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charles barsotti chair cartoon  crop

When We Talk About Good Design

Many architects and designers, when talked down from the theoretical towers of “sculptural forms” and “floating volumes” and made to speak of their craft in humbler terms, are apt to use a phrase as naive as it is loaded: “good design.” It suggests such an apparent universality that any of us should be able to spot it. But implicit in “good design” is a system of values, aesthetics, and objects that demonstrate that the seemingly innocuous little term is anything but. Nowhere is the idiom as alive and well as in the realm of modern design, which wants to suggest—formally, stylistically, and most importantly, commercially—that the two might just be synonymous.
April 5, 2010
friday the divided self book

Friday Finds 4.2.2010

This is how the Dwellians show you that we care—by sharing our prized Internet finds of the week. Today's offering includes everything from politics and Peeps to typography and trousers.
April 2, 2010
Abidjan, Côte D'Ivoire. Photo by David Adjaye.

Events this Weekend: 4.1-4.4

Though this weekend sees the last days of exhibits at the Museum of Arts and Design and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, both in New York, it also brings the beginnings of shows in London, Beijing, and New York to fill the void.
April 1, 2010
Frank Muytjens Portrait Crop

Eight Questions for Frank Muytjens

Yesterday Frank Muytjens, head designer of menswear at J. Crew, came to San Francisco and we met up down at Sam's Grill for lunch. Though mass-market menswear isn't exactly Dwell's standard design fare, I was curious to hear what Muytjens makes of the contemporary design scene, what keeps him inspired, and how a Dutch clothing designer came to helm an American brand mired in decades of East Coast prep.
March 26, 2010
Aerial view of Palisade Bay. Courtesy Palisade Bay Team: Guy Nordenson and Associates, Catherine Seavitt Studio, Architecture Research Office.

Events this Weekend: 3.25-3.28

This weekend, check out the work of Dwell contributors and featured architects in exhibits around the world as well as new work by the Museum of Modern Art's architects-in-residence.
March 25, 2010
garrett morin sound design urae

Sound Design

Years ago, the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas won a design competition for an addition to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) by suggesting the entire museum be torn down and replaced. There was such an outcry over the idea of demolishing this collection of unremarkable but well-loved buildings that Ruth Seymour, the general manager of KCRW, the leading NPR station in Los Angeles, California, suggested we debate the pros and cons on a half-hour show called Politics of Culture. She asked me—a producer at KCRW and a freelance design writer—to moderate.
March 24, 2010
kanken

Fjällräven's Kånken Computer Bag

I've long envied Dwell's Associate Art Director Brendan Callahan for a host of reasons, not least of which is his very cool rugged-cum-modern Fjällräven Kånken knapsack. They weren't available in the US until just recently; his hailed from Amsterdam. I dug its 70s outdoorsy vibe, coupled with that fine Swedish commitment to stripping away the unecessary frills and flames that so horribly mar the majority of outdoor gear. But now I've gotten my hands on a Kånken of my own (in yer eye, Callahan) one of a new line meant to handle laptops as easily as dayhikes.
March 21, 2010
A 2007 rendering of a sustainable office building designed by CJ Lim of 8 Architects, who will be featured in the London 8 exhibition opening this weekend in Los Angeles.

Events this Weekend: 3.18-21

This weekend, Peter Cook curates an exhibit of the next great architects, the Vitra Design Museum reopens its doors for a new exhibit showcasing modern icons and their influences, the Industry Gallery in Washington, DC, debuts the first solo U.S. exhibition by Dutch designer and Droog founder Tejo Remy and his design partner Rene Veenhuizen, and BLDGBLOG author leads a road trip to California City, an abandoned suburb 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
March 18, 2010
Landscapes of Quarantine thumbnail

Landscapes of Quarantine

In the fall and winter of 2009/2010, Future Plural (the combined forces for former Dwell senior editor and BLDGBLOG author Geoff Manaugh and Edible Geography author Nicola Twilley) held a design studio in New York City focused on the idea of quarantine. The resulting work from the 18 artists, designers, and architects who participated in the studio is now on display at the Storefront for Art and Architecture as the exhibition Landscapes of Quarantine. The work on display includes infographics about invasive species, posters explaining how not to get bored while in quarantine, and maps dipicting the architectural possibilities of quarantines.
March 17, 2010
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