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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: MARCH 09, 2012


How to Be an Architecture Critic

FEATURED THIS WEEK : ALEXANDRA LANGE

How to Be an Architecture Critic

We’re surrounded by buildings, says Alexandra Lange, but we don’t know how to talk about them. We chat about real estate instead of having a real conversation about the urban environment. As architecture criticism fades in the daily newspapers, it’s time we take matters into our own hands: “We need more citizen critics,” she writes, “equipped with the desire and the vocabulary to remake the city.” So how do we learn how to talk about buildings? Lange suggests starting with “Sometimes We Do It Right,” Ada Louise Huxtable's classic review of the Marine Midland Bank Building in New York.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Typographic Stories of the City Streets

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.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : NANCY LEVINSON

Design Indaba 2012

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.
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FROM OUR SPONSORS

Learn to be a design critic through SVA's D-Crit program.Design as subject matter, criticism as a literary genre and the range of tools with which to practice design criticism.
Watch videos of presentations by the Class of 2011 >>
The D-Crit Program >>
SVA Website >>

This spring Sappi is hosting a national road show, in collaboration with 826 National, to launch Special Effects, Volume 5 of The Standard. Issue 5 shows designers how the creative use of special effects can make a printed piece dimensional, tactile, intriguing and sometimes interactive. The next event is on March 28 in New York City.
More about Volume 5 of The Standard >>
View the road show schedule and registration details >>
Find out more about Sappi here >>

OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

The Most Beautiful Hostel in the World

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 Duysen, and was supervised by his very capable project director, Kristof Geldmeyer.
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PLACES : GIOVANNA BORASI & MIRKO ZARDINI

Demedicalize Architecture

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”?
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Regarding The Pain Of The Planet: A Reader

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.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER

The Ekphrasis-y Critique

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.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 03.04.12

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.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN

Jen Bekman

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.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Motif Magazine: The World Made Visible

Motif 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.”
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Sappi
Sappi and 826 National debuts The Standard 5: Special Effects and you're invited.
Get New York tickets >>
SVA
Products of Design in France
Apply today >>


Core77
An Annual Celebration of Excellence, Enterprise and Intent
Visit Core77 >>

Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Dee Dee Gordon

Dee Dee Gordon, renowned youth culture expert. Featured on PBS's Frontline Special Merchants of Cool.
Listen >>
More Design Matters Archive >>

CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

One World Futbol

Report on One World Futbol produced by Hope Is a Game-Changer.
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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

Wicked Problems: Problems Worth SolvingWicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving
Jon Kolko

Now in Lemon, Issue One.Now in Lemon, Issue One.
Dan Drakeford

Design with the Other 90%: CitiesDesign with the Other 90%: Cities
Cynthia E. Smith

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