Disaster Relief


Paul Polak
The SunWater Project: Advanced Solar Technology for Poor Farmers
Paul Polak on SunWater: a radically affordable solar water pump that will transform small plot agriculture and help bring the world's poorest families out of poverty.


John Thackara
‘Beyond Good Intentions’ – The Movie
A new documentary hopes to answer the question "What happens in a disaster area after the initial wave of support?"


John Thackara
From Druids to Biorefineries: Innovation in a Small Nation
Small nations can be flexible in ways that big one cannot.



Mark Lamster
Majority Report
Review of Design with the Other 90%: Cities


John Thackara
Utopia is Here
Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner, made in 1982, portrays a dystopian Los Angeles as it might be in 2019. In just eight years we are due to find out whether or not the film was an accurate prediction.



Ernest Beck
Creative Support for Japan
Creative responses to the crisis in Japan.



Ernest Beck
Mensch at Work
Review of The Power of Pro Bono



Tony Whitfield
Prepared for Haiti
Tony Whitfield meditates on the assistance designers should give in Haiti following the earthquake, and in future catastrophes.



Ernest Beck
State of Shelter
Relief organizations still rely on the same basic options for emergency housing, but new ideas are taking hold.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF and Early Childhood Development
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Early Childhood Development Project proposed a new approach to emergency kits that would be more precisely tuned to young children’s intellectual and emotional needs, as well as outlined a basis for the next AIGA/INDEX: Aspen Design Challenge.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Initial Report
Initial report on the 2009 Aspen Design Summit, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute.


Bradford McKee
Float House
Report on a floating house designed by Morphosis and UCLA architecture students for the Make It Right Foundation,



Ernest Beck
Emergency Response Studio
Report on artist Paul Villinski's mobile studio, which he converted from a trailer of the type used by FEMA to house victims of Hurricane Katrina.



Observed | February 25

Triumph of the Will and the cinematic language of propaganda. [MB]


Observed | February 24

The clock that tells time with hair. [MPL]

This just in from the department of life improvement: an app to, sort of, eliminate filler words—like, so! [JH]

Ignacio Pallares-Sevilla’s Instagram feed unites artists from disparate worlds: his double-exposures happen inside the camera, not through Photoshop, and the results are spectacular. [JH]

Yale School of Architecture student Melinda Aaron teams with industrial designer Laura Koven to launch AVA—a simple design system for yoga practitioners. [JH]

16 architects of color speak out about the industry’s race problem: “America has a lot of work to do”. [BV]

Paul Shaw is researching his definitive book on W.A. Dwiggins, and is posting his work in progress, including the origins of the Metro typeface and his work on Harper’s Magazine. [MB]


Observed | February 23

Five designers (including our co-founder Michael Bierut) illustrate global children‘s health stories you should know about. [BV]

Ending this Sunday, By the People: Designing a Better America at the Cooper Hewitt. [BV]

Curbed has an in-depth look at race and architecture, and the profession’s diversity problem. [BV]

Front Page News! NYT Since 1852, Under A Minute. [MPL]


Observed | February 22

Symbols of hate, and why they endure. (Via Christopher Simmons.) [JH]

The depressingly rapid decay of a neglected piece of ambitious modern architecture. [MB]

“One badly kept secret is that hardly any art school graduates go on to become professional artists. If you have decided to be one of them, give yourself a pat on the back. Next, develop a reputation as a team player.” Artists on pain, struggle, and eventual success. Also, um, stamina! [JH]

Iconic furniture = timeless investments? The Evening Standard thinks so! [JH]


Observed | February 21

The alienating personal technology device of the Victorian age: umbrellas. [MB]

Dutch author and illustrator Dickl Bruna, creator of the exquisite series of Miffy books, has died. [JH]

Students in Norway consider the future of prison design. [JH]

Are the decorative arts making a comeback because of 3D printing? [JH]

“Instead of asking what the design should look like, I wish we’d asked, ‘What can we do for you?’” What Robert Hammond learned from the High Line. [MB]

"Design is not an object or thing. Design is not taste.” An interview with Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic. [MB]


Observed | February 20

The Batbot Xtreme takes toy design to another level. [MPL]

Gerald Haltom‘s original 1958 sketches for the peace symbol. [MB]

Ugly buildings always photograph better at night (and other confessions of a former design magazine editor). [MB]

How Steven Heller redefined the design world. [MB]

Happy President‘s Day...? Ten times that Trump stirred up the design and architecture world. (And counting.) [MPL]


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]



Jobs | February 27