finish with fluted glass for added vintage glamour.”
Outlined segments and mosaics are another way to incorporate vintage accents into a bathroom. “Creating inlaid mosaic mats out of tile or installing wallpaper in panels, for example, will be much more common this year than in the past,” says Gideon Mendelson, who is the founder of the Mendelson Group.
A great vintage style touchEric Piasecki
“Outlines catch your attention and then organize your experience in the room. It is a more obscure approach to graphic design within a space,” he says.
Marble Is Evolving
It’s easy to lose your marbles when renovating a bathroom, but know without a doubt that it will remain one of the most popular types of natural stone for many years to come. However, interior designer Sara Beverin of Interior Marketing Group notes that this trend is starting to pivot. “We’ve seen the typical Carrara and Calcutta marbles used a lot, but going forward I think more risks will be taken with more unique and bold marbles which can stand alone as artwork in the space.”
Wallpaper Is Here To Stay
Wallpaper has had a major resurgence in recent years and it won’t be peeling away any time soon, especially in bathrooms. It’s also an indication of the pendulum swinging towards more traditional styles. “Matching wallpaper with textiles is one of those techniques, and in a bathroom, it is a method we use to incorporate pattern without overwhelming the space with contrast and changes of scale,” says Mendelson.
This isn’t tileTempaper
Wallpaper also allows people to experiment with an aesthetic they may be unsure about integrating into larger spaces, says Jennifer Matthews, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Tempaper. “Bathrooms are becoming a place for people to experiment with bold colors and patterns, especially on the walls!”
Tempaper, a brand of peel-and-stick wallpaper, has been lauded by renters and DIY enthusiasts alike because it adheres to the wall without any damage and doesn’t require professional installation. Tempaper has collaborations with some of the biggest names in design including The Novogratz, Cynthia Rowley, and Bobby Berk.
Big design can come in small packages especially with the trend of compact lighting fixtures in bathrooms to supplement large overhead or vanity lighting. “Some of the most daring and fresh ideas in architecture and design today seem to be getting smaller and smaller, especially in the lighting market,” says John Yriberri of Modular Lighting Instruments.
While vanity and overhead lighting aren’t going away any time soon, smaller fixtures have become an ideal way to add additional light to darker bathrooms. “New technology has made it possible to have more discreet designs that are equally powerful and more efficient. A compact luminaire has become more popular, especially in small bathrooms or powder rooms, because it’s less intrusive and enhances the harmony of a design. [They can] create more layered lighting schemes without looking too busy,” he explains.
Decor From Other Rooms Brought Into The Bathroom
While it’s a tissue box holder, vanity tray or storage shelving, for years, decorative accents in bathrooms have looked very specific to the room itself.
A bench in the bathroomEric Piasecki
However, Mendelson says we shouldn’t be limited. “We’re starting to see bathrooms designed to incorporate more decorative items that give the space an aesthetic purpose, outside of the purely functional,” he says. “Benches, lanterns, ornamental mirrors, statement wall coverings, and vases all accomplish this elevated aesthetic and we will see more of this in 2020.”
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Naperville’s need for affordable housing will only grow if the city doesn’t take steps to address the problem, a consultant hired by city officials said.
In a report recently presented to the city’s Housing Advisory Commission, the consultants found residents in more than one quarter of Naperville households are paying higher housing costs than the federal government considers affordable. The issue is trending worse in the northern part of the city, according to the report
Naperville has taken initial steps toward addressing its lack of affordable housing, such as recommending that a portion of a possible development on city-owned land include affordable housing options, and conducting studies and training, but city leaders have not implemented sweeping change. Now, as Naperville continues to grow and open space to build new housing becomes scarce, advocates are urging action by city leaders.
“The problem’s just going to get worse,” Fran Lefor Rood, senior vice present of SB Friedman, told the housing advisory commission. “It’s not going to resolve. We’re not seeing a downward shift in incomes or a leveling off of housing values or something that would indicate that five years out, everything’s going to match evenly and we won’t have an affordability problem.”
Affordable housing advocates in May participated in a panel on affordable housing in Naperville. While Naperville has been cited multiple for not having enough affordable units, the issue is beginning to take the forefront as city council members make decisions on large residential development projects. (Erin Hegarty / Naperville Sun / Chicago Tribune)
The Naperville Housing Advisory commission recently heard results of a Housing Needs Assessment from SB Friedman and reviewed a separate housing action plan, listing some potential strategies, created with the help of several municipal organizations out of months of meetings with various groups. SB Friedman is set to return to the commission with its own list of possible strategies in the coming months.
In the Housing Needs Assessment, SB Friedman was charged with determining whether Naperville’s existing housing stock meets current and projected needs and identifying housing-related issues and unmet needs.
Both reports found there are fewer options for young families to buy starter homes in Naperville as developers tear down smaller homes to build larger luxury houses. Home prices are rising, and tear down activity helps perpetuate that trend.
The Friedman analysis shows that according to Census data, 27% of all households in Naperville are burdened by housing cost, meaning residents pay more than 30% of their income toward rent or a mortgage, utilities and other expenses.
