The Editors | Essays

Announcing A New Channel: Observers Room

All observation, Rudolf Arnheim once noted, is also invention, and so we are delighted to introduce our newest channel: Observers Room.

Observers Room will be home to bloggers and critics, commentators and pundits, artists and writers eager to share their opinions on a host of subjects — each clocking in somewhere between the brevity of the 140-character tweet and the expansiveness of the 1,000-word essay.

The channel takes its name from an actual observatory at Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, India, which sits nobly in a small plaza of some fourteen geometric devices that measure time, predict eclipses, track constellations and determine celestial altitudes. Solidly constructed in stone, these architectural tools are unabashedly analogue yet remarkably accurate. Earthbound and reliable, they simultaneously gesture to a larger world, just as we hope to combine sound observation with occasional speculation.

Our first four bloggers include an architectural historian, a change agent from Europe, a design critic with deep ties to twentieth-century cultural history and a book editor whose own foray into writing has been hailed as "brave" and "dazzling."

Called "gracefully unpretentious" by the Los Angeles Times, editor and biographer Mark Lamster's latest book is a political biography of the artist Peter Paul Rubens, who led a double life as a diplomat and spy. Critic, journalist and architectural historian Alexandra Lange teaches in the D-Crit Program at the School of Visual Arts. Rick Poynor founded Eye magazine in 1990 (and was a co-founder of Design Observer in 2003) and is the author of over a dozen books on graphic design and cultural criticism. Previously head of the Netherlands Design Institute, John Thackara directs the international think tank Doors of Perception and lectures around the world on design, social innovation and transformational change.

Lastly, we'd like to inform our readers that the editors of Design Observer — including Michael Bierut, William Drenttel, Jessica Helfand, Julie Lasky, Nancy Levinson, Jade-Snow Carroll, Chappell Ellison and Josh Wallaert — will be posting regularly at OBlog, the fifth blog within our new Observers Room channel. There, as elsewhere, we welcome the thoughts and comments of our readers.

Jobs | June 21