All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players,
They have their exits and their entrances.
In art and architecture over the years we have seen marvelous works by many figures such as I.M.Pei, M.F. Hussain, Ingo Maurer, and more. These professionals have enjoyed experimenting and creating an environment that is still enjoyed by today’s world. But over the years many of them have passed away after leaving behind their imprints on earth. Today, we look at artists, designers, architects, who have died in 2020.
1. JAQUELIN TAYLOR ROBERTSON- AMERICAN ARCHITECT
Awards: Driehaus Architecture Prize, Thomas Jefferson Medal for Architecture
Died on: 9TH May 2020.
Jaquelin Taylor Robertson is one of New York’s most prominent and passionate advocates of Urban Design. He was well known for his large-scale plans and private residences. Jaquelin described himself to be a product of two architectural settings- one a provincial, rural, Anglo-American, Georgian-Paladin one, and the other exotic, foreign, imperial and highly cosmopolitan one which was represented in his various works like Ohio outside Columbus or the New Albany Country Club in New Albany. Jaquelin Taylor Robertson joined his former Yale classmate Alexander Cooper in 1988 along with David McGregor and Briau Shea, who later formed a firm called Cooper Robertson and Partners.
His popular contribution includes the Planning and Designing of the New Capitol center Shahestan Pahlavi of Iran, The Henry Moore Sculpture Garden at the Nelson- Atkins Museum of Art, and many more.
2. VITTORIO GREGOTTI- ITALIAN ARCHITECT
Books: Inside Architecture, Architecture: Means and Ends, Il Territorio dell’architettura, New directions in Italian architecture and more.
Died on: 15TH March 2020
Vittorio Gregotti was an Italian Architect, known for his modernist approach. He was also a theorist and city planner who fused the profession with political militancy. He was remarked for his fluidity in style and though all the structures had one thing in common: ‘The Ties to their Context, the decisive intervention on the landscape’.
Along with being an avid architect, Vittorio was also the director of Casabella Magazine, Lecturer in Milan, Director of Visual Arts section of the Venice Biennale and along with his friend Umberto Eco he was the curated the Triennale Di Milano in 1964. For him architecture was not just restricted to drawings and construction, Vittorio used the power of pen and speech to publish books like the Inside Architecture and Architecture: Means and Ends, which focuses on issues of precision, technique, modification, innovation.
His famous work includes the popular Barcelona Olympic Stadium, the Belem Cultural Center in Lisbon, and several university campuses such as the University of Calabria.
3. MICHAEL DAVID SORKIN- AMERICAN CRITIC
Books: Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, Michael Sorkin Studio, Exquisite Corpse: Writing on Buildings, All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities and more.
Awards: American Academy of Arts and Letters Awards in Architecture
Died on: 26TH March 2020
Michael D. Sorkin was an American architectural and design critic, designer, and educator. Through his time in the industry, he is known to be “one of the most outspoken public intellectuals of architecture”.
He was the principal leader in Michael Sorkin Studio and President of Terraform, a non- profitable research group. He focused on practicing in the urban public realm. As his writings ranged from Urban Theory to the Israeli border wall to issues of Sustainability. Though he first walked into the public eye in 1980 at the Village Voice, he quickly gained popularity for his serious critique deliveries accompanied by humor.
His works include The Master Plan for the Brooklyn Waterfront, Proposal for Sudraum Leipzig, University of Chicago Campus Masterplan, Plan for Lower Manhattan, and many more large-scale plans.
4. RALPH CAPLAN- AMERICAN WRITER
Books: By Design: Why There are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV and Other Object Lessons, Cracking the Whip: Essays on Design and Its Side Effects, The design of Herman Miller, By Design 2nd Edition: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV and Other Object Lessons
Awards: Design Mind National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Died on: 17TH June 2020
Ralph Caplan became a significant personality in art and architecture due to his contribution as an American Design Consultant, writer, and public speaker.
He was known for his dislikes for windy sentences, imperious clichés, and his readiness to poke fun at orthodoxies. From serving in the Marine Corps to being an essayist, lecturer, professor, he became a prominent figure in the writer’s community.
He became the editor in chief of the magazine Industrial Design (I.D.) which encouraged him to publish the famous book Say Yes! His line of books focused on the design language rather than just being novels.
As a non-designer, Caplan could explain crucial designs in simple understandable language to a wider audience.