“These households are considered cost-burdened and many are low-income,” the Friedman analysis says. “Therefore, there appears to be a considerable need for both owner-and renter-occupied affordable and income-restricted housing throughout the city to meet current residents’ needs.”
Naperville would have to add more than 3,000 lower-cost homes for buyers with incomes below $50,000, and more than 2,200 lower-cost units for renters with incomes below $35,000, in order to reach the recommended mix of affordable housing, the Friedman report shows. Housing imbalances at other income levels also remain.
As Naperville continues to grow, the city will need to add between 11,700 and 13,000 new housing units by 2040, including affordable and market rate options, to achieve a balanced housing mix, the report found. That amounts to more than 500 new units each year.
Councilman Patrick Kelly, the city council representative to the housing advisory commission, said the number was shocking.
“It was like, holy cow!” he said. “That’s a lot of units. Where would we even put them? Forget the price point, where are those going to go?”
The number of new units needed each year is significantly higher than the city’s average of 280 new construction permits per year since 2013. Household income needed to comfortably afford one of the new units built in that time — assuming 30% of income is spent on housing costs — has been around $170,000.
“Without production of new units, other strategies will be needed to mitigate existing housing burdens,” the report found.
James Bernicky, chairman of the Housing Advisory Commission that received the report, called for quick action toward addressing the city’s projected affordable housing shortage. He called the number of new units the city would need “extraordinary.”
“We need to start this year,” he said. “Because we’ve had needs assessments and it feels like this has been kind of something that everyone wants to do, but we need to really start making it a priority to take steps forward on this.”
One of the most surprising figures he saw in the report was that just 15% of people who work in Naperville live here. Growing that number can help create more of a sense of community, as workers also stay in town to go to the city’s restaurants and stores, he said.
Kelly said he wanted more answers on some of the figures in the report, but assuming the report is accurate and the council wants to address the figures in the report, dense, multifamily development looks necessary.
“There’s no other way to do it,” he said.
That task is bound to be a challenge for Naperville. An ongoing update to the city’s master plan will likely address housing, but a recent draft drew fire from residents who complained about changes that include the possibility of multifamily units in certain areas, he said.
Rather than seeking to mandate replacing dozens of houses with buildings comprising hundreds of units, city officials proposed allowing attached townhomes or duplexes to be built when one or two homes come down next to each other, Kelly said. But even that concept is not popular.
“So, if you can’t even do that, yeah, it becomes really difficult,” he said.
Mary Beth Nagai, with the DuPage Housing Alliance, said the city will need to get creative in addressing the housing need with limited land. Her organization has advocated for an ordinance that requires a certain percentage of units in new developments to be built at affordable rates, known as an inclusionary zoning ordinance. The city could also allow accessory units, like basement apartments or in-law suites, and restrict tear downs, she said.
Enforcing a tax on developers that don’t want to include affordable housing in new projects is something the city can do now, Nagai said. “And we have to maintain the affordable housing we have,” she said.
Bernicky and Kelly also said the city should look at an inclusionary zoning ordinance. Kelly acknowledged it could be difficult to get such an ordinance passed, and said he heard from other municipalities that, in order to be successful, Naperville must find a sweet spot, where developers still want to come to Naperville, but also include affordable units in their projects.
“If you’re not going to get any market-rate units, you’re not going to get any affordable units either,” he said.
Still, Kelly said, there is more to the debate. Even if the city encourages affordable housing, in some cases income is also a problem, he said.
“Land and construction costs are going to continue to rise,” he said. “There’s only so much you can do to restrict the price, and people aren’t making enough in wages.”
The Friedman report and addressed a variety of other housing issues, including challenges for seniors who want to downsize but can’t find options. They remain in place meaning the next buyer can’t move into their home.
The number of older homes being torn down is also contributing to affordability challenges
When the commission reviewed the plan, they also heard of several possible solutions presented by a separate group of agencies. Those included ideas such as creating an affordable housing trust fund and focusing on housing for seniors. However, they did not take action, and housing commission members are awaiting additional proposed solutions from SB Friedman.
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It was a year of stark contrasts in architecture: The burning and near-destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral versus the revival of once-decrepit buildings like Chicago’s Old Post Office. A group of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings finally achieved global recognition yet the world lost several noted design figures, among them I.M. Pei and Chicago’s Stanley Tigerman.
Building boomed. Quality was hard to find.
Here are the projects and events that stood out in 2019. Plus some notable losses.
Wright buildings take their rightful place: In a step that was long overdue but still welcome, eight buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright were named to the United Nations’ list of the world’s most significant cultural and natural sites.
Located in six states and completed between 1909 and 1959, the buildings placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List include the bold concrete structure of Unity Temple in Oak Park and the Prairie style masterpiece of the Robie House in Chicago.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, a Chicago-based non-profit that seeks to preserve and protect Wright structures, spearheaded the nomination in cooperation with the U.S. Interior Department.
Separately, the Robie House reopened to the public for tours after a meticulous $11 million-plus restoration by Chicago’s Harboe Architects. Credit for that transformation also goes to the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, a Chicago-based non-profit that conducts tours of the Robie House and other Wright sites.
