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June 28, 2007 

Superstar designer Marc Newson’s revitalized Ikepod watch line -- a series of four different watch designs priced from $10,000 to $39,000 -- is about to hit the stores, insiders say. That would be three stores, all celebrated as high-end design emporiums: Moss in Los Angeles and New York’s SoHo district, Marcus in London and Colette on rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. The watches can also be ordered through the Ikepod website,

Last year, New York businessman and art collector Adam Lindemann launched an updated version of Newson’s timepieces, which were first produced by the designer in 1986. "I’ve always been interested in machines," Lindemann said. "And I thought it was time that art and design collectors should have their own watch." Newson’s approach is unique, Lindemann argues, combining the biomorphic and the manmade in a holistic way, rather than adding a surfeit of jewels or technical ornaments, as is typical of most luxury watches.

"It’s not going to the moon or the bottom of the ocean. It’s not approaching the watch as a utility object, like a Rolex," Lindemann said. "Newson’s vision is different. It’s a rethinking of the way everything is going to look." Newson must have done something right. The original Ikepod influenced both the Apple iPod and Nike’s popular line of sports watches.

The Ikepod "family" includes the mysterious and exclusive Black Hole -- which has only been photographed in silhouette -- produced in a limited edition of 66 pieces, priced at $12,000 and already sold out; the Horizon in red gold and platinum, a minimalist dress watch that makes a literary reference to the "event horizon" in astrophysics, priced at $24,000 and $35,000; the Hemipode, a chromograph with a second time-zone and stop-watch functions, done in red gold and platinum, for $28,000 and $39,000; and the titanium Megapode, a rugged sports watch that features a unique circular slide rule, which sells for $10,000. 

The watches are manufactured at Chatelain in La Chaux-de-Fondes in the heart of Swiss watch-making country. They have a rubber strap in black, white or gray, impregnated with a special vanilla scent. The watch comes with a special signed certificate and a zippered leather travel case.

"The Ikepod is the ultimate combination of contemporary design and luxury," Lindemann said.

Lindemann’s enthusiasm for contemporary design is extending into the publishing world as well. Last year, he authored Collecting Contemporary (Taschen, $29.95), a collection of interviews with contemporary art collectors, dealers, consultants and curators, and word is now that he is working on a similar book focusing on collecting design.

French architect Jean Nouvel has been selected to design a new 60-story tower for the Museum of Modern Art, according to the Slatin Report, a real-estate newsletter published by Peter Slatin. The new building goes up on the 17,000-square-foot, block-through parcel just to the west of the museum. It is planned to contain 75,000 square feet of additional exhibition space for the MoMA on its first six floors, as well as office space and luxury condominiums. Houston developer Hines Interests is doing the building in partnership with Goldman SachsWhitehall Street Real Estate unit. MoMA -- and its brand new board chair, real estate mogul Jerry Speyer -- have yet to confirm the plan.  

The first freestanding building in New York designed by celebrated "cybertechts" Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture of Asymptote is a new luxury residential building slated for 166 Perry Street in the far West Village. Design features include a cascading glass façade that captures the light effects of the nearby Hudson River, and a street level faced with perforated white metal scrim, which is, according to Rashid, a tribute to the Ben-day dots of Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, and an effort to bring something specifically "New York" to the project.
Founded in 1991, Asymptote had early successes in the "virtual" world, designing the New York Stock Exchange online trading floor and the beautiful but ill-fated Guggenheim Virtual Museum. Asymptote’s new building is to be located next to the pair of Richard Meier condo towers that launched the far West Village building boom, and include 24 residences priced between $2 million and $11.5 million. For more details, see

One summer treat for design mavens is "IDEO Selects," June 22, 2007-Jan. 20, 2008, the new exhibition of works from the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Over 30 works have been chosen by IDEO, an international design firm formed in 1991 by David Kelley, Bill Moggridge and Mike Nutall (whose accomplishments include designing the first production "mouse" for Apple Computer). Works in the show include a 14th-century woodcut with a mysterious knot pattern possibly devised by Albrecht Dürer, an early 20th-century walking stick with a pull-out map, a selection of flashlights from the 1940s and a child’s chair from ca. 1944 by Charles and Ray Eames that is one of the first molded plywood furniture designs to be mass-produced.

The two-story Max Lang gallery on 10th Avenue in New York’s Chelsea art district unveils "Material Culture: Contemporary American Design," June 29-Sept. 1, 2007, a show selected by curator Edgar Harden that promises to present a new generation of American designers. The show includes works by Danny Alexander, Jeremy Alden, Emilie Baltz, Matthew Bradshaw, Blanc & Reed, Melissa Gamwell, Victoria Haroian, Nicholas Howey, Cal Lane, Pippo Lioni, Alexander Reh, John Scofield and Sergio Silva. For more details, see

R. Craig Miller has been named curator of design arts at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, a new post. Miller was curator of architecture, design and graphics at the Denver Art Museum. In his new job he is charged with developing a new department devoted to 20th- and 21st-century European and American design; first up is "EuroDesign 1985-2005," an exhibition slated to premiere at the IMA in 2009.

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