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WEEKLY EMAIL: FEBRUARY 17, 2011


BOOM

FEATURED THIS WEEK : ERNEST BECK

BOOM

When New York architect Joel Sanders was first approached about being part of a design team for BOOM, a gay-friendly planned senior community outside of Palm Springs, California, he signed on at once.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

Cities from the Sky

An exhibition of Sze Tsung Leong's photographs of cities opens today at the Yosi Millo gallery, in Chelsea. I've written about Leong's work a great deal, on this site and elsewhere, so I will refrain from a long disquisition here, but to mention the fact that the show is on, and absolutely worth a visit.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Bangkok Cable Ways

One of the reasons we underestimate the sheer physical mass of our power and information networks is that they're hidden from view. But not in Bangkok.
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PLACES : DAVID CLEMENTS, DOUGLAS HALLER

Writing on the Wall

"For two decades David Clements has roamed the neighborhoods of Detroit, looking at the city from multiple perspectives: as advertising agent, film location scout and photographer," writes photography curator and Detroit native Douglas Haller. "Clements has discovered a style of folk art signage unique to Motown, that city obsessed with automobiles and music." Last year we featured Clements's photographs in Borderland / Borderama / Detroit. Here, as part of our continuing focus on the city, we're pleased to present a selection of his images of hand-painted signs and murals.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

I Was an Unhappy Hipster

One architect. One critic. One house. Are three fights over the bookshelves a lot or a little?
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OBSERVATORY : STEVEN HELLER

Hitler's Poster Handbook

On February 7, 2011, Steven Heller wrote a post for Design Observer entitled “The Master Race’s Graphic Masterpiece.” Here is a follow-up to that post.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Solitude in Dark Trees

It was perhaps 50 feet away from the path, in the woods, a structure around 12 feet tall, built from wooden poles, leaning against a tree. I made my way across the forest floor towards it. A broad ladder with ten thick rungs led to the seat above, fashioned from planks. What was this thing?
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

UK Design Policy Becomes Multi-Scalar

An interesting rebound effect of public spending cuts in the UK is that the UK Design Council and CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) are to merge. The move brings UK policy for design, architecture and public space together in a single organization.
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PLACES : WES JANZ

This Is Flint, Michigan

For several years now architecture professor Wes Janz has been taking his students to Flint, Michigan, once a thriving manufacturing center — the birthplace of General Motors — today a struggling survivor of post-industrial disinvestment. The city's decline is deep and certainly no longer news, but for urban designers it prompts pressing questions. As Janz puts it: "How should architectural education acknowledge the breakdown of the Rust Belt? What is the place of an architect in a setting where few building permits are issued, where many more buildings are being demolished than designed?"
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OBSERVATORY : JESSICA HELFAND

Penny Dreadfuls

In the mid-nineteenth century, romantic cynics sent inexpensively-printed insult greetings on Valentine's Day, often labeled by profession and typically featuring a short riff on the classic four-line verse. Called Penny Dreadfuls (because they cost a penny) and sometimes referred to as "Vinegar Valentines," they were funny and mean — and because of this, were often sent anonymously.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

MoCA Loco

A couple of weeks ago I was in Los Angeles, and dropped in on MoCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art. It was a Saturday, and there was a free entry promotion, so I figured the place would be packed — on a pretty weekend afternoon in New York, MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney all have lines out the door — but it felt like I was the only one around. "Nobody goes downtown on the weekends here," a friend told me the next day.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 02.13.11

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

The Little Savages

A century ago, art and design juries often favored the same participants, year after year, a corruption of power that was anything but fair. Especially when jurors favored applicants made in their own image.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : MICHIEL SCHWARZ & JOOST ELFFERS

Like the Word or Not, the Era of "Sustainism" Is Here

The idea of sustainism deserves more than a discussion about what we (dis)like about nomenclature.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN

Kate Betts

In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Kate Betts discusses the difference between fashion and style, what it means for First Lady Michelle Obama to be a style icon and the visual image she projects, her use of color, her sculpted arms, and the inevitable comparisons and differences between her and Jackie Kennedy.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel

Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel work in partnership at Winterhouse and are founders of Design Observer.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Climate Change Chocolate

While environmentalists debate the ethics and effectiveness of carbon offsets, designers work to make them appealing.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2006

The State of City Planning Today

A veteran city planner and educator analyzes the anemia of U.S. planning, and detects signs of life in neighborhood activism.
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