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Curating with a Conscience

Upon entering Small Scale Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement‚ the latest exhibition from MoMA's Architecture and Design department‚ the tone of the exhibition is immediately set by a graphic of critical demographic statistics from each of the communities where the projects are built: 80 percent of the population in Port Elizabeth, South Africa are unemployed; fishermen in Tyre, Lebanon earn $15 a day in the high season. The exhibition, organized by curator Andres Lepik (who Dwell editor Jaime Gross interviewed last week for a Q&A) and curatorial assistant Margot Weller, is the most recent in a string of proactive exhibitions from the A+D department. Like Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront and Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, Small Scale Big Change sparks new ways of thinking about global issues like sustainability, community development, public policy, housing, poverty, and inequity, among others.
October 8, 2010
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Easy Ways to Save Energy

Apparently the average home has 40 devices plugged in drawing constant energy, even when they're turned off (this is called, creepily, 'vampire energy'). To combat this, Belkin has created a slew of products, in their 'conserve' line, that help consumers track, monitor and control energy use in their home.     Here's the Conserve Socket, which turns off automatically after 30 minutes, three hours, or six hours of use. (They also make another socket, the Conserve Valet, that turns off when an electronic device is fully charged):
October 7, 2010
Mondaine Tube REd

Mondaine Desk Clocks

Any traveller blessed enough to have zipped through the hills and dales of Switzerland has assuredly been faced with Mondaine's great Swiss Railway Clock. The dark hashes, white face, and classic red second hand are all the stuff of Swiss lore, and Hans Hilfiker's clock design resonates as strongly today as it did when he first devised it in 1944. More reasonably sized house clocks followed the giant ones seen in Swiss train stations, and for a reasonable fee, you can wear one on your wrist as well. Now you can have the handy little timepiece at your desk as well.
October 6, 2010
euival shoes

Esquivel Shoes

George Esquivel learned how to make shoes 16 years ago in a Southern California garage. Today the designer runs his eponymous shoe brand from Los Angeles, where his team crafts gorgeous shoes with just enough personality.  
October 6, 2010
Entering the Fiere.

Cersaie 2010

Cersaie is the biggest trade show of the year for ceramic tiles, and each September Bologna becomes a hub for showing the latest innovations featuring the multi-faceted material. From roofing to flooring, interior walls to exterior siding, Italians brought their a-game to the Fiere, and for those of you who have never been to a trade show here’s a peek at what we saw.
October 6, 2010
Modern in the Making

Modern in the Making

It's easy to obsess over mid-century design and forget what came before it and ignore modernism's evolution during the six decades since. This week, Modern in the Making: Design 1900-2000 opens at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and highlights the different forms "modern" has taken. From enamel vase to Michael Graves kitchenware, it's a tour not to be missed. Here, we offer a peek at what's on display, in chronological order.
October 6, 2010
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Listening There: Scenes From Ghana

Two years ago, Mabel O. Wilson and Peter Tolkin traveled through Ghana, visiting the cities and documenting the architecture that had been erected over a thirty-year period, beginning in the late 1940s, when colonial rule was ending. These mid-century buildings were mostly modernist, designed by architects from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Lebanon, Italy and Ghana; they had been reviewed in contemporary architectural publications, as part of a lively debate on what became known as “Tropical Modernism.” Until recently, their legacy had all but disappeared from the historical canon. Wilson and Tolkin's trip was motivated by a desire to see how these buildings had fared in the half century since their construction, and to explore how they functioned in today's increasingly urban and global contexts. The resulting photographs are on view at STUDIO-X NEW YORK until December 16th, in an exhibition entitled "Listening There: Scenes From Ghana." Here's a preview.
October 5, 2010
Laphams Quarterly City Cover Crop fix

Lapham's Quarterly on the City

I fell hard for Lapham's Quarterly earlier this year when by chance I happened into a bookstore shortly before founder Lewis Lapham gave not so much a reading as a recounting of his decades as a journalist. He was as erudite as he was well-dressed and his talk ranged from his young days in San Francisco and with the San Francisco Chronicle through his time as the editor of Harper's to the founding of Lapham's Quarterly. His brand of intellectual inquiry is far ranging and deeply indebted to history, and reading through an issue of the journal feels less like a trek through the varieties of thought the last several milennia has produced than a perfectly made cache of knowledge with which to arm oneself for the next serious debate. The current issue of Lapham's Quarterly is dedicated to The City, and it's well worth your time.
October 5, 2010
suck it up

8 Modern Vacuum Cleaners

Sweeping up is a crummy job, but someone’s got to do it. Luckily, these eight vacuum cleaners are here to help you eliminate even the biggest of messes.
October 4, 2010
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