• John Eric Byers at Gallery NAGA

    Furniture, Carved Paintings and Production Prototypes

    By: Mark Favermann - Oct 27th, 2011

    In a new and much awaited show at Gallery NAGA, Studio Furniture master John Eric Byers is exploring different directions and colors for his elegant and very precise work. Though often simple in form, the sometimes textured pieces are sophisticated objects of desire.

  • The Elegant Apple

    Steve Jobs’ Design Legacy

    By: Mark Favermann - Oct 08th, 2011

    Much has been written about Steve Jobs since his death at 56 on Wednesday October 5. But little has been stated about his major contribution to late 20th Century and early 21st Century design. Not only was Jobs a software and business systems innovator and entrepreneur, but his eye for beauty translated into elegance and inspirational design fostered the development of a series of revolutionary product designs that have influenced the world.

  • The Elegant Sculptured Door Knocker

    Minimalist Functional Design

    By: Mark Favermann - Jun 07th, 2011

    Since 1988, the doorbell has not worked at my carriage house. After most of a terrible winter that saw new delivery people and first time visitors stand outside ringing the silent bell while getting cold and wet, I decided to find an appropriate door knocker. As a designer and appreciator of great design, I wanted the most beautiful damn door knocker that could be found. I think that I came close.

  • MIT Names New Media Lab Director

    Joichi Ito, 44, College Drop-out And Entrepeneur

    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 26th, 2011

    With the appointment of Joichi Ito as the new Media Lab director, MIT has broken academic rules and appointed a megatalented entrepreneurial individual to lead the prestigious digital think tank and creative cauldron. However, with no academic credentials, what is the higher education institutional message that this appointment is making?

  • The Divine Comedy at Harvard

    Olafur Elliasson. Ai Weiwei and Tomas Saraceno Exhibit

    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 17th, 2011

    The Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Harvard Art Museums are presenting a three-part exhibition that addresses the "converging domains of contemporary art and design practice." Entitled The Divine Comedy, this exhibition is comprised of major installations by internationally acclaimed artists Olafur Eliasson, Tomás Saraceno, and Ai Weiwei. Though the premise of the exhibition may be academic and pretentious, the quality of the work speaks to beauty and truth.

  • Cocktail Culture At RISD Museum

    Ritual and Invention in American Fashion 1920–1980

    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 12th, 2011

    An ambitious and elegant exhibition is the first multi-disciplinary show to explore the social and cultural rituals of the cocktail hour through the lens of fashion and design. Cocktail Culture features both formal and casual fashion apparel, jewelry, textiles, decorative and fine art, film, photographs, and period ephemera from across 60 years of American development and change. Drawn from the Museum’s vast collection as well as loans from other museums and private collections, more than 220 objects are included in this entertaining slice of 20th Century design.

  • Decorative Arts In America At The MFA

    The New Wing Showcases Objects of Desire

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 28th, 2010

    Throughout the new Art of the Americas Wing at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the curators have integrated the beautiful and often seminal objects of specific time periods into the displays. These objects often compare vividly to the great paintings and sculpture that they are grouped with. The quality of these objects, often objects of desire, is often brilliant and sometimes even breathtaking. A sampling of a few is not enough to understand the breath and depth of the MFA's astounding collection. Revisiting the museum is necessary. The greatness of the collection is now better seen than ever at the MFA's new wing.

  • Animating the Inanimate

    Judy Kensley McKie At Gallery NAGA

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 14th, 2010

    One of the most acclaimed and beloved studio craftsman of the last few decades, Judy Kensley McKie continues to produce works of profound grace and sublime quality using imaging and abstraction derived from geometry, animals and plants. In her new exhibition at Boston's Gallery NAGA, she enlivens simple objects by giving them life and spirit. Her pieces are not just beautiful objects but resonating visual narrations.

  • Alessi: Creating Home Product Icons

    New Exhibit Underscores Design Magic

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 07th, 2010

    For the last three decades, the Italian home products manufacturer, Alessi, has through collaboration with star architects and designers been at the forefront of design, producing instant icons like Michael Graves’s bird-whistle teakettle and Richard Sapper’s elegant espresso pot. All are fixtures on many design devotee’s kitchen or bar counters. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is celebrating the 90-year-old company with an exhibition, ‘‘Alessi: Ethical and Radical,’’ opening Nov. 21 through April 10.

