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WEEKLY EMAIL: JANUARY 06, 2011


Best of DOG 2010

FEATURED THIS WEEK : WILLIAM DRENTTEL

Best of DOG 2010

Hardly exhaustive, here are some of the highlights of essays and blog posts on the Design Observer Group during 2010. We want to thank all of the writers who contributed to this site in 2010.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : PHOTO BY JASON ORTON

Built Not to Last

Prefab Estate, Catford, South East London, July 1999. ©Jason Orton
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OBSERVATORY : GAIL ANDERSON

Gail Anderson's Collection of Salt and Pepper Shakers

I got hooked on salt and pepper shakers in the mid-1980s, after a visit to the NBC Store with my cousin, Roger. My first set was Nipper and his gramophone ("His Master's Voice"), and while I knew Nipper was but a lowly reproduction, I was in love.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : PHIL PATTON

Charging Double

The year 2010 may be remembered as a watershed for the electric car: that’s when the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt were introduced in the U.S. But another 2010 innovation may turn out to be more important in the long run: two electric car chargers have arrived representing radically different design approaches to a whole new category of product.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Afghan Culture Museum

A lifetime ago, during a six month journey in Afghanistan, I passed the spectacular site of Bamiyan, shown in this photograph, on my way into the Hindu Kush. This was long before the three enormous statues of Buddha, carved into the sides of cliffs, were destroyed by the Taliban on the grounds that they were an affront to Islam.
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PLACES : JIM WILLIAMSON

What Passes for Beauty: A Death in Texas

"For most people, this is a story about Texas; for some, a story about architecture. To a few who know about both Texas and architecture, it is a sort of myth: an intersection of human beings with place. . . . It is also a coming of age story, the story of my first job and my first project. And as most stories do, it has an ending, and the ending is so strange that I will break with convention and reveal it now: They buried her in a martini shaker . . . and a Dixie-cup." So begins Jim Williamson's recollections of his early days as an architect in Midland, and of an unexpected moment of memorable beauty.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JESSICA HELFAND

Sweet Spot: Cake as Craft?

Within the broad genre known as reality television — in between the astonishing displays of amateur talent and the atrocious tales of teenage pregnancy — are nearly half a dozen programs devoted to extreme displays of, well, frosting.

(No, I am not making this up.)
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Plan B "Best Architecture Book of the Year" in the Netherlands

Totally thrilling news has reached me from the Netherlands: my book Plan B: Ontwerpen in een Complexe Wereld (Plan B: Designing In A Complex World) has been selected by the influential magazine de Architect as their best architecture book of the year.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

From the Cabat to the City

Why does the New Yorker profile of Bottega Veneta's Tomas Maier tell us more about design than most of their designer profiles?
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

UnBox: Where Next for Design in India?

UnBox, a three day festival in Delhi, in February, brings together creative collectives from around India. One of these groups, Clay Futures, will brainstorm scenarios to do with sustainable, medicinal, and air filtering bentonite — hence the picture above.
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OBSERVATORY : JESHURUN WEBB

Mailman, Route 16

My grandfather was a mailman. He told stories of living in rural Iowa and finding mailboxes stuffed full of gifts of appreciation during the holidays. Homemade candies and chocolates spilled forth as he opened each painted wooden latch to deliver the daily mail. This is an unheard of practice now. I wondered if my small metal apartment mailbox scrawled with “2B” in permanent marker could present the same possibility as a space for gratitude.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JULIE LASKY

MSC Greenhouse Project

The glass-walled environmental science laboratory, which opened last month, was a three-year project of a trio of mothers, none of whom had a science background or experience tussling with the bureaucracy of city agencies.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 01.02.11

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : THE EDITORS

Happy New Year from Change Observer


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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Designing with Cookies

It seemed only reasonable to me to separate cinnamon from almond with a wedge of green frosted trees, to create a bulwark of spherical buckeyes between the ladylike sand bakkels and the striped snickerdoodles: Arranging cookies as a sign of a design sensibility.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Surrealism in the Pre-School Years

The season’s strangest gift book has to be Babylon: Surreal Babies, a set of postcards from the collection of the British art dealer James Birch. The poet Paul Eluard, like many of the Surrealists an avid collector of postcards, described these ephemeral visual greetings as a “Lilliputian hallucination of the world.” The phrase is especially apt here.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Minda Gralnek

Minda Gralnek is the executive vice president, creative at the Target Corporation.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

MSC Greenhouse Project

On learning about science, nutrition and politics at the Manhattan School for Children.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2001

The High Line

High Line photographs from Joel Sternfeld.
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Change Observer

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