Art & Culture
The official motivation for the award is as follows:
“For the genius with which he has conceived both design masterpieces and great pieces of architecture For the consistency with which he has built his work and the story of Italian design For his tireless desire to innovate and explore new frontiers For his constant dialogue with the business world For his generosity in his relationships and for having always believed in and supported his city, Milan For his contribution to the Salone del Mobile through his collaboration with the many, leading companies for whom he has designed iconic products that have helped forge the history and the success of the event.”
“We are delighted to assign this award to Mario Bellini who is, first of all, a close friend of mine. He is a designer in the round who wholly personifies the concept of genius – meaning the ingenious ability to create and think - which we chose as the keyword for this edition of the Salone del Mobile. We believe that his work, which ranges from design to architecture, is truly representative of our mission to research from every possible angle and constitutes a great example to the upcoming generations,” said Salone del Mobile President Claudio Luti.
Image of crying toddler on US border wins World Press Photo Award
AMSTERDAM, April 12: The haunting image of a little girl crying helplessly as she and her mother are taken into custody by US border officials Thursday won the prestigious World Press Photo Award.
Judges said veteran Getty photographer John Moore’s picture taken after Honduran mother Sandra Sanchez and her daughter Yanela illegally crossed the US-Mexico border last year showed “a different kind of violence that is psychological”.
The picture of the wailing toddler was published worldwide and caused a public outcry about Washington’s controversial policy to separate thousands of migrants and their children.
US Customs and Border Protection officials later said Yanela and her mom were not among those separated, but the public furore “resulted in President Donald Trump reversing the policy in June last year,” the judges said.
Moore was taking pictures of US Border Patrol agents on a moonless night in the Rio Grande Valley on June 12 last year when they came across a group of people who tried to cross the border.
“I could see the fear on their faces, in their eyes,” Moore told the US-based National Public Radio broadcaster in an interview shortly afterwards.
As officials took their names, Moore said he spotted Sandra Sanchez and her toddler who started wailing when her mom put her down to be searched.
“I took a knee and had very few frames of that moment before it was over,” said Moore, who had been covering the US-Mexico border for a decade.
At the awards ceremony in Amsterdam, Moore said: “I wanted to tell a different story.”
“For me it was a chance to show a view of humanity that is often only related in statistics,” the 51-year-old photographer said.
“I think an issue like this, immigration issues, resonates not just in the United States, but around the world,” Moore also told several hundred guests at the awards.
The sensitive issue of immigration was further highlighted at Thursday’s awards.
Judges chose Dutch-Swedish photographer Pieter Ten Hoopen’s images of the 2018 mass-migrant caravan to the US border as its winner in the “World Press Photo Story of the Year Award”.
Ten Hoopen’s pictures, which show families and children as they made their way from Honduras in mid-October to the US border “showed a high sense of dignity,” one of the judges said.
Ten Hoopen thanked the migrant families, saying without them his award would not have been possible.
Trump said Tuesday he won’t resume separating children of undocumented migrants, but insisted that the policy did prevent people from illegal border crossings like a trip to “Disneyland”.
His words came after he announced the departure Sunday of the official in charge of fighting illegal immigration -- Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
According to US media reports, Trump’s reshuffle could herald even harsher measures on the southern border.
Judges selected this year’s winners from 78,801 images entered by 4,738 photographers worldwide, the Amsterdam-based organisers said.
Three lensmen from AFP, John Wessels, Brendan Smialowski and Pedro Pardo were handed one second place and three third places overall in the various categories.
Based in Kinshasa, Wessels’ series of pictures of last year’s Congolese elections took second prize in the General News-Stories category, while his series of images about an Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo came third in the same category.
Smialowski and Pardo came third in their respective categories with a picture of Trump leading French President Emmanuel Macron by the hand and immigrants climbing over the US-Mexico border fence respectively.
Last year AFP’s Ronaldo Schemidt took top honours in the 2018 competition, winning the World Press Photo Award with a fiery image of a masked Venezuelan protester in flames.
KULI-KULI of Japan bags top SaloneSatellite Award
MILAN, April 11: The 10th edition of the SaloneSatellite Awards 2019 were announced here during the Milan Design Week 2019. The annual award, a collateral event at Salone del Mobile Milano, highlights the work of young designers (under 35 years old) from all over the world.
