Although he broke with performance art 25 years ago, Vito Acconci is still best known for his 1972 piece Seedbed, wherein he masturbated under a gallery floor in SoHo while thinking about the people walking above him (yes, New Times, it was actual masturbation, not just "vocalizing"). But since then, with his design firm Studio Acconci, he's done some incredible stuff, including a Coney Island subway station that twists and contorts, and the iconic facade of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, which he did as a collaboration with the architect Steven Holl. Because of that great corpus of design work, Acconci Studio has been named Design Miami's 2012 Designer of the Year. As part of the award, Design Miami is commissioning a playground by him, called the Klein-Bottle playground, to be permanently installed in the Design District by 2014.
From Design Miami's blog:
The Design Miami/ Designer of the Year Award grants each winner a commission to create a large-scale work. Over the years, Design Miami/ has seized opportunities to activate the award as a means to "give back" to the Miami community. Previous examples include the fence that Marc Newson designed for the Design and Architecture Senior High in the Miami Design District, and Konstantin Grcic's Netscape seating structure donated to Miami Art Museum to be used in the public space of the new Herzog & de Meuron building. Moving forward, a permanent and public installation of the Designer of the Year commission will be an integral and unconditional goal of the program. Acconci Studio's collaborative and interactive mission is ideally suited to this kind of community-enhancing brief. For this year's commission, Acconci Studio will produce a climbing-playing structure to be permanently installed in the Miami Design District by 2014. Klein-Bottle Playground, as the structure is called, was originally developed for the humanitarian "Art for the World" program, as part of a touring exhibition of experimental recreational equipment and toys for refugee children. Acconci Studio's contribution was inspired by the German mathematician Felix Klein, who expanded the concept of a Moebius strip into a structure – a "Klein Bottle" – in which there is no identifiable "inside" or "outside," as one surface flows continuously into the other. Acconci Studio has transformed this mathematical construct into a playground, in which a series of tubes extend out from and into a central sphere, such that children can climb in, through and on top. The installation of Acconci Studio's Klein-Bottle Playground in the Miami Design District will provide the first public area in the neighborhood dedicated to children.
· Acconci Studio Named 2012 Designer of the Year [Design Miami]
· Design Miami names Vito Acconci Designer of the Year [New Times]