  • Why Design Now? At Cooper-Hewitt Museum

    Design Museum's Triennial Confusing Again

    By: Mark Favermann - May 15th, 2010

    Every three years, the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt has its Triennial. Every three years, it is a mix of truly good sometimes great design along with examples of eccentric sometimes simple-minded objects and systems. The jurying process has always been questionable and less than transparent. Too often it seems friends of friends are chosen. This year the Tricentennial of the Unites States' design museum has gone global with designs from both emerging and industrialized countries. No other country's design museum would feature foreign designers. Instead, they would celebrate their own country's best design and designers. In addition, the exhibit is rather strangely laid out, captioned to confuse and badly focused. Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

  • Designing Wayfinding For Accessibility

    Compliance With ADA Regulations By Design

    By: Mark Favermann - Apr 23rd, 2010

    Universal design or accessibility for everyone is one of the major themes of 21st Century design. The other is sustainability. The United States is at the forefront of accessibility requirements worldwide. A recent Toronto conference focused upon Canadian issues regarding accessible wayfinding and ease of navigation in, through and around the built environment. Mark Favermann was one of conference's speakers.

  • Museum Madness In Boston

    Moving Venues, Great Recession and Big Egos

    By: Mark Favermann - Mar 17th, 2010

    Winter finally moves into Spring, Daylight Savings Time and NCAA Basketball March Madness are now being joined by a museum madness in Boston. News keeps coming about new museums promised, contracted and postponed in the Hub of the Universe. It is the Great Recession, resources are limited and apparently so are a lot of folks involved in the pursuit of the creation of new museums with or without actual buildings, collections or financial support. Does ego trump resources?

  • Gallery NAGA Exhibit For North Bennet Street School

    Studio Furniture Benefit Celebrating 125 Years

    By: Mark Favermann - Mar 13th, 2010

    Gallery NAGA is presenting a spectacular benefit exhibition, for the North Bennet Street School to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Founded in 1885 in Boston's North End to teach crafts – bookbinding, locksmithing, cabinetry, the making of musical instruments to immigrants, it has a long and distinguished history of training skilled craftsman. Twenty-seven studio furniture artists from throughout the country, including many of the most storied names in the field of studio furniture, are in the show. Generously, the artists and the gallery are donating 50% of the works' selling prices to the school.

  • I.D. Magazine Dead At 55

    Influential Design Publication Is Terminated

    By: Mark Favermann - Feb 27th, 2010

    Started in 1954, I.D. Magazine published its last issue in December 2009. To its loyalists including its rather inconsistent in quality and thought processes former writers and editors, it was a crying shame. They blamed a heartless and (gasp) an unsophisticated Midwestern philistine publisher, the Great Recession, severely reduced advertising revenues and the internet. Some others wonder why the New York-centric magazine's demise did not happen sooner. I.D. Magazine RIP.

  • Vancouver's Olympic Look of the Games

    Failing By Trying Too Hard On a World Scale

    By: Mark Favermann - Feb 16th, 2010

    The 2010 Olympic Winter Games opened in Vancouver on February 12. In the last 40 years or so, this has been an opportunity for a locality or country to showcase itself, among other ways, visually to the world. Billions of people are watching luging, triple toe loops and big air at remarkable speeds and often elegance by gifted athletes. This is an occasion for designers to strut their stuff as well. Vancouver 2010 seems to be a design opportunity lost. Too many cooks? No executive vision? Or too much television imaging? Vancouver 2010's "Look" just does not resonate.

  • Harvard University's New Post Graduate Course: Art and Design in the Public Domain

    Masters in Design At Graduate School of Design

    By: Mark Favermann - Jan 10th, 2010

    Harvard's GSD is beginning a masters program that combines art, design and public involvement. The purpose of the degree focused on Art, Design and the Public Domain is for students who seek to engage with the public and social environment, either physical or virtual, with a view to shaping and transforming human action and historical experience. The three semester course is a multi-disciplined exploration of the social and virtual realms of the public environment from an art and design perspective. Will its direction eventually replace the MFA degree?

