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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: DECEMBER 10, 2010


Acumen Sexy Sanitation Challenge

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JULIE LASKY

Acumen Sexy Sanitation Challenge

Sixty participants responded with videos, posters, public campaigns, and literary essays thronged with frank words and images.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

The Impossibility of an Island

When we dream of escaping from frantic modern lives into another more perfect kind of existence, the image of an island often comes to mind, a refuge where time slows down, the living is easy and we can at last find inner peace. It’s a fantasy, practically a Jungian archetype now, endlessly reworked in movies, advertising and travel brochures.
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OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER

Rob Walker's Collection of Bicentennial Quarters

I’ve tried to collect things in the past, but I always fail. I buy one or two patent-medicine bottles, or old issues of Fortune, or whatever and then I lose interest and feel like (that is: I realize that) I’m wasting money.
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PLACES : KEITH EGGENER

Building on Burial Ground

The rituals with which we bury and remember the dead, and the places we build to house and memorialize their remains, speak eloquently about contemporary culture. As architectural historian Keith Eggener writes, "Because cemeteries are such patently liminal sites — poised between past and future, life and death, material and spiritual, earth and heaven — they more than any other designed landscapes communicate grand social and metaphysical ideas." Here we present an excerpt and slideshow drawn from Eggener's new book, Cemeteries.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Use Fewer Words — Or Less Ink?

From drinking bottled water, to a single search on Google: even the most innocuous action seems to have a dire consequence for the planet somewhere down the line.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

No Rest at the Last Supper

"Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway" is indeed a dud: cheese-tastic, bombastic, didactic.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : CHAPPELL ELLISON

The Would-be Words of 2010

With the newest crop of submissions to Merriam-Webster, the dictionary will expand as it does every year. We continue to transform words in a curious manner that reflects the direction in which society is headed.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : ERNEST BECK

Cards of Change

When architect Michael Nicolson lost his job at the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill at the height of the recession, he faced the usual flood of emotions. The future looked bleak, of course, and questions swirled about what to do next.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Has Venice Cracked the Bottled Water Conundrum?

Italians are the leading consumers of bottled water in the world. They drink more than 40 gallons per person annually. Among many ecocidal by-products, until recently, discarded plastic bottles littered canals all over Venice, a world heritage site.
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OBSERVATORY : STEVEN HELLER AND ELAINE LUSTIG COHEN

Designer as Author

In 1954, Alvin Lustig gave a lecture titled “What Is a Designer?” at the Advertising Typographers Association of America. It was one of many such talks he gave to organizations, art directors’ clubs and schools around the United States and Canada. However, this lecture was different. It was his first speech after he lost his eyesight.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Little Boxes

AMAC Plastic Boxes just happen to be one of MoMA's Humble Masterpieces, but I didn't know that when I lined them up on my bureau as a child. Their cheapness, usefulness, brilliant color and crystalline shape makes them an object for the ages.
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PLACES : DAVID HEYMANN

Nature-ization Takes Command

"Nature, the state of the environment, the crisis of the natural landscape: are there more profound sources for meaningfulness — for questions as well as answers — in architecture today? You can hardly swing an extinct species without hitting an example." So writes David Heymann, in the second of a series exploring the intensifying importance of landscape for contemporary design. Heymann finds resonant examples worldwide, ranging from buildings by Glenn Murcutt, Herzog & de Meuron and Future Systems to installations by Olafur Eliasson, Mel Chin and Wolfgang Laib.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : ANDREA NAGY SMITH

Mayo Clinic: Design Thinking in Health Care – Case Study Synopsis & Teaching Objectives

This case study about the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation provides an opportunity to examine sustained work toward healthcare innovation — and in a context where designers and design thinking are critical components. This is the second in a new series of cases focusing on design and social innovation created by Yale School of Management in collaboration with Winterhouse Institute, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

This is Not an Object

Well, I know these things “look” like objects, but that's because you have not read a new book called Nonobject about the design philosophy of Branko Lukic. Branko's collaborator on the book, Barry Katz, cites respected commentators in support of his proposition that although these images appear to depict objects, they do not.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 12.05.10

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Steven Heller

Steven Heller, art director, educator and author of over 100 books on design.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Solo Kota Kita

Report on a design-oriented sysem for providing information about community resources in Indonesia as an aid for budgeting.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2007

The Lost Public Art of Gordon Matta-Clark

Gordon Matta-Clark infiltrated the worlds of art and architecture, revealing deep complacencies in each.
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Change Observer

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