Blair Pfander

Blair is a Brooklyn-based writer, eBay scavenger and apple pie baker who'd rather be on two wheels in stilettos than stuck in a taxi - unless the cabbie's listening to Prince.

Design Dish: A city made of bubbles & a toxic underground village

Article: Design Dish: A city made of bubbles & a toxic underground village

Pritzker Prize to be Given in Beijing: With its explosive recent development, Beijing has become an appealing spot for the world’s most influential architects and designers. It’s no surprise then that the prestigious Pritzker Prize – sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of architecture – will be awarded in Beijing next year…

Art Buzz: Seriously hairy stairs & Malcolm Mclaren get his own award

Article: Art Buzz: Seriously hairy stairs & Malcolm Mclaren get his own award

The Sensorium: Beauty retailer Sephora and fragrance manufacturer Firmenich have teamed up to bring downtown New Yorkers the “Sensorium,” a pop-up museum of scents and smells complete with a “scent deprivation chamber” and a scent-mixing bar. This could either be totally amazing or totally gaggy—just come armed with a hankie to cover your nose in case you need a break from sensory overload…

Best of Kickstarter, 10/31

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 10/31

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

Grilled Cheesus: We could all use a few more miracles, right? Thankfully there’s “Grilled Cheesus,” a new sandwich press from Rob Corso and Meg Sheehan that brings the Lord to your lunch hour with a grill plate made to look like Jesus’ smiling visage. Now all we need is some Christ’s Ketchup and we’ll be set.

Almost-Instant Weather Prediction: I get pretty grumpy when I responsibly check the weather report in the morning only to be caught in an unforeseen downpour later in the day (and inevitably shell out $12 for a cheap umbrella that lasts two avenues). But a nifty new app called “Dark Sky,” could make this sad, soggy scenario a thing of the past – at least for iPad owners – by making super accurate, short-term weather predictions using GPS…

Get your doodle on with a scrapbooking iPad app

Article: Get your doodle on with a scrapbooking iPad app

I have a thing for notebooks. But after years of notebook accumulation, no real pattern or trend has emerged. I collect them indiscriminately—a pink Moleskine here, a cool, cloth-wrapped volume there, some funky vintage find from a flea market. Sadly, most of them sit blank and dusty on a bookshelf in my office, silently pleading for a simple doodle or To-Do list. Alas, my fascination with notebooks doesn’t seem to have come with any real dedication to journaling.

But the creative minds behind new iPad app, Clibe, have come up with a space-saving digital solution for notebook nerds…

Best of the Web: Williamsburg is always ready for Halloween & Spike Jonze tries stop-motion

Article: Best of the Web: Williamsburg is always ready for Halloween & Spike Jonze tries stop-motion

Halloween or Williamsburg: Anyone that’s ever set foot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn can attest that outfits seen on the sidewalk can be startlingly strange. One minute, you’re looking at a modern Jimi Hendrix and the next, an NYU student’s take on Annie Hall. If you didn’t live here, you might think these people were en route to a costume party or similarly themed event. A brilliant new blog, “Halloween or Williamsburg,” documents some of the neighborhood’s goofiest get-ups…

Design Dish: Performance architecture & design solutions for the 99%

Article: Design Dish: Performance architecture & design solutions for the 99%

Alex Schweder’s “Performance” Architecture: Architect Alex Schweder is credited with the invention of “performance architecture,” which broadly refers to small, occupied spaces that challenge our preconceived notions of shelter. Many of Schweder’s works are built within existing spaces, appealing to my childhood obsession with forts. Among my favorites are the inflatable plastic creations, including “sac of rooms all day long,” which looks like a big, warped playhouse.

Design with the Other 99%: Cities: Now on view at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, “Design with the Other 99%” showcases the most promising design and technological innovations coming out of the world’s cities and over-crowded slums…

Eero Saarinen's TWA Flight Center revived for three short hours

Article: Eero Saarinen's TWA Flight Center revived for three short hours

The swinging ’60s wouldn’t have been half as groovy without Eero Saarinen’s spectacular TWA Flight Center at JFK airport. Completed in 1962, the terminal became an icon of modern architecture as well as the glamorous “jet set” experience. With its spaceship-like exterior and strangely curved staircases and walls, the terminal was meant to capture the drama and excitement of flight itself. Though he died shortly before it was opened to the public, the architect is said to have remarked, rather prophetically, “if anything happened, and they had to stop work right now and just leave it in this state, I think it would make a beautiful ruin, like the Baths of Caracalla.”

