Inquiring Minds

Lord of the brush.

J. R. R. Tolkien’s malevolent dragon Smaug is just one of hundreds of iconic Tolkien characters and mythical landscapes brought to life by visionary illustrator and conceptual artist John Howe.

Smartphones and the cult of the new.

New. Improved. Throw in free and you’ve got the three most powerful words in the English language. A lesson Silicon Valley learned very early.

Pattern breakers.

The legendary French maison has welcomed six creative revolutionaries from varying fields to give their interpretation of the signature LV monogram for a series of bags and trunks in celebration of the brand’s 160th birthday.

Contemporary rug art.

Anticipating the design labels that have turned to old craft techniques to renew their products and brands, German carpet designer Jan Kath has mastered the art of looking simultaneously backward and forward in time.

Requiem for the double-double.

It wasn’t the service. Or the ambience. And let’s be honest with ourselves—it wasn’t the coffee or the doughnuts either. No, it was a feeling that turned Tim Hortons into our national coffee shop. Call­­ it a sense of humble comfort: a small-town, aw-shucks goodness its customers liked to see in themselves.

Capitalism comes to the final frontier.

Sometime next year, if you look up—way up—at just the right time, you might see something in the sky that wasn’t there before. That’d be the Dragon V2, the next generation of space “taxi” shuttling astronauts, cosmonauts, and the occasional space tourist across the cosmos.

Raw beauty.

Todd Saunders has made his mark by turning the middle of nowhere into somewhere. His architecture—bare, sculptural, conductive—amplifies place like a microphone set in the landscape, making both built space and the place it’s in palpably present. Designed by Saunders, the Fogo Island Inn opened last summer on a beautiful Newfoundland island.

Revitalizing the arts community.

The stakes are high in Las Vegas, and hotels and casinos pull out all the stops to produce such a spectacle. The statistics of the art world in Vegas, however, are surprising for different reasons.