Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Women shaping the design world, India's wine industry, the recipe for black concrete and more

Farewell to the Plastic Bags of NYC

While the single-use plastic bag ban in New York (instated 1 March) is undeniably necessary, the bags’ kitsch designs have become synonymous with the city. Graphic designer Sho Shibuya collected more than 200 different types of bags over several years and photographed some of his favorite designs, sharing them with The New York Times. “In treasuring things other people consider trash, Shibuya cites a Shinto belief that every object has a spirit. ‘We believe every single object has a god inside, and that’s why we cherish things. Even a plastic bag, even a cigarette butt,'” he tells them. From smiley faces to banners exclaiming “Thank you!” and purple roses, the familiar bags are similar but varied. Shibuya adds, “there is an informal taxonomy to New York City’s plastic bags, apparent to anyone paying attention.” Read more at The New York Times.

10 Influential Women in Contemporary Design

To celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March) and Women’s History Month, Design Milk—in collaboration with the Female Design Council—compiled a list of women designers “shaping the future of design.” And while there are far more than 10 women leaving their mark on the expansive medium, this list features incredible talent worth honoring. From Arati Rao (founder of rug and textile studio Tantuvi) to Rosie Li (the founder of her eponymous, Brooklyn-based lighting design studio), each individual pushes design forward daily. See the full list at Design Milk.

2020 Pritzker Prize Goes to Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Founders of Grafton Architects

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, founders of Dublin, Ireland’s Grafton Architects, have been named 2020’s Pritzker Prize laureates, often referred to as architecture’s top annual honor. It’s the first time two women share the award. From the founding of their firm in 1978 through to 2018’s curation of the central show at the Venice Architecture Biennale, and beyond, the duo has redefined the purpose and value of architecture as so many of their international structures elegantly interact with and enhance their natural surroundings. Read more about their career-defining projects thus far at Surface.

India’s Emerging Wine Industry

Nashik is the capital of India’s winemaking region despite being best known in the country for “onions and table grapes, farmer activism, and its many temples, including Trimbakeshwar.” Visiting Sula Vineyards, India’s biggest wine producer, reveals an industry in flux. Substantial developments around the winery, its restaurant, production factories and tasting rooms aim to heighten the overall wine-tasting experience, draw more tourists and educate visitors. With few connoisseurs to appease (and most of the drinking population drawn to whiskey and beer), Indian wines teeter toward introductory, elementary styles—though there are some diamonds amidst the developing jumble. Read more of journalist Vindu Goel’s exploration of the region at The New York Times.

New Technologies Provide Opportunities for Remanufacturing

Technologies like 3D printing and automation prolong the life of products that consumers would typically throw out. When they need specific parts to repair their products—from power tools and coffeemakers to vacuums and smoke-detectors—they now reach out to companies, who can (courtesy of those tech improvements) remanufacture specific components. “Remanufacturing is a smart way to continue to advance without creating a lot of waste. The development of new technology is allowing remanufacturing to grow stronger,” the director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Dr Nabil Nasr, tells The New York Times. Further, “Most of the emission and waste from manufacturing comes from material mining and processing.” Read more at The New York Times.

Institutional Interest Rises for Native American Art

Long overlooked (or lumped together) by the art community—and its museums, centers, galleries and critics—work by “contemporary Native American, First Nation, and other indigenous artists is finally drawing more serious and widespread institutional interest, critical acclaim, and rising prices,” according to Artnet News. Though the change continues to be slow, the work of indigenous artists—once found only within museums dedicated to specific representation or galleries specializing in indigenous art—now finds a home in global art fairs (from 2017’s NADA to the current iteration of The Independent Art Fair in NYC) where galleries exhibit groundbreaking, contemporary Native American art. Read more about select works and those representing it at Artnet News.

Understanding Black Concrete

Concrete may be synonymous with its common gray hue, but pigment experimentation with the material has taken place since the ’50s. While rare, black concrete can be made by adding iron oxide, which is found naturally in magnetite—one of the most common iron ores. “When added to the concrete mix, the iron oxide particles encompass and coat the cement particles, which are 10 times smaller.” To make even darker concrete, carbon black can be used. “While iron oxide pigments bond to cement and become a permanent part of the concrete matrix, carbon black does not,” which means this kind of concrete fades more quickly. Structurally, these concretes will function just the same, but as ArchDaily says, black concrete combines two things architects commonly adore. Take a look there to learn more about the process, and see some of their favorite black concrete structures.

Citroën’s Subscription Car Program Will Not Require a Driver’s License

People in France as young as 14 will be able to drive Citroën’s Ami electric car through a subscription program, without a license. They will have to secure a road safety certificate through a short course that does not require a test. The French automobile manufacturer describes Ami as a “non-conformist object” and the vehicle is classified as a “fully electric quadricycle.” This compact mobility solution—measuring 2.4 meters long by 1.4 meters wide and 1.5 meters tall—maxes out at 28mph, aims to be affordable and offers a range of 43 miles per charge. Upon its European launch, the production car will be available through €19.99 per month rentals or at €0.26 per minute on the Free2Move platform. Read more at Dezeen.

Antarctica’s Architectural Wonders

In Antarctica, architecture must withstand extreme weather—temperatures that dip to -60 degrees Fahrenheit and winds that whip over 100mph—while also meeting the needs of the burgeoning population. Categorized as a research zone with bases from 29 nations, nearly 4,000 people call Antarctica home during the year. Some 70 structures exist as of right now (many of them new and designed by acclaimed architects) and there are plans for at least 100 more as the continent continues to welcome teams. See some of these completed projects at ArchDaily.Art, architecture, autonomous cars and more

Greater Goods’ Upcycled Everyday Accessories

Dubbed the “Freitag of functionwear,” Greater Goods—under the direction of designer Jaimus Tailor—uses vintage and repurposed materials to craft totes, bottle and chalk bags, and more. Not only does Tailor rely exclusively on pre-used material, he’s also spotlighting the potential of repurposing, a sustainable alternative to purchasing products made using virgin materials. “It’s more design than art. I never go in with a plan of ‘this bag is going to look like this.’ A lot of these jackets are so complex, their shape dictates the final outcome. It’s like woodwork—the scrap piece of wood dictates what the final piece can be,” Tailor tells Field Mag. Read more there.

GM’s $20 Billion Pledge to Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

For over a century, GM has produced vehicles with a reliance on non-eco-friendly fuel sources. But, in an effort to compete with newcomers like Tesla and Rivian, the carmaker plans to spend $20+ billion on new all-electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025, when at least 20 new models will have rolled off the line. At an unveiling, GM representatives touted future models with ranges of 400 miles and nearly instant charging capabilities—plus a zero-to-60mph time of 3.2 seconds. All of this comes courtesy of the implementation of GM’s proprietary “Ultium” batteries, a move that “represents a chance to reinvent the company and reset our brands,” GM President Mark Reuss tells CNBC. Read more there.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning.