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An UrbanDaddy Publication

Detroit, Shinola and Making No Little Plans

  • Geoff Rynex


“We believe in the beauty of industry. The glory of manufacturing. We know there’s not just history in Detroit. There’s a future.” —from the Shinola website

“Detroit may be bankrupt, but if Shinola is any indication—and I think it is—the story of America’s great city’s revival has already begun.” —David Hershkovits, Paper

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood.” —Daniel Burnham

As we speak, the David Whitney Building (a 1915 architectural treasure constructed by Burnham’s firm) is being converted into a downtown Detroit boutique hotel. And Shinola, a two-year-old Detroit watch- and bicycle-making outfit, is settling into its shiny new flagships in the Motor City and NYC.

We have a few thoughts about all this...»

Cinematic Architecture, Mastering Spotify and the World’s Best Men’s Shops

  • Kempt Staff


Quite a Pad: Mr Porter explores the avant-garde connection between film and architecture in 20th-century Los Angeles, with a Lautner-heavy roundup of iconic movie residences.

River Life: Filson wades in knee-deep with legendary fly-fisherman Frank Moore.

Sounds Even Better: Gizmodo has 10 handy tricks that will help you master Spotify.

Sartorial Tourism: GQ maps out the 25 best men’s shops worth a transatlantic voyage.

A Sad Day for Modernism

  • Najib Benouar

Yesterday modernism lost two pioneers in their respective fields: jazz musician Dave Brubeck and Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

They were pillars of the modernist aesthetic (and sound) that’s been experiencing a renaissance lately—from the show Mad Men to that credenza your favorite Tumblr just posted a few minutes ago—Brubeck for creating a new offbeat-but-on-beat sound and Niemeyer for bending concrete into curvaceous monuments. And we’d like to take a moment to salute these visionaries who helped shape styles that still influence our lives to this day. Farewell, gentlemen—it’s been a good-looking run.

Hoofing It


The world of shoe designers is crowded enough without star architects trying to horn in on their racket. But that’s never stopped them before…

We just heard a rumor that Frank Gehry has whipped up a special shoe for the French cobblers at J. M. Weston. There’s no word on the whether they’ll be men’s or women’s, but since most of their stock is on the men's side, we’d say the odds are with us. Of course, designing a brogue is quite a bit different from designing a museum, so there’s no telling what he’ll come up with.

Let’s just hope all the sharp angles are on the outside.

The Architect

zumthor_crop.jpgBregenz Art Museum Interior

A good rule of thumb: any discipline that throws around the term “brutalism” isn’t something you want to traverse without a native guide.

So it’s nice to have an architecture prize let us know what’s happening. The Pritzker Prize is more or less the top honors, known within the industry as the Nobel Prize of architecture, and apparently it’s just been nabbed by a clever Swissman named Peter Zumthor.

Not bad, for a kid from Basel…

More from Mr. Zumthor»

Appetite for Destruction


The internet is atwitter lately over one aspect of the Bond movies you might have overlooked: the architecture.

The UK *Guardian*’s in-house pontificator Steve Rose takes some time out from the usual culture warring to point out all the lovely hideouts the Bond villains have set up—usually with the help of an unnamed post-modern architect or two. It’s quite an education, even if most of those lovely concrete angles are in ruins by the end of the film.

A explanation of Bond's demolition drive»

Setting Up Shop


As you may have noticed, things are a bit different in Japan. An American storefront means the usual hole in the wall—maybe one with a little history and exposed brick if you’re lucky. But apparently Japan has a little more flexibility on the retail end.

A.P.C. finally finished up their Kita-Aoyama store (with help from architecture firm Wonderwall), and it’s quite a sight. It’s less a store than an all-encompassing bungalow, with a touch of feudal-palace thrown in for good measure. It’s not quite as location-appropriate as their industrial-throwback Brooklyn outpost, but we know where we’d rather spend an afternoon. And if you want to pick up those pajamas in person, we can’t think of a better place to do it.

See more after the jump»

Presidential Pull-Ups, Modernist Architecture, and the New Hoff


Strong Leadership: Apparently the fourth debate will be in the form of a pushup race. [Gawker]

The Grapes of Wright:The economy is taking its toll on classical modernist architecture. So it ain’t all bad. [Unbeige]

Pop-Art Popped: Unfortunately, our boy Murakami is feeling the pinch too. [Luxist]

Manning the Hoff: Phillip Seymour Hoffman continues to spawn disheveled, method-prone children. [Daily Intel]

The Madness Continues


…and the desert boots keep coming.

This latest one is from the west coast (where, coincidentally, there are actual deserts), via Seavees, previously our source for summer-colored sneakers.

The model (named 12/62, after December 1962) takes its cues from something they call “Desert Modernism.” There are a handful of architectural influences, including the Coachella Valley’s Maslon House, but we’re just glad to see leather laces on something that’s not a boat shoe.

This one’s our favorite so far...but we imagine we’ll see a few more before the year’s through.