So many books, so little time. Designers & Books is there to help you keep up with the latest releases and burrow into the backlists for those life-changing titles that you may have missed. The site has looked back on 2013 and selected its first ever Design Book of the Year: Phyllis Lambert‘s Building Seagram (Yale University Press), a comprehensive personal and scholarly history of New York’s Seagram Building. The $1,500 honorarium will be split equally among the book’s author, editor, and designer.
The 2013 national Doodle 4 Google winner was 17-year-old Sabrina Brady from Wisconsin.
Put on your inventor’s helmets and break out the fancy Prismacolors, kids, because the Doodle 4 Google contest is back with a new doodling prompt: “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place…” (Magical video glasses is probably too on the nose).
“Our theme this year is all about curiosity, possibility, and imagination,” notes Google, which has run the annual competition since 2008. Students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in U.S. schools are invited to complete that sentence in the form of a redesign of the Google logo. The winning doodle will be animated and featured, for one glorious day, on the search giant’s homepage, and the lucky doodler receives a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Among this year’s illustrious guest judges are artist, designer, and author Christoph Niemann (pictured) and Rhode Island School of Design interim president Rosanne Somerson, who are joined by the likes of Lemony Snicket, LEGO robotics designer Lee Magpili, and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, directors of The Lego Movie. Start dreaming and doodling now, because all entries must be received by March 20.
The dome that crowns Florence’s cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is six centuries old, stands 40 stories high, is made of more than four million bricks, and weighs about the same as a modern cruise ship, but how did the largest masonry dome on earth come to be? NOVA takes on the Renaissance marvel–and its maker, Filippo “Who needs buttresses?” Brunelleschi–in Great Cathedral Mystery, which premieres Wednesday night on PBS.
A stubborn Israeli landlord is partially to thank for a delightful new Tumblr. When that building owner refused to extend Avner Gicelter’s lease, he and his partner were forced to search for a new apartment in central Tel Aviv, which in 2003 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its collection of more than 4,000 Bauhaus and International Style buildings. “That process awakened my dormant passion for Tel Aviv’s unique architecture, and I got more interested in the buildings than in the apartment we were looking for,” says Gicelter, a graphic designer. He decided to share his interest with the world through Tel Aviv Buildings, a site inspired in part by Jose Guizar’s Windows of New York. “I wanted to use this simple yet very honorable way of design to show my love for my hometown and its most beautiful buildings.” We asked Gicelter more about the project and some of his favorite Tel Aviv buildings.
How do you describe the architecture of Tel Aviv?
I don’t really have a professional way to describe Tel Aviv’s architecture, only a point of view as a designer—in Tel Aviv’s central area (where you can find most of my illustrated buildings) there are two major architecture styles: the eclectic style which was active during the 1920s and 30s, and the International Style which was the major architecture movement during the 1930-50s and led UNESCO to name Tel Aviv as a world heritage site for its International Style architecture. I think that the difference between these two styles creates an unique and very interesting dialogue throughout the street of the city. In my opinion this dialogue is the best way to describe Tel Aviv’s architecture.
How do you decide which buildings to illustrate?
I start by walking throughout the city’s old areas. During that I shoot photos of buildings I find interesting, whether it is their architectural style, the way the residents designed their balconies or the presence of the building in the street. After choosing and shooting the buildings, I illustrate them with the pictures as reference.
“…Jamie [Bochert, fit model and muse] comes in with jet black hair and traipses in some old Victorian dress in the middle of summer. And you know what? She looks cool. So you sort of say, ‘Why not?’ We started looking at things that are Victorian. It really started with a pair of surf shorts and a Victorian blouse….There were a list of reasons: the final scene of Pippin. This book of women in Tahiti wearing Victorian blouses and making these tropical print quilts. Maybe a bit of what Prada’s men’s show was. Maybe a lot of things I’ve taken in. Then Jamie walks in with this dress and all of a sudden you’re adding things up, and somehow I make a logical connection between those things. There is no right or wrong.”
