Infrastructure

Rob Walker
Infrastructure Field Trips
The Macro City conference in the Bay Area includes "field trips" to examine "overlooked networks of infrastructure that surrounds us," firsthand.


John Thackara
Ecuador, Open Knowledge, and ‘Buen Vivir’: Interview With Michel Bauwens
John Thackara interviews Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation, is to lead a strategic policy project for Ecuador’s government called Free/Libre Open Knowledge (FLOK), also known as the social knowledge economy project.


Alexandra Lange, and Mark Lamster
Lunch with the Critics: Fourth-Annual Year-End Awards
Our intrepid critics, Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster, celebrate (and castigate) the best and worst architecture and design of 2013.



Rick Poynor
Belgian Solutions: The True State of Things?
The foul-ups or “Belgian solutions” in a new book of street photographs are simply the way things are.


John Thackara
Trust Is Not An Algorithm
By some accounts the world’s information is doubling every two years. This impressive if unprovable fact has got many people wondering: what to do with it?



Observed
Parking Meter History
The history of the parking meter — originally designed to have a positive affect on traffic flow and shopping.



Philip Nobel
Oops: Understanding Failure
A review of To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure, by Henry Petroski.



Observed
A Campaign to Save The Post Office
Tucker Nichols is campaigning to save the Post Office.



Observed
Forgotten Tube Stations
A graphic tribute to the forgotten stations of the London Underground.



Observed
Celebrate World Toilet Day
2.6 billion people don't have access to a toilet. For them poop can be poison.


Alexandra Lange
Knolling Your Polling Place
Knolling your polling place: for the next election, a little spatial organization would go a long way.


Rob Walker
The Infrastructure of the Cloud
On the material structures we depend on to deliver us the immaterial digital world.


John Thackara
Design In The Light of Dark Energy
A shortened version of a talk on why the world has to reduce energy consumption, the five per cent energy solution and some of the people around the world who are leading the way.


Alexandra Lange
Lessons from the High Line
How can the High Line become a new paradigm, and not a dead end?


Alexandra Lange
What Makes Architecture Useful?
At Experimenta Design 2011, the buildings of Lisbon make the best argument for the ongoing usefulness of good design.


Alexandra Lange
An Atlas of Possibility
The Institute for Urban Design's By the City/For the City project provokes crowd-sourced possibilities for New York's future.



Alexandra Lange
Jane Jacobs Is Still Watching
Despite my dislike of Jane Jacobs's beef with architects and planners, so many points seem strangely prescient.



Roger Martin
Design Thinking Comes to the U.S. Army
Design is almost overnight the centerpiece of military doctrine and the U.S. Army has gotten design thinking quite right. The struggle to get design thinking ensconced in Army doctrine, though, is no easy feat.



Alexandra Lange
Welcome to Fort Brooklyn
Let us sincerely hope that the Atlantic Terminal Entrance in Brooklyn, a gateway to the LIRR and the hub’s many subways, marks the end of empty transport monumentality.



Ernest Beck
GlobalTap
Report on prototype for GlobalTap water refilling stations.



Rachel Berger
A Makeover for the BART Map
Unlike the notorious 1972 Massimo Vignelli redesign of the New York City subway map, the new BART map didn't make much of a splash in graphic design circles.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: Sustainable Food and Childhood Obesity
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the Sustainable Food Project focused on accelerating the shift from a global, abstract food system to a regional, real food system via a robust portfolio of activities — including a grand challenge and a series of youth-engagement programs.



Jonathan Schultz
Better Place
Report on Better Place, winner of the 2009 INDEX Award in the Community category.



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]

Shepherd Fairey’s protest posters. [JH]

Beautiful data: NYC-style but open and available to all. [JH]


Observed | January 12

The newly-minted field of “behavioral design” looks to have pretty much nothing to doing with design. Is taking design’s name in vain OK? I’m starting to wonder. [JH]

Sleep Mode is an exhibition on the art of the screensaver at Het Nieuwe Institute, Rotterdam. [MB]

Engineers at UCLA have come up with a design that offers unlimited phone bandwidth. [JH]



Jobs | January 20