Unity Temple in Oak Park in 2017. It was one of eight buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright named to the UNESCO World Heritage List. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
Heroic firefighters save Notre Dame: One of the worst days of the year was April 15, when fire ravaged the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, toppling its delicate Gothic Revival spire and destroying its wood-supported roof. But there was a bright spot: The courage of French firefighters, who saved the great medieval monument.
“Some, at the peril of their own lives, went inside the (Cathedral’s) northern tower to protect it from flames at a moment when it could have collapsed at any time,” the New York Times reported. “The decisive moment saved the structure.”
French President Emmanuel Macron gave the firefighters the medal of honor for their courage, a fitting reminder that buildings have many protectors.
*** 2019 News Year in Focus *** PARIS, FRANCE – APRIL 15: Smoke and flames rise from Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019 in Paris, France. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, collapsing the spire. The cause is yet unknown but officials said it was possibly linked to ongoing renovation work. (Photo by Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images) ** OUTS – ELSENT, FPG, CM – OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD ** (Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images)
New life for Chicago’s Old Post Office: After sitting empty for more than 20 years — an eyesore that straddled the Eisenhower Expressway — the Chicago’s Old Post Office welcomed its first tenants after an $800 million-plus redevelopment.
Headed by Chicago office of the global firm Gensler, a team of designers turned the hulking structure, built in 1921 and the early 1930s, into hip office space without sacrificing its historic character. They restored the building’s once-crumbling art moderne facade and its elegant main lobby. They even retained corkscrewing mail chutes.
It remains to be seen how well the giant building works as an office space, but kudos are nonetheless in order for the designers and the developer, New York-based 601W Cos.
Skylights span the multi-level atrium at the Keller Center at the University of Chicago. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)
At the U. Of C., an architectural oddball is revived: In another successful transformation, the Chicago firm of Farr Associates remade an exotic 1962 building by Edward Durell Stone at the University of Chicago. Now the vibrant headquarters of the U. Of C.’s Harris School of Public Policy, it’s been renamed the Keller Center.
The $80 million project buffed up the once-decaying exterior of the temple-like structure and rendered it more welcoming. Inside, the architects tore out floor slabs and inserted skylights to make once-constricted spaces into expansive spots to study and exchange ideas. Farr Associates worked on the project with Chicago’s Woodhouse Tinucci Architects.
A happy marriage of public housing and a public library: In Chicago, public housing has rarely been associated with good design. But there was a notable exception in 2019: three new structures that combined affordable housing and Chicago Public Library branches.
The best of them, in the Irving Park neighborhood, was designed by Chicago architect John Ronan and developed by Evergreen Real Estate Group. Brightly colored and crisply geometric, it proved the value of the concept called “co-location,” which joins a library with another type of building to lower construction costs and boost library attendance. (The other co-location projects were designed by Chicago’s Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Perkins+Will.)
Independence Library on Elston Avenue is part of a building with both a Chicago Public Library and public housing. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
A moving memorial to victims of gun violence: One of the highlights of the third Chicago Architecture Biennial was a memorial to victims of gun violence around the U.S. Designed by the Boston office of the MASS Design Group, the memorial consisted of four house-like structures that displayed in the biennial’s Beaux-Arts headquarters, the Chicago Cultural Center.
The design was a crystalline beauty, its glass walls covering wood honeycombs in which mementos of gunshot victims were displayed. The project poignantly made the point that the victims should be remembered as people, not anonymous statistics. The architects hope that the design, a prototype, will evolve into a permanent display. It remains on display as the biennial continues through Jan. 5.
A new look for old lobbies: Among the many remakes of ground-floor lobbies in downtown Chicago, some of which are hideous, one stands out: The redo of the south-facing lobby at the twin-towered CME Center office building, 30 and 10 S. Wacker Drive.
Shaped by Chicago’s Krueck + Sexton Architects for the building’s New York-based owners, Tishman Speyer, the project transformed a mausoleum-like 1980s lobby into a socially vibrant gateway. Distinguishing features include undulating perimeter glass walls and petal-inspired ceiling. An expansion of the project is due to be complete next year.
The new beach house at Gillson Park in Wilmette is a small building with a big impact. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Small is beautiful: Another modestly-scaled project, a public beach house in Wilmette, showed why Chicago’s Woodhouse Tinucci Architects has been able to make a specialty of little lakefront buildings.
The serpentine beach house offered a case study in how a small building can achieve a distinctive presence yet disturb as little precious land as possible. The resolutely modern design was highlighted by a peaked trellis of Siberian larch that sweeps over five small concrete structures. The beach house and new landscaping dramatically enhanced the suburb’s Lake Michigan shoreline.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery at 646 N. Michigan Ave. In November in Chicago. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)
The cathedral of caffeine: The world’s largest Starbucks, which opened in the old Crate & Barrel store on North Michigan Avenue, didn’t just appeal to Chicago’s appetite for being the biggest and the tallest. It delivered a shot of retail theater that made it one of the finest flagship stores on the Mag Mile.
