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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: JANUARY 31, 2014


 Imperfect Beauty

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JOHN FOSTER

Imperfect Beauty

For years, and more recently with Vogue magazine, there has been considerable controversy about high fashion magazines and their need to “perfect” the models who appear within the magazines and especially on their covers. This desire for perfection in photography is certainly not new to fashion or photography, but the fashion industry goes to extremes in changing body styles to what they think we want to see.
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PLACES : JOSEPH REDWOOD-MARTINEZ

A Necessary Incompleteness

“All great public squares have a monument with a statue,” said a man in a Haitian border town. “But whenever we discuss which historical figure should go up on that column, it turns into a fight. So we’ve decided to leave it empty.” Artist and filmmaker Joseph Redwood-Martinez shares photographs and anecdotes from a research project investigating examples of incomplete architecture around the world.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA

Conflict and Design

An exhibition in Belgium poses a timely challenge: When confronted by such complex issues as an ageing population, resource depletion, migration, or growing impoverishment, how are we to balance the desire to do something positive, with the need to understand the back story before we intervene?
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PLACES : SIMON SADLER

TEDification versus Edification

"We are living through the era of the TED Talk, much like an earlier generation lived through the era of the World's Fair, wondrous about our new world in the making," writes Simon Sadler. "TEDification endows capitalism and globalization with a credible spiritual and ethical mission, just as the art of the Renaissance lent to the ruthless bankers of the Italian city states an enduring moral sheen." Sadler explores the magical thinking and many contradictions of the TED juggernaut — and the implicit threats to design and education.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

The Renewed Art of Embroidered Photographs

As a snapshot collector, I often come across photographic images that have been altered in some way. Commonly found are painted photographs — those black and white images that have been “colorized” before technology gave us color. Photos that have been drawn and written on is another collecting niche I enjoy.
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OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER

Hale County Revisited

Over a period of 20 years, Hale County, AL, has been the unlikely site of an amazing range of architecture and design projects aimed at social good. Taking a long view makes it clear how challenging it is to assess what's really worked and why — but also that this is a conversation worth having.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Milton Glaser Podcast Interview

Podcast interview with Milton Glaser, graphic designer, illustrator, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and 2010 recipient of the National Medal of Arts.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Yoza

Yoza stories are directed to African youth who are book-poor yet mobile-rich.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2008

Mythologies of Placemaking

Designers and planners frequently herald the concept of “sense of place.” However, this ill-defined buzzword most often serves to rally support for redevelopment projects that ignore deep patterns of local culture.
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RECENT BOOKS RECEIVED

Collaborative Media: Production, Consumption, and Design InterventionsCollaborative Media: Production, Consumption, and Design Interventions
Jonas Löwgren and Bo Reimer

The Petropolis of TomorrowThe Petropolis of Tomorrow
Neeraj Bhatia and Mary Casper

Oitoemponto: Architecture & intérieursOitoemponto: Architecture & intérieurs
Marie Vendittelli

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