Saarinen’s terminal was declared a landmark in 1994, but closed abruptly after 9/11 due to…

Best of the web: Hear English as your second language and knit a sweater for a pigeon in need

Article: Best of the web: Hear English as your second language and knit a sweater for a pigeon in need

Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses: Who knew that the tip of a human nose looked exactly like the head of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? Well, the author of this awesome new time-waster, Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses, certainly did. Best of all, this game isn’t limited to certain human noses…it works on all of them, meaning we can enjoy Raphael and Michaelangelo scribbled on shnozzes forever and ever. The one exception might be Michael Jackson’s nose, which turned out kind of wonky…

Design Dish: An EV Delorean, a bamboo car and a mesh museum

Article: Design Dish: An EV Delorean, a bamboo car and a mesh museum

The New Taipei Museum of Art: One of the most remarkable proposals for the New Taipei Museum of Art came from Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, who created a massive “Green Cell” from layers of fiberglass mesh. The design explores the concept of “in-between” space, the structure extending into the nearby parks, riverbank, and train station, with trees and foliage growing up into the ceiling…

Art Buzz: Ai Weiwei art directs via Skype, and rich people pay $8k for work by a nonexistent artist

Article: Art Buzz: Ai Weiwei art directs via Skype, and rich people pay $8k for work by a nonexistent artist

No time to scan all the blogs in your Google Reader? Never fear! We’ve rounded up the five art world happenings that have bloggers and gallery-goers buzzing this week.

Best of Kickstarter, 10/17

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 10/17

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

FILM

Last Bohemia: Those who saw last year’s documentary on New York Times style photographer Bill Cunningham will remember the artist community living in lofts on top of Carnegie Hall, all of whom were evicted (Cunningham included) by the end of the film. A new documentary, LAST BOHEMIA, directed by Josef Astor – himself a former tenant of the Carnegie lofts – aims to document the community of actors, artists, dancers and musicians that were forced from their homes.

The "Low-Line," an underground park for NYC

Article: The "Low-Line," an underground park for NYC

Okay, I’ll admit it. Whenever someone from out of town starts asking me about the Highline and whether or not it’s really as cool as it looks, I feel very proud to live in New York. Because yes, it’s exactly as cool as it looks (actually, it’s cooler, because they sell gourmet popsicles now, and I love me some popsicles), and it’s pretty neat to live in a place that would invest millions of dollars in a beautifully designed piece of urban revitalization. I mean, just look at it: it’s a park suspended over New York City. The future is now!

Best of the web: Korea's angry pizza claims & Occupy Sesame Street gets ugly

Article: Best of the web: Korea's angry pizza claims & Occupy Sesame Street gets ugly

Pizza Dispute: Pizza is one of few foods that can cause international disputes over who “invented” it. Most recently, an outspoken Korean conspiracy theorist (and, of course, blogger), Sang-J00n Han, is accusing Marco Polo of stealing pizza from Asia. A video interview with Han includes footage of a huge Buddha statue from the Goryeo dynasty wearing “what can only be a pizza box” on his head. I don’t really get what all the fuss is about; in the words of Michaelangelo and Donatello (from TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES), “doesn’t everybody eat pizza?”

Design Dish: Moleskine launches a logo competition, Frank Gehry's latest for Louis Vuitton

Article: Design Dish: Moleskine launches a logo competition, Frank Gehry's latest for Louis Vuitton

Frank Gehry’s LVMH Sail Boat: After a few legal setbacks and delays, Frank Gehry’s design for the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation (a fancy name for the building that will house CEO Bernard Arnaut’s giant personal art collection) is scheduled for completion next year. At 130,000 square feet, the structure is designed to look like a white sailing ship standing alone in a forest. To create the unique curvature of the massive white panels (or “sails”), Gehry and his team worked with Moulage Sous Vide technology, a new technique that allows the designer to create concrete molds from computer-generated 3D models…

Art Buzz: Warhol gets his own app and Tom Sachs goes to Mars

Article: Art Buzz: Warhol gets his own app and Tom Sachs goes to Mars

No time to scan all the blogs in your Google Reader? Never fear! We’ve rounded up the five art world happenings that have bloggers and gallery-goers buzzing this week.

