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Archive of the category 'Design'

Apple Waves Its Wand at the Phone, By David Pogue

Image and text source NY Times

January 11, 2007

Remember the fairy godmother in “Cinderella”? She’d wave her wand and turn some homely and utilitarian object, like a pumpkin or a mouse, into something glamorous and amazing, like a carriage or fully accessorized coachman.

Evidently, she lives in some back room at Apple.

Every time Steve Jobs spies some hopelessly ugly, complex machine that cries out for the Apple touch — computers, say, or music players — he lets her out.

At the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Mr. Jobs demonstrated the latest result of godmother wand-waving. He granted the wishes of millions of Apple followers and rumormongers by turning the ordinary cellphone into … the iPhone.

Read the entire article at NY Times

Behind the Glass Wall, by Christopher Mason

Photo credit: David McCabe

Image and text source: NY Times

June 7, 2007

WHEN Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., officially opens to the public on June 21, paying visitors will have a chance to explore one of the world’s most celebrated works of Modernism for the first time since its completion in 1949. The diminutive glass-and-steel building and its uncluttered interior, which have barely changed in 58 years, are so spare that it is hard to imagine that anyone ever lived there. But for nearly all that time, it was the constantly used country retreat of its round-spectacled creator, who shared it after 1960 with David Whitney.

For Mr. Johnson, pictured in 1964, and his companion, David Whitney, the Glass House was a comfortable retreat from the world.

Read the entire article at NY Times

Martha Schwartz : Landscapes of Awareness, by Quilian Riano

Image and text source: archinect

Mar 20, 2007

With little care or tact we keep expanding our cities and replacing what was once wilderness with pathetic shrubs in the medians between three car lane avenues. Because we love nature, we put small planters in front of big box stores in the concrete seas that are our suburbs, in what amounts to a desperate effort to humanize the landscape. We love nature so much that we romanticize it, using its image to sell SUVs that in ads, climb idyllic mountains, but in reality are uncritically driven through the increasingly bland (visually and culturally) landscape of sprawl. These are among the arguments laid out to a full Piper Auditorium at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) by landscape architect Martha Schwartz. She concludes that this Quick, Cheap, and (token) Green view of landscape is an increasing problem in the United States and the world. Martha finishes this section of her lecture with a haunting question: What are the long-term effects of a bland landscape on a society and each of its members?



Mixmaster Mike- photo by Chris Taylor

Image source: Virtual DJ

Text source: Manovich.net 

winter 2007

It is a truism today that we live in a “remix culture.” Today, many of cultural and lifestyle arenas – music, fashion, design, art, web applications, user created media, food – are governed by remixes, fusions, collages, or mash-ups. If post-modernism defined 1980s, remix definitely dominates 2000s, and it will probably continue to rule the next decade as well. (For an expanding resource on remix culture, visit remixtheory.net by Eduardo Navas.) Here are just a few examples of how remix continues to expand. In his 2004/2005-winter collection John Galliano (a fashion designer for the house of Dior) mixed vagabond look, Yemenite traditions, East-European motifs, and other sources that he collects during his extensive travels around the world. DJ Spooky created a feature-length remix of D.W. Griffith’s 1912 “Birth of a Nation” which he appropriately named “Rebirth of a Nation.” In April 2006 Annenberg Center at University of Southern California ran a two-day conference on “Networked Politics” which had sessions and presentations about a variety of remix cultures on the Web: political remix videos, anime music videos, machinima, alternative news, infrastructure hacks.[1] In addition to these cultures that remix media content, we also have a growing number of software applications that remix data – so called software “mash-ups.” Wikipedia defines a mash-up as “a website or application that combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience.”[2] At the moment of this writing (February 4, 2007), the web site www.programmableweb.com listed the total of 1511 mash-ups, and it estimated that the average of 3 new mash-ups Web applications are being published every day.[3]


Remix Mies, an entry on Eikongraphia

Mies van der Rohe – Design Friedrichstrasse 1919

Text and image source: eikongraphia.com

The almost unnoticeable iconography of the `critical’ architecture of Mies van der Rohe has a long ignored overlap with the `projective’ architecture of Rem Koolhaas (OMA) and Alejandro Zaero-Polo (FOA).

In recent years the work of seemingly very different architects such as Asymptote, MVRDV, Claus en Kaan, UN Studio, Wiel Arets, Neutelings Riedijk, OMA and FOA shows striking similarities as a result of a common interest in using iconography in the design-process. This is an effect of the shift from a critical towards a projective practice. At this moment there is an international debate going on between architects that hold on to the critical theory, and architects that think that the critical project is exhausted and has to be replaced by a projective practice. Opposed to a critical architecture that resists consumer society, Robert Somol and Sarah Whiting position a projective architecture that looks for opportunities within the capitalist society and exploits these. 1 To clarify this difference I will confront the critical architecture of Mies van der Rohe with the projective architecture of Rem Koolhaas (OMA) and Alejandro Zaero-Polo (FOA). We might find a partial answer to the question – what does a projective building look like?


Celebrity Architects Reveal a Daring Cultural Xanadu for the Arab World, by Hassan Fattah

Zaha Hadid’s design for a performing arts center for an island in Abu Dhabi.

Image and text source: New York Times

February 1, 2007

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 31 — In this land of big ambition and deep pockets, planners on Wednesday unveiled designs for an audacious multibillion-dollar cultural district whose like has never been seen in the Arab world.

The designs presented here in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and one of the world’s top oil producers, are to be built on an island just off the coast and include three museums designed by the celebrity architects Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Tadao Ando, as well as a sprawling, spaceshiplike performing arts center designed by Zaha Hadid.

Mr. Gehry’s building is intended for an Adu Dhabi branch of the Guggenheim Museum featuring contemporary art and Mr. Nouvel’s for a classical museum, possibly an outpost of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Mr. Ando’s is to house a maritime museum reflecting the history of the Arabian gulf.

Read the article

Open Source at 90 MPH, by Bruno Giussani

Image source: theoscarproject.org
Text source: Business Week
December 8, 2006

Inspired by Linux, the OScar project aims to build a car by tapping the knowledge of a volunteer team. It won’t be an easy ride, but their journey is important

The computer operating system Linux and the Web browser Firefox are generally considered the two biggest successes of the movement to develop open-source programs—software anyone can modify, transform, and redistribute back into the community. While there are thousands of other examples, Linux and Firefox have managed to mount serious competition to established commercial products, and have therefore come to represent this specific, collective mode of creation.

But Linux and Firefox are made of bits. They are immaterial. Bits can be shared and sent around easily, so that distant people can work on them concurrently; bugs can be corrected almost instantly; new versions containing updates, improvements, or fixes can be released virtually for free.


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