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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: NOVEMBER 10, 2011


Architecture

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JOHN CARY

Architecture's Internship Requirement Needs a Redesign

Over three decades old, the Intern Development Program is more an exercise in arithmetic than experience, with aspiring architects required to pay hundreds of dollars and record a staggering 5,600 hours across various tasks. They’re asked to do so in lieu of demonstrating creativity, competence or any other attribute one would associate with their profession.
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OBSERVATORY : ADAM HARRISON LEVY

Disaster with a D

The famous movie Star had twice failed to show up for the interview. On both occasions a hotel suite had been booked, film lights set up, microphones tested, food and drinks ordered. On both occasions we waited for over five hours for her to arrive. The crew passed the time by sending emails, making phone calls and gorging on the food. I paced.
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PLACES : ANDREW ROSS

Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City

For decades Phoenix was one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., the Sunbelt apotheosis of the gospel of growth; today it's a prime casualty of the housing crash. Andrew Ross analyzes the contradictory political and economic forces, from free-wheeling libertarianism to steady dependence on federal largesse, that have shaped modern Arizona — and made it so emblematic of our thorny national politics.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Literary Horror from the Chapman Brothers

The new issue of Granta has a rather fine cover by the British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. The literary magazine’s theme is horror and the Chapmans’ delicate pencil drawing on fragile 18th-century parchment shows something nameless, formless and unspeakable. Commissioned by artistic director Michael Salu, the brothers were an inspired choice. Few artists have embraced the ambivalence of horror with more relish.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER

A New Kind of Capture

The new Lytro camera promises to make images that are less a slice of visual information than a cube, from which you can choose whichever layer would make the most pleasing two-dimensional image for printing and framing. But what really matters is that the way most people consume photographic images now has nothing to do with printing and framing.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : ELLE LUNA

Report from a Japanese Maid Café

My husband and I exited the train at Akihabara, Tokyo's electronic and anime paradise, where disheveled gamers play video games in 7-story arcades while tourists shop for the latest tech gadgets. Unexpectedly, a young girl dressed as a French maid approached.
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PLACES : REINHOLD MARTIN

Occupy: What Architecture Can Do

When a thousand demonstrators gathered in Lower Manhattan on September 17 to protest rising economic inequality, few predicted that the Occupy movement would spread across the country and around the world. Here Reinhold Martin explores how architects might participate in the provision of shelter on the protest sites. "Is it not time," he asks, "to refuse the so-called common sense of privatization and financialization, and to construct new processes, strategies or institutions dedicated to the common provision of shelter?"
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Design and Health: Flipping the Pyramid

It's easy for two people to look at the same information — such as this chart (above) about health costs — and perceive totally different things. What I see is an out-of-control Medical Industrial Complex that's heading, Icarus-like, for collapse. What many designers see is a sea of opportunity — and boy do they want a piece of that action.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 11.06.11

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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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Turn-Key Food Hives

Hanging out with health system innovators in recent times I've been struck by two interesting things. The first is that the buzz in the investor community about health apps is palpable. This would be great were were it not for the second thing I've learned: there's almost no contact between the health apps crowd and the food system crowd. And this is weird.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN

Design Army

In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Jake and Pum Lefebure of Design Army discuss how they met, the importance of sketching, work vs. family life, starting out on their own and keeping their firm small.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Brian Collins

Brian Collins, led the brand innovation division of Ogilvy & Mather and then founded Collins.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Give a Minute

Report on Local Projects' Give a Minute initiative to improve urban life.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 1983

In No Order Whatsoever

Just before his death in 1984, the influential urban planner Kevin Lynch compiled a list of topics he thought important for the future of cities. The list is as relevant as ever.
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Change Observer

RECENT BOOKS RECEIVED

California Design, 1930-1965: "Living in a Modern WayCalifornia Design, 1930-1965: "Living in a Modern Way
Wendy Kaplan, editor

Start Something That MattersStart Something That Matters
Blake Mycoskie

Pale Fire: A Poem in four Cantos by John ShadePale Fire: A Poem in four Cantos by John Shade
Brian Boyd & Vladimir Nabokov

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