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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: NOVEMBER 12, 2009


Love & Architecture

FEATURED THIS WEEK : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Love & Architecture

When Aline met Eero in January 1953, she was the associate art editor and critic for the New York Times, recently divorced, and on a trip to Detroit to meet the young architect whose General Motors Technical Center had proved to be such a smashing success. She was to write a profile of Saarinen for the New York Times Magazine, eventually published on April 23 as "Now Saarinen the Son" with the byline Aline B. Louchheim. A little over a year later she would become Aline B. Saarinen.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : MARK DERY

Dawn of the Dead Mall

In April of this year, one of the country's biggest mall operators — General Growth Properties, owner and/or manager of over 200 properties in 44 states — filed for bankruptcy, mortally wounded by the exodus of retail tenants. Good riddance to bad rubbish, some say. But wait, my Inner Marxist wonders: isn't that the voice of bobo privilege talking?
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CHANGE OBSERVER : WILLIAM DRENTTEL

Aspen Design Summit

AIGA and Winterhouse Institute are joining forces to stage the Aspen Design Summit in November 2009 and galvanize design communities to engage in projects that promote social change. The goal is to foster collaboration and collective action among the participants to utilize the power of design to help solve large social problems.
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PLACES : KEITH EGGENER

Up-to-Date in Kansas City

In 2004 the U.S. Congress designated the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City the nation's official World War I museum. Today it will be the scene of ceremonies commemorating the signing of the armistice that ended the war on November 11, 1918. Places contributing editor Keith Eggener traces the architectural history of a once-celebrated design, and sees in its austere classicism a road not taken for American modernism. 
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN GALL

The Nabokov Collection

The assignment: redesign Vladimir Nabokov's book covers, all twenty-one of them. The solution: twenty-one specimen boxes, the kind used by butterfly collectors like Nabokov, each created by a different designer.
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PLACES : RENATA STIH, FRIEDER SCHNOCK

Open Space: Berlin After Reunification

For two decades the Berlin-based conceptual artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock have been creating provocative works of public art exploring questions of German memory, history, politics and identity. Here they curate a selection of projects and images, containing and referencing multiple works, to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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PLACES : JAN OTAKAR FISCHER

The Art of Reunification

In August 1961 the German Democratic Republic began to construct the Berlin Wall, and for almost three decades the 96-mile-long concrete barrier encircled West Berlin, isolating it from the communist-ruled GDR. On November 9, 1989, with the politburo's decision to open the border crossings, the wall effectively fell. Berlin-based architect–writer and Places contributing editor Jan Otakar Fischer remembers the transformative events of '89, recounts the failed effort to create a national reunification memorial, and explores the still charged questions of German identity and memory.
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OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA CARDIA

From Cabinet: Jacket Required

Defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as referring to "a protective (and usually decorative) paper cover placed around a bound book, usually with the title and author's name printed on it," the phrase "dust cover" or "dust jacket" was first used in the late nineteenth century.
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OBSERVATORY : ERIC BAKER

Today, 11.07.09

Here are Today's images.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : RYAN FITZGIBBON

Start Asking

Start Asking was Ryan Fitzgibbon's solution to the final challenge of Command X: Season 2, the graphic design reality show at the AIGA Make/Think Conference in Memphis.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : BY ALEXIS ROCKMAN

Hot Times in the Old Town

Artist Alexis Rockman's rendering of Manhattan's Upper East Side under catastrophic climate conditions.
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PLACES : TIM LOVE

Between Mission Statement and Parametric Model

A crisis is brewing in architectural education, contends Boston-based architect and educator Tim Love. Here Love, a Places contributing editor, analyzes what he sees as an increasingly contentious divide between the leading influences on contemporary pedagogy: on the one hand, a focus on formal experimentation enabled by parametric modeling, and on the other, intensifying efforts to incorporate sustainability criteria into design curricula. 
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OBSERVATORY : OWEN EDWARDS

Not the Same Old Same Old

In an article in the Financial Times a while back, a business writer, in the course of condemning the government bailout of automotive manufacturers here and abroad, took car advertising to task for its unrealistic image of modern driving. Decrying the insistent romantic vision of automobiles — wind in the hair, open road, and all that. 
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser, graphic designer, illustrator and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Peepoobag

Peepoobag

Report on Peepoobag, a new self-sanitizing, single-use, biodegradable container for human waste.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: FALL 2007

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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