Top 10 in Design 2008

2008 was a great year for design – see what made the list

Sweeping out the old
Sweeping out the old

Yes, yes, everyone has a top 10 for everything. And honestly, I don't know why I should be any different. So here it is: national/local art & design related goodness from 2008.

10. The Austin Museum of Art's new building, which is to be called Museum Tower, is a hybrid office tower/museum space. Not that we're jazzed about the office tower, but damn, is it time for AMOA to move out of that broom closet!

9. Bravo's Top Design is difficult for me to resist. Firstly that show has more queer folks on it than a cruise ship named after Dolly Parton. So that's great. And the show features Jonathan Adler, my interior design boyfriend. Too bad he already has a husband.

8. Austin ranks 10th in Popular Science's top 10 greenest cities. Ratings were determined by a complicated analysis (we're told) of the energy usage, transportation, green building, and recycling in each city. Austin could do better in transportation and green building, but at least we're in the top 10!

7. When the design firm TimeLinks proposed to build an arcology (a city enclosed within a building), many a sci-fi nerd's heart skipped a beat. Add to it that this arcology is in the form of a a Ziggurat, will hold over 1 million residents, and that it will be completely off the grid… well, what can one say? It's a visionary idea.

6. Shepard Fairey's Barack Obama poster was a clever regurgitation of fascist propaganda posters. The hard graphic message – Progress – was anything but.

5. In the spring of 2008, I took a trip to New York City with my brother, who is an architecture major at Texas Tech. By far the coolest thing we saw was the Prefab show at the Museum of Modern Art. Not only did the show feature artists' renderings and models in an upstairs gallery, but MoMA actually build five prefab houses that you could step inside of! Some were itty bitty, and some, like the Cellophane House, designed by Kieran Timberlake Associates, made me drool.

4. Maker Faire's blend of DIY aesthetic and techno-nerdiness makes it one of the signature events in Austin. Check out the projects that received blue ribbons, featuring the Austin Bike Zoo, at the top of the list with nine (!) editor's ribbons.

3. It's no secret that art fairs and biennials have all but overtaken the contemporary art market. Which is what makes Prospect New Orleans somewhat of an enigma. Instead of bringing artists and dealers together to sell works of art (art fairs) or to represent their respective countries (biennials, all of the projects that are a part of Prospect 1 are vital and necessary interrogations into the power of a place that many Americans feel they know, but may rarely visit (aside from being party-goers or disaster tourists). Prospect 1 hopefully brings more folks and dollars to a city that is still badly in need of both.

2. Love it or hate it, the Olympic Park in Beijing significantly changed the city's attitude and skyline. From the Herzog and de Mueron Bird's Nest Stadium to the Water Cube designed by PTW, the new structures built for the Olympics took significant risks. Word on the street is all the serious architectural projects now go to Beijing and Dubai. Why not America, where we are free to innovate and create without state interference? Two words: Freedom Tower. All this is to say nothing of the opening ceremonies, which featured stunning acts of technology, including the largest digital clock I've ever seen! Suck on that, CNN hologram!

1. The new First Family has style and class. It is difficult to imagine that the Obamas won't leave their mark on the presidential residence. Here's what I can't wait for: a tour of the White House, given Jackie O.-style, by the Obamas. Apparently one of the first tasks for the new president is to pick a rug for the Oval Office, and you can bet I'll blog about it as soon as I know more…

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green design, Austin design, Maker Faire

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