van alen institute has launched an online auction of art and design experiences, offering the chance for bidders to take part in 25 unique activities around the world. each encounter will be experienced alongside notable figures in art, architecture, and design — including a jaunt around madrid with rafael moneo, a pedicure and foot casting with artist diana al-hadid, and dinner with architect richard rogers at his michelin-starred london restaurant. the online portion of van alen institute’s annual auction of art + design experiences is now live via web platform paddle8 here, and closes at 5pm (ET) on wednesday, april 27. designboom is an official sponsor of van alen’s 2016 spring party, where three of the exclusive experiences will be auctioned live.


often, our work deals with serious urban design challenges, but there is a very fun side to design that we celebrate each year with this auction,’ said van alen institute executive director david van der leer. ‘how often can someone have the chance to eat a homemade meal at the libeskind’s, then challenge philippe vergne and gerard o’brien to a game of doubles, then take in aerial views of mexico city with fernando romero as your guide?’


now in its third edition, it’s been exciting to see the auction of art + design experiences develop into a van alen tradition,’ said stephen cassell, chair of van alen’s board of trustees and principal of architecture research office. ‘this year, we’re delighted to see three pritzker prize-winning architects represented.’

learn how to create various body parts celebrated in the haas brothers’ sculptures and paintings




the 2016 experiences have been assembled by a committee of cultural experts, including iwan baan, hannah byers (sotheby’s), alix browne (W magazine), gonzalo cruz (AECOM), victoria newhouse, dung ngo (august editions), alex polier (DNA), and dan rubenstein (departures). see a list of the 25 experiences up for auction below.


a jaunt around madrid: you and a guest will accompany rafael moneo for his daily walk around the spanish capital while absorbing the architect’s philosophy on design and materiality.


foot fetish: indulge in pedicures with artist diana al-hadid at a brooklyn salon. later, head over to diana’s studio where she’ll make a cast of your freshly-pedicured foot to be included in her next project.


prime your palette with richard rogers: while you and a guest enjoy ruth rogers’ spectacular italian food at london’s michelin-starred river cafe, richard rogers will join you to dish on design and cuisine.


dinner at the libeskind’s: dine at the libeskind’s apartment in tribeca for one of nina libeskind’s famous home-cooked meals.

make a pilgrimage to florence and feast your eyes upon a wood panel painting restored by prada




game set match: think you’ve got game? you and a friend will take on philippe vergne, director of MOCA, and gerard o’brien, owner of reform and the landing galleries, in a USTA 4.0 doubles tennis match at a private court in los angeles.


table for four: elaine molinar and craig dykers of snøhetta will join you and a guest for 3-michelin star restaurant the french laundry’s famous tasting menu. after the meal, they’ll show you their firm’s finished renovations on the restaurant.


FR-EE flight over DF: take in over 2,000 years of mexico city’s extraordinary architecture in an afternoon helicopter ride with fernando romero.


go remote: unwind and unplug at fogo island – an island off an island off the coast of newfoundland. for two nights, you and a guest will get to go remote here at the award-winning fogo island inn.

set sail with architect greg lynn on his 42′ trimaran




food for the seoul: visit conceptual artist kimsooja’s new show at the national museum of korea, where she will give you a tour of her work and encourage you to make interventions within the space. then, you and five friends will dine with a who’s who of the korean art world.


the ‘girlfriend’ of your dreams: set sail with architect greg lynn on his 42′ trimaran named ‘girlfriend’.


journey to the blue planet: travel the øresund strait from 3XN’s offices in copenhagen to the blue planet, a 3XN-designed aquarium, with firm co-founder and principal kim herforth nielsen on his speedboat.


where’d amale get that?: spend an afternoon at zero + maria cornejo with store designer amale andraos and label designer maria cornejo for an indulgent personal shopping experience.

head to diana al-hadid’s studio where she’ll make a cast of your foot to be included in her next project




inside persia’s imperial past: an old persian proverb describes isfahan as half the world, and you’ll see why when you join architect and isfahan-native nader tehrani for a two-day tour of this spectacular iranian city.


