Rob Walker writes about technology, design, business, the arts, and other subjects. His column The Workologist appears in The New York Times Sunday Business section. Previously he wrote the Consumed column for The New York Times Magazine, and has contributed to many publications. He is co-editor (with Joshua Glenn) of the book Significant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things, and author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are.    

















































































































































10.03.08
Subconscious Warm-Up
The Speedo LZR Racer suits worn by
Michael Phelps and other world-class swimmers. Promoted as a design breakthrough and worn by the most victorious Olympian in history, it offers a potent blend of functional promise and emotional aspiration.












04.08.07
Back to Basics Egg & Muffin Toaster
In a recent issue of The 
M.I.T. Sloan Management Review, Michael Schrage, a business writer and an M.I.T. researcher, challenged what Bruce Greenwald, has said about the fate of all innovative technologies: “In the long run, everything is a toaster.”




















Observed | February 17

As the White House aims to stifle climate science, cities cooperate globally and plan locally, standing up to climate change. [BV]

The crude, vulgar, and celebrated art of Jean Dubuffet. [MPL]

Donald Judd on the relationship of artists and politics, 1970. [MB]

The most despised piece of furniture in the world has a name: Peggy. [MB]


Observed | February 16

The Statue of Liberty was modeled after an Arab woman. [MB]

Pratt Institute President Tom Schutte is the recipient of the 21st Rowena Reed Kostellow Award. [JH]

Why symbols matter. [MB]

Detroit, Design and the Future of Work—Detroit’s first exhibition as a UNESCO City of Design  [BV]

A Bug‘s Life meets Mulan and takes the form of this chair. [MPL]

Why do we have Wingdings and Dingbats? This short video explains all! [MB]


Observed | February 15

In the New Yorker this week, Design Observer contributor Rob Walker reviews the new Netflix series on design. [JH]

Charles and Ray Eames: a remembrance. [JH]

Fast Company‘s list of 2017‘s most innovative companies is out! [MPL]

What does industrialization look like? Take an aerial view.. [MPL]

Vasjen Katroi, a designer in Albania, makes a poster a day for a year. [JH]

Can corporate culture be designed? [JH]


Observed | February 14

Ikea’s best designed product of all time, according to it’s design chief. [JH]

If “design” becomes a synonym for “negotiate” we’re all in trouble. [JH]


Observed | February 13

“Almost alone among his countrymen, Johnson carried off his noxious politics with style.” Philip Johnson and the new American Fascism. [MB]

Journalist, curator, and longtime Head of Design at the V&A in London, Kieran Long is named Director of the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. [JH]

From The Atlantic, a deep dive into Apple’s flawless design aesthetic—and why it may just be a myth. [JH]

Madeline Stuart, who has Down Syndrome, designs and launches her own fashion line. [JH]


Observed | February 10

Timely explainer: what does the US Department of Housing and Urban Development actually do? [MB]

Creative dissent is central to political change. [MPL]

Ads, shorts, and the creative process of PES. (You have to watch “Fresh Guacamole.” You just have to.) [MPL]

“Anti-homeless” spikes have been removed in Manchester after locals kept covering them with cushions. [MB]


Observed | February 09

Next week in New York City: the remarkable Cliff Kuang on the untold story of design thinking. [JH]

Wallow in the beautiful custom version of Didot used by CBS in the 1960s, and don’t miss the comments. (Via Alexandra Lange.) [MB]

An interview with Obama‘s White House photographer. [MPL]

Using design to drive student performance. [JH]



Jobs | February 20