Cover: My Broadway Boogie-Woogie by Christian Wassmann
New York is a place of cross-pollination and collaboration. From my first impression as a visitor, to internships, employments, interdisciplinary collaborations and the founding of my own practice, I felt a shared ambition or a connected dream; to which I belonged. The energy is stimulating, the diversity inspiring and the competition motivating. Buildings, designs, fashion and art performances can only be achieved through cooperation. New York is about friendships, common ground, respect, love and passion, that allow people to realize ideas and transform them into projects that are bigger than themselves. The city is built on bedrock, endless stories and an awareness of its own history.
With this cover design, I wanted to tell a multifaceted story about New York, with one photo directly out of a camera without manipulation or filters. I invited my friends and collaborators to participate in staging this image at the intersection of Broadway and 23rd Street. Michael Portnoy – a visionary artist and “director of behavior” – plays with one of my Dodecahedron chandeliers, an optical instrument, while wearing a suit from threeASFOUR’s latest Quantum Vibrations collection (both are profiled in this issue). From my studio, Joana Bem-Haja and Lauren Tucker choreographed the action and insured the background was precisely aligned. Even though everything was carefully planned the actual shoot occurred through happenstance, similar to Philippe Halsman’s surreal zero gravity portrait of Salvador Dali (1948).
Today, drones, satellites and Google Earth give us the opportunity to see the world from above. However, we no longer look up as much. As a kid growing up in Switzerland, I often laid down on my back and gazed up at the sky; realizing how small I was. Stars, birds, planes and clouds took my imagination to other places while still being firmly rooted on planet earth. When walking around cities these days, people tend to stare down at their little hand-held screens rather than at who and what is around them. Still, these addictive devices can be used to see ourselves within this universe; we can take selfies in front of anything, or simply lay our cameras down on the floor to look up. Broadway, originally a Native American trail, runs diagonally through the New York grid. At every intersection with an Avenue, it creates a set of angular parcels that eventually lead to unusual buildings. Adjacent to each of these locations are large public grounds: Union Square, Madison Square Park, Harold Square, Times Square, Columbus Circle, Lincoln Square, and so on. At our shooting location, the Flatiron Building – designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Dinkelberg and built in 1902 – is juxtaposed with a model of an unrealized project by OMA, developed 10 years ago. The translucent maquette will soon be placed on top of the Panorama at the Queens Museum, as part our design form the Never Built New York exhibition (also profiled in this issue). When readers hold TLmag 27 in their hands, they will discover that the top edge of its cover photo points toward True North. Unlike a map, East is left and West is right, as if laying on their back to looking up at the sky. With this new perspective, one might remember the lyrics of Lou Reed and John Cale’s homage to Andy Warhol: “there are no stars in the New York sky, they’re all on the ground.”
Editorial: New New York: An Open Platform
Progress, collaboration, compromise and innovation have all thrived in New York since the very beginning, even if bold assertion has remained the general modus operandi. Tradition dictates that New Yorkers be tough and unwilling to give an inch. Saul Steinberg’s satirical New Yorker covers in the 1970s, often suggested that people from this city rarely look past the Hudson River, offering evidence enough of the city’s self-assurance. However, despite its role as the steadfast center of American culture, no place better represents diversity.
How can one capture the essence of a place as geographically convoluted, culturally dense, historically layered, romantically charged and creatively vast as New York? For TLmag 27, we decided to look past claims that the city has reached its saturation point, and in doing so, we have uncovered a constantly evolving cultural capital. We present a group of maverick architects, artists, designers, curators and collectors who have forged their own paths and are best poised to weather the storm, aware that we cannot avoid reality.
We’ve tapped into the talents, platforms and voices that represent the larger creative community. Even within our own pool of contributors, we have witnessed the lively spirit of collaboration. Christian Wassmann came on board to work with us as the creative editor of this issue. In the following pages, respected curators Glenn Adamson, Cecilia Alemani and Christian Larsen share their belief that craft, design and installation should receive the recognition they deserve. Multi-faceted creatives ThreeASFOUR, Misha Kahn, Michael Portnoy and Alex Schweder show us how it is possible to transcend disciplines while Constantin Boym, Todd Bracher and Lindsey Adelman represent the core of contemporary design prowess. Women architects prove their might, and young, independent practices champion their respective niches. A large selection of emerging talents and brands expands our purview into Brooklyn and Queens. A long roster of galleries defend their rightful place at the forefront of collectable art and design.
– Lise Coirier & Adrian Madlener