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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: JUNE 23, 2011


Cars: Pixar Falls for Intelligent Design

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JOSH BERTA

Cars: Pixar Falls for Intelligent Design

Like many people, especially creative types, I’m a big fan of Pixar movies. Their story telling, artful animation, and great voice acting are unrivaled in the realm of animation production. However, they do sometimes take missteps, especially in their design choices. Without question, their greatest misstep in design, and perhaps in general, is the film Cars.
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PLACES : KIAN GOH

Queer Beacon

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Rebellion — which erupted in response to a police raid on a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village — sparked the gay liberation movement, which will be celebrated this weekend in Pride Parades nationwide. Today the Village continues to attract LGBT youth, who arrive fleeing oppressive and often dangerous situations, seeking community and acceptance. Architect Kian Goh analyzes the challenges they face in upmarket Manhattan, where the recently renovated Stonewall Inn is a tourist attraction and the West Village home to some of the priciest new real estate in Manhattan.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER

The Right Stuff

Tumblrs like The Burning House and Everyday Carry offer collections of what's meant to be profoundly personal stuff. Are the self-portraits via possessions — or something more interesting?

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FROM OUR SPONSORS

More than a decade ago Sappi Fine Paper North America established the Ideas that Matter grant program to recognize and support designers who generously donate their time and talent to a wide range of charitable activities. Enter your Idea to win money for your pro-bono project. Design is the power to affect the world.
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Mohawk launches new Recommendations section: Use the online Paper Wizard and find the perfect paper for the project. Design Observer readers get 10% off! Enter THX10 at checkout.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Jane Austen, Architect?

The dance of real estate, the ritual of rooms in Austen's novels.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : THE EDITORS

Sappi Ideas That Matter

Back in the last century (1999 to be precise), the paper company Sappi launched a program to distribute grants for social design and innovation. Since then, Ideas That Matter has funded $11 million in efforts to improve the health, education and prosperity of the world’s citizens.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA

The High-Tech Permaculture Metabolic Engine Greenhouse

Interview with industrial ecologist Eva Gladek about a net-zero-impact urban farm system called Polydome.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Kick-off!

The project is a year-long research effort to measure the stormwater management potential of two urban farms: Brooklyn Grange (a rooftop farm) & Added Value (raised beds) in NYC.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

On the Threshold of Sebald's Room

In a post about W.G. Sebald’s use of pictures, I reproduced a spread from Austerlitz, showing a room with a grid of shelves from floor to ceiling — the records room at the Terezín concentration camp located about an hour from Prague. Recently, I happened to see Daniel Blaufuks’ book Terezín and there on the cover was a photograph of the same room. The Portuguese photographer is haunted by the image. But where did it come from?
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OBSERVER MEDIA : STEPHEN DOYLE

Infrastructure

“How should we promote the Green Building Council’s 2011 conference, Greenbuild Next? How about with an abridged history of civilization in a series of 2,933 still photos?” The result? A stop-frame animation film on 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper — the history of civilization in 3 minutes and 44 seconds in the form of a concrete poem.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : ERNEST BECK

San+Co

The project, which recently won first prize at the annual conference of Northwestern University’s Kellogg Innovation Network, is based on the idea that India’s urban slum dwellers, who earn between $2 and $5 a day, would be willing to pay an estimated $6 to $7 a month for a system that provides a toilet and electricity for an entire family.
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PLACES : ADELHEID FISCHER

Starry Night

"Grand Canyon is among the few parks in the lower 48 whose nighttime skies are virtually untouched by artificial light pollution. Here, some 5,500 stars are visible to the naked eye; the profound darkness lends uncommon clarity and brilliance to the heavens." Environmental writer Adelheid Fischer — as we mark the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere — describes the growing night-sky movement, which rose in response to the increasing incidence of light pollution. As Fischer notes, the bright lights of Las Vegas illuminate no fewer than eight national parks in the American West.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Bad taps, Good taps

Continuing our theme of systems thinking and the need for a new aesthetics — oh, what the heck, let's talk about taps.
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OBSERVATORY : JEZ OWEN

Behind the Zines

Despite the zine having a rich heritage spanning from beginnings in political pamphleteering to today’s eclectic “Design-as-Art” pieces, Behind the Zines is not a history book.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 06.19.11

Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age.
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OBSERVATORY : ADAM HARRISON LEVY

A Tattoo, A Toothbrush and A Pipe

It is Saturday morning at 7:15am and I’m eating breakfast with my daughter Alice. She is six and half years old. We are eating French toast that I made from scratch. On the table is fresh squeezed orange juice, real maple syrup and a bowl of blueberries. I’m a newly divorced father. I’m proud of myself...

So begins three stories for Father's Day.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut, Pentagram partner, started at Vignelli Associates.
Listen >>
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE

The latest material (and sustainability) adventure from the great Japanese fashion designer.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2008

Little Rock's Emerging Nonprofit Corridor

The non-profit sector is a major player in promoting green urbanism. Here's what's happening in Little Rock.
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Change Observer

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