OBSERVATORY : TARPLEY HITT
In his 1925 essay, Typographical Facts
, El Lissitzky claimed that his construction of Dlia Golosa (For the Voice) was meant to "stand in much the same relationship to [Vladimir Mayakovsky's] poems as an accompanying piano to a violin." Just as a poet weaves the intent of his poem into its sound and craft, so did Lissitzky, as designer, hope to marry intent with the typography and the design of the book itself. But did he?
OBSERVATORY : BONNIE SIEGLER
This week Dear Bonnie
— our truth-telling advice column from Bonnie Siegler — tackles bullying at the office. "Sadly, you are working in what is called a hostile work environment and you have two choices. The bad news is both may lead to the end of your job."
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OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE
In recent years, designs for children by modern masters like Bruno Munari, the Eameses and Alexander Girard have been brought forward, their diminutive audience seen not as undermining but appealing. We should add Fredun Shapur to that pantheon of designers making winning, sculptural objects for children.
CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA
Two radically opposed models of development are being born in Ethiopia at the same time. One is small, local, socially fair, and ecologically respectful. The other takes the globalisation of fashion to a new and more destructive level.
OBSERVATORY : RICK POYNOR
A week ago on a sudden whim I joined Pinterest. I have always liked the site’s exclusively visual focus and the unlimited “boards” structure that allows pinners to group images by theme. That seems to me a great advantage over Tumblr’s month-based archival structure as a way of collecting, organizing, sharing and retrieving images. It occurred to me that Pinterest could make a visual index for my Design Observer posts.
PLACES : BELMONT FREEMAN
In 1967 Peter Eisenman founded the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, and until it closed in 1985 the Institute — a heady mix of think tank, exhibit space, journal publisher and cocktail party — was one of the centers of American architecture culture. Belmont Freeman describes the new documentary by Diana Agrest, The Making of an Avant-Garde
, as a remarkable contribution to the record, and a fascinating glimpse at the early years of many of today's stars: "There is something almost (almost) touching about listening to today’s titans of corporate and haute institutional architecture remind us that once upon a time they were young, idealistic, radical thinkers."
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
The National Museum of the American Indian has one of the most extensive collections of Native American art and artifacts in the United States. Though the museum represents many culture areas of the Western Hemisphere, I was most drawn to objects by the various tribes of the North American plains. It is these utilitarian and spiritual objects I present to my readers.
OBSERVATORY : GIDEON AMICHAY
No. It is a word that every creative professional has confronted. It is a word that can easily seem like death to a dream. And yet it is also a word that can point in the right direction. It is a word that motivates us to do something differently, try someone else, get better, innovate, keep going. In this excerpt from his book No, No, No, No, No, Yes. Insights From A Creative Journey
, Gideon Amichay pushes past no to yes.
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Award-winning glassware for the visually impaired.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2001
A critique of New Urbanism focusing not on its traditionalism but on the unsustainability of its planning models.