‘By Design’ is known to be a bible for the designers as it has influenced many creative minds around the world.
5. CHRISTO VLADIMIROV JAVACHEFF- ARTIST
Artworks: The Gates, Store Front, Store Front Project, The Mastaba, Surrounded Islands, The Umbrellas, Valley Curtain, Rifle, The Pont-Neuf Wrapped, Wrapped Reichstag and more.
Awards: Nouveau Réalisme, Environmental Art
Died on: 31ST May 202
Christo Vladimirov Javacheff was born in Bulgaria, where he attended well-respected schools but as a child, he always inclined and appreciated art. Over the years he found inspiration in Skira Art Books and meeting with Russian professors, Russian modernists, and Soviet Avant-garde. He preferred learning from observing the surroundings rather than what was taught in the colleges.
Christo contributed 20 giant projects in almost 50 years in collaboration with his wife Jeanne Claude Denat de Guillebon. From the start, the pair worked together, where both discussed projects and help each other with the technicalities.
As Christo and his wife were inseparable, the duo started to be known as Christo and Jeanne Claude. Their work has been known to be larger than life, impressive to the human eye, extraordinary and controversial. These projects were not built in a day as they required preparation, technical solutions, political negotiation, permits, and environmental approvals and other legalities.
The Iron Curtain, a poetic reply to the Berlin Wall, was the first project the duo presented to the public in 1962, Streets of Paris. Later in the year, 1964, Store Fronts wooden facades were exhibited to resemble shop windows in the New Art World Capital, New York City.
L’Arc, de Triomphe, and Wrapped are the final works by Christo and Jeanne Claude which will be displayed in Paris, September 2021.
6. MANUEL FELGUEREZ- MEXICAN ARTIST
Artworks: Puerta del Tiempo, The aesthetic machine, The multiple space, Ecuación en Acero and more
Awards: Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, Latin America & Caribbean
Books: Manuel Felguerez
Died on: 8TH June 2020
Image Sources: Manuel Felguerez ©Palabras Claras
Manuel Felguerez rose to popularity for his part in breaking stereotypes surrounding traditional Mexican murals. His career paths included painting, planning sculptures, theatre and cinema work, and handcraft design.
As a part of the Generacion de la Ruptura Movement, he faced many political and artistic stigmas. Over the years he worked on creating sculpted murals in metal for private and public buildings. Till today, his works created in the 80s are being exhibited in different locations to inspire the young generation.
In 1998, Manuel Felguerez Abstract Art Museum in the city of Zacatecas was inaugurated, where almost 100 creations of the artist, showcasing his development over the years, have been on display along with the works of various artists.
His featured line of work includes abstract paintings like the Sin título, El suspenso de la mancha, 2017, Diferencia y Continuidad, Luna, Autobiografía de la creación, 1992, murals such as Song to the Ocean 1963, Iron Mural 1961 and many more.
7. YUPADEE KOBKUL BOONSIRI – JEWELERY DESIGNER
Awards: Gold Virtuosi Award, the North American Tahitian Pearl Trophy, and a JCK Jewelers’ Choice Award, In 2012, and Rising Star Award.
Died on: 27TH April 2020
Yupadee Kobkul Boonsiri was an award-winning designer from Thailand. She has designed numerous magnificent engagement rings and daily jewels. Her style is described to be bold, layered with delicacy, and outsized. Yupadee’s most significant piece of jewel is a metal neck collar that anchors thin spikes softened by multicolored pearls at their ends.
Alongside jewelry design she also kept a keen interest in making beautiful, tactile furniture and home accessories for her husband’s furniture store.
8. LUIGI FELTRIN- ITALIAN FURNITURE DESIGNER
Died on: 5TH April 2020
As the firm Arper bids farewell to its founder Luigi Feltrin, the world loses an incredible furniture designer. His life journey has been described as dynamic as he was always on the move for the next opportunity. From working on leathering processing to establishing Arper in 1989, Luigi turned heads with his magnificent range of chairs, tables, and other furniture accessories. His knowledge of material usage and processes proved a stable base for the brand image. The Arper over the years worked with designers such as Jean Massud, James Irvine, Simon Pengelly, and Lievore Altherr Molina.
As his employee recalls the founder’s inspirational words “I tell young people that we may find a few difficulties and obstacles along our life’s path. But they mustn’t get downhearted at the first hurdle, they should stop and think things over” as they define his outlook on design as “ability to see beyond the obvious”.
