CHANGE OBSERVER : MARIA POPOVA
A new coalition of coffee roasters and farmers affiliated with Alex Bogusky's COMMON project aims to fight the beverage's legacy of commodification.
PLACES : RAY GASTIL
"In his latest book, Tony Hiss poses a provocative challenge," writes urban planner Ray Gastil. "Can we rethink the value we put on the accumulated years of our lives we spend in transit, all the 'wasted' time spent in-between the places we live and work and visit?" Gastil explores how In Motion
might inform contemporary planning and design "in a world where our daily rounds grow longer and duller — and often as not through the failures of narrowly defined planning."
OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
With so much attention focused on the Wim Crouwel exhibition in London at the moment, it would be easy to overlook two small exhibitions of posters by Franciszek Starowieyski. Produced in the 1960s and 1970s at the same time as Crouwel’s posters, Starowieyski’s best work occupies a polar extreme. If Crouwel is the model of an Apollonian designer, then Starowieyski is violently Dionysiac.
OBSERVATORY : WILLIAM H. HELFAND
An abridged version of an interview with William H. Helfand by Innis Howe Shoemaker of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from the catalogue for the exhibition Health for Sale: Posters from the William H. Helfand Collection
(2011). The exhibit runs through July 31.
CHANGE OBSERVER : RAMSEY FORD
We believe that a design isn’t finished until someone is using it: which is why we stay with our partners through implementation.
CHANGE OBSERVER : THE EDITORS
New prize for a concept, prototype or product “that upholds Papanek’s vision of environmental and/or social responsibility.”
OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER
In a post on his blog entitled This Cannot Pass
, Lebbeus Woods, who might be the conscious of the architectural profession, has vowed to accept no further commissions in China until Ai Weiwei is released from detention, unharmed. I hope the latter portion of this demand/plea is still a possibility.
OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE
The new chapbook, At Water's Edge,
showcases both the design critics and the publishing models of the future.
PLACES : MICHAEL LIGHT & DAVID L. ULIN
For several years photographer Michael Light has been engaged in an aerial exploration of the arid West. Here we present a selection of his images of Los Angeles, along with an essay by David Ulin inspired by Light's daytime and nighttime views of the metropolis. As Ulin writes, if L.A. often seems like a dream, it is "a dream of substance ... a built dream, as concrete as it is abstract, an imposition of collective will. It is a three-dimensional set of hieroglyphs, a runic architecture unveiled in cloverleafs and rail yards, skyscrapers and industrial plants, dotted with small houses etched into the flats and hillsides, a narrative interposed upon the land."
OBSERVATORY : CONSTANTIN BOYM
Ever since I came to the Middle East, I have been looking for authenticity. Then I discovered mabkhara
OBSERVERS ROOM : WILLIAM DRENTTEL
Buried in our Winterhouse library are numerous books with "design" in the title — things like Death by Design
, Design for Dying
and Design in Evil
. These obviously are examples where the word "design" has worked its way into popular vocabulary or vernacular speech. I'm wondering what else is out there?
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Heather Armstrong discusses reconciling with her family after writing about them on her blog, documenting her relationship with her husband, growing up Mormon, her struggle with post-postpartum depression, taking photos of her dog Chuck and tweeting about her broken Maytag washing machine.
OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
What we can see now more clearly than ever, in Wim Crouwel's exhibition at the Design Museum, is that his practice was often at odds with the severity of his pronouncements. Far from suppressing his own creative personality in the way he advised, Crouwel was expressing it to the full. It just happens that this personality was inclined towards reduction and minimalism.
OBSERVATORY : EVA D. BLAKE
This deal follows closely on the heels of the announcement in February that struggling AOL would buy Huffington, one of the most heavily visited news websites in the country.