The Icon team are taking a break over the festive period but we'll be back in 2012 to bring you more of the very best in international design, architecture and culture. Happy holidays!
Preston Scott Cohen’s elegant extension to the Israeli city’s museum of art has a modest facade that veils a complex and dramatic interior.
The dingy packages, parcels and envelopes of the Royal Mail get a makeover, to make the experience of visiting a post office almost as exciting as receiving a letter – even if the actual post office remains the same.
In this, the fourth in our series of exclusive previews of the OMA in Conversation series, Reinier de Graaf, speaks about the difficulties of building in London.
From land mines to financial crises, this year’s batch of graduates has taken a step away from the conceptual to tackle real-life problems.
Coop Himmelb(l)au’s church in Hainburg, Austria combines digital design with references to the giants of modernism.
Hal Foster’s book turns a spotlight on the gallery spaces "starchitects" such as Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Renzo Piano have become famous for designing. Kieran Long finds Foster's architectural commentary "less than agenda-setting", and wonders why the urban context of their architecture never gets a mention.
|Wim Delvoye||19th Century Modern||John Edwards Lecture: Rem Koolhaas|
|Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania||Brooklyn Museum, New York||Tate Modern, London|
|10 December 2011 – 26 March 2012||Until 1 April 2012||12 December 2011|
|It's hard to categorise Wim Delvoye. The eccentric Belgian artist is best known for his series of Cloacas, digestive machines that produce real excrement, but his oeuvre also includes tattooed pigskins, meat mosaics, laser-cut Gothic towers and X-rays of copulating couples. This month, the Museum of Old and New Art brings together more than 100 of his works in an attempt to bring some order to the chaos.
|This month, New York's Brooklyn Museum explores how post-industrial design was inspired by the machine and looks at designs that took on a more abstract language of simple lines and geometry towards the end of the 19th century. The exhibition also explores how modernism's influence spread in Europe and North America, not only changing the aesthetic expression of the time, but also enabling new forms of production.
|The Architecture Foundation brings together Nicholas Serota and Rem Koolhaas for its annual John Edwards Lecture, held this year at the Tate Modern. The conversation is billed as a "trans-disciplinary meeting of minds", and could go anywhere, from art and architecture to creative culture and society – but it seems highly likely that the director of OMA will also be musing on Progress, the firm's major exhibition currently showing at the Barbican.
|Design Miami||Gramazio & Kohler||Art and the City: Sabine Hornig|
|Miami Beach, Florida||Pompidou Centre, Paris||Arnolfini Arts Centre, Bristol|
|30 November 2011 – 4 December 2011||2 December 2011||7 December 2011|
|Design Miami is now in its seventh edition, returning to Miami Beach this month with its counterpart Art Basel. This year's event is a platform for leading galleries such as London's Carpenters Workshop Gallery and Rotterdam's Galerie VIVID. Designer of the Year David Adjaye has created Genesis, an entrance pavilion composed of hundreds of vertical wooden planks. Fendi will present Craft Alchemy, a collaboration between designer Elisa Strozyk and artist Sebastien Neeb.
|This month the Swiss architects Gramazio & Kohler (Icon 085), pioneers in digital materiality, are giving a talk at the Pompidou Centre. For the projects Pike Loop (2009) and Structural Oscillations (2007-2008) they programmed robots to lay individual bricks into one long, undulating wall – the first use of robots in architecture to do something more complex than single repetitive tasks. More recently, they've been working with ETH Zurich on improving the cognitive abilities of robots.
|Since 1990, Berlin-based artist Sabine Hornig has been faithfully mocking up balconies, rooms, corridors and entrances in lightweight concrete and presenting them in gallery contexts. Her freestanding architectural fragments aim to play with our perception of interior and exterior space. This month, Hornig will give a talk at the Arnolfini, describing her practice and her new commission for an installation behind the glazed facade of a Bristol girls' school.
|Of Toys and Men||Lygia Pape: Magnetised Space||DesCours 2011|
|Grand Palais, Paris||Serpentine Gallery, London||Various venues, New Orleans|
|Until 23 January 2012||7 December 2011 – 19 February 2012||2 - 11 December 2011|
|The Grand Palais has teamed up with leading French design museum Musée des Arts Décoratifs, to take visitors on a journey back through childhood. Presenting thousands of toys from classic favourites to modern wonders like Kaleidoscope House (2002, pictured), Of Toys and Men explores the relationship children have with their own bite-sized versions of reality. It also examines how new media, gender bias and design evolution are shaping the world we grew out of.
|Lygia Pape, along with contemporaries Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, established the 1950s neo-concrete movement in Brazilian art. A splinter group from concrete art – the abstract movement started by Theo van Doesburg in 1930 – the new style was intended as a freer way of composing colour and shape. On show at the Serpentine are Pape's dramatic installation Tteia (Web), a room pierced with shafts of gold threads, and Livro do Tempo (pictured), a grid of 365 small geometric reliefs.
|Every year in December, New Orleans stages DesCours, a free ten-night festival of visual art, architecture and entertainment. Musical performances, parties and architectural installations animate locations that are normally inaccessible to the public. Last year, Chicago design firm Luftwerk created a sensory installation using thousands of black feathers for a site off Canal Street, inspired by the migratory birds that pass above it on the Mississippi Flyway.
There’s lots to go and see this month: post-industrial design at the Brooklyn Museum, an exhibition of toys at the Grand Palais, eccentric works by Wim Delvoye at the Museum of Old and New Art and the Serpentine Gallery’s retrospective of Brazilian artist Lygia Pape, open from today.
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