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04.19.2006
Eavesdrop: Aric Chen

 LONDON CALLING
It’s true: Renzo Piano thinks he’s a god, Norman Foster has a thing for sheep, and architecture is going down the toilet. If you don’t believe us, then head to this summer’s London Architecture Biennale where, from June 16 to 25, the proof will be in the English pudding. Spanning locations along a 5-kilometer route, the event is being called the “World’s Longest Architecture Exhibition.” But it gets even scarier than that. As earlier reported by our colleagues at the Gutter, Piano is giving a talk that’s being billed as a “sermon.” And, as we’ve now learned, the biennial will feature merrymakers dressed up as buildings at its opening day blowout and, speaking of blowouts, “toilet interventions” including an open-air communal loo. Meanwhile, Foster will make an appearance by herding sheep across the Millennium Bridge. Seriously. What’s going on? Is this what they call “British humor”? Here’s an explanation: The toilets, potty planners tell us, “focus on the need for public conveniences and tell of their historical and contemporary uses.” And Foster’s newfound infatuation with livestock is not something that Lady Foster, a well-known sex expert, should be concerned about, but is rather meant as a tribute to the old markets that are among the exhibition’s venues. But given the track record of Foster’s Millennium Bridge—which, you might recall, has had its share of engineering problems—we have a baah’d feeling about all this.

MAX’S CONDO CITY
Add gallerists to the list of those jumping into the condo game. We hear art and architecture dealer Max Protetch has partnered in a 14-unit development now under construction in a former stable building on the corner of Baxter and Hester Streets. With completion expected early next year, and with asking prices of between $1,200 and $1,800 a square foot, the project is being designed by Ed Rawlings and Mark DuBois of Olhausen DuBois—with a cameo appearance by Zaha Hadid, who’s designing furniture for the lobby. “Or at least I think so,” Protetch says. “One never knows with Zaha.”

LEISURE SUIT KARIM
Karim Rashid is a dirty, dirty boy. Hitting stores next month is Rashid’s Design Your Self (Regan), a self-help book that reminds us why, against our better judgment, we can’t help but like the guy. With unflappable earnestness, the man best known for designing a trash can named Garbo offers 300-plus pages of advice on everything from diet and fitness to shopping, finances and, of course, how you can get his Barbarella-meets-Miami Vice look, too. We, however, skipped straight to the section on sex and got the punishment we deserved: “Sex is a completely different experience on a couch or on a rocking chair,” Rashid reports. “My favorite ‘public’ sex was in a public library,” he adds. “Remember that multiple partners or polygamy is also very natural,” he goes on, before recalling that “[a friend] once told me over breakfast that his wife wanted to sleep with me. I was attracted to her and I did.” And our favorite: “Feel each other’s muscles, smell each other’s sweat, move, gyrate, push, lift, get it on.” A note to Rashid’s wife, Megan Lang: There is help out there. 

Aric Chen