Tintype Photography: San Francisco photographer Michael Shindler is reviving the lost art of tin-type photography with his new portrait studio, Photobooth. Charging just $50-$80 a pop, subjects have to sit perfectly still while…

Best of Kickstarter, 10/10

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 10/10

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

ART

Willard Asylum Suitcases: Ten years ago, New York State decided to close the Willard Psychiatric Center in Willard, NY to turn it into a drug rehab clinic. While cleaning a pathology lab building, a dusty old attic was opened, revealing hundreds of suitcases that had belonged to patients. Photographer John Crisipin has embarked on the long process of photographing each case, revealing the peculiar contents contained therein…

Remembering Steve Jobs: 6 reasons why he rocked

Article: Remembering Steve Jobs: 6 reasons why he rocked

Steve Jobs’ death has inspired an outpouring of grief and impromptu tributes from all over the world (among our favorites: MintDigital’s portrait rendered in motherboards and the Sad Mac homepage on The Oatmeal). Here, a six-item salute to what made him amazing.

Best of the web: Graphic design hoarders, beard thieves and how to "make an art"

Article: Best of the web: Graphic design hoarders, beard thieves and how to "make an art"

Beardfolio: In 2009, Texan photographer Matthew Rainwaters shot the strange and wonderful contestants of the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Anchorage, Alaska. Described as “a magnificent showcase of chops, bristles and whiskers,” the images were finally compiled into book form. The resulting photobook, “Beard,” is now out from Chronicle. For those of us whose boyfriends are embarking on annual facial hair experiments (under the pretense that it’s “warmer”), looks like we have at least one Christmas gift taken care of.

Design Dish: See-thru airplanes, Archtober and Mexico's inverted skyscraper

Article: Design Dish: See-thru airplanes, Archtober and Mexico's inverted skyscraper

From the coolest new products to dramatic feats of engineering, here’s what has us excited in the design world this week.

The Boeing Dreamliner: Airplanes have looked more or less the same since the 1960s, but this week Airbus revealed plans for a super slick new generation of planes with a transparent “skeleton” structures, allowing for unobstructed views of the surrounding sky. Think of it as the flying version of those glass-bottom submarines at Disneyworld. The planes won’t roll out until 2050, which means I’ll have to stay all excited about this until I’m in a nursing home.

Art Buzz: Cow tongue sculptures and an alien obelisk in the Tuileries gardens

Article: Art Buzz: Cow tongue sculptures and an alien obelisk in the Tuileries gardens

No time to scan all the blogs in your Google Reader? Never fear! We’ve rounded up the four art world happenings that have bloggers and gallery-goers buzzing this week.

Adrián Villar Rojas 300-foot Alien Obelisk

Buzz has been building around 31-year- old Argentinean sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas ever since he was chosen to represent his country at this year’s Venice Biennale…

Best of Kickstarter, 10/3

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 10/3

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup…

Berliner Liste: 126 galleries in an old power plant

Article: Berliner Liste: 126 galleries in an old power plant

Continuing their recent tradition of up-cycling abandoned nuclear centers, Berlin hosted a three-day art fair, dubbed Berliner Liste, in a former power plant with works from 126 galleries in 26 different countries. For those of you who didn’t see my review of Wunderland Kalkar, the amusement park operating inside a giant nuclear reactor, Germany announced it will close all of its nuclear facilities by 2022, many of them repurposed as public centers. So, this is kind of their thing.

Abramovich's art island to include outdoor hot tub

Article: Abramovich's art island to include outdoor hot tub

Roman Abramovich, the billionaire Russian businessman who owns (among lots of other things) the Chelsea Football Club, recently purchased an island off the coast of St.Petersburg – like ya do when you’re the 11th richest man in the world. Last winter, Ambramovich announced he would dedicate $400 million to converting the island – previously used as a military base – into an enormous art center, complete with offices, hotels, restaurants and boutiques along with a new museum. A “Starchitect” search soon followed, with submissions from top architects all over the world. Just last month, New York-based firm, WORKac, was given the nod – probably because theirs was the only design to include a giant jacuzzi in the courtyard.

Dead Drop your files into random USB flash drives

Article: Dead Drop your files into random USB flash drives

Not sure if you’ve heard this around the water cooler, but apparently we’re living smack in the middle of the Free Information Age, which means we have unprecedented access to (random, often incorrect) knowledge and ideas more than any other generation. Go us! To give the whole “free knowledge” concept a more literal twist, Berlin-based media artist, Aram Bartholl, launched his latest project, “Dead Drops,” by mounting USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs. The idea is that folks can come plug-in and download goofy, anonymous files, or share a few of their own.