Designers create transportable leather furnishings for Louis Vuitton

Milan 2015: a swinging cocoon chair by the Campana brothers and seats made from leather petals by Raw Edges are among the contributions to a collection of portable furnishings for French fashion house Louis Vuitton (+ slideshow). (more…)


Are Georgia Republicans Learning to Love the MARTA Train?

“Shortly after the opening of the North Springs station, we began to see a lot more support.” (Photo by Biomedeng)

We’ve said it before: On the national level, Republicans tend to have a complex and chilly relationship with public transit. But in city and even state bodies, the freeway-loving attitudes of yore are starting to give way, and one fascinating example of this shift — along with its constraints — comes from Sandy Springs, north of Atlanta.

According to census data, the city houses about 94,000 people. But that’s only at night.

“We double in size during the day,” says Rusty Paul, Sandy Springs’ mayor.

The suburb is quickly becoming a corporate mecca: Cox Communications, Rubbermaid, UPS and First Data have all set up shop there. In February, Mercedes Benz USA announced plans to do the same.

Paul attributes the area’s draw partly to the MARTA train, which extends from the very northern tip of Clayton County through the city and up into Sandy Springs. Likely, he’s right. In February, Mercedes USA CEO Steve Cannon told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the HQ would “help the company tap into the millennial talent who want to live in town, while also being close to executive-level housing in Buckhead and the northern Atlanta suburbs.”

Which is why Paul, a Republican, former Georgia state senator and previous chairman of the Georgia Republican Party is also something of a transit advocate. Currently, he’s supporting MARTA’s proposed expansion to the northern end of Fulton County. That project, which could take rail or BRT form, is still in the early stages of environmental review, with several meetings taking place this month. But should an extension go forward, it would send MARTA north for the first time since 2000. The transit authority is considering several other expansions as well.

If you’ve followed red-leaning, transit-forward leaders in Arizona, Utah and Massachusetts, Paul’s pro-train stance might not surprise you. But this is Georgia, where the suburb/city, right/left, road/transit battles of the last 30 years have been very clear cut. As I covered more thoroughly here, MARTA’s expansion has long been stymied by a toxic combination of white flight, racial fear, failed suburban tax proposals and bright red legislative sessions that favor freeways over rail.

But that could be starting to change — and not just in Sandy Springs. Although Fulton County is already a tax-paying member of MARTA, expanding north of the train’s final stop hasn’t always seemed like a possibility. It’s low density, fed by SR 400. And the northern region is far redder than Atlanta, to the south. Janide Sidifall, a MARTA project planner, says that before the line to Sandy Springs began running, forecasts for ridership farther north didn’t justify an expansion.

“Now north Fulton is one of the biggest employment centers in the region,” says Mark Eatman, also an agency project planner. “Shortly after the opening of the North Springs station, we began to see a lot more support.”

And Paul says that even as high up as the legislature, he’s seeing his party’s transportation priorities shift. He points to the state’s last session, when right-leaning officials voiced transit-funding goals.

“That is a shift in thinking and I applaud it,” he says. “I was maybe the first Republican to say it out loud, but many of us have been thinking it for a while. Roads and cars, in and of themselves, cannot move the enormous number of people who have to be moved, so how do we do it efficiently so we can continue to grow economically?”

Still, Brionte McCorkle, a spokesperson for the Atlanta area’s Sierra Club, says that although those voiced commitments are important, she doesn’t yet see funding strategies to match. And the north Fulton expansion could suffer as a result, she says.

“We’re always in support of regional transit expansion — it’s great, but when is it going to happen?” she asks.

She points to House Bill 170.

“We really think it could have had a lot more in it for transit,” she says, adding that the Sierra Club spent last session advocating a constitutional amendment that would allow state roadway funds to finance transit. So far, they haven’t been successful, and McCorkle says that as is, dedicated transit funds needs to serve 128 systems statewide.

“All of them splitting that money is not ideal,” she says.

But Paul doesn’t seem to share her concerns, and he’s optimistic about a MARTA expansion.

“I’m a refugee from the legislature,” he says. “I say give me all you can and give me the flexibility to innovate, and I’ll just keep on slicing off the salami until we get there.”


Job of the week: architects at Grimshaw

Job of the week: architects at Grimshaw

Our job of the week on Dezeen Jobs is a position for mid to senior architects at Grimshaw, whose current projects include a 90-storey skyscraper for Sydney. Visit the ad for full details or browse other architecture and design opportunities on Dezeen Jobs.


studio MK27 contains tetris house within an intimate timber-clad box

this two-storey residential property features a permeable ground floor that can be presented in a variety of configurations using movable panels.

