The Design Observer Group
Observatory

WEEKLY EMAIL: JANUARY 08, 2010


Metabolic Dark City

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JAMES WEGENER

Metabolic Dark City

In 1993, the City of Darkness, or the Walled City of Kowloon was demolished. To the 35,000 people living in this dense urban slum, the change was the end of a lawless existence. The area was a diplomatic black hole, the model of an anarchist society somehow allowed to grow organically without the aid of any government, existing somewhere outside of both British Hong Kong and China. 
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ALEXANDRA LANGE

Skating on the Edge of Taste with Warren Platner

In the late 1960s, interior designer Warren Platner, a modernist who spent his formative years in the office of Eero Saarinen, began to skate along the edge of taste, his glitz tempered by clever architectural manipulations of space, his gilt tempered with black and cream. Viewed today, Platner's work of from the 70s and 80s seems just one reflection away from disco, one black room away from S&M. Each of his projects comes with the question: can he hold himself back? Can he convince us that brass is back? Is there any such thing as bad taste?

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ARS LIBRI LTD

Writing & Calligraphy

Writing books — manuals for the instruction of lettering and handwriting — are among the most beautiful of all books in the graphic arts. They are also among the rarest, routinely subjected to the wear and tear of generations of copyists. Bibliographically, they pose formidable challenges to scholars. Culturally, they are fascinating objects of study for a wide range of disciplines. 

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ERIC BAKER

Today, 01.02.10

Here are Today's images.
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SHARON OLDS

Q

Q belonged to Q.&A.,
to questions, and to foursomes, and fractions,
it belonged to the Queen, to Quakers, to quintets — 
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STEVEN HELLER

Christmas Schmaltz

Every year at this time, I deck the halls with boughs of holly, dream of a white Christmas, listen to Nat King Cole's Silent Night like there's no tomorrow, play A Charlie Brown Christmas incessantly, watch Miracle on 34th Street (the 1947 version with Edmund Gwenn) 20 times over and screen Home Alone at least once. What's more, I actually see Mommy kissing Santa Claus. I love Christmas.
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MARTHA SCOTFORD

Ulysses: Fast Track to 1934 Best Seller

Imagine you're a big American publisher, there's a book infamous for its subject and language that you want to publish — but first you have to go up against the US government to prove it should no longer be banned. And, given the publicity of the court case, you want the book in the bookstores as soon as it's legal.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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POEM OF THE WEEK

"Describing Paintings"

"Describing Painting" a poem by Adam Zagajewski from his new book Eternal Enemies.
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RECENT BOOKS RECEIVED

Andrea Cochran: LandscapesAndrea Cochran: Landscapes
Mary Myers

The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information GraphicsThe Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics
Dona M. Wong

Konstantin Grcic: Decisive DesignKonstantin Grcic: Decisive Design
Zoe Ryan

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