In this year’s edition, the prizes were assigned to projects focused on material-recycling processes and on their applications.
Below, the award-winning designers and their projects with the jury’s motivations.
First Prize was bagged by Designer: KULI-KULI, Japan | Project: KOBE LEATHER
This Japanese studio is based in Kobe, famous for its meat. The designers, in collaboration with local tanners, decided to turn cowhide, not traditionally used, into a collection of new products. Motivation: Kobe Leather’s project is commendable because it is based on a process of recuperation, harnessing the material to create a design system applicable to a wide range of product types.
2nd Prize: Designer: STUDIO PHILIPP HAINKE, Germany | Project: HALO
The Halo chair concept was devised to showcase the strength and possibilities of a lightweight material made from hemp and casein, which the designer developed during his “Organico” research project. Motivation: The Halo chair is an example of design in its broadest sense, calling for the contemporaneous study of material, form, functionality and production method.
3rd Prize: Designer: BAKU SAKASHITA, Japan | Project: 2.5 DIMENSIONAL OBJECTS
These 2.5-dimensional objects are 3D wire structures that look like 2D black lines drawn on flat paper. The optical illusion derives from the thinness of the wire, which is 0.3 mm in diameter. Motivation: The sophisticated artistic abstraction of the 2.5 Dimensional Object project is striking while demonstrating the scope for further different potential in terms of development and application.
Special Mention, RONG DESIGN LIBRARY – RESIDENCE PROGRAM AWARD
Designer: KOKO, Croatia | Project: KOKO LOKO
Koko Loko is designed for kids and every Loko is a combination of eight elements. Changing the combination varies their functionality and appearance. Motivation: The concept for this children’s furniture project is evidence of a desire to revisit traditions that is deserving of further exploration during a residency at the Rong Design Library.
Special Mention RONG DESIGN LIBRARY – RESIDENCE PROGRAM AWARD
Designer: STUDIOMIREI, Italy | Project: NEBULA LAMP.
These lamps, which resemble interstellar clouds of dust in space, are made of banana fiber. Studiomirei worked on fabric manipulation based on the intrinsic properties of the fabric.
INTESA SANPAOLO Special prize – 3rd edition Best Project on Food as a Design Object
Designer: MELBOURNE MOVEMENT / KRISTEN WANG, Australia | Project: RE.BEAN COFFEE STOOL.
Made from locally collected coffee grounds, the Re.Bean Coffee Stool not only derives a unique smell and tactility from being made from coffee, but it is also 100% biodegradable. Motivation: The project responds perfectly to the concept underpinning the SaloneSatellite 2010 theme, Food as a Design Object, bringing experimentation and functionality together.
Panasonic Design Unveils Vitrine at Salone del Mobile
MILAN, Ap 9: Panasonic Design has debuted the Vitrine prototype - a glass cabinet that evolves into a OLED screen - at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019.
The prototype appears to be wooden frame holding a pane of glass within it, but when switched on, the glass transforms to a vivid OLED display.
The prototype is the result of a two-year R&D project by Panasonic, Vitra, and Daniel Rybakken - exploring how new technologies can seamlessly integrate audio-visual devices into our living spaces.
The technological components are cleverly concealed within the wooden frame which also serves as a stand for the device. A lightning element, which enhances the viewing and ambient experience, is also directly and unobtrusively housed within the frame.
"The model carefully balances between art and design," Rybakken commented. "As a screen it no longer dictates its placement nor its role in the living space. The dominating large black surface is instead transformed into something that can highlight what's behind, what's displayed or nothing at all.
Salone del Mobile.Milano renews links with Leonardo
By Sushma Arora
MILAN, April 1:
The 58th edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano is renewing its powerful links with the city of Milan with a homage to its most brilliant and eclectic ‘adopted son’ and the Italian Renaissance master, Leonardo da Vinci, in the form of two outstanding and hugely evocative temporary installations guaranteed to provide a memorable cultural and emotional visitor experience.
From April 6 to 14, the Salone del Mobile.Milano has chosen the Conca dell’Incoronata and the water as the protagonists of the traditional city event, AQUA. Leonardo’s Vision.
