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The Above Par Culture Edit – December 2022

Happy December, y’all! We made it. Now, ready to peruse the last Above Par Culture Edit of 2022? It’s a juicy one, I promise. In a month that’s notoriously jam-packed with events—the last two or three years notwithstanding—whittling down the highlights is always a challenge. But for me, as Design and Culture Editor, I’ve placed what is arguably the buzziest gathering among the creative set righhhht up top. As for the rest, some newsy openings and cultural happenings across the country to peek—some festive, others epic (hint: Newark’s Terminal A)—as we count down the final 365. Wishing you a happy holiday season, and an ever brighter new year ahead.

It’s Finally Here: Miami’s (Design) Week to Shine

Magic City is the darling of the design world this week. Both in their 16th edition, Design Miami (November 30-December 4) and Art Basel (November 30-December 3) have stormed into town, summoning thousands of collectors, designers, curators—and all the party-hopping hangers-on—to South Florida. The former is hosted in Pride Park, with about 50 collectible design and furniture exhibitions plus even more collaborations in the Miami Beach space. On the other side of the park in the Convention Center, Basel’s showcase unites dozens leading galleries from nearly all of Earth’s continents. In short: mucho art, mucho debauchery.

Iris Apfel, Centenarian Style Icon, Designs Surfboard (Christmas) Tree

Also this week, on December 1st in Palm Beach, shopping mecca The Royal Poinciana Plaza will reveal its fifth annual holiday tree. This year, the tree—constructed entirely of surfboards—wasdesigned in collaboration with fashion legend and seasonal Palm Beach resident Iris Apfel. On display through the festive season, the tree will reflect Apfel’s unrelenting infatuation with bright colors and extravagent embellishments. “Palm Beach is incredibly dear to me,” the 101-year-old icon says in a statement. “When approached this year to work with The Royal on the installation, I was flattered. What we’ve pulled together emulates my outlook on life- it’s playful, colorful, optimistic and completely unique. I hope everyone who views it, smiles, and is inspired to walk to the beat of their own drum.”

Will Newark International Airport’s New Terminal A Score An A+?

Newark has not aged well (sorry, it’s a matter of fact). But at last, the most despised airport in the country will unveil the long-awaited revamp of Terminal A on December 8. Addressing most of the former terminals painpoints with passengers—lack of seating and natural, cramped spaces, dingy bathrooms—the new space is a glimmer of hope for those flying from the New Jersey airport. After a $2.7 billion renovation, the space is double the size of its predecessor, and will be filled with myriad art installations, big windows (finally!), and dozens of retail and dining outlets that originated in the state.

NYC’s New Museum of Broadway…Gives Its Regards to Broadway

Spotlighting the history of The Great White Way, the Big Apple’s New Museum of Broadway opened this month just off Times Square beside the Lyceum Theatre. Years in the making, the institution is stuffed with artifacts (props, costumes, set pieces and more), educational tidbits, and multimedia exhibitions that span decades of the theater district’s most beloved shows and performances. The musuem is divided into three distinct sections: The Map Room (where a map of every operting theater is pinpointed), a two-story timeline of Broadway’s history, and a special Making of a Broadway Show display.

Credit: Robert Peterson

The Doors Open at House Beautiful’s 5th “Whole Home” in Atlanta

From December 1-17, design publication House Beautiful opens its fifth annual “Whole Home” project. This year’s show home, a historic Chastain Park Tudor, is located in the ritzy Atlanta suburb of Buckhead. Recruited to collectively overhaul more than 11,000 square feet were twelve renowned interior designers—Ariene Bethea, Ashley Gilbreath, Brynn Olson, DuVäl Reynolds, Jonathan Savage, Keia McSwain, Leanne Ford, Lisa Adams, Mark Williams, Niki Papadopoulos, Whittney Parkinson, and Zoë Feldman—who each left their mark across the mansion’s indoor and outdoor spaces. Tickets are required to tour the home in person, or pick up a copy of House Beautiful’s December Renovation Issue for a deeper look.

Credit: Connor Surdi

At The Empire State Building, A New Starbucks We Never Knew We Needed

A new Starbucks? Groundbreaking. No, but actually. The flashy Starbucks Reserve at the Empire State Building is unlike anything else we’ve seen before: A 23,000 square feet, three-story coffee house—no, emporium—where ordering up an almond milk latte is literally the least you can do. The gargantuan outpost of the global coffee chain is all about experiences. Not only are there a ton of location-specific drink and food items on the menu, but a schedule of hands-on coffee workshops and seminars, exclusive tastings, and even an events hosting space. Worth a visit? We think so.

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