FEATURED THIS WEEK : THE EDITORS
We are delighted to introduce our newest channel: Observers Room. The fifth channel of content at Design Observer, Observers Room will be home to bloggers and critics, commentators and pundits, artists and writers eager to share their opinions on a host of subjects — each clocking in somewhere between the brevity of the 140-character tweet and the expansiveness of the 1000-word essay. It is with pride, then, that we announce new blogs by Mark Lamster, Alexandra Lange, Rick Poynor, John Thackara, and OBlog, a blog by the editors of Design Observer.
CHANGE OBSERVER : WILLIAM DRENTTEL, JULIE LASKY
Convened to form the basis for a collaborative network, thirteen educators from a variety of design and business programs discussed the challenges and objectives of social-change initiatives within their schools and universities. This is the final report from the symposium held in Falls Village, Connecticut, October 17–19, 2010.
OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
We live in a gilded age of adaptations: films, TV series, theatrical productions (often with added songs) and most recently, graphic novels. People are much more likely now to have experienced an interpretation of the original than they are to have read the actual book. Literary classics don’t come much trickier to re-envision for a new generation than H. P. Lovecraft’s short novel At the Mountains of Madness
PLACES : FRANK SCHIRRMEISTER
Earlier this week we published writer Millay Hyatt's account of walking the entire 100-mile length of the Berlin Wall Trail. Plain City
, by photographer Frank Schirrmeister, presents a complementary view of the city — a native Berliner's struggle "to keep pace emotionally as the city reinvents itself with dizzying speed." Here we are pleased to be featuring the first in a series of portfolios curated by our photography editor, Aaron Rothman.
OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER
A few months ago I used this space to profess my distaste for fat design monographs, the sort with images that run page after page and have minimal explanatory text. There was a time (the 1990s) when these books seemed interesting, but I now find them, more often than not, to be lazy, self-indulgent and ecologically wasteful.
OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA
Before Twittter, a serious connoisseur might study the Mona Lisa for 20 years before reaching a conclusion. Today, the average museum visitor looks at a work of art for 42 seconds. Now 42 seconds is a long time compared to the 11 seconds that most shares are owned by high frequency trading machines. But for the Popes of culture and media, who met last week for the third Avignon Forum
, this shallow cultural scanning is a reprehensible downside of “culture for everyone.”
OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER
It seems only fitting to inaugurate a space called the Observers Room with an image of a glass house — the Glass House. Under my byline, you'll find writing on architecture, design, art, new york, books, sport, and whatever else seems relevant to the day. I'll also be using this space to work through ideas on the project that commands the majority of my time: a biography of the late architect Philip Johnson. Your thoughts are welcome.
OBSERVATORY : ADRIAN SHAUGHNESSY
A chic café next to the Royal Festival Hall on the banks of the river Thames, London. It’s mid-afternoon and Vaughan Oliver is talking about blood, sex and death. He pulls photographs from his bag like doves from a magician’s hat. It's the 4AD dream team again: photographer Simon Larbalestier and designer Vaughan Oliver.
OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE
Here we build our glass houses for rich people, with a view, along the lines of 100 Eleventh Avenue or On Prospect Park. In Copenhagen the idea seemed to be glass houses for families, a radiant city built by many hands, most with the same aesthetic.
CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA
Oslo Airport's mean-looking bullet train reaches the city center in 19 minutes. At 210 kph (130 mph), it is not the world's fastest — some of China'a new trains will soon reach nearly twice that speed — but Norway's is surely the most macho to look at.
PLACES : MILLAY HYATT
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 — 21 years ago this week — the reunified capital of Germany has been the setting for urban design competitions, real estate speculation, anxious memorialization, dynamic art events, and fervent political and cultural debate about the role of the past in the future of the city. But what about the actual strip, the parts of Berlin where the wall once stood? Writer Millay Hyatt treks the 100 miles of the Berlin Wall Trail, observing the sometimes easy, sometimes unsettling merger of east and west, past and present.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on Conflict Kitchen, a project by artists affiliated with Carnegie Mellon to foster cross-cultural understanding through food.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2006
In the Seattle Public Library, Rem Koolhaas and OMA work to transform architecture into media interface.