tripping in the netherlands: you and nine guests will join MVRDV co-founder winy maas for a private tour of the wonderfully peculiar rotterdam markthal and one of its 228 apartment units.


get handsy in L.A: at the haas brothers studio in los angeles, learn how to create a nipple, a hand and buttocks, all body parts celebrated in the brothers’ sculptures and paintings.


almuerzo con bilbao y barragán: take an extended lunch break with mexican architect tatiana bilbao at cuadra san cristobal, designed by pritzker prize-winning architect luis barragán and built in atizapán de zaragoza in 1960.

ma yansong of MAD architects leads you through the twists and turns of beijing’s forbidden city




inside bon appetit’s test kitchen: try new recipes with the magazine’s executive editor christine muhlke before they hit newstands during one of the staff’s daily tastings.


italian art rehab by prada: make an artist’s pilgrimage to florence and feast your eyes upon ‘the last supper’, a wood panel painting restored by prada in collaboration with FAI – fondo ambiente italiano by 16th-century artist giorgio vasari.


marfa y mezcal: go south by southwest to donald judd’s compound in marfa, texas. you and a guest will be given a private tour of la mansana de chinati/the block, judd’s home and studio, and get to see works as installed by the artist throughout the compound courtesy of judd foundation.


bright idea factory: get to know lindsey adelman while constructing your own chandelier with her guidance at her brooklyn workshop.

MVRDV co-founder winy maas will host a private tour of the rotterdam markthal




brit brutalism by bike: sam jacob will lead you and four guests on a mobile exploration of london’s variety of housing types while giving rich commentary on british brutalism.


going once, going twice: join richard wright, founder and president of wright, for a behind-the-scenes tour of the storied chicago auction house. following the tour, head over to the soho house in chicago’s west loop for cocktails and a conversation with richard.


the lowline theory: the lowline lab plays host to a number of horticultural experiments fueled by solar energy, and, now, to a private cocktail party for you and your friends.


beijing past/present: architect ma yansong of MAD leads you and a friend through the twists and turns of beijing’s jingshan park and the adjacent forbidden city, where you will explore courtyards and scale the artificial jingshan mountain.


the escape office: collaborate with artist and architect shawn maximo to create a fantasy office catered to your own needs and secret desires.

dine at the libeskind’s apartment in tribeca for one of nina libeskind’s famous home-cooked meals




for the first time, van alen partners with global auction house sotheby’s to live auction three experiences at its 2016 spring party. the auction kicks off with:


manus x machina: you and a guest will tour the MET costume institute’s latest exhibition ‘manus x machina’ with susan sellers, head of design; curator andrew bolton; and exhibition architect shohei shigematsu of OMA.


backstage pass: join david rockwell as he shows you how he brought 1930s budapest to life on a tour of the ‘she loves me stage’ with new york magazine’s design editor wendy goodman. then, see the sets in action as you enjoy a performance of the hit broadway revival.


governors island ungoverned: you and up to 20 guests are invited to take a private ferry to governors island after hours. while there, pop some bottles and enjoy a sunset picnic on the not-yet-public outlook hill.

head to donald judd’s compound in marfa, texas to receive a private tour of his home and studio

collaborate with shawn maximo to create a fantasy office catered to your own secret desires

have dinner with architect richard rogers at his michelin-starred london restaurant

join architect nader tehrani for a two-day tour of isfahan, iran






van alen’s annual auction of art + design experiences accompanies its spring party, which takes place tonight at the tunnel in west chelsea. the 2016 van alen spring party is co-chaired by andre kikoski (andre kikoski architect), john mccormick (the new yorker), elaine molinar (snøhetta), margaret newman (arup), carla swickerath (studio libeskind), trey trahan (trahan architects), and hunter tura (bruce mau design). the spring party is spearheaded by a committee of 38 architects, designers, writers, and supporters of van alen institute.


about van alen institute


van alen institute believes design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. it collaborates with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. building on more than a century of experience, van alen institute develops cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions.