Welcome! This week has been a bit scattershot, so I’m deviating from the essay format. Instead, read on for bits and bobs from the Curbediverse, some home goods I’m hunting, and a wee blind item. —Kelsey
Today in tabs
- Are you familiar with the Snoo? (Oh? Perhaps you have opinions about it?) The Snoo—an AI-powered self-rocking bassinet designed by Yves Behar and crafted in a Silicon Valley lab that promises to have cracked the code to getting your newborn to sleep—was introduced to the market in 2017. I found myself fascinated with all things Snoo a bit later, once everyone I know started having babies and the first-generation bassinets had aged into the secondary sales market. All of which is a long-winded way of saying, we are doing a deep-dive on the Snoo and want to hear real experiences from real parents who have strapped their kids into the robot cradles. Take our survey here, and stay tuned for a full report.
- I’m heading to Dallas for the first time this week, and while my trip will be woefully short, I plan to hit a few architectural highlights: Philip Johnson’s Thanks-Giving Square, the Nasher, Dan Kiley’s Fountain Place, and Reunion Tower (which reminds me of my hometown’s near-replica, the Sunsphere). To make sure I’m covered on the lay of the land (use) in Big D, I’m reading Alissa Walker’s story on the health benefits of trees, and Patrick Sisson’s piece from 2017 on the city’s density evolution.
- Along with most of the Curbed staff, I inhaled this recent op-ed in the New York Times by Elizabeth Méndez Berry and Chi-hui Yang on the dearth of critics of color, and how criticism from people who share similar backgrounds creates tunnel vision when it comes to cultural coverage. Art critic Tyler Green weighed in with some notable food for thought, namely, that fewer local outlets and alt weeklies mean fewer “farm teams” for young writers to hone their perspectives and get paid for expressing their opinions.
- I was incredibly sad to hear that Durham-based architect Phil Freelon died at age 66, as was first reported by the local paper. He leaves behind an impressive legacy of civic work, mentorship, and dedication to increasing diversity within the architecture profession. I am so glad that our purview at Curbed put us even remotely in Phil’s orbit. Recommended listening: our podcast interview with him from 2016, timed to the opening of his firm’s crowning achievement, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
On the hunt for...
A coffee table. I broke ours—which was kind of a placeholder, but still oops—and now that it’s gone, it’s clear it was one of the most important pieces of furniture in our apartment. This is my kind of conundrum: so many solutions that the task seems impossible until you find your definitive pick. One table I like that I’ve spotted everywhere (in listing photos, on the website of a hotel in Portugal, in stylist Jen Levy’s Instagram Stories) is—surprise!—made by Ikea and priced accordingly but—of course!—not available to me, an American shopper in 2019. I’ve set my eBay alerts, but holler if you spot any for sale. Otherwise, you can find me refreshing Chairish and waiting impatiently for Wright’s annual Mass Modern auction in early August.
Unscented candles. For dinner parties and general table setting, or anytime you don’t feel like sniffing “Neroli Insta THOT” or “Pining for an Upstate A-Frame Cedar” with your one-pot pasta. I like these tapers, which come in pretty much every shade (including fluorescent!) and have had these more sculptural totems by Carl Dukow in my online shopping cart for weeks.
Something random. Someone who needs a kid-size chair should consider these kid-sized chairs; they are cute as hell and look indestructible. The material is “confetti” plastic, and they’re made by a company that “collects broken toys and upcycles them into furniture.”
Blind item of the week
Looking for the next gen of eagle-eyed built-environment observers? Look no further than the funkily named “junk” playground on Governor’s Island. We hear that not one but two renowned architecture critics are sending their spawn there for day camp this summer.