Designed by an in-house team led by Starbucks Chief Design Officer Liz Muller and Vice President Jill Enomoto, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago, as this emporium is known, respected the modernist Crate & Barrel store by Solomon Cordwell Buenz yet gave it a fresh identity. Here, the playful industrial spirit of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” met the sophisticated Scandinavian modernism championed by Crate & Barrrel’s founders, Gordon and Carole Segal.
At 896 feet, with 76 occupied floors and 800 apartments, NEMA Chicago (center) is the city’s tallest rental tower and a major new skyline presence. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
A bold addition to the skyline: Chicago’s high-rise building boom has yielded more architectural quantity than quality. A notable exception is the new NEMA Chicago tower, which, at 896 feet, isn’t just Chicago’s tallest rental skyscraper but also gives the Near South Side a new landmark. New York architect Rafael Viñoly’s design creatively reinterprets the muscular setback style of Willis Tower while clean-lined interiors by New York’s David Rockwell draw inspiration from Chicago’s street grid and the building itself.
Finally, too many goodbyes: The design community lost an unusual number of major figures in 2019. In Chicago, notable deaths included Stanley Tigerman, a leader of the “Chicago Seven” architects who challenged modernist orthodoxy and opened the way for a more inclusive view of Chicago architecture. We also bid farewell to Lois Wille, the trailblazing reporter, editorial writer and author who wrote the influential book, “Forever Open, Clear, and Free: The Struggle for Chicago’s Lakefront.” And we lost Franz Schulze, the prolific art critic and author who wrote biographies of architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson.
Other notable architects who died were New York’s I.M. Pei, the globe-trotting modernist who brought new life to the Louvre with a giant glass pyramid; Cesar Pelli of New Haven, Conn., who designed the Malaysian twin towers that took the world’s tallest building crown from Sears (now Willis) Tower; and Kevin Roche of Hamden, Conn., whose credits include New York’s Ford Foundation headquarters and Chicago’s Leo Burnett Building. Pei and Roche were winners of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the field’s highest honor.
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Major Dubai property developer Damac pulls dividend payments amid slump, admits it doesn’t have the cash
A view of Damac logo in Dubai city center. February 10, 2018, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Artur Widak | NurPhoto via Getty Images
DUBAI — Dubai property developer Damac has cancelled its dividend payments, conceding slumping profitability and a weak market are crippling its operations.
“Kindly be advised that Damac confirms the news shared on the media in respect of non-distribution of dividends in light of the low profitability and the weak market,” the company said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market on Wednesday.
“This is the view of the management for the time being and the same shall be refined as we approach the time of distributing the dividends,” it added.
Damac Properties shares fell around 2% in Wednesday trade, adding to a 2.6% decline on Tuesday. The stock has slumped more than 40% this year.
The latest decision to conserve cash comes after Damac reported another disappointing quarterly earnings report, posting an 87% plunge in second quarter profits to $13.7 million with revenues falling 46% to $264 million.
Dubai’s real estate market, a key component of its economy, has been slowing for several years. Housing oversupply has driven prices down at least a quarter since 2014.
DAMAC Properties chairman Hussain Sajwani, a veteran of Dubai’s business and property scene who founded Damac in the heydays of 2002 and built the business into a high profile regional developer, said builders should halt launching new residential projects for “at least a year” in order to start a recovery.
“Let the market stabilize,” Sajwani told Reuters.
DAMAC has launched one project so far this year, he said, compared to two in 2018 and the roughly five or six it had launched annually in prior years.
“We’re going very conservative,” he added.
Sajwani told Reuters that a large, rival company had been “dumping in the market” with new launches over the past 18 months. “It’s bad for the country, for the market, and it’s going to be bad for them,” he added. He stopped short of naming chief rival, Emaar, which built key national landmarks such as the Dubai Mall and the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa.
Emaar Chairman Mohammad Alabbar was quick to hit back at the criticism.
“Really? Maybe if your Q2 profits were down by nearly 90 percent, it’s difficult to focus,” Alabbar told local news publication “Arabian Business.”
“I know what I am focused on, which is delivering the results Emaar customers and shareholders expect,” he added.
About 30,000 new homes will be built this year, twice the demand in the UAE, according to broker JLL. Sajwani said the market could start to recover in two years’ time if there were no new launches, but warned if no action were taken, the situation could worsen.
“Everybody will be a loser – the customer, the developer and the city,” he said.
Dubai’s government has announced in September it would establish a real estate planning commission to regulate the sector.
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Los Angeles architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee are often described as what they are not.
They are not creators of ebullient structures like Frank Gehry. They do not design aggressively seismic forms like Thom Mayne. They are not Eric Owen Moss. They are not Zaha Hadid. They are not the boxy Modernists of midcentury.
The buildings designed by Johnston Marklee & Assoc., their eponymous firm, are broadly united by a more-than-meets-the-eye experiential quality. Yet their work is difficult to drop into some tidy architectural taxonomy.
“Previous generations had a signature style, and it’s easier to label,” says Lee, seated before a wall of printed renderings in his firm’s cluttered West L.A. studio. “Our generation wants to escape that.”
On first view, their buildings may seem subdued. Walk inside, however, and you’ll find structures that unfold like origami — an approach to space that has put the burgeoning L.A. firm in increasing demand among cultural institutions in the United States.