On the other hand, at the fairgrounds, in Pavilion 24, DE-SIGNO. The art of Italian design before and after Leonardo will celebrate his work and especially his legacy to the art of design and craftsmanship.
Created by the locally based event organizer Balich Worldwide Shows and its managing partner and chairman Marco Balich, “Aqua. Leonardo’s Vision” draws inspiration from da Vinci’s studies of water.
Featuring a large LED screen display of the city skyline, the exhibit aims to transform the Conca dell’Incoronata canal lock into a multimedia meditation on the future of Milan. A glass-enclosed environment immerses visitors in water-themed sounds and images.
Beneath this structure, inside the canal itself, a wunderkammer will be created, where visitors can experience all the beauty, energy and shape of water, enfolded in image and sound thanks to the use of cutting-edge technology, in a totally self-contained environment.
An information foyer by the Ponte delle Gabelle will provide a space where waiting visitors can discover more about the connection between this historic site and Leonard’s multifaceted genius.
The second installation, "De-Signo. the Art of Italian Design Before and After Leonardo da Vinci," is created by Davide Rampello, curator of Pavilion Zero at Expo Milano 2015, and Italian architect Alessandro Colombo.
Sited on the Rho Milano fairgrounds, this 4,305-square-foot multimedia exhibit will also illustrate da Vinci’s approach to design, featuring two 20-foot by 10-foot access portals handcrafted out of wood and modeled after drawings by Bramante, a contemporary of da Vinci.
DE-SIGNO will be an immersive installation that will marry the languages of film and theatrical scenography in an inclusive and exciting way.
It will house a show of images and music illustrating Leonardo’s approach to design and the industriousness of the Renaissance workshops and laboratories as related to the savoir-fair and design of contemporary design companies: all under the banner of the Italian art of beauty.
Africa’s richest man withdrew $10 million just to look at it
ABIDJAN, April 7: Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, known as Africa’s richest man, told a forum in Ivory Coast on Saturday how he once took $10 million in cash out of the bank just to look at it and get it into his head that this was real money, not just figures on paper.
“When you’re young your first million is important, but after, the numbers don’t mean much,” Dangote, a manufacturing tycoon with a range of companies spanning cement to flour, told the Mo Ibrahim forum in Abidjan.
“One day, I cashed 10 million, put them in the boot of my car I put it in my room. I looked at them and thought ‘now I believe I have money’ and took it back to the bank the next day,” he told his audience.
Anecdotes aside, Dangote said that the two most promising sectors for Africa’s future were agriculture and new technologies. But he advised young African entrepreneurs not to get carried away by the first flush of success.
“Often in Africa we spend our projected incomes. There are ups and downs” in business, he warned.
Dangote said he regretted the customs and administrative problems that hamper business development throughout the continent.
As an example he cited the difficulties his cement group faces in exporting to Benin from Nigerian factories 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the border. Benin imported “more expensive” cement from China instead.
World’s top furniture retailer set to begin serving home-grown salad
KAARST, April 4: The world’s biggest furniture retailer is preparing to serve lettuce grown in high-tech containers outside its stores as part of efforts to improve its environmental profile.
Ikea, which demonstrated one of the LED-powered containers at an event at a store in Kaarst, western Germany, expects to start serving home-grown salad to customers at its restaurants from pilot projects at two stores in Sweden next month.
“The conditions are perfect for maximum taste and growth and you also have the sustainability advantage because you don’t have the transport,” said Catarina Englund, innovation manager for the Ingka Group, which owns most Ikea stores.
The containers, managed by circular farming firm Bonbio, have four shelves, carrying up to 3,600 plants in total, fed by nutrients extracted from organic waste, including leftovers from Ikea’s restaurants.
Circular farming involves waste food being turned into nutrients that are used to grow new crops.
The system, known as hydroponic farming, means the plants need no soil or pesticides, and use 90 per cent less water and less than half of the area of conventional farming, with the LED lights to be powered by renewable energy, Ikea said.
One of the world’s biggest sellers of LED lights, the retail major also sells home hydroponic kits for hobby indoor gardeners. Englund said about 15-20 kg of salad can be harvested a day from each container and the fact that the lettuce will be grown on site means production can be precisely tailored to the demand of a store, reducing food waste.
