STORE SWEET STORE: Not even at the age of 96 did architect Philip Johnson pass up a new challenge: designing his first fashion store, which also happens to be the first store for the Tod’s group apparel and outerwear brand Fay, located on Milan’s Via della Spiga. Diego Della Valle, chairman of the Italian luxury goods firm, met the Ohio-born architect — a major player in creating America’s modern skylines — a couple of years ago, and discovered they were mutual fans. “He wears my shoes and I asked him to design my personal Glass House on the pond of my villa near Ancona,” he said. “We started talking about the Fay store project and jokingly I asked him if he wanted to help out. I was taken back when he agreed.”
This story first appeared in the November 22, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Johnson’s sketches for the 2,160-square-foot store came to life thanks to a team of Italian architects, who built a store that branches out in various directions through small rooms, resembling the blueprint of a home. Adding a personal touch to Johnson’s olive wood beams, open-front box displays and glazed metal clothing racks, Della Valle added a few items, like a group of globes he collected from the Twenties and Thirties and a metal sculpture cobbled with the exhaust pipes of Formula One Ferrari race cars from 1986.
HERE TODAY, GONE TADAO: When Tadao Ando unveiled the new Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth on Monday, the architect, known for his passion of precise geometry rendered in concrete, glass and steel, described his mission in Texas as much warmer and cozier than the materials would suggest. “I always think of this museum as being the heart and nucleus of the community,” he said. “In an age of technology, computers and isolation, a place where people can come together is very, very important. I dreamed of a place where the children of the city could come where they feel they belong.” Ando set out on a paradoxical quest: to protect the art from the rigors of the Texas sun, while creating a sense of openness with plenty of windows. He achieved this by creating three cube-like glass pavilions that jut into the water of a broad reflecting pond, encasing smaller concrete boxes that enclose the artwork.
HORIZONTAL POSITION: Anish Kapoor has unveiled not only the biggest sculpture at London’s Tate Modern museum, but one of the biggest in the world. The sculpture, named Marsyas after the satyr in Greek mythology who was flayed alive by the god Apollo, is 512 feet long and made up of three steel rings joined by a single span of PVC membrane. Kapoor’s sculpture is the third to be commissioned by Unilever, which donates $375,000 a year to the museum. But he is the only artist so far to actually fill Tate’s Turbine Hall, which is 512 feet long, 76 feet wide and 380 feet high. “The hall is an enormously difficult space,” Kapoor said. “The great problem is that it demands verticality. This is contrary to every notion about sculpture that I’ve ever engendered in my work. So I felt that the only way to deal with the vertical is to deal with the full horizontal.” Previous Unilever artists include Louise Bourgeois, who made a giant spider, and Juan Munoz, whose work filled only the back half of the hall. Marsyas will be on display at Tate until April.
NO SPEED LIMIT: Maserati polished its new four-seat coupe and Spyder convertible, along with some throwbacks including a 5000 GT that once belonged to the Shah of Iran, for a Wednesday night party at the Four Seasons restaurant. Both of the new models can be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission or with the Cambiocorsa for paddleshifting like a Formula One racecar or like a traditional transmission. Both cars can go zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.
Gladhanding in a crowd of 400, Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo, president of the Ferrari Maserati Group, said he wanted to celebrate Italian racing’s return to the U.S. after a 12-year absence. While he has no plans to collaborate with American designers on any special editions, he noted Ralph Lauren is a customer.
At the bash, another owner, Alberta Ferreti, said she’s been known to put the pedal to the metal — to 132 mph. Don’t tell the state police.