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Alexandra Lange
Essays | Biography | Books | Contact

Archive: May 2010


The Plastics

This month’s Vogue, which had several enraging features, is not yet fully online except for Blake Lively, bathing suits, clear plastic.

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Modernism on the Range

I was amused that the Incredibles lived in a little Marcel Breuer butterfly-roof box, one much like the 1948 House in the Museum Garden.

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On Fast Company: Why Do Designer Toys Suck?

Spare me the good-looking trophy toys. I’ll take an operational plastic garbage truck any day. It was perhaps the fifth or sixth time I found myself, flat on the floor, arm extended, sweeping a broom under the couch to try to retrieve the quarter-size wheels of my son’s Automoblox Minis that I thought, “This is not a good design.”

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The Anti-Enthusiasts

Design Blogs: The Vacuum of Enthusiasm, my Design Observer manifesto on what the world of design on the internet needs, lives on in the comments.

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Why do Most Designer Toys Suck so Badly?

Designer toys have the appearance of good, simple fun. Yet toys such as Automoblox, Magna-Tiles, and Alexander Girard's alphabet blocks may be more aesthetically pleasing than kid-approved.

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On DO: ‘Please Give’ and Design People

You can imagine my glee at the second scene in Please Give, Nicole Holofcener’s new film, starring Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt as the owners of a vintage modern furniture shop.

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The Maddening, Rewarding World of Design People

When I first saw the house that is now my home, it was hardly in an appealing state. Every window was obscured layers of screens, shutters and (amateur) stained glass. The bathroom was encrusted in pink-orange Mexican tiles, with trim to match. The living room walls looked like they were covered in moldy cork, actually wallpaper. I saw a man walk in, blanch, and walk out the front door of the open house. Maybe it is only natural that, from the moment I entered, I wanted the furniture more than I wanted the house. 

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The Naive Tumblr

The recent changes on Tumblr are brilliant and not intuitive.

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It Was All Yellow

In Buying In, author Rob Walker avoids talking about the aesthetics of the Livestrong bracelet.

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In Metropolis: The Visceralist

I spent a day and a half with Peter Bohlin in deepest Pennsylvania and New York State, and was very impressed with his house projects and attitude toward design.

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Jane Jacobs Is Still Watching

Despite my dislike of Jane Jacobs's beef with architects and planners, so many points seem strangely prescient.

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On Inksie: Good Design is Aesthetic

I was asked by the editors of Inksie to write about Dieter Rams and his ten principles for good design. Luckily they assigned me my favorite.

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On Archpaper: Saccharine Design

My review of Marcel Wanders’ exhibition Daydreams at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for The Architect’s Newspaper just went online. Let’s just say I was not impressed.

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Saccharine Design

In his most recent exhibition, “Mercel Wanders: Daydreams at the Philadelphia,” the designer misses an opportunity to educate a new audience. Instead, the exhibition feels as flimsy as his one of his crocheted chairs.

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Straw Men Redux

I can't help but compare and contrast Nicolai Ourossoff's opening sentences of his recent work.

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Category Error

My son is now at the age when he wants to put things in categories, and I struggle to define the categories of automobiles that extend beyond SUV or sedan.

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Icon Review: Attila

At the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Attila, the applause starts before the curtain rises. The story here is conductor Riccardo Muti’s long-delayed debut at the Met (he’s 69), not necessarily the new production of a little-performed opera by Giuseppe Verdi, with sets by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, costumes by Italian designer Miuccia Prada, production by Pierre Audi.

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Please Stop Coloring

I was exasperated when I saw the new citrus Hans Wegner wishbone chairs. Anyone else hate recolored classics too?

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What I Learned @dcritconference

The D-Crit Conference is just a memory, so as a tribute to the afternoon presentations I saw, I offer a set of tangents.<

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Recent Book



Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities
Alexandra Lange
Princeton Architectural Press, 2012
More >>


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Design Matters Interview


Alexandra Lange and Jane Thompson

In this podcast interview with Debbie Millman, Alexandra Lange and Jane Thompson discuss their new book, the store Design Research, creating the power of imagination, Marimekko, Sir Lady Jane and Benjamin Thompson.

Other Essays


"We need more museums that let us relax into knowledge"
dezeen, March 27, 2014

Critics roundtable on Shigeru Ban, 2014 Pritzker winner
Architect, March 25, 2014

Designing 'Catching Fire'
The Atlantic, December 3, 2013

Review: Dave Eggers's 'The Circle'
Medium, November 13, 2013

The Demolition of Prentice Hospital and Penn Station
Architect, October 31, 2013

Kickstarter Urbanism: Why Building A Park Takes More Than Crowdfunding
Gizmodo, September 16, 2013

Architecture's Lean In Moment
Metropolis, July 2013

Is Cake Art?
Medium, July 1, 2013

Light and Space and Curves
Architect, June 26, 2013

Le Corbusier at MoMA
New Yorker blog, June 18, 2013

Why Wooden Toys?
New Yorker blog, May 30, 2013

Donald Judd's House
New Yorker blog, May 13, 2013

Dreams Built and Broken: On Ada Louise Huxtable
The Nation, May 6, 2013

Just Sew It
Medium, May 1, 2013

Questions for a Teenage Furniture Dealer
New York Times, April 18, 2013

How To Make A Great Kids' App
The New Yorker blog, April 4, 2013

Passive Voice
Dwell, April 2013

MetaMuseum Tumblr
Launched March 5, 2013

Plain or Fancy?
New Yorker blog, March 4, 2013

It's Toasted: Modernity and 'Downton Abbey'
New Yorker blog, January 21, 2013

Consider the Fork, Very Carefully
New Yorker blog, November 29, 2012

'Wreck-It Ralph' Is a Sweet, Animated Tale About ... Urban Planning?
The Atlantic blog, November 27, 2012

A Wide-Angle Lens on the Midcentury American Home
New York Times, November 15, 2012

The Woman Who Invented the Kitchen
Slate, October 25, 2012

Cornell's Silicon Island
New Yorker blog, October 15, 2012

Fear of Fun: A History of Modernist Design for Children
Los Angeles Review of Books, October 6, 2012

Home Sweet Architectural Masterpiece
New York Times, October 4, 2012

What Comes Second: The Lesson of the Barclays Center
The New Yorker blog, September 19, 2012

DIY Magazines
Domus, September 2012

AD Innovator: Johnston Marklee
Architectural Digest, September 2012

Don't Put A Bird On It: Saving "Craft" from Cuteness
The New Yorker blog, August 1, 2012

A Chair for All Seasons
Domus, July/August 2012

Serious Play | Century of the Child
T Magazine, July 2012

A Playground That Parents Won't Come to Despise
The New Yorker blog, July 6, 2012

Girl Talk: On Architect Barbie
Dwell, July/August 2012

Pinterest: Fear of the "Female Ghetto"
The New Yorker blog, June 13, 2012

The Dot-Com City: Silicon Valley Urbanism
Strelka Press, June 2012

Living In LEGO City
Print, June 2012

Edith Wharton's Houses
The New Yorker blog, May 23, 2012

An Interview with Murray Moss
Disegno No. 2, Spring/Summer 2012

Book Review: 'Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader'
Architectural Record, May 2012

Pedro E. Guerrero on Being Inspired by the Masters
The New York Times, April 4, 2012

Designing 'The Hunger Games'
The Atlantic, April 2, 2012

An Anatomy of Uncriticism
Print, February 2012

I Hate My Coffemaker
GourmetLive, November 30, 2011

A Serving of Style
GourmetLive, November 16, 2011

Table Dressing
T Magazine, November 6, 2011

Paper Tiger
Architect's Newspaper, November 2, 2011

Commentary: The World of Online Interiors
Architectural Record, October 2011

Elegant Solution
Metropolis Magazine, September 2011

The Search for the Perfect Fork
GourmetLive, Augustt 31, 2011

“Why’s This So Good?” No. 9: Herbert Muschamp builds a metaphor
Nieman Storyboard, Augustt 23, 2011

Dieter Rams: Less But Better
Architect's Newspaper, July 6, 2011

Going Back Outside (Again)
Metropolis Magazine, June 2011

Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
GOOD, May 27, 2011

High Fiber
T: The New York Times Design Magazine, May 1, 2011

Lake Effect
Architectural Digest, April 2011

A House Grows in Brooklyn 2011
Dwell, March 2011

Whatever Happened to the Dinner Party?
GourmetLive, February 10, 2011

The Moms Aren't Wrong
GOOD, February 1, 2011

What Next?: Criticism
Architectural Record, January 2011

Sidewalk Sale
New City Reader, November 2010

The Opulent Modernism of Warren Platner
Dwell, November 2010

The Architecture of Food
GourmetLive, October 28, 2010

Harry Weese's Pieces
Architect's Newspaper, October 22, 2010

People in Glass Houses
Financial Times Weekend, October 15, 2010

Hands Off the Icons
Dwell, October 2010

The Zootopian
T Magazine, September 30, 2010

If These Walls Could Talk
New York Times Opinionator, September 13, 2010

What's Cooking in Kitchen Design
New York Times Opinionator, August 27, 2010

Easier Living, By Design
New York Times Opinionator, July 23, 2010

Blue Sky Thinking
Metropolis Magazine, June 16, 2010

The Visceralist
Metropolis Magazine, May 12, 2010

Hole Earth Catalog
NYT Op-Ed, March 21, 2010

As the Tide Turns
Architect's Newspaper, February 4, 2010

Hands-On: The Gropius Touch
The Moment, January 20, 2010

Original Gossip Girls
New York Magazine, November 1, 2009

Fantasy Island
New York Magazine, May 28, 2007

The Next White
New York Magazine, May 13, 2007

Extending the Legacy
Metropolis Magazine, November 8, 2006

Once a Teardown, a Modernist Gem Is Reborn
The New York Times, November 2, 2006

Family Comes First
Metropolis Magazine, July 17, 2006

Building the (New) New York
New York Magazine, May 28, 2006

No Laughing Matter
Metropolis, January 2006

Brand Central Station
Metropolis, November 2005

This New House
New York Magazine, May 21, 2005

The Manhattanization of Brooklyn
New York Magazine, May 23, 2004





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ALEXANDRA LANGE: RECOMMENDED BOOKS


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