Public + Private

Rob Walker
Defending The Standpipe
A curious concentration of designs to discourage people from sitting on standpipes.


Rob Walker
The Art of Redaction
A batch of visually "redacted" photos, courtesy of the FBI.


Rob Walker
Object in the News: The Face Privatizer
Tabloid-press subject Vanessa Stiviano makes fascinating (mis)use of a sun visor as media-age privatizer.


Alexandra Lange
Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories
A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.


Rob Walker
A Security Camera Worth Looking At
A thoughtful take on what security cameras should look like, and why.


Alexandra Lange
Premature Demolition
The Folk Art Museum, David Adjaye's market hall, and the first addition to the Morgan Library. If three makes a trend, then premature demolition qualifies.


Alexandra Lange
Where We Work
A Kickstarter for co-working space Makeshift Society points to the light, space and tools creative freelancers need to be productive.


Rob Walker
Staring Back at Security Cameras
Why the ubiquitous security deserves as much scrutiny as it gives.



Alexandra Lange
Beyond Gorgeous
Is prettiness a distraction? Yes, when it comes to taking Alexander Girard seriously.


Alexandra Lange
Why Bernadette Fox Is Scary
The heroine of Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an award-winning female architect. Don’t envy her life.


Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum
Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.


Alexandra Lange
Let’s Talk About Women in Architecture
A panel on Women in Design, and questions about whether such panels should exist.


Alexandra Lange
The Shape of Lunch
"Lunch Hour NYC," a new exhibition at the New York Public Library, defines the midday meal as an urban invention.


Rick Poynor
On Display: Museum of Broken Relationships
The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb is a public space consecrated to a universal experience of sadness and loss.


Alexandra Lange
Downton Abbey: Fell In Love With a House
Downton Abbey, for all its melodrama and dropped teacups, is really the story of falling in love with a house.



John Foster
A New American Picture: Doug Rickard and Street Photography in the Age of Google
When Google launched Street View in 2007, it was just the ticket for photographer Doug Rickard.


Alexandra Lange
TWA: Still Kicking
Not a disappointment: a first thrilling visit to Eero Saarinen's legendary flight center.


Alexandra Lange
The Only Thing There’s Just Too Little Of
What parenthood and artistic endeavor have in common: not enough time.



Alexandra Lange
Simple Pleasures
In all these new parks, I feel like I am searching for atmosphere, a designed quality above and beyond the ordinary spaces for children, and I am not finding it.



Alexandra Lange
The Personality of Parks
Until Pier 6 at 
Brooklyn Bridge Park opened, my only experience of parks as a parent had been of neighborhood parks






Alexandra Lange
(Women and) Children First
Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park is one more way New York City is attempting to be child-friendly.



Observed | January 20

Five months after becoming director of the Museum of Arts and Design, Jorge Daniel Veneciano is stepping down on Jan. 31 to turn his attention to the cultural sector. [JH]

From Portland-based designer Ilisha Helfman, a color palette tool for fountain pens with a custom-cut Canson paper top so you can make notes for each pen or sample ink vial. [JH]

On this historic day in America, as we struggle to honor truth, tolerance, and a deeply uncertain future, let us remember that inclusiveness is not only a matter of race and gender and nationality, but also a question of mutual respect and cross-disciplinary freedom. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: doctors who create! [JH]

The day has come. Here’s a reading list for designers in Trump‘s America. [MPL]

“Taking cues from the Girl Scouts, Soviet-era Constructivism, the WPA, and Kara Walker…” Behind the branding of the Women’s March on Washington. [MB]


Observed | January 19

Design as a proactive response to disaster, and the challenges for climate change. [JH]

In a design exploration that has taken nearly two years and six significant iterations of the prototype—during which the app’s usage has grown eightfold to 4 million daily active users—Slack introduces threaded conversations. Meanwhile, Mozilla (remember them, before Netscape?) introduces a revamped design identity. [JH]

In the US, nuclear plant design goes modular. [JH]

The lost signs of Montreal. [MB]

Paula Scher, Christoph Niemann and more visionary designers: coming soon on Netflix. Watch the trailer here! [JH]

Apple vs.Samsung: it‘s not over! [JH]

Design, detente—and defiance. [JH]

“Trump sits for hours with architects and designers, instinctively pointing to what he likes and doesn’t like.” The President-elect as design client. Sad! [JH]


Observed | January 18

“They’re the spiritual successors to the visual metaphors of early graphical user interfaces, but there’s a big difference between an icon shaped like a trash can and the tilt of a robotic eyebrow.” Visualizing AI—and why it may not be as ‘user-friendly’ as you’d think. [JH]

Trump, His Gilded Taste, and Me, a strange and prescient piece by the late Herbert Muschamp (via Paul Goldberger). [MB]

From the Department of Thespian Schadenfreude: when good actors have bad auditions. (Spoiler alert: they’re still pretty good.) [JH]

From The Amplifier Foundation—an extraordinary initiative that needs to be funded, now—before it’s too late. [JH]

From our friends at Continuum, a cogent, level-headed argument explaining why so many corporate-level design thinking initiatives are inevitably doomed to failure. [JH]

Shepard Fairey, Jessica Sabogal, and Ernesto Yerena launch a campaign to fund public art to protest the inauguration and beyond. [MB]


Observed | January 17

Extraordinary motion graphics from the French motion graphics genius Maxime Causeret, with music by Max Cooper. [JH]

The long lost connection between and Marilyn Monroe’s most famous scene and Design Observer’s own Bonnie Siegler. [MB]

Juventus—an Italian soccer team— reveals its pared down, minimalist new logo. You know what happens next. [JH]

“I want to create new things.” A New York Times profile of legendary book designer Irma Boom. [MB]

Peter Mendelsund on family, memory, and W.G. Sebald. [MB]

The suit is dead. Long live the suit! [JH]


Observed | January 16

V&A Head Designer Annabel Judd is taking on science. And here’s what’s happening Stateside. [JH]

Wells Fargo rejects a Black Lives Matter debit card. [JH]

Richard Prince disavows his appropriated Instagram portrait of Ivanka Trump and returns the money they paid him for it. [MB]


Observed | January 13

Yves Béhar designs a robot for the elderly he’s calling a “companion”. [JH]

Mr. Poopie explores the uncanny visual relationship between poop and ice cream. (Via Modes of Criticism.) [MB]



Jobs | January 22