Sales of Ikea food like hotdogs or Swedish meatballs account for about 5 per cent of the group’s 35 billion euros ($39.34 billion) of turnover.
He’s worth about $700 million. And he thinks it’s ‘ridiculous’
TOKYO, April 3: When he graduated from university in Japan, Tomohiro Ohno didn’t know what he wanted to do. But he knew what he didn’t want to do, which was work for a traditional Japanese company.
So he ended up founding a firm that’s more space age than staid: Ohno was an early mover into augmented reality. The company he started, Kudan Inc., is developing programs that enable computers to have the equivalent of human eyes, using what Ohno and his industry call computer vision algorithms.
Kudan listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December. It was a sparkling debut. The stock shot up more than sixfold to a high at the end of February, which saw his fortune top $800 million. While it has since given up some of those gains, the market value is still about $1.3 billion, and Ohno owns more than half the shares.
He’s currently estimated to have a net worth of about $700 million, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Still, the 49-year-old entrepreneur is far from getting carried away.
“It’s a ridiculous amount,” Ohno, who goes by “Tomo,” said in an interview in Tokyo. “That doesn’t mean anything. We’re not aiming to increase market value,” he said. “It doesn’t really impact us.”
While people often associate augmented reality with Pokemon Go, the hit mobile game that makes images of anime characters seem as if they’re in users’ real-world locations, Ohno says the technology is so much more than that. “I’ve nothing against Pokemon Go,” he said. “But after all, it’s just showing Pikachu” -- one of the characters -- “in the corner of the room.”
Kudan is deploying the technology for different purposes. It’s developing programs that enable computers to perceive real-world objects in three dimensions. They have uses in everything from driverless cars to drones and even vacuum cleaners. It works with other technologies such as artificial intelligence to enhance the autonomous and interactive experience.
“AI is the brain and we are the eyes,” said Ohno, who started his career as a management consultant before working at a startup in Bristol, U.K. and then founding his own business buying and selling computer-game licences. “The eyes and brain need to work together.”
Kudan recently announced a partnership with California-based Synopsys Inc. to have its technology embedded into Synopsys products, which cover markets from mobile to automotive. While Ohno says making his company massive isn’t his main goal, this kind of alliance helps Kudan gain exposure.
“We don’t want to be the next Google,” Ohno said. He wants Kudan to be more like ARM Holdings, the chip designer owned by SoftBank Group Corp. whose technology is in most smartphones. “ARM is massive, but tiny compared to Intel. But it’s everywhere. That’s where we want to go.”
Kudan initially focused on using augmented reality for marketing, according to Ohno. No one was successful in making the technology easily digestible to ordinary people at the time, giving the company a good business opportunity, he said. But soon, a bigger firm doing similar things emerged as a competitor. That caused Kudan to come up with a strategy of making competitors its customers, instead of defending its turf.
The process involved switching the company’s business model from using AR for marketing to developing apps using the technology and finally becoming a provider of algorithms to other companies. Kudan’s chief technology officer, John Williams, who Ohno calls a “self-taught genius” and his best friend, convinced him to move away from apps into the underlying technologies, Ohno said. Now, Kudan has a wider customer base, including previous competitors, he said.
“It’s a highly rated stock among investors,” said Tomoichiro Kubota, an analyst at Matsui Securities Co. in Tokyo. But there is “the risk of seeing a company with a similar model popping up,” he said. And “the other side of expectations being high is that we’re in a situation where there’s been quite a bit of buying, and it’s looking expensive.”
Kudan trades at more than 150 times book value, and more than 35,000 times earnings, which were negligible for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018. The stock fell 0.9 percent in early trading on Wednesday in Tokyo.
That won’t unduly concern Ohno, who is more focused on developing the business and other goals, such as setting up a unit in China and taking it public. He’s still based in Bristol, where his company’s technology lab is located. Kudan has fewer than 20 employees, many of whom have Ph.D. degrees from a computer vision laboratory at the University of Bristol. Ohno said the company hires only experts in their field, and shuns meetings as unnecessary, because his people already know what to do.
The office in Bristol is situated in a former church. Ohno’s seat has a five-meter stained-glass window directly behind him, which shines a glow of light over him on sunny days. Asked if he has plans to move to a new location, he said he’s happy where he is.
“I do look like a god there,” he said.
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