-Marc Jacobs discussing the origins of his spring 2014 Marc Jacobs collection (pictured) in an interview with Bridget Foley in WWD Collections
The first rule of Type Camp is, you do not talk about Type Camp. Oh wait, that’s Fight Club. What a relief, as we’re itching to tell you about what next year holds for the burgeoning series of immersive design workshops for those who like to debate kerning whilst scarfing gourmet s’mores. Type Camp kicks off later this month in Chennai, India, with a week of discussions, projects, handwritten Urdu newspapers, Tamil lettering, and coconut water. In April, it’s off to Toronto for a focus on script lettering and calligraphy (practice writing “Rob Ford” with a demonic flourish). A planned August installment will take the form of a “creative residential retreat” in California. And the band of nomadic type junkies heads to Ireland in September. Learn more and register here.
Start with what writer Matthew Swanson describes as ten “stories about people with really awful lives,” add the delightful, Quentin Blake-ish illustrations of Robbi Behr (Swanson’s wife), chop it all up into flippable panels, and you’ve got the recombinant narrative of Ten Thousand Stories: An Ever-Changing Tale of Tragic Happenings, published recently by Chronicle Books. We asked writer Mariam Aldhahi to take a closer look at this book of fractured fairy tales.
Flip through the first few pages of Ten Thousand Stories: An Ever-Changing Tale of Tragic Happenings and you’ll be abruptly introduced to a pretty twisted duo.
The book’s introduction, originally nothing more than the usual run-through of what you’re reading and why, is covered in red-ink redactions and rewrites courtesy of the illustrator half of this husband/wife team. We are greeted with a “Hello Sucker!!” and quickly advised that we’ve just wasted $20 on ten-thousand “god-awful” stories only saved by an accompanying ten-thousand “breathtaking” illustrations. Suddenly, you’re confused, a little uncomfortable, and yet completely taken.
The concept is simple enough—each page is divided into four turnable mini-pages that mix and match to create ten-thousand different story combinations, each topped off with its own eccentric illustration. We are handed the reigns and encouraged to “choose our own disaster” by letting the flaps fall where they may.
Neither snow nor freezing rain nor the Super Bowl can keep thousands of retailers from NY NOW, the twice-yearly trade show that fills the Javits Center with giftables and homegoods galore. Enlisted to prowl the aisles of the “Accent on Design” section as a judge for the show’s “Bloggers’ Choice Awards,” we emerged with a clear favorite: the Boskke Cube, a new self-watering planter offered by Brooklyn-based neo-utility.
Designer Patrick Morris deconstructed the traditional plant pot and added an ingenious irrigation system to create this transparent planter, which acts as a reservoir for a month’s supply of water. “The clear plastic body reveals the water, soil, and roots of the plant, allowing you to witness firsthand the mechanics of plant growth,” says Morris of the Cube, which comes in assorted sizes. “And great for all those travelers…you only need to water it once a month.”
If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times: “I could tell you this Big Design News, but then I’d have to kill you.” Now you can give us the scoop and skip the messy murder plot, thanks to our “Anonymous Tips” box, which the Mediabistro tech wizards have placed at the top right of this page. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Type in your news—design happenings, gossip, movements of the Revolving Door, a designer’s hidden talent, or any newsy, design-y morsel—and click “send.” We’ll get the news, you’ll retain your air of mystery.
“A name cannot only be spoken, it needs to be visually expressed, and it’s useful if it can look good when it is. Flower names, beast names, object names, time length names and space and size names all have good visual potential. I’m thinking Pointerdog for a search engine, Five Mile for a minicab firm, Ringlets for a children’s jewellery range. Names that have something interesting or attractive about their letterform also have good visual potential. I’m thinking MOOD with its circles and curves for a perfume, or Dignify with its two nice dots for an over-60s face cream. Don’t give a graphic designer an abstract name with awful letter forms and expect them to do a good wordmark or logo, or to be happy.”