  • Cooper-Hewitt Names Moggridge Director

    First Designer to Head Design Museum

    By: Mark Favermann - Jan 07th, 2010

    The designer of the first laptop computer (1980) Bill Moggridge was named Director of the Smithsonian's New York based Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the National Design Museum. He is the first designer to be given this administrative post. After a wonderful career designing strategic elements for a rapidly changing technological society, he will be attempting to add depth and breath to a museum that should better reflect our aesthetic as well as functional past, present and future. However, will the skills of the master designer resonate as a museum administrator or Smithsonian bureaucrat?

  • Spectacular Bauhaus Exhibit At MoMA

    Brilliant Overview Through January 25

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 29th, 2009

    The Bauhaus 1919-1933 was the most influential school of avant-garde art and design in the 20th Century. It is famous for its faculty, students and its extraordinary cross discipline conversation about thee nature of art in the modern age. MoMA's exhibit is probably the best presentation ever organized about the quality, craft and depth of this visual and cultural dialogue. There is much to learn and see here. It should not be missed.

  • Creative Humanist President John Maeda Leads Rhode Island School of Design in 21st Century

    Integrating Art, Education and Technology

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 11th, 2009

    A superstar in regard to art, technology and education, John Maeda brings a computer scientist's technical understanding with an artist's appreciation and love of art and design to the task of leading Rhode Island School of Design in the 21st Century. According to Maeda, RISD's Mission has not changed, it is being enhanced. President Maeda articulately expresses his vision and ideas as the leader of one of the world's great design and art school.

  • Hank Gilpin Furniture at Gallery NAGA

    Elegant New and Commissioned Projects

    By: Mark Favermann - Oct 01st, 2009

    Hank Gilpin is a special type of artist. He is a master of materials, especially the most beautiful of domestic woods. He is a master furniture craftsman. After a career of over 35 years, Gallery NAGA is celebrating Hank Gilpin's special talent in his first gallery ever show. Gallerist Arthur Dion has been asking Gilpin to have a show for over 20 years. He finally said yes.

  • The New Chace Center and Thoughtful Design At The Rhode Island School of Design

    Committment to Design Underscored

    By: Mark Favermann - Sep 30th, 2009

    Opening a year ago in October of 2008, the Chace Center marked Rhode Island School of Design's continued commitment to great design and the desire to be 21st Century state of the art in terms of exhibitions and teaching art, architecture and design. They have an ongoing exhibition series dealing with contemporary design and have major design exhibitions like last Spring's Marcel Breuer Exhibit.

  • Greene & Greene at Boston Museum of Fine Arts

    A New And Native Beauty Expressed in Art and Craft

    By: Mark Favermann - Jul 16th, 2009

    Greene & Greene, Charles Sumner and Henry Mather, California-based architects/designers whose work became the "gold standard" for Arts and Crafts Style. Their elegant collaboration lasted only a short period, but their design legacy is celebrated by Boston's Museum of Fine Arts in a beautifully presented and thoughtfully produced exhibition.

  • Museum of Modern Art Showcases Quality Objects with What Was Good Design?

    Carrying On the Debate About Design Excellence

    By: Mark Favermann - Jul 05th, 2009

    Along with architecture, since the 1930's, the Museum of Modern Art has been a showcase for the best designs in furniture, appliance, textile, graphic and functional object design. With the supervision of Edgar Kaufmann Jr, MoMA featured highest levels of contemporary design through competitions, museum shows and traveling exhibitions. However, through the years, controversy has followed choices and selections in terms of critiques of elitism and crass commercialism.

  • Two Uninspired Boston Public Art Competitions

    A Dull Gillette Edge & A Fishy Swan Boat Pavilion

    By: Mark Favermann - Jan 31st, 2009

    Public art is generally a good thing on many levels: good for the community, good for the visual environment and good for the artists involved. However, recently, two Boston public art competitions seem to show that good intentions and good ideas do not necessarily go together. Being creative in a time of fiscal downturn does not necessarily reap the best returns. In these particular cases, the two juries do jobs with questionable even negative results.

  • Rare Art Nouveau Shopfront Survives in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts

    Unique Facade Underscores Aesthetic Reform Style

    By: Mark Favermann - Nov 23rd, 2008

    An Art Nouveau storefront jewel has existed at Harvard Square for a century. In spite of indifference, abuse and neglect, somehow, this rare and beautiful piece of design history has survived. This wooden fa�ade harkens back to when Harvard Square was not brick buildings, but wood structures and storefronts. Instead of retail slick and homogenized, here, the handmade remains handsome and very human.

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