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LACMA should watch out for Rem's Rainforest Habit

by jer235@nyu.edu- from the NY IMC Friday, Jan. 18, 2002 at 10:41 PM

The story below is regarding the new architecturaly significant Prada Store in SOHO. It is built by Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas- who has been recently commisioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to do a teardown of the existing structure and build a new museum.

errorPRADA APOLOGIZES IN FACE OF DEMO!!!
by RAINFOREST RELIEF 9:27am Thu Jan 17 '02
phone: 212-879-2118 jer235@nyu.edu

PRADA AGREES TO ASSESS USE OF
RAINFOREST WOOD FLOOR!!!CANCELS
ALL FUTURE PLANS USING RAINFOREST
AND OLD GROWTH WOOD. PLEDGES TO
SEE ALTNERTIVES TO WOOD FROM
ENDANGERED FORESTS.
DEMONSTRATION NOW DOWNGRADED
TO LEAFLETTING. AND TO LET PEOPLE
KNOW TO CALL REM KOOLHAAS,
ARCHITECT AND THE GUGGENHEIM
THEY BETTER MIND THEIR RAINFOREST
MANNERS TOO.

PRADA AGREES TO ASSESS USE OF RAINFOREST WOOD FLOOR

Rainforest Destruction for the Wave Floor was Unfashionable

New York, Thursday, January 17, 2002 Members of the group Rainforest
Relief along with other organizations were handing out flyers in front of the
newly-opened Prada store in SoHo today after canceling a planned protest of
the use of wood cut from west African rainforests for the stores floor. The unusual
floor, dubbed the Wave, has become a modest tourist attraction in the area,
but it is made entirely of zebrawood, a tree species that grows only in the
remote rainforests of Cameroon, Gabon and Congo.
The store, in a space leased from the Guggenheim, was designed by
well-known Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and is reported to be a prototype for
other stores. After phone calls and a letter alerting the company of the issue and
hearing of the demonstration plans, Prada called and agreed from Milan at 6:30
am to work with the group in finding an acceptable alternative to the future use of
wood from endangered rainforests and all other old growth forests.
Logging in Cameroon is a nightmare of illegality, said Tim Keating, Rainforest
Reliefs Executive Director. The government, aid organizations and
environmental NGOs estimate that 90% of logging in Cameroon is done
illegally.
Millions of dollars of taxes have not been paid to the people of Cameroon as
logging companies, many of them European, in collusion with sawmills and
transporters, sidestep the law. Contrary to law, few companies even have a
management plan for the areas they are licensed to log.
The environmental impacts of this type of logging in west Africa are well known
and tragic, eradicating species such as chimpanzees, and contributing to
overhunting. One study showed logging to have precipitated territory wars
among populations of endangered wild chimpanzees, ultimately reducing their
numbers by 80%.
Loggers play a key role in the illegal trade in bushmeat that is, wild game
which has become epidemic in the region. As more and more logging roads are
bulldozed into pristine forests, greater access is provided. Loggers also give
guns to hunters to kill wild game for their logging crews and then transport the
hunters and their excess kills to the towns where the taste for bushmeat is driving
a demand that is devastating wildlife populations. Endangered gorillas, chimps,
pangolins, deer and other wildlife all make their way to the markets in cities and
towns, with the assistance of loggers.
Indigenous forest peoples -- such as the peaceful Baka "pygmies" -- are being
displaced, said Tim Doody, Rainforest Relief campaigner. Their culture is being
destroyed by often violent contact with loggers who are eradicating the forest on
which they depend for food, medicine and their spiritual culture.
Handing out flyers reading, Rainforest Destruction No Longer in Fashion, Joan
Roney said, Architects and designers need to pay attention to the impacts of
their designs and stop sourcing from endangered forests all over the world. We
hope that Rem Koolaas and the Guggenheim will follow Pradas example and
swear off all future wood use of old growth and tropical timber as well. There are
alternatives.

call, write, fax Rem Koolhaas and tell him to make a no old growth and rainforest
wood pledge in all his world-wide development projects.

Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Email: office@oma.nl

New York office
180 Varick St., 9th floor
New York, NY 10014
Ph 646.230.6557
Fx 646.230.6558
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