9. RAVINDRA BHAN- ARCHITECT
Awards: Isola Landmark Award for excellence in design, Isola Medal 2010- Lifetime achievement and contribution to profession, AGA KHAN award for architecture.
Died on: 15TH February 2020
Known as the pioneer of Landscape Architecture in India, Prof. Ravindra Bhan, created a revolution in the landscape industry. He completed his education in B.Arch from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A., and Masters in Landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A, and years later got the opportunity to teach in the respective universities.
His impressive ways to seek connection with nature came with a blend of design and substance as he attempted to make landscape act as an actual core design feature rather than existing. Over the year Prof. Ravindra mastered the art of landscaping ‘without abuse to nature’ (as stated by him), where he embarked the journey to develop workable landscape architecture for the Indian population which earned him the prestigious Aga Khan award, International Low-Cost Housing Competition, Merit for American society of Landscape Architects and more.
His contribution can be noted through projects like Children’s Park at India Gate, Golden Temple Corridors, Ayodhya Ghats, Shakti Sthala, and more.
10. BASHIRUL HAQ- BANGLADESHI ARCHITECT
Awards: Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Hamidur Rahman Memorial Award
Died on: 4TH April 2020
One of the prominent figures in Bangladeshi architecture, Bashirul Haq, was the most beloved and respected mentor. Though Bashirul was an inspiration for many, for him Alvar Aalto and Aldo Rossi were the sources of inspiration.
He designed over 300 buildings over 45 years which later influenced the shaping of contemporary architecture. He also taught a month-long session in Bengal Institute for Architecture on “Home and Dwelling”.
After the devastating cyclone in Bangladesh, 1991, Bashirul Haq and Associates were commissioned by an NGO to design three community development centers and cyclone shelters in the Cox Bazar district. This project earned him the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1994.
For his impressive contribution over the years, Bashirul Haq was felicitated with the Hamidur Rahman Memorial Award for his contribution to the field of architecture in 2018. A monograph of his works and philosophy titled Bashirul Haq: Architect, was also published in 2019 by Copal Publishing with the Department of Architecture of BRAC University.
11. DAVID DRISKELL- ARTIST AND ADVOCATE FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN ART
Awards: National Humanities Medal
Died on: 1ST April 2020
David Driskell was a celebrated painter and scholar who advocated for African American Arts’ long history. Driskell taught at the University of Maryland until his retirement in 1998 after which David C. Driskell Center for the study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African American and the African Diaspora was established at the university.
His curation of “Two Centuries f Black American Art: 1750- 1950’ was termed as ground-breaking and was debuted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art along with other artist’s work. David was also an art enthusiast and so he was an avid collector, his line of the collection included works by Alma Thomas, Sam Gillian, and many more. In 2001, his collection was exhibited at the Newark Museum of Art.
As an artist, he was represented by the DC Moore Gallery since 1995, but his work has been exhibited at many institutions including The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and more.
The pivotal champion of African Art has also received the National Humanities Medal in 200 through the hands of Bill Clinton.
12. SERGIO ROSSI- ITALIAN SHOE DESIGNER
Died on: 2ND April 2020
Image Sources: Sergio Rossi ©The Star
Sergio Rossi was one of the most leading shoe designers in the world. His collection of shoes was used by Versace, Dolce & Gabbana in their collections, and worn by celebrities from Lupita Nyong’o to Rihanna, and Paris Hilton.
Sergio began his journey in the year 1950 after gaining knowledge about the trade from his father. Later in 1968, he started his store that quickly became world-renowned for its exceptional accessories and craftsmanship for products. This not only gained the brand popularity but also placed the area of San Mauro Pascoli as the epicenter for luxury shoe design.
Though Sergio Rossi was a part of the Italian artist who emerged after World War II, he was able to conquer the women’s fashion industry with his perfectly balanced, albeit often spindly, heels which included styles like the Opanca Sandal, with a sole that curved up the sides to blend in with the foot, and his signature Godiva Stiletto.
To preserve the legend in memories the archives of sketches and documents are stored in the San Mauro Facility, along with the shoes and other accessories.
These legendary icons will be cherished for years to come, as their remarkable work approach continues to inspire the younger generations. As their thought process and philosophies are available through books and the world wide web.