Transportation

Eric Heiman
Necessary Frictions
Want to get an immediate, on-the-ground sense of a new city in all its multicultural glory? Use its public transit.


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 | 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]


Observed | February 16

The Statue of Liberty was modeled after an Arab woman. [MB]

Pratt Institute President Tom Schutte is the recipient of the 21st Rowena Reed Kostellow Award. [JH]

Why symbols matter. [MB]

Detroit, Design and the Future of Work—Detroit’s first exhibition as a UNESCO City of Design  [BV]

A Bug‘s Life meets Mulan and takes the form of this chair. [MPL]

Why do we have Wingdings and Dingbats? This short video explains all! [MB]


Observed | February 15

In the New Yorker this week, Design Observer contributor Rob Walker reviews the new Netflix series on design. [JH]

Charles and Ray Eames: a remembrance. [JH]

Fast Company‘s list of 2017‘s most innovative companies is out! [MPL]

What does industrialization look like? Take an aerial view.. [MPL]

Vasjen Katroi, a designer in Albania, makes a poster a day for a year. [JH]

Can corporate culture be designed? [JH]


Observed | February 14

Ikea’s best designed product of all time, according to it’s design chief. [JH]

If “design” becomes a synonym for “negotiate” we’re all in trouble. [JH]


Observed | February 13

“Almost alone among his countrymen, Johnson carried off his noxious politics with style.” Philip Johnson and the new American Fascism. [MB]

Journalist, curator, and longtime Head of Design at the V&A in London, Kieran Long is named Director of the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. [JH]

From The Atlantic, a deep dive into Apple’s flawless design aesthetic—and why it may just be a myth. [JH]

Madeline Stuart, who has Down Syndrome, designs and launches her own fashion line. [JH]


Observed | February 10

Timely explainer: what does the US Department of Housing and Urban Development actually do? [MB]

Creative dissent is central to political change. [MPL]

Ads, shorts, and the creative process of PES. (You have to watch “Fresh Guacamole.” You just have to.) [MPL]



Jobs | February 21