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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: JULY 28, 2011


Remembering Sylvia Harris

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JESSICA HELFAND

Remembering Sylvia Harris

Sylvia Harris, esteemed member of the design community, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 24th, 2011. Here, Jessica Helfand remembers her friend.
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PLACES : LEIGH MERRILL

North Texas Strip

Earlier this week we featured Rob Walker on "architecture fiction." Here we present the work of Dallas-based artist Leigh Merrill — photographs of places that look ordinary and familiar but that are actually a kind of fiction. "While exploring a city or neighborhood, I create thousands of individual photographs and then digitally manipulate, assemble and reassemble these photographs to create new images," says Merrill. "Each image is typically made from tens to hundreds of bits and pieces of different photographs. Some depict imaginary places. Some act more like visual hyperbole — or a tall tale."
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CHANGE OBSERVER : LAURA WEISS

What We Can Learn from Project Runway

I view Project Runway as the literal classroom that it is, mainly because each episode provides rich professional practice lessons for designers. Season number nine premieres this evening, and I cannot wait to see the latest batch of creative projects dreamed up by the producers and the corresponding interpersonal challenges they spawn.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Yesterday afternoon I walked out of the New York Public Library to find that neighboring Bryant Park had been taken over by a video game corporation, which had fenced off the great lawn to run a heavily branded promotional event for a football game.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Andrzej Klimowski: Transmitting the Image

Andrzej Klimowski has long held a special position in British graphic design and illustration. His outlook, artistic frames of reference and manner of making images bring together influences from both Britain and Poland. Of the two nations, it has often seemed to be the Polish sources and experiences that most durably define him.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER

The work of art in the age of Googled reproduction

Searching for iconic art imagery, I found the actual Google Image results page kind of fantastic: Some algorithm picking the elements; some other string of code arranging the results in tidy rows, each image somehow commenting on what's next to it, above it, below it. Can we think of these as digital readymades?

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PLACES : ROB WALKER

Implausible Futures for Unpopular Places

In 2010 Rob Walker co-founded the Hypothetical Development Organization, which works with artists to create fanciful drawings of imaginary developments for vacant city sites — and in the process prompts questions about all those optimistic renderings that purport to show actual real-world urban developments but which are in fact, says Walker, a form of fiction. Here Walker describes the H.D.O., and locates it in a tradition of visual story-telling, of "architecture fiction," starting with Archigram in the 1960s.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : PHOTO BY JASON ORTON

London 2012

Northern Parklands, Olympic Park (2011)
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 07.24.11

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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CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA

Ten Ways to Redesign Design Competitions

Design and sustainability challenges can stimulate fresh thinking on intractable problems. They can pose new questions, explore new solutions and start new conversations. They can bring positive energy to bear on situations that are otherwise bogged down in endless talk.

Can — but for the most part, don't.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Jane Austen, Landscape Architect

Mansfield Park links the matrimonial planning of the ladies to the landscape planning of the men.
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PLACES : BOBBY C. ROGERS

Paper Anniversary

Our driveway bends around an ancient pin oak — you tell me / it is a willow oak, Quercus phellos, but I will keep calling it / what I have always heard it called. This is how names work: / they come about somehow and stay if they stay. ...
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PLACES : JUSTIN PARTYKA

The Place That Roger Built

The English environmentalist Roger Deakin lived for almost 40 years at Walnut Tree Farm. There the Elizabethan-era house, which he rebuilt, and the surrounding fields, which he worked, served as inspiration and grounding for his writings on the natural world. Soon after Deakin's death, photographer Justin Partyka documented the place in a series of images, part of an effort to understand "the deep and mutual relationship of a man and the land, intimately shaping each other."
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Gong Szeto

Gong Szeto, director of design and product design at Peak6 Investment.
Listen >>
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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

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2003

Portfolio: Timothy Hursley

Tim Hursley photographs the pro-bono buildings of the Rural Studio and the legal brothels of Nye County, Nevada.
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Change Observer

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Writing for Visual Thinkers: A Guide for Artists and DesignersWriting for Visual Thinkers: A Guide for Artists and Designers
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