Icon 113: Space 04.10.12

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Icon 113: Space

The November issue of Icon is devoted to “Space”. In August, Neil Armstrong the first man to walk on the Moon died, aged 82. That same month the Curiosity rover landed on Mars, marking a new era for NASA, which has retired its space shuttle fleet to concentrate on the exploration of new planets. It now subsidises private companies to take people and supplies to the International Space Station, initiating what might be called the Second Space Age and a further wave of private entrepreneurial activity.

Icon visited the 27sq miles of New Mexican desert where Foster + Partners has built Spaceport America for Virgin Galactic. From this sci-fi building, which resembles a horseshoe crab, space tourists with $200,000 to spare will be able to enjoy sub-orbital adventures.

From 1991-1993, an earlier group of entrepreneurs interested in the possibility of colonising space conducted a doomed experiment: eight people lived for two years in a sealed glass complex, which they hoped to replicate on other planets. Noah Sheldon has photographed the ruins of what is now judged a monumental failure.

We also meet artist Tom Sachs, who has devoted his career to simulated space missions to the Moon and Mars with a comic toolbox of DIY equipment. And we talk to the scientists who are creating the experimental spacesuits that they hope will take us to new frontiers.

Upfront there’s a waterfront theatre in Wuxi in eastern China, encrypted textiles, a house in Morocco by Guilhem Eustache, and versatile furniture from the artists Muller van Severen. There's also public lighting by Ralston & Bau, the polymathic Rolf Sachs – and our pick of the Venice Architecture Biennale, from Aldo Rossi’s colourful sketches to Herzog & de Meuron’s personal autopsy.

And in Review, we look at the inflatable experiments of Haus-Rucker-Co, a history of humanitarian violence, the latest London restaurant fad, and the commercialisation of colour.

  

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