The post studio MK27 contains tetris house within an intimate timber-clad box appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


louis vuitton commissions new projects for objets nomades 2015

'objets nomades' invites international designers to envision foldable furniture and travel accessories that express the french luxury brand's signature style and aesthetic.

The post louis vuitton commissions new projects for objets nomades 2015 appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


jaime hayon gas injection moulds milà plastic chair for magis

presented at the 2015 salone del mobile, the design is jaime hayon's first plastic product and draws influences from catalan modernism.

The post jaime hayon gas injection moulds milà plastic chair for magis appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


Will the Real “Everyday Americans” Please Stand Up

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to a group of “everyday Americans” in Marshalltown, Iowa on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Last Sunday, Hillary Clinton announced that she would be running for president in 2016 by saying, “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.”

The New York Times reports that Clinton’s use of the phrase “everyday Americans” was carefully premeditated. Her advisers have prescribed that she use the phrase in lieu of “middle class,” because “the term no longer connotes a stable life” for the public.

Over the past year, she’s been drawing attention to the issues of stagnant wages and wealth inequality, which has become a source of anxiety for many Americans. Indeed, this week fast-food workers in cities around the country rallied for a raise to $15 an hour. Just as Clinton is tapping into issues of economic insecurity and job hunting, several new reports are touching on these very same themes.

We Are the 87 Percent
While Clinton’s campaign advisers think the “middle class” might illicit thoughts of economic instability in the heads the American public, a study from the Pew Research Center confirms that a wide majority of Americans — 87 percent — still consider themselves members of the middle class.

Only 1 percent of Americans asked consider themselves a part of the upper class, while 11 percent count themselves as upper-middle class; 47 percent say they fall squarely in the middle class, 29 percent think they are lower-middle class, and 10 percent say they belong in the lower class.

Even so, Clinton’s team might be on to something. Of the Pew respondents, 72 percent said that in general, the government’s policies following the recession have done little or nothing to help the middle class, and 68 percent said the government has done little to nothing to help small businesses. A whopping 65 percent said that the government has done little or nothing to help the poor. Yet at the same time, 44 percent said they think aiding those in poverty does more harm than good because it makes people dependent on government assistance.

Nonetheless, there is a bit of optimism in public opinion about the jobs horizon: 67 percent said that the job situation has improved — up 20 percent since a similar study was done in September 2013.

The Public Cost of Low Wages
A report released on Monday by UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education throws light on the complicated correlation between stagnant wages and government aid.

It finds that real hourly wages of the median American worker in 2013 were only 5 percent higher in 2013 than they were in 1979. When adjusted for inflation, wage growth from 2003 to 2013 is negative or flat for the bottom 70 percent of wage earners.

When working families cannot make ends meet, they turn to public assistance programs. Nearly three-quarters of people enrolled in these programs are members of working families, according to the report.

Between 2009 and 2011, the study found that the federal government spent $127.8 billion per year on four programs: Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The researchers conclude that, “When jobs don’t pay enough, workers turn to public assistance in order to meet their basic needs. These programs provide vital support to millions of working families whose employers pay less than a livable wage.”

Further, if the nation’s employers stepped up to raise wages and provide more people with health insurance, the federal government would be able to shift and direct taxpayers’ money to other programs and priorities.

The Impact of Minimum Wage Laws on Employment in Cities
In response to the conservative backlash against #Fightfor15 this week, Mother Jones points to a number of studies from recent years that squelch the idea that raising minimum wage laws create doom and gloom scenarios for low-wage employment in cities.

A Center for Economic Policy and Research study found that when the minimum wage was raised in San Francisco and Santa Fe in the 2004 most of the impacts were negligible, with more measurably positive impacts than negative. A 2014 working paper from UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment finds that in nine cities where local wage minimums had been established, there was no significant evidence that employers cut hours or employees in response. Instead, “the costs to businesses are absorbed largely by reduced turnover costs and by small price increases among restaurants.”


Richard Hutten’s X-Chair for Moroso is designed to be seen from behind

Milan 2015: Dutch designer Richard Hutten has created a chair with a distinctive X-shaped connector on the back. (more…)


AUDI prologue allroad hybrid premieres at 2015 auto shanghai show

debuting at the 2015 auto shanghai show, the five-door AUDI 'prologue allroad' car has a raised body that helps it master any terrain, in any situation.

The post AUDI prologue allroad hybrid premieres at 2015 auto shanghai show appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari upholster gym equipment with fur and leather

Milan 2015: beaver fur and hand-stitched leather cover the familiar forms of gym apparatus in this furniture and lighting collection influenced by body-building culture (+ slideshow). (more…)


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