Johnston Marklee’s interior redesign for Honor Fraser gallery transformed the space into a sequence of art galleries framed by a dramatic entrance.
In Southern California, they have become a go-to architectural studio for galleries seeking thoughtful redesigns of their spaces, including Roberts Projects (formerly Roberts & Tilton) and Honor Fraser in Culver City.
Their 2014 reworking of Various Small Fires, located in an old Hollywood film production office on Highland Avenue, delivers the experience of arriving in a series of small bites. The architects sealed off the structure’s front entrance and muted the faux Art Deco facade by painting everything white.
They then routed visitors along a narrow alley to the north that leads to a sculpture court in the rear, where the entrance is also located. There, a vaulted entry alcove, painted in a deep shade of gray, serves as portal and shelter, allowing visitors to shift visual gears before being delivered to the pair of gleaming white boxes within.
A view of the muted facade designed by Johnston Marklee for Various Small Fires in Hollywood.
In Houston, their critically acclaimed Menil Drawing Institute, which opened late last year, looks from a distance like pair of textbook-Modern horizontal lines crowned by a white steel plate roof.
Move toward the entrance of the small museum — at 30,200 square feet, it’s less than a third the size of the Hauser & Wirth gallery in downtown Los Angeles — and you’ll find something else. A series of diagonal lines slowly reveal themselves: the portico’s sloped roof, which is echoed by the lobby’s pitched rafters, followed by a procession through the spine of the building that takes you under a sequence of elegant triangular folds on the ceiling and along three tree-lined atria — each of which bears a distinct look.
“It’s a beautiful building with all sorts of vistas,” says Menil Director Rebecca Rabinow.
The western elevation of the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston, by Johnston Marklee & Assoc.
(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)
The Menil Drawing Institute may look flat from a distance, but the vaulted rafters at the entrance give the building a graceful dynamism.
(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)
The principal passageway of the Menil Drawing Institute features a series of elegant triangular forms.
(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)
Johnston Marklee’s most recent project, UCLA’s Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios in Culver City’s industrial Hayden Tract, opened to incoming students last month. The project, a renovation and expansion (which took the square footage from 21,200 to 48,000), transformed a frayed old wallpaper factory into a state-of-the-art studio facility.
In typical Johnston Marklee style, it was done with grace: The building retains its low-slung, light-industrial proportions, in keeping with the neighborhood. But a new facade of pillowed concrete, along with arched skylights in the workshop areas, add touches of refinement to what is essentially a space to make artistic messes.
“It fits into this post-industrial landscape in a really interesting way,” says Brett Steele, dean of UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture.
UCLA’s graduate art studios, housed in an old wallpaper factory in Culver City, before expansion and renovation.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )
UCLA’s Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios, after an expansion and renovation by Johnston Marklee.
(Louis Heilbronn / UCLA)
Next on Johnston Marklee’s to-do list: a building for the Philadelphia Contemporary, an experimental, nonprofit arts institution that has staged exhibitions around the city yet has never had a permanent home.
All of this is the work of an architectural studio that is less preoccupied with planting Instagrammable icons than in creating structures that react to local context in deliberate ways.
“Our generation, globally, a little older or younger, we are more interested in the fabric of cities,” says Johnston. “Not just the monuments and icons. It’s about understanding how we relate to the things around us. Not just ourselves.”
“A good building is like a good friend,” adds Lee. “If you want to be left alone, they will leave you alone. They will let you be quiet. But if you engage, they can tell you a lot.”
So how to pin words to the type of work that Johnston Marklee does? That’s the tricky part.
Former Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne described the firm as being part of a generation of architects he dubbed the “New Euclideans.”
“Its forms are basic, totemic,” he wrote in 2017. “Euclidean shapes dredged from the long memory of the field. It sometimes relies on modules or grids. It’s often monochromatic. It’s post-digital, which means it rejects the compulsion to push form-making to its absolute limits.”
Lee describes their work as “relational” — creating buildings that relate “to the life of other buildings and to the city.”
In 2017, Johnston Marklee completed master planning and renovation on the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, originally designed by Josef Paul Kleihues.
(Kendall McCaugherty / Hall + Merrick, MCA Chicago)
It is an ethos partly rooted in the cultural landscape of Los Angeles. The architects are inspired by the legacies of Modern and contemporary art and, more specifically, by the California Light and Space movement, which uses architecture, light and color to create psychologically charged spaces.
They also draw heavily from L.A.’s architectural history — both avant-garde and vernacular.
“That sensibility, that intimacy, that notion of the domestic,” says Johnston. “Even as our projects shift in scale, our sense of engagement comes from that — from comfort. And that’s why we like to continue to do domestic projects.”
“It’s a very human scale — it maintains that,” adds Lee. “There’s a very banal aspect to Los Angeles that I’m very attracted to: [Ed] Ruscha’s books, [John] Baldessari’s paintings.”
“The ensemble,” says Johnston. “There’s poetry in that.”
Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee in their West L.A. studio.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Like the buildings they design, Johnston, 54, and Lee, 52, have an air of easy grace. The pair, who are also a couple, arrived at the same architectural point through different paths.
Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong and moved to the Claremont area in 1983. He was drawn to the field as a child. “Growing up in Hong Kong,” he says, “buildings have a presence.”
As a USC undergraduate in the late 1980s, he pursued architecture.
Johnston, who grew up in Malibu, came to architecture as an adult. She attended Stanford, where she played volleyball and majored in history (with a focus on the Italian Renaissance) and became interested in architecture on a trip to Europe.
“I traveled and went to Italy and France and I started looking at beautiful buildings,” she says. Stanford didn’t have an architectural program, so she took classes at UC Berkeley.
The two met as students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (where Lee currently serves as chair of the architecture department) and ultimately ended up back in Los Angeles, where they established their firm in 1998.
Like many L.A. architects, some of their first notable projects were houses: the Sale House, where they added a new dwelling area to a studio and garage in Venice that was originally designed in 1978 by Mayne’s firm, Morphosis; and the Vault House in Oxnard, a crisp, arched design that is composed of a balletic combination of arches within.
Johnston Marklee & Assoc.’s “Vault House” in Oxnard, completed in 2013.
They quickly drew the attention of a variety of clients, renovating and designing spaces for art galleries, a design book shop (they did the interiors of Arcana Books in Culver City) and a fashion designer (they have done boutique interiors and a house for Chan Luu).
But their work on the Menil Drawing Institute, combined with their role as curators of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial — an exhibition that The Times’ Hawthorne described as “elegant and densely layered” — has brought them broad national recognition.
Rabinow says Johnston Marklee’s design for the Menil, the first ground-up drawings museum of its kind in the United States, revealed the ways in which the architects were able to smartly navigate multiple issues: the low-slung domestic scale of the neighborhood, the lighting needs of fragile drawings, the architectural legacy of the Menil Collection campus, which includes an early museum building by Renzo Piano. (The dark wood exteriors of Johnston Marklee’s structure, for example, echo the floors of Piano’s central building.)
Johnston Marklee’s Menil Drawing Institute is part of a long lineage of important architecture on the Menil Collection campus.
(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)
“They nod to things from the different buildings,” says Rabinow. “It’s like a beautiful symphony where you start to hear chords throughout. But their building is still very different. They’re not trying to work on the same thing.”
In the process, Johnston and Lee have become part of a tradition of important architects who have been given a boost by the Menil at a key moment in their careers. In addition to hiring Piano for his first solo museum structure, the Menil Collection’s founders, the late John and Dominique de Menil, hired a young Philip Johnson to design their home in the late 1940s.
“With John and Dominique, it was a mantra of collecting artists before they reach a certain plateau — and they continue that ethos,” says Lee. “They picked Piano. They picked us. They could have gone with a more well-known architect. But this shows they have a certain confidence.”
“They treated us like artists,” adds Johnston. “There was such an elevated way that we talked about the challenges of the building, and they gave us space to experiment and test. And in this age — the developer age — there is a need for a great architect to have a great client. Everybody needs to show up and take those risks.”
One of the three tree-lined atria at the Menil Drawing Institute. The design puts a lot of thought into spaces used by the staff.
(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)
A study area inside the Menil Drawing Institute. The building is the first ground-up drawings museum and conservation lab in the U.S.
(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)
In turn, the architects take great care with the environments they create.
At the Menil, whose functions go beyond that of museum (the institute also houses an archive and a conservation lab), staff areas show as much attention to detail as the gallery spaces. Curatorial offices face a tree-lined atrium; the conservation lab looks out on an earthwork by Michael Heizer.
Rabinow says some of the most remarkable spaces are the incidental ones.
“When you are walking out of the staff kitchen toward the loading dock, and you look up towards the sky, and for a split second, it’s like a [a work by James] Turrell,” she says. “That always stops me in my in tracks.”
In the studios they designed for UCLA, the curved lines that give the skylights their panache also appear in parts of the building that most occupants will never lay eyes on — such as a facilities roof studded with ventilation equipment. It too is a space worthy of thoughtful design.
“The path of their career is that they have the capacity to do different kinds of projects, but with the certainty that you will get Johnston Marklee quality,” says UCLA’s Steele. “It’s a tricky thing for architects. It takes a degree of confidence.”
Architects Johnston Marklee & Assoc. added 26,800 square feet of space to a 21,200-square-foot warehouse to create UCLA’s graduate art studios. Workshop areas occupy the new spaces, many of which are open air.
(Louis Heilbronn / UCLA)
“They not only know the art world, they love the art world,” says Harry Philbrick, founding director of Philadelphia Contemporary, who has been working with Johnston Marklee on an initial design concept for his institution. “They are extremely knowledgeable. That distinguished them. … We are not looking to create a traditional art museum. They understood that.”
Johnston describes what they do in simple terms: “We think of our buildings as infrastructure. It’s a framework for all of these things to happen.”
But the reactions they hope to elicit are complex.
“Ed Ruscha says that when people look at his paintings, he likes to solicit a ‘Huh?’ and then ‘Wow.’” says Lee.
A double take. Johnston Marklee’s work generates plenty of those.
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Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings Pty Ltd Dr_Precious Moloi-Motsepe seated front row with designer Gavin Rajah and Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes during AFI Fashion Week Cape Town. Supplied picture.
More than established and up-and-coming designers from across Africa will showcase their Spring Summer collections at the African Fashion International AFI Fashion Week next week. The three day fashion experience will be held from Thursday to Saturday October – , at the Sandton Convention Centre.
One of this season’s highlights is a showcase by seasoned and renowned designer David Tlale who will showcase his latest collection titled “JOYCE”, a tribute to his late mother who passed away recently. The local designer line-up also includes AFI regulars such as Rich Factory, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue, BeachCult, LSE by Paledi Segapo and La Art Neviole Emporium Invited designers include Mozambican designer Taibo Bacar, Nigeria’s Ituen Basi and Kreyann from Cameroon.
Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings Pty Ltd Actress Nomzamo Mbatha wearing Rich Factory at AFI Fashion Week. Supplied picture.
Since its first runway shows years ago, AFI has been instrumental in creating and propelling many designers to legendary heights through this global platform which showcases the best that African fashion has to offer. AFI Fashion Week also takes luxury African fashion to the world through AFI’s Designer Boutique, leveraging off the global network that the organization has built over the years. Keeping to it’s #IAMAFRICA theme, AFI Fashion Week is a celebration of African talent and a sure path to commercial success for the talented designers.
African Fashion International will open its Fashion Week experience on the th of October with the highly billed African Fashion Unites show. The show will be a tantalizing fusion of African cuisine and music which will accompany a Pan African fashion showcase with designers; Christie Brown Ghana, Maxhosa SA, Gavin Rajah SA, Eric Raisina Madagascar, Mai Atafo Nigeria, Kahindo Mateena DRCUSA, Laurence Airline Ivory Coast, KLûK CGDT SA, Moshions Rwanda and Neo Serati SA.
The opening show will see performances from renowned artists such as Cassper Nyovest, Femi Kuti and the highly popular Ndlovu Youth Choir, with a special Pan African menu designed by Chef Coco of Epicure Restaurant.
The Motsepe Foundation in a call for Africans to unite, will support the African Fashion Unites show. The Foundation, which focuses on programs in tertiary education, Women’s empowerment, support of small-scale farmers and SMEs, has in the past promoted initiatives that promote social cohesion viz Global Citizens Concert amongst others.
“Africa belongs to Africans” declares Executive Chairman of AFI, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe. “The continent needs to unite in its diversity.” With six of the fastest growing economies in the world hailing from Africa and the youth population estimated to reach million by , the economic growth and development of the African continent through local production and consumption could see a self-sufficient continent, with substantial reduction in poverty levels. Add technology and innovation in this picture and the future looks promising for Africa.
Provided by Independent Media -Laartneviole Emporium showing his great designs at the AFI fashion week .Photograph :Phando JikeloAfrican News AgencyANA
“AFI believes in the promise of Africa. With the recently concluded continent wide AfCFTA African Continental Free Trade Area, the continent has a large enough market to increase intra African trade” Says Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.
The creative industries, including the fashion and clothing sector which is estimated at $.Trillion globally and $Billion in Sub- Saharan Africa, will seize major market share as local consumers forgo highly taxed imports and embrace locally produced, good quality, unique and competitively priced clothing.
“The creative sector can create jobs along its value chain, with collaboration between countries and using the expertise and local knowledge that exist on the continent. This will go a long way to reducing current high unemployment levels especially amongst women and youth” says Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.
For more information and full program visit .africanfashioninternationalm
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Firefighters from multiple communities on Sunday evening were battling a -alarm fire at a condominium complex at the corner of Salem and Beekman streets in Fitchburg, according to Fitchburg Fire Department officials.
According to Deputy Chief Anthony Marrama, firefighters responded to a fire at Beekman St. shortly before p.m. on Sunday.
As of roughly : p.m., the fire was still active, according to Marrama. He said the fire was a “special call,” meaning additional resources beyond those deployed for a normal -alarm fire were involved in the response.
Marrama said that five different communities are participating in the response to the fire, and that there had been no injuries.
Fire Chief Kevin Roy said that rescues had taken place, but did not specify how many or elaborate any further.
A full-floor apartment at a tony Upper East Side building hit the market Tuesday with a $. million price tag.
Located directly across Fifth Avenue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the -story apartment building, which was reportedly once lived in by actress— and later Princess of Monaco—Grace Kelly, was designed by leading architect J.E.R. Carpenter in .
“The holy grail of New York City architecture are the grand scale pre-war buildings,” the premier buildings being those designed by Carpenter and his predecessor Rosario Candela, said listing agent Dan Kessler, who listed the property along with Byron Anderson of Compass.
“Only two of Carpenter’s buildings have been converted into condos and only one of those buildings is on Fifth Avenue,” Kessler said. Condo ownership presents more flexibility than owning a co-op or an apartment, he added. Condos boards are also more open to foreign buyers.
The wedding cake-style building has multiple distinct tiers decreasing in square footage as the floors increase. This penthouse sits on the penultimate floor of the first tier. “It’s the highest you can be with the largest floor plan,” Kessler said.
