OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE
This week marks the launch of metamuseum.tumblr.com
, a Tumblr I edited for the Museum of Arts and Design’s spring series The Home Front: After the Museum. Each week features objects responding a single theme, from Alphabet to Year One, submitted by curators at American architecture, design, decorative arts and crafts collections. I saw it as a kind of curatorial game, Show Me What You’ve Got. I hope you'll play along.
OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER
With the future of the New York Public Library the subject of so much public contention
, there could not be a better time for MoMA's new exhibition on Henri Labrouste
, the 19th-century French architect who invented the modern library as we know it. His two great projects — he built little else — are a pair of touchstone Parisian libraries, the Bibliotheque St. Genevieve and the Bibliotheque Nationale, that remain landmarks for their inventive structure, functional planning, and edifying design.
NEWS FROM DESIGN OBSERVER GROUP SPONSORS
What are you doing this summer? How about studying design history, theory and practice in Italy the birthplace of Western typographic tradition. You can at the Masters Workshop in Rome May 26-June 9, 2013.
Learn More >>
MFA Design Program >>
SVA Website >>
PLACES : ARJUN APPADURAI
Today, writes Arjun Appadurai, "housing for the urban poor is intimately connected to processes that characterize the modern world: overcrowded megacities; complicated forms of taxation, credit and debt; legal structures that have turned housing into property; political systems that have made housing a pawn in high-order corruption, criminalization and political warfare." Appadurai recounts the global struggle for housing as a human right, and emphasizes the relationship of secure housing to personal dignity and full citizenship.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
This week's Accidental Mysteries focuses on the over-the-top calligraphic letterforms from a 17th century German book on the art of writing. The full title (in English) reads The Proper Art of Writing: A Compilation of All Sorts of Capital or Initial Letters of German, Latin and Italian Fonts from Different Masters of the Noble Art of Writing.
OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Clement Mok discusses how he got his first job, the early days of Apple computer, the joy of working for Steve Jobs and starting his successful businesses.
OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER
Sometimes, as we go through our digital days, it feels like everything we encounter on the Web or through mobile apps is optimized for sharing.
Is it possible that tech design has become overly focused on our extroverted behaviors? Optimizing for shareability appeals to marketers and VCs, but what about, you know, users
PLACES : MARIANA GRISWOLD VAN RENSSELAER
In September 1890, the architecture critic Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer published "Client and Architect" in The North American Review
. Van Rensselaer analyzed the mutual obligations of the professional and the public, what she described as "the reciprocal loyalty in trust and service from which alone can grow a healthy, prolific, and truly national art." As a complement to Alexandra Lange's "Founding Mother," from earlier this week, we are pleased to re-publish Van Rensselaer's article.
OBSERVATORY : CHRIS CALORI
Underground Maps Unraveled: Explorations in Information Design
is a weighty volume, both rich in content and high in poundage. The author, Maxwell J. Roberts, is a British psychologist who has conducted usability studies of underground rail system maps for over a decade. I also strongly suspect that he was a graphic designer in a former life.
PLACES : ALEXANDRA LANGE
Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer, though little known today, was not only a leading architecture critic of her day but also one of the pioneers of the field in the late 19th century. Here Alexandra Lange analyzes her writings and her influence. As she writes, "Mariana Van Rensselaer worked out the ground rules of the fledgling profession, struggling to be a critic of greater conscientiousness, while calling upon her players — architects, clients, public — to do their jobs properly."
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Emergence, a new massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) fosters diplomatic skills.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2006
In the Seattle Public Library, Rem Koolhaas and OMA work to transform architecture into media interface.