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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: MARCH 08, 2013


On My Shelf: Fin de Copenhague

FEATURED THIS WEEK : RICK POYNOR

On My Shelf: Fin de Copenhague

According to legend, Fin de Copenhague was composed and printed in the space of just 24 hours. Or maybe it was 48 hours. Either way it was pulled off with a dizzying burst of speed and with nonchalantly scathing brilliance by the Danish artist Asger Jorn and the French theorist and writer Guy Debord. It’s a Situationist classic and a scintillating piece of design that anticipated later typographic experiments by several decades.
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OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE

After the Museum: The Tumblr

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.
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OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER

Inventing the Modern Library

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.
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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.
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MFA Design Program >>
SVA Website >>

PLACES : ARJUN APPADURAI

Housing and Hope

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.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 03.03.13

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.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN

Clement Mok

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.
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OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER

Overshareability

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?
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PLACES : MARIANA GRISWOLD VAN RENSSELAER

Client and Architect

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.
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OBSERVATORY : CHRIS CALORI

Six Feet Under: Mapping Tangled Transit Networks

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.
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PLACES : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Founding Mother: Mariana Van Rensselaer and the Rise of Criticism

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."
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Design History, Theory and Practice in Italy
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Cheryl Swanson

Cheryl Swanson, founder of Toniq, applies her background in anthropology and psychology to branding.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Emergence

Emergence, a new massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) fosters diplomatic skills.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2006

Seattle Central Library: Civic Architecture in the Age of Media

In the Seattle Public Library, Rem Koolhaas and OMA work to transform architecture into media interface.
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