Design news: style after a mastectomy, a pop art funfair and a skate ramp at Chelsea | Life and style


This month brings a great revival as well as new launches. Luna Luna was a 1980s funfair created by artists, including a carousel by Keith Haring and a mirrored maze by Roy Lichtenstein. Read about how it was restored here, as well Chelsea Flower Show’s first skatable garden and clothing for asymmetric bodies.


All the fun of the art fair

Keith Haring with his carousel at the original Luna Luna. Photograph: Luna Luna

If a funfair which includes rides and exhibits created by the likes of David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Salvador Dalí and Jean-Michel Basquiat sounds preposterous, then get ready for Luna Luna. This carnival was created by some of the most important names in modern art for an event back in 1987 – and then languished in a warehouse for 35 years before it was resurrected this year with the help of rapper Drake.

Luna Luna was conceived by Viennese artist André Heller. His own work – popular in the 80s – involved surrealist circus acts, clowns and hot air balloons, so he had the idea to use funfair rides to introduce avant garde artists to the mainstream. The original exhibition in Hamburg was visited by 250,000 curious visitors, but legal and logistical problems sent Heller into debt so the glass maze by Lichenstein, Keith Haring’s carousel and Basquiat’s ferris wheel went into storage, where they lay forgotten until Michael Goldberg, a creative director based in Brooklyn, came across a story about it online. Goldberg suggested the idea of restoring the project to Drake’s DreamCrew company, which produces TV, film and entertainment projects.

Finally, some of the fairground attractions are back on view to the public, in an LA warehouse with a tour planned for the coming year.

Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy is at 1601 E 6th St, Los Angeles see website for more details

Scarf design by Atelier E.B with accessories manufacturer Alex Begg from the Big Tobacco collection, 2023. Photograph: Atelier EB

While fashion is often inspired by art, few designers manage to blur the line as well as the creative collective Atelier E.B. Under this name, Brussels-based artist Lucy McKenzie and Edinburgh designer Beca Lipscombe create clothes made by local manufacturers and which are shown in art galleries or installations where the public can order the items they want to buy. Their designs have found fans in the fashion world – their work exhibits at both Hermès and Prada’s art galleries. Atelier E.B shows are investigations of the business of fashion and commerce, collaborations with exceptional artisans and, even if you’re not in the market for one of their cashmere knits or sweatshirts, superb for window shopping.

Their latest, inspired by women’s tennis, is called Big Tobacco. “Prior to the 1992 Tobacco Advertising Prohibitions Act, tobacco companies advertised and sponsored most sporting events. We are reflecting on the absurdity of sport aligned with smoking,” they explain. Atelier E.B’s take on sportswear includes cashmere jumpers, shorts, bracelets of woven ribbons and dickies. They note the importance of sportswear for emancipating women, in particular designs by American creatives such as Claire McCardell and Bonnie Cashin.

McKenzie and Lipscombe love collaborating with specialist manufacturers. “Particular highlights from this collection include working in the Hawico factory with the knitters and finishers. We also worked with organic jersey manufacturer Assembly for the first time, and we were blown away to learn that their cotton is grown in Europe. We thought it was all grown in America.”

Big Tobacco is on view at Cromwell Place, London, from 14-25 February. It will travel to the Z33 museum in Hasselt, Belgium, in September 2024

Uno designer Katy Marks. Photograph: TaraDarby/Uno

Every year, 55,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 14,850 undergo a mastectomy. As around 69% of these do not have reconstructive surgery, this means the number of women adjusting to life with one breast increases by more than 10,000 every year.

In March 2018, architect Katy Marks joined this group of women. Marks is founder of Citizens Design Bureau and co-founder of coworking group Impact Hub. As such, she is used to finding creative and positive solutions to design problems.

She discovered that most post-surgery underwear tried to hide the asymmetry caused by the removal of a breast, so she created Uno, a bra made to feel and look chic as well as comfortable. Working with lingerie specialists Aimee McWilliams, Sarah Raskino and Maxine Wells, Marks has created Uno bra using a fabric derived from wood fibres. There’s also a bikini is made from recycled ocean plastics.

“I was coming to terms with having one breast and didn’t want to live in hiding. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought ‘I just have to learn to like my body’. I realised that so many women are hiding: wearing baggy T-shirts and uncomfortable prosthetics – feeling like they have to look ‘normal’ to be a woman. I have two sons. I didn’t want them to see me feeling ashamed. It was important to me to show them that difference is OK, beautiful even.”

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Skateboarding at Chelsea

The Planet Good Earth Garden featuring a skatepark. Photograph: Good Planet

This year, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show get its first ever skatepark. The Planet Good Earth Garden, supported by Project Giving Back, features a skate ramp and 100% edible plants to promote the joys of playing and growing. Food grower Urban Organic is producing the plants for the garden, including culinary and medicinal herbs as well as fruit and vegetables. It will also feature hydroponic grow towers to recycle water and mushroom logs, which will act as a resource to educate visitors about fungi. Betongpark is designing the skatable structures in the garden including a granite ramp. The company specialises in designing skateparks.

Skateboarding is a growing sport worldwide since its inclusion in the last Olympics, and after recent evidence that children growing up with access to green spaces have stronger bones, the ideas raised by the garden feel very relevant. The project will go to a permanent home in Hay-on-Wye after the Chelsea Flower Show ends.

“This garden encourages people to grow and nurture their own food, while highlighting the crossover between skateboarding, landscape design and youth empowerment,” says Stuart Maclure, development manager at Betongpark. “It’s a space to share skills, have fun, make friends, and an opportunity to share passions among diverse age groups.”

RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs 21-25 May this year

100 Women Architects. Photograph: Orlando Gili

“Upon telling someone in Botswana that I am an architect, I am often met with a look of disbelief or, at best, a polite, dismissive smile,” says Sithabile Mathe in the new book 100 Women: Architects in Practice. Cameroon architect Caroline Barla says that dealing with the daily microaggressions that come with being a woman in design need “psychology, patience, pedagogy”.

This fascinating book of illustrated interviews with leading women architects based on every continent covers their major building projects, how their work serves the people and landscapes around them, and their personal experiences in architecture. Though every region is represented, the authors chose to feature 25 African and 25 Asian designers out of the 100 names featured (20 European and five North American architects are interviewed) to make sure that creatives often underrepresented received their due. Reading the philosophies of these diverse and driven architects, looking for ways to circumnavigate climate change, the legacy of colonialism or lack of funding, the lessons to be learnt from this book are not just about the female experience, but about the condition of the human race. As Indigenous Canadian architect Eladia Smoke says in her interview: “Now is a critical time to seek out every opportunity to transmit this knowledge to future generations.”

100 Women: Architects in Practice by Harriet Harriss, Naomi House, Monika Parrinder and Tom Ravenscroft (RIBA publishing) is out now


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