• Check out this fascinating behind-the-scenes footage of French artist JR and Chinese artist Liu Bolin’s collaboration on Elizabeth Street in SoHo, New York. JR stands patiently while Bolin camouflages him against his own wheat-paste artwork. Reminds us vaguely of a popular music video. (Submitted by David A., New York, NY)
• The branding of subway platforms—from signage font and color to materials used on station walls to overall station design—assigns a certain personality to a city. Here’s a slideshow of 30 subterranean platforms from cities across the world.
• If Ikea’s enormous, mazelike showrooms aren’t enough, the Swedish home furniture company has acquired 11 hectares of land in East London to build its own neighborhood. Dubbed Strand East, the area will feature 1,200 rental homes as well as commercial office space. Some assembly is required; construction is set to commence in 2013. Do you smell cinnamon rolls?
• Can prison design reduce recidivism rates? Yes, according to University of Pennsylvania students Greg Knobloch and Andreas Tjeldflaat, who have developed a new prison design for New Jersey. Spanning the PATH train line, the design features separate high- and low-security cell blocks and a public meeting space. As inmates graduate through the facility, they are exposed to an increasing degree of social interaction, in order to ease the transition back into society.
• In 2025 three of the world’s richest cities will be in China: Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen. The population of Shanghai and Beijing will also outrank every city on the globe except Mumbai and Tokyo. Just 600 cities will be responsible for about 60 percent of global GDP growth, says a report from the McKinsey Global Institute.
• Not to be outdone by its neighboring cities in China, Hong Kong now has its own Frank Gehry. The Opus Hong Kong, a 12-story residential tower, is the first structure by the famed architect to be built in Asia. Located at the highest point in Hong Kong, the twisting building overlooks an impressive view of the city’s harbor.
• We’ll admit it—we’re suckers for a good love story. That’s why we’re so intrigued by ArtHERE, a San Francisco–based matchmaking service that connects artists with property owners to create new urban art installations. Spaces seeking art run the gamut from a pool hall to a yoga studio.
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