OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
This beautifully atmospheric photograph was taken in Melbourne in the late 1960s, at the city’s busiest intersection, by a school teacher named Angus O’Callaghan. For decades it went unseen in a shoe box. Now the picture has been published, with many others, in a new book, Characters
, by Australian designer Stephen Banham, about the way that letterforms can be interpreted as vivid narratives of life and history in our cities.
OBSERVERS ROOM : NANCY LEVINSON
This year's Design Indaba conference, in Cape Town, brought together creative people from around the globe and multiple fields, from graphic and product and interaction design to architecture and landscape to film and video, not to mention Danish gastronomy and Bollywood movies. Among the unifying themes were risk and reinvention.
OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER
When a project that is not of the luxury variety is described as "Minimalist," it is typically code meaning cheap, shoddy, and lacking in creativity. The Antwerp Central Youth Hostel
is a rare exception to this rule. The design is by the local architect Vincent van Duyse
n, and was supervised by his very capable project director, Kristof Geldmeyer.
PLACES : GIOVANNA BORASI & MIRKO ZARDINI
In its latest exhibition and book, Imperfect Health
, the Canadian Centre for Architecture critiques what curators Mirko Zardini and Giovanna Borasi call a “new moralistic philosophy: healthism.” Zardini and Borasi trace the long relationship of environmental design to shifting social and political concepts of well-being, from 19th-century urban parks to 20th-century sanatoria to the "healthy buildings" of today. And they ask: would it be possible to “demedicalize” architecture — to replace the prescriptive solutions of “cure” with the more expansive goals of “care”?
OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA
Why is it that, even when we are exposed to shocking stories and images, nothing seems to change in the system as a whole? What are we as designers to do if we create a powerful piece of communication – and it has no impact? A reading list on resource flows in the globalized economy.
OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER
What I was trying to get at, writing on "dancing about architecture" the other day, was my enthusiasm for creative responses to creativity, in general. Possibly ekphrasis is the concept I was grasping for without knowing it. And possibly an off-Broadway show partly inspired by indsutrial design is a nicely ekphraksis-y example.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
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. This week's focus is charts and diagrams.
OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Jen Bekman discusses managing a BBS in the early days of the internet, her first email exchange, being a 'zine queen, starting 20x200 and the importance of everyone owning art.
OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
magazine, founded in 1958, ran meticulously researched, beautifully illustrated articles about painting, sculpture, art education, graphic design, typography, illustration, photography, and architecture. Its presentation of all these visual arts on an equal footing, long before “visual culture” became a branch of academic inquiry, anticipated a new way of seeing, documenting and appreciating the “visible world.”
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on One World Futbol produced by Hope Is a Game-Changer.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 1983
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.