OBSERVATORY : JULIA NOVITCH
"Public spaces can be charged politically because they enable citizens to gather, to represent themselves and to transmit messages. There is also a more benign sense of public space as a place where we can just idle. And yet there are tensions in terms of belonging to those places, the right to just be in those places. How long can someone who has nowhere else to go spend time in that space? The test of a public space is its tolerance."
OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE
Kickstarter is not a popularity contest, or a democracy. Kickstarter’s founders select which projects go on the blog. Their declaration of a glorious new era for design suggests that projects that aren’t Kickstarter worthy aren’t worthy. A suitable funding platform for a watch is not a suitable funding platform for a city.
OBSERVATORY : RICK POYNOR
I was browsing the Guardian
newspaper’s recruitment ads this week when I saw this ad for a job as a Torturer. It caught me off guard — as it was meant to — and I felt a few seconds of profound shock and dismay. The three ads in the UK charity Freedom from Torture’s new awareness and fundraising campaign deliver perfectly calculated moments of cognitive dissonance.
PLACES : MICHAEL EZBAN
The reuse of waste and remediation of landfills have inspired some of the most innovative contemporary landscape and urban design projects. Michael Ezban looks back two millennia and explores Monte Testaccio, the great garbage dump of imperial Rome. In this enduring landform — "a mountain of detritus in a city of storied hills" — he finds a dynamic precedent for landfill reclamation in our own eco-conscious era.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN THACKARA
Rather than dream up exotic visions of “what could be”, an xskool looks for social and natural assets that already exist – and grows from there. We bring together projects, however modest in scale, that meet daily life needs using the low-energy processes of natural systems, combined with the metabolic energy of social innovation. A kind of social seed exchange of the next economy.
OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER
With so much of our focus on the potential demise of Paul Rudolph's Orange Country Government Center, in Goshen, there hasn't been much conversation on the threat to another Rudolph landmark, his Sarasota High School of 1960. A renovation plan would utterly compromise this landmark building.
OBSERVATORY : MICHAEL BIERUT
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which reaches a critical moment this week, began with that most conventional of graphic forms, a poster. The trouble is, hardly anyone has ever seen it. In the age of social media, does political graphic design matter?
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 tools of measurement and drafting.
OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Ken Carbone discusses meeting his design heros, his celebrated sketchbooks and journals and what he really thinks about his relationship with his corporate clients.