Rick Poynor
Exposure: American Hermit by Alec Soth
Alone in the great outdoors

Rick Poynor
Exposure: The Colossi of Memnon by Francis Bedford
Mysterious emanations from the desert

John Thackara
Food As A Commons
People go hungry not because of a shortage of production, but because the food available is too expensive, or they lack the land to grow it on. In California, the prototype of a combined social, political and technical solution has been launched which promises to unlock the food system crisis.

Alexandra Lange
Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer, Freelancer
One of the incidental pleasures of Judith Major’s new book on pioneering architecture critic Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer is the glimpse it gives into the life of a cultural journalist at the turn of the past century.

Alexandra Lange
A World of Paste and Paper
Today's obsession with digital renderings sparked two exhibitions that suggest a handmade, but far from quaint, corrective.

Rick Poynor
David Maisel and the Apocalyptic Sublime
David Maisel’s photographs are visions of the Earth as we have never seen it full of beauty and terror.

Change of State
"Change of State" — a site specific projection on the facade of the New Museum during Ideas City Festival, Saturday, May 4th, 2013.

Alexandra Lange
Portlandia + Timelessness
No better place to consider what looks timeless now than downtown Portland.

Flickr Collection of the Week: Signs of Pittsburgh
Bright cursive hope and rust-covered despair, sigils of titans and corner store shingles, the quick and the decaying done for, encomiums to vanished glory and the name of an immortal beer-and-a-shot bar.

Alexandra Lange
Patterns of Houston
How do you critique the urbanism of Houston? Look for patterns.

Rob Walker
What Are You Looking At?
The maps of the future will tell you what to look at. Sometimes, you should look elsewhere.

Rob Walker
13 Striking Landscape Fictions
Thirteen “landscape fictions,” photographs of the natural world — made distinctly unnatural.

Alexandra Lange
Hiking the Museum
Ennead Architects’ new Natural History Museum of Utah works to make natural history seem like the ongoing process of discovery that it is, layering geology and topography, paleontology and interactivity.

Rob Walker
Observational Instruments, Observed
Peeping at the Venue project's delightful gear, and Google's Seussian Trekker

Alexandra Lange
The Well-Tempered Environment
Water features, old trees, food trucks. Three elements of the architecture of outdoor civic life in North Texas.

Alexandra Lange
Decorating Brutalism: The Interiors of Kevin Roche
How do you decorate a brutalist building? For architect Kevin Roche, the answer was brown, mirrors, and trees.

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

Barbara Flanagan
The Dissing of Summer Lawns
How one Californian was forced (and inspired) to exchange sod for low-water plants.

Alexandra Lange
Jane Austen, Landscape Architect
Trapped by a ha-ha: bad romance and good landscapes in Mansfield Park.

Alexandra Lange
Jane Austen, Architect?
Why is Austen next to Ballard on the Designers & Books lists?

Alexandra Lange
Muddying the Waters
Explore New York's watery edges with the graduating class at D-Crit.

Julie Lasky
DesigNYC, Round 2
Report on second round of pro bono design initiatives fostered by DesigNYC.

Jason Orton
Tinder Boxes

Hal Clifford, and Jason Houston
Stone River: The Passion of Jon Piasecki
Landscape architect Jon Piasecki, talks about nature, the woods, and a recent multi-year stone works project in New York State — Stone River

William Drenttel, and Jon Piasecki
The Stonework of Jon Piasecki
"Stone construction is one of the most enduring traces of human activity. Any effort to quarry, cut and stack it is one that requires a powerful incentive, extensive planning and specialized skill." The Stone River project of Jon Piasecki.

Justin Partyka
The East Anglians
Image from photographer Justin Partyka's series, The East Anglians, about the decline of rural culture in the UK.

Karrie Jacobs
A Thousand Points on Light: Part I
Debate between lighting designer Leni Schwendinger and Dark-Sky advocate Susan Harder about proper illumination of urban, suburban and rural environments.

Jason Orton
Going Coastal
Photo of Holliwell Point, Essex County, England by Jason Orton.

Observed | October 21

More on ballot design and its many problems. [JH]

Design is the new currency. [JH]

If Hillary is elected, “’re going to have taco trucks on every corner”, warned Latinos for Trump’s Marco Gutierrez. Lana Rigby designs a citywide fleet of taco trucks that double as voter registration booths. [JH]

“Design is the art and science of improving the interface between human beings and their environment.” A new design incubator at MIT. [JH]

Observed | October 20

“Ignore the fads and go back to the typographic principles of print — keep your type black,” says Kevin Marks. More from Cory Doctorow on the web’s “plague” of grey type. [JH]

The Wall Street Journal on design books as eye candy. [JH]

The New Yorker on urban housing, inequality, density, democracy—and Le Corbusier. [JH]

Observed | October 18

Could bad buildings damage your mental health? [MB]

Dutch Design Week! Here’s the program. [JH]

Observed | October 17

Wine labels—and how their design impacts what we want to buy. [JH]

From India, a story on design mistakes for startups. [JH]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Zur Farbenlehre (“Theory of Colors”), 1810. [MB]

A call to action for design justice. [JH]

The eerie secret apartments of the New York Public Library system [MB]

“Not knowing what you’re doing is a skill you can’t teach.” An interview with Richard Turley (ex-Businessweek, ex-MTV) on his move to Wieden+Kennedy. [MB]

Observed | October 14

“How do you approach an art empty of figures and evident narratives?,” asks New York Times art critic Holland Cotter, writing about the late minimalist painter Agnes Martin. "How do you find out what, if anything, is in it for you? What do you do to make it your own?” To which Martin herself was known to reply: “You go there and sit and look.” A retrospective of Martin’s work is on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York through early January. [JH]

Magenta debuts! A new online source for design, cultural criticism, and more. [JH]

David Bowie had a vast collection of Memphis furniture. [MB]

Observed | October 13

Non-car designer designs non-car. [JH]

Democratic design—between cultures. [JH]

A day in the life of Tobias Frere-Jones. [MB]

Louise Fili, Goddess of typographic splendor! [JH]

Observed | October 12

Ice cream! Complimentary slippers! And design awards for a check-in counter! Highlights of service design for those traveling to (and from) Japan. [JH]

Philanthropists donate 8.1 billion for a new design center at Colorado State University. [JH]

Can happiness be designed? More evidence pointing to the fact that this is possible. (Bear in mind that “design” is used rather loosely, here—but is strategically positioned as an antidote to technology.) [JH]

Spy is back! [MB]

In a landmark patent case, Supreme Court Justices use Volkswagen Beetle as cultural shorthand for design brilliance. [JH]

Observed | October 11

Design in the age of globalization: what China does. [JH]

Today—for the first time in over a century—a design case reaches the Supreme Court. NPR reports. More from Reuters and from Bloomberg. [JH]

Mexican polymath Gabriel Orozco branches out—literally—into horticulture. [JH]

Jobs | October 23