The Big Picture



Image: This is Lancashire

Black Rock City was designed by Rod Garrett, a member of the Beat Generation. His apprentice Andrew Johnstone from American Steel took over Rod’s role when he passed away, becoming Design Steward of the Man. He designs The Man Base every year with Larry Harvey.

His side project is to address the $20 billion a  year in the US ($100 billion worldwide) being spent wasted removing graffiti. Give the kids paintbrushes, and save on aerosol cans; give them permission, and turn them into artists. This is art literally transforming peoples’ lives.

An amazing project, Mr Johnstone deserves to be commended. This seems to be exactly the type of thing that the Burning Man Project was granted a tax exemption for. Andrew has a address, he’s definitely an insider. So why haven’t we heard anything about this at Why no glowing stories in the BJ?

Perhaps it is because the last thing anyone would want to do with at-risk teenagers is bring them to Burning Man, and expose them to the world’s biggest market of temptation, where everything is free including sex, drugs, and EDM.

Or perhaps the project doesn’t need support, since the Tides Foundation is behind it. Tides is a notorious George Soros front, with further financial muscle from the Rockefeller, Ford, and Heinz Foundations.



7 Notable Designs

Interior Design has some highlights from 2014.


Words from


Burning Man is a giant canvas…It’s easy to see why this grand experiment of pure creation, stripped of capital gain, is a mecca for many designers. We spoke to seven who say experiencing a creative environment with over 70,000 people fuels great intention of purpose and enormous amounts of positivity. Add fire, they say, and it is beyond words.

1. Anne Staveley and Jill Sutherland partnered in creating “The Wheel of Fortune” through their surrealist photography of Tarot. Staveley describes her burning man lessons as “tools of aweness” and the “power of possibility.” She and Sutherland spoke of this project in terms of “risk taking,” saying it awarded them “full freedom and opportunity to create on an open canvas.” It was a great opportunity to be resourceful with budget and recycled materials especially solar panels, they report. They’re even inspired to apply solar power to their professional projects.


hybycozo (6)

Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone – a reference to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

2. Serge Beaulieu quit his job before coming to Burning Man to complete the art project “HYBYCOZO”with co-creator Yelena Filipchuk. For him, creating at the burn means “no limitations—reach as high as you can,” he says, and taking risks to develop the “DIY hands-on approach” that he was craving professionally. Beaulieu spoke of the great rewards of “making something enjoyable and satisfying for others,” and left excited by the use of technology like laser cutting, as well as sacred geometry.



3. Kirsten Berg created “IN-Visible”, inspired by Burner Kate Raudenbush’s monumental sculptures. Berg “dared herself” to learn the necessary skills on her own. Her work is kinetic in a quiet manner, with both a feminine softness yet a daring strength and integrity of construction. In creating for Burning Man, Berg developed artistic confidence, resourcefulness and adaptability. Understanding the physical context and learning from others is key to her projects’ successes, she says.


4. Perry Freeze and Gloria Lamb imagined a multi-sensory experience with “Inspireality Palace.” From its inception, their design intent included what they term a “conscious interactivity.” “Burning Man art produces a rare direct interaction with artists,” says Freeze. “As a result, we’ve found a desire to introduce greater interactivity into our work.” Their project was a secretive interior space with a shingled exterior constructed of repurposed materials. At night, a limed oak radial floor pattern, with its beachlike quality, gave way to a vertical surround of projected images.



5. Kristen Dandalides is head of design for camp “Cirque Gitane,” a whimsical gypsy circus that travels all over the world. Her interior compositions felt part Royal and part Out of Africa. There is specialness to this kind of extravagance in the most unlikely of places—a barren desert. Silver platters and oversized carpets seem like props within a cacophony of circus-themed design elements.


2014 caravancicle cubes

6. Joey Rubin, a design lead for the “Lost Hotel” and “Sinbad’s Oasis” camps, described using different iterations of the same living “cubes.” Elements such as custom bed frames and linens were constructed of hardware and cloth, with much of these and other materials repurposed and constructed in 10 weeks. His process was one of “resourcefulness and adaptability,” he says, especially when designing two theme camps at the same time.



7. Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg, artists of “The Pyramid of Flaming LOVE,” incorporated interactive fire in continuing their beloved word series constructed of perforated metal letters. Burning man taught her “to think big and out of the box and to work with a team,” Kimpton says. Twelve years later, she has built eight installations with crews of up to 60 people.

Airport Design Competition Winner Announced

by Whatsblem the Pro

Image: EcoLogic Design Lab

Image: EcoLogic Design Lab

The winning entry in the 2013 Burning Man Airport Terminal and Pilot’s Lounge Design Competition has been announced; the design chosen by a panel of judges was submitted by architect Ross Smith of San Francisco.

Thomas Rettenwender of EcoLogic Design Lab, the firm that judged the contest, writes:

After reviewing all the submitted projects received from around the world (including Shanghai, Austria, Canada, San Francisco, Hamburg, Columbus, Holland, … ) the judges had a difficult job of selecting the winning projects. Every single entry had interesting concepts and ideas to review and evaluate. Conditions in the Blackrock Desert are extreme, many projects may have been just to beautiful to subject to this degree of abuse ! Usually architects/designers want their buildings to fly, the concern of course is that the structures flyaway. The ability to assemble the structure under winds and sand storms made the designs with fewer parts stand out. There was also the desire to find an iconic shape that looked impressive from the sky and from the ground. After several weeks of review about ten projects were brought to the Burningman Headquarters, Market St. San Francisco and over the course of several hours of bagels, coconut water and vicious debate the final projects had to be selected – Our wish, however was to see all these projects being built – flying, blowing, flapping, tumbling, shining, rising up across the playa – and we hope the designers out there continue to pursue this goal. Good Luck and Congratulations to all entrants. We are grateful for the participation. We were very impressed with all the hard work they put in to the entries. It was an honor to review the designs.


Image: EcoLogic Design Lab

Image: EcoLogic Design Lab

Ross Smith’s design won accolades from the judges for its iconic shape, which will be easily recognizable to pilots from the air; it’s canny re-purposing of its own shipping containers as anchors; the lightweight, easy-to-install design; the small number of parts, and the mobility of the ‘wings,’ which can be dropped to shelter the interior in case of dust storms.

The rest of the competition results have been posted at EcoLogic Design Lab’s website.

The competition was judged by Thom Faulders, Eric Corey Freed, Michael Twing, Steve Ramseur, Thomas Rettenwender and Luke Lukoskie.