Transportation

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Commuter in Tokyo by Michael Wolf
How to cope with compression


Rick Poynor
Stephen Bayley: Death Drive
Style, money, class, glamour, sex, and the car crash


Véronique Vienne
Taylor Holland’s Scenic Tour
A photograph is at first a document. Crop it, and it becomes a picture. Trim it further into a square and you’ve got a “sign” — a potential icon.


Owen Edwards
A Michelangelo, at 100 mph Plus
The recent death of Italy’s Massimo Tamburini brought to an end the glittering career of perhaps the greatest motorcycle designer ever and one of the greatest industrial designers of recent decades.


Anne Quito
Anne Quito on Quiet
Anne Quito will graduate in May 2014 from SVA’s MFA Design Criticism program. In 2009, she earned a master’s degree in Visual Culture from Georgetown University.


John Thackara
Cloud Commuting
A two-year project in Belgium proposes new relationships between people, goods, energy, equipment, spaces, and value. Its design objective: a networked mobility ecosystem.



John Thackara
Caloryville: The Two-Wheeled City
In China, ‘battery-bikes’ are outselling cars by four-to-one. Pedelec sales are soaring in Europe, too. Is this the start of system-wide phase-shift in transportation?



Observed
1920s Chicago Transit Posters
Chicago-L.org has a small, but gem filled collection of Chicago transit posters from the 1920s.


Owen Edwards
My Month as a Mocker
A remembrance of London in the 1960s. Rockers rode motorcycles and Mods rode scooters.



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


Rick Poynor
The Experiential Thrill of Driving in Films
A new book, Drive, shows how the car scenes in movies help us understand the experience of modernity.



Observed
Visualizing Mass Transit
Andrew Walker has visualized the mass-transit systems of major cities.


Rick Poynor
It’s Smart to Use a Crash Test Dummy
The image of the crash test dummy has traveled from the subcultural fringes to the pop culture mainstream.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is St. Louis Bus Passes from the 1940s.


John Thackara
Virtual Boring Agent
The Virtual Boarding Agent Orly Airport in Paris. It's spooky, clever and very well executed — and most people seem to ignore it after a first casual glance.



Phil Patton
Audi Urban Future Summit 2011
Report on one of the latest conferences to take on the global theme of the city



Phil Patton
The Green Dashboard
The design of instrument panels reflects the new technologies of hybrid and electric vehicles



Alexandra Lange
On GOOD: Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
If you want parents to use public transportation, first you have to fix the car seat.



Phil Patton
Another Wrong Turn for Chris Paine
Review of the documentary film Revenge of the Electric Car.



John Thackara
Rotterdam: Where Time is no Longer Money
Twelve-year-old children in Rotterdam have never known a time when their city was not being rebuilt around them.


John Thackara
If It’s Not the Destination and It’s Not the Journey...
A team at Rutgers University, uses ultrasonic sensors, GPS receivers and cellular networks to find empty parking spaces. While technically impressive, this is an absurdly over-complicated answer to the wrong question.



John Thackara
The Gram Junkies: In Transportation Design the Key Issue Is Not Speed, but Weight
In the matter of mobility and modern transportation we all need to become gram junkies.



Phil Patton
Charging Double
Comparing two new electric-car chargers: Blink and WattStation


Mark Lamster
The Ugliest Object I Have Ever Owned
What's the ugliest object you've ever owned (and loved)?


John Thackara
Is an Environmentally Neutral Car Possible?
The future of the car has been electric for what? Five years now? Ten? The answer is 110 years. The new Riversimple, makes us look again at the feasibility of the electric car.


Mark Lamster
Trabantimino
The idea: fuse a Trabant, that iconic East German junkmobile, with an El Camino, the classic American musclecar.



Phil Patton
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car
Review of Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car.



Alexandra Lange
Archpaper Review: Our Cities Ourselves
Does one size fit all, even when it is oh-so-hot bikes and buses?



Phil Patton
Murray T.25 City Car
Report on Gordon Murray's conversion from revolutionary race car designer to creator of one of the greenest city cars ever.



Mark Lamster
Coming to America: The Extraordinary Journey of Morris Moel
From Poland to New York, the story of Morris Moel.



Alexandra Lange
Diana Center & Architectural Bull----
Though rave reviews (
Architect, Metropolis, previously New York) are rolling in for Weiss/Manfredi’s Diana Center at Barnard College, every review has praised two things that I quickly dismissed as the most basic architectural bullshit: the copper glass and the street-level transparency.



Mary Badon
Red Light, Green Light : The Invention of the Traffic Signal
The traffic light — invented in 1912 by a policeman in Detroit — has radically impacted the way transportation rules have developed over the past 100 years, all over the world.



Phil Patton
One Car Per Family
Report on Yves Béhar's design for a new "people's car."



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


Phil Patton
Triple-Digit Inflation
Phil Patton questions GM's sustainability claims for its Chevrolet Volt electric car.



Mark Lamster
Blriot! The Centennial of a Historic Flight
A century ago today, Louis Blriot took off in an airplane of his own invention.



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