More: Newly Renovated House in Bristol Lists for £. Million
The four-bedroom apartment—one of just units in the building—is being sold by a former Morgan Stanley executive who purchased the home in for $. million, property records show.
Spanning , square feet, and entered through a marble-clad private elevator landing, the home has a living room with a wood-burning fireplace and windows looking out over the museum and across Central Park, according to the listing.
There is also a French-polished mahogany library, a formal dining room, a kitchen with an adjacent breakfast room, and separate staff quarters.
From Penta: Art by Women Remains Underrepresented
The Fifth Avenue building has been “home to prominent New Yorkers from the beginning,” the listing said.
Along with Kelly—who reportedly lived there prior to her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco—it was also home to Sylvia Green Wilks, the daughter of Wall Street scion Hetty Green, according to the listing. Green Wilks reportedly lived across two floors of the building, using one for her home and the other to store her surplus furniture.
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It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So before you buy or sell International Alliance Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (HKG:1563), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.What Is Insider Selling?
It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, most countries require that the company discloses such transactions to the market.
Insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. As Peter Lynch said, ‘insiders might sell their shares for any number of reasons, but they buy them for only one: they think the price will rise.’
See our latest analysis for International Alliance Financial LeasingInternational Alliance Financial Leasing Insider Transactions Over The Last Year
Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by CEO & Executive Director Luqiang Li for HK$501k worth of shares, at about HK$1.00 per share. Even though the purchase was made at a significantly lower price than the recent price (HK$1.30), we still think insider buying is a positive. Because it occurred at a lower valuation, it doesn’t tell us much about whether insiders might find today’s price attractive.
You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!
SEHK:1563 Recent Insider Trading, September 13th 2019More
International Alliance Financial Leasing is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.Insider Ownership of International Alliance Financial Leasing
For a common shareholder, it is worth checking how many shares are held by company insiders. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. International Alliance Financial Leasing insiders own about HK$1.0b worth of shares (which is 53% of the company). Most shareholders would be happy to see this sort of insider ownership, since it suggests that management incentives are well aligned with other shareholders.What Might The Insider Transactions At International Alliance Financial Leasing Tell Us?
The recent insider purchase is heartening. And an analysis of the transactions over the last year also gives us confidence. Along with the high insider ownership, this analysis suggests that insiders are quite bullish about International Alliance Financial Leasing. Looks promising! Along with insider transactions, I recommend checking if International Alliance Financial Leasing is growing revenue. This free chart of historic revenue and earnings should make that easy.
But note: International Alliance Financial Leasing may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.
For the purposes of this article, insiders are those individuals who report their transactions to the relevant regulatory body. We currently account for open market transactions and private dispositions, but not derivative transactions.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.
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JP Morgan has created an index to track the effect of Trump’s tweets on financial markets: ‘Volfefe index’
President Donald Trump speaks as he receives a status report on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, September , .
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Donald Trump is tweeting more and it s affecting the bond market.
In fact, the president s market-moving tweets ballooned in August as he hammered China on trade and went after the Federal Reserve on interest rates.
In an attempt to quantify the impact of Trump s tweets on the bond market, J.P. Morgan devised a Volfefe Index to analyze how the president s tweets are influencing volatility in U.S. interest rates.
J.P. Morgan found that the index, named after Trump s infamous and still mysterious covfefe tweet, explains a measurable fraction of the moves in implied rate volatility for -year and -year Treasurys.
This makes rough sense as much of the president s tweets have been focused on the Federal Reserve, and as trade tensions are broadly seen as, first and foremost, impactful on near-term economic performance and, likewise, the Fed s reaction to such developments, wrote the authors of the J.P. Morgan report.
Trump s market-moving messages most often address trade and monetary policy, with key words including China, billion and products. These tweets are increasingly less likely to receive favorable responses, such as likes or retweets, from the president s followers.
Since his election in , Trump has averaged more than tweets a day to his nearly million followers —roughly , total over that period associated with his personal account, of which more than , occurred after the inauguration.
Out of about , non-retweets occurring during market hours from to the present, only moved the market.
Most of Trump s tweets come around noon to : pm, with a : pm tweet roughly three times as likely to arrive at any other hour of the afternoon or evening, according to J.P. Morgan s report.
Trump s : am tweets are also more common than : pm tweets, which can be a nuisance for U.S. rates markets, since overnight market depth tends to be thin.Trump is presumably asleep from : am to : am, according to the report, since there s a lull in tweeting activity during that time.
Days when Trump tweets a lot are also associated with negative stock market returns, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
While Trump s activity can disrupt markets with sudden attacks on China trade or the Federal Reserve, he has still been good for the stock market overall. The Dow is up % since the presidential election and % since his inauguration.
Trade talk, political campaigning and tweets have contributed to volatility, from China to Fed policy to tax policy, wrote the brokerage s chief equity strategist Savita Subramanian.
And new tariffs announced in August indicate downside risk to our EPS growth forecasts of +%+%, where indirect impacts from hits to corporate or consumer confidence could be significant.
WATCH: How JP Morgan Chase became the largest bank in the US
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