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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: DECEMBER 22, 2010


Plastics: An Apoplexy

FEATURED THIS WEEK : MARIAN BANTJES

Plastics: An Apoplexy

I woke up in the middle of the night stewing about plastics. In particular, the continuing, insidious use of excessive and totally unnecessary plastics in packaging. While waking up with these thoughts is slightly bizarre, feeling enraged about excessive plastic packaging is, unfortunately, a regular occurrence in my little household of one.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

W.G. Sebald: Writing with Pictures

W.G. Sebald’s fictions abound with photographs and other visual material. He drops these uncaptioned images into the text as a form of documentary “evidence,” convincing you that he really must have undertaken the walk or visited the building that his narrator describes. On a trip to the Czech Republic, I decided to find out how closely Sebald’s descriptions compare with reality.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JULIE LASKY

"Do Not Touch!"

A chair constructed from a single length of bent wire sits on an art gallery pedestal. Visitors are encouraged to trace its contours with an attached wire loop. But be careful. As with carnival games, if metal meets metal, the visitor is startled by a warning — an electronic voice barks out “Do not touch!” like an irascible museum guard. 
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OBSERVERS ROOM : WILLIAM DRENTTEL

I (still) Love Amsterdam

I have been in Amsterdam for the past week and I'm always reminded when visiting what a vibrant design community exists in The Netherlands. Here are some highlights...
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CHANGE OBSERVER : MARIA POPOVA

Helping People Help Their Narratives

Andrew McGregor talks about The Tiziano Project, a nonprofit that provides occupants of conflict, post-conflict and underreported regions with the resources and training to tell the stories that shape their world.
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PLACES : MARK LAMSTER AND ALEXANDRA LANGE

Lunch with the Critics: Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University

Columbia University recently opened an interdisciplinary science building at the northwest corner of its McKim, Mead and White-designed Morningside Heights Campus in Manhattan. The 14-story building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rafael Moneo, with Moneo Brock Studio and Davis Brody Bond Aedas, completes the perimeter of the campus. After a tour of the building with Moneo and his associated architects, Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster sat down for a sandwich in the cafeteria of Avery Hall, home to Columbia’s architecture school, to review what they’d seen.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

The Unwatched Swatch?

If it is true that the world’s information base is doubling in size every 11 hours then a lot of eco-design information, that could be valuable for professionals, presumably goes un-noticed and thus unused.
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OBSERVATORY : JESSICA HELFAND

Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones but Print Can Never Hurt Me: A Letter to Fiona on First Reading "The End of Print"

Dear Fiona:

You are turning two in a few weeks and I think it’s high time you understood a thing or two about graphic design. After all, you are part of Generation ABC and what are ABCs, after all, but typography?
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 12.19.10

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

Holiday Books Redux

Due to some difficult deadlines, or maybe just negligence, I missed the Design Observer group holiday book roundup. Apologies! Let me rectify that by highlighting a couple of new publications that would make fine gifts for the architect, designer, writer, or otherwise thoughtful person in your life.

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OBSERVERS ROOM : JULIE LASKY

AIGA on the Rebound

This week, a ruckus erupted on AIGA’s Voice blog when Steve Zelle, a Canadian brand consultant, warned of the dangers that lurk in the practice of sharing design works-in-progress with peers.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN

James Victore

In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, James Victore discusses his book, Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss?, dropping out of SVA, teaching at SVA, putting his opinion in the work, getting a D from Paul Bacon and then apprenticing with him. Practicing cold-calls and the difference between God-jobs and money jobs.

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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Everything has Become Science Fiction

On the back of my office door I have a poster produced by product design students at the Royal College of Art in London for their degree show a couple of years ago. It consists of just two sentences: “Everything is becoming science fiction. From the margins of an almost invisible literature has sprung the intact reality of the new century.”
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Dave Eggers

Founder of McSweeny's and author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity! and What Is The What.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Acumen Sexy Sanitation Challenge

Acumen Fund announces winners of its "Sexy Sanitation" challenge.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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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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