Lee Moreau is the founding director of Other Tomorrows, a design and innovation studio based in Boston, and a Professor of Practice in Design at Northeastern University.





































Observed


Old news: Apple rejected — “spurned,” actually —a proposal to integrate Meta’s AI chatbot with iOS “months ago,” says Bloomberg. Get a room already, gah.

It only touches the ground in six places: how to build a house that sits lightly on the land.

Graphic designer and artist Ming Hsun Yu is on a quest. “I explore human experience, metaphors and questions through graphic methods,” they say, “seeking possibilities within structures, fluidity between dualities, and constant joy.”

Forbes has accused Perplexity, an AI-powered search/chatbot startup, of stealing their content. The service describes itself as being able to provide “concise, real-time answers to user queries by pulling information from recent articles and indexing the web daily.” A new Wired investigation shows that it does that, in part, by surreptitiously scraping parts of the web that are deemed off-limits by operators. Wired also observed this: “[While Perplexity] is capable of accurately summarizing journalistic work with appropriate credit, it is also prone to bullshitting, in the technical sense of the word.”

Civil rights attorney and jazz pianist (!!) Bryan Stevenson has teamed up with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to release Freedom, Justice, and Hope, a live performance album of historic jazz records created to protest racial injustice. It’s streaming now.

The Vatican was forced to apologize “to those who were offended” after Pope Francis used a homophobic slur in a closed-door meeting. Then, two weeks later, he allegedly used the term again. While it deeply disappointed LGBTQ Catholics and their supporters who had been encouraged by his inclusive signals, attendees of this year’s Pride parade in Rome pointedly reclaimed the term and made the Pontiff the unexpected star.

Happy Pride: the new Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center is set to open

The annual design confab that is Config goes live June 26 and 27! Tune in online as acclaimed filmmaker, actor, and photographer Spike Jonze joins Ellen McGirt, editor-in-chief of Design Observer, as they explore the art of taking creative risks, facilitating unconventional collaboration, and navigating the future with AI. June 27th at 5:10pm Pacific Time; find the full agenda here.

De.fault is a recommendation engine built to reduce bias and broaden horizons. intentionally providing de-personalized information to enlarge our perspectives and counteract filter bubbles, ideological rigidity, social anxiety, and increasingly addictive and toxic content. Designed by Yoonbee Baek, De.fault is also the recipient of the 2024 Core77 Design Award for Best Speculative Design in the student category.

In stripping objects of all but their essential elements, the Shakers not only exposed the elegance inherent in even the most humble of items but also reinvented the concept of beauty itself. With its emphasis on durability, functionality, and timeless minimalism, Shaker design has had a profound effect on generations of artists, architects, and designers. (“Do all your work as though you had a thousand years to live,” urged Shaker leader Ann Lee, “and as you would if you knew you must die tomorrow. ) Now, they have their very own postage stamp.

At MIT on June 27—Designing With, Not For: a conversation between Richard Perez, founding director of the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking at the University of Cape Town; Amy Smith, founding director of the MIT D-Lab; Surbhi Agrawal, 2022 MAD Design Fellow, urban planner, and data scientist at Sasaki; and Aditya Mehrotra, instructor of Mobiles for Development at MIT. This event is part of this year's Design Research Society (DRS) conference, on the theme of recovery, reflection, and reimagination.

Multi-Species Worlding is an experiment, for no more than twenty people, into the felt perspective of another species, in which participants will practice speaking as that species, and build shared worlds that serve all of life.  This workshop brings together multi-species artists, architects, researchers, storytellers, communicators, educators, entrepreneurs, designers, and anyone curious about co-creating worlds where all species thrive. 

Coming this fall, join a pivotal gathering of minds from Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, UK, China, Kenya, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Finland, Hong Kong, and the United States for Designing Nature and Humanity-Centered Future,  at ISMAT Portimão (in Portugal's Algarve) from 8 to 11 of October. Interested? You have until the end of July to submit an abstract.

“Must be buff, charged with the emblem of the State, a pine tree proper, in the center, and the North Star, a mullet of 5 points, in blue in the upper corner; the star to be equidistant from the hoist and the upper border of the flag, the distance from the 2 borders to the center of the star being equal to about 1/4 of the hoist, this distance and the size of the star being proportionate to the size of the flag .”  The State of Maine is seeking design ideas before voters in November determine whether to adopt a new, more distinctive flag.

Picture this: A photographer wins an AI Image competition with a real photo. "I wanted to show that nature can still beat the machine and that there is still merit in real work from real creatives," said Digital Artist Miles Astray before he was disqualified. 

The American artist Kehinde Wiley—whose work he describes as “shedding light on the inequities Black and Brown people face in our society,”—has been accused of sexual misconduct. Wiley has denied the charges, but two museums have canceled upcoming exhibitions of his work.

In tandem with this exhibition (on view through the end of January 2025),  a new, five-episode podcast—hosted by British design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn—traces the evolution of Gae Aulenti through the voices of friends, curators, and a range of international architects.

The Los Angeles Design Festival is looking for new board members.

The Obama Foundation is looking for a new VP of Communications.

An Idaho pub owner celebrates “Homosexual Awesomeness Month” because “Pride is too extreme.”

SCOTUS gets it right on tribal health care:  In Becerra v. San Carlos Apache Tribe, the justices ruled that the federal government will have to pay more for health care on the reservations, making it a ruling on sovereignty

Something’s going on at Baraboo High School, y’all. Wisconsin? Thoughts?

Anne H. Berry, whose work focuses on representation and diversity in design as well as ethnic and racial disparities in the field, has been selected to be the next Director of the School of Design in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at UIC Chicago.

Read about the fifty people helping to shape Chicago. (Gensler's Andre Brumfield leads the charge!)

You need a Wall Street Journal digital subscription to view this in its entirety, but the story needs to be shared whether you read it or not: high-profile school shootings, and the fear they spread, are shaping how architects design the modern American school.

Anna Gerber and Anna Holsgrove's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is a new quarterly magazine focused on the relationship between technology and an unlikely trio of influences: ancient wisdom, spiritual practices, and natural intelligence. Their first issue is expected later this summer.

Grace Jun's new book on adaptive, wearable design—Fashion, Disability, and Co-design—is,  in her own words, “a practical book on the intricacies of design with examples of the many ways people can collaboratively work together”. Jun will be speaking on May 31st at Rizzoli Bookstore at 6pm in New York City.  (She was our guest on The Design of Business | The Business of Design back in season two.)

At the Business Design Centre in London, New Designers—now in its 39th year—brings together a whopping 3,000 design graduates every year from over 100 universities. The first week (26–29 June) highlights fashion and costume, contemporary design crafts, textiles, ceramics, glass, jewelry, and precious metalwork. The second week (3–6 July 2024) showcases furniture, product design, industrial design, spatial design, graphic design, illustration,  animation, motion art, digital art, and game design.

In a shocking announcement this morning, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia announces it will cease operations effective on June 7, 2024.

In partnership with the IKEA Foundation, What Design Can Do supports creative climate solutions aimed at fostering a more circular society. The winning projects in their latest challenge—Redesign Everything–include approaches such as bio-cement reef structures that mimic oyster reefs, bead alternatives designed to eliminate microplastics, and the use of agro-industrial fruit waste to create sustainable biomaterials.



Jobs | June 25