Nancy Levinson is executive director and editor of Places.









Observed


Did you know that the humble graham cracker was once a symbol of dietary restraint? That chewing gum was once a substitute for rubber? That away from the bar cart, brandy has been used as a cardiac catalyst and a sedative? Design (and intentionality) in food and flavor profiles: a compendium!

The entirety of Logan Airport's candy apple red Terminal E was designed around the concept of efficiency, for travelers and airport workers alike. A curvy structure boasting floor to ceiling windows, ultra-high ceilings, and literally no right angles in sight, Spanish architect Luis Vidal has introduced an iconic structure painted a prismatic red and clad in more than 52,000 square feet of something called photovoltaic glass. (Which, as it turns out, generates its own electricity.) Internal innovations include a sensory room, a space for anxious fliers or neurodivergent travelers who might need a visual and auditory respite from a bustling terminal. “Airports are the cathedrals of the 21st century,” observes the architect. “They serve as the main gateway of countries, requiring a bold presence to leave a positive and lasting impression on the traveler. They must be design-focused because ultimately, everything in a well-designed airport revolves around the freedom of the passenger.”

Through December 16, The Italian Cultural Institute in Lima, Peru is exhibiting a series of posters designed by graphic designers and artists between 1923 and 2022, which collectively tell the story of the 23 editions of the Triennale Milano International Exhibition to date. (You can explore the posters online here.)

Nigerian designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello is an empath, an optimist, and an (aptly) self-described archivist. In addition to his own robust and increasingly global practice, his personal research project (entitled Africa – A Designer)  will be exhibited in Europe next summer. The project looks to document and archive unauthorized Indigenous designed objects that have found their way into our daily lives. 

Long-time Design Observer contributor (and self-professed "student of mall history") Alexandra Lange reviews The Well, a mixed-use space in Toronto. “The result,” Lange observes, “is a bit like adaptive reuse gone Vegas: bigger, smoother, and more mechanically “different” from building to building than a neighborhood that has grown organically.”

An overwhelming amount of media is disproportionately owned by a uniform, wealthy class of global industrialists. Which makes Nukhu—a model and forum for community minded cinema, based in New York—an etraordinary thing to behold. Founded in 2016 by Sanjay Singh, Nukhu's mission empowers independent BIPOC artists and in so doing, nurtures an enlightened artistic community. In an industry where financial backing and recognition remain formidable challenges for independent filmmakers, Nukhu emerges as a beacon of hope and empowerment, standing at the forefront of a movement dedicated to facilitating opportunities and reshaping the narrative for independent artists. (Read more about their Nukhu-powered celebration—called Nukhufest—here.)

Climate TRACE (Tracking Real-time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions) is a global coalition of nonprofits, tech companies, and universities working to make meaningful climate action faster and easier by independently tracking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, harnessing satellite imagery and other forms of remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and data science expertise to identify human-caused GHG emissions when and where they happen. The website is fast, responsive and frankly, brilliant.

Also in Miami this week, the Japanese female wrestling league Sukeban will be taking over Miami’s Lot 11 Skatepark for one night only to crown its first-ever World Champion. (Stream it here.) In Japanese, Sukeban translates as “delinquent girl,” a nod to the female equivalent of the male banchō in Japanese culture. According to Olympia Le-Tan, a fashion designer and the league’s creative director, the importance of projecting each wrestler’s personality and character through their costume was crucial. (Don't miss the belts.)

Remember Tilly Talbot—billed as the world's first AI designer? She was first announced by our friends at Dezeen last spring, made an appearance at Milan Design Week and beginning today, is “in residence” at The Standard in Miami, for Miami Art Week. Tilly—a bot—was invented by Snoop Studio founder Amanda Talbot after “pondering the relationship between AI and human loneliness, programming her under the studio’s principles of human-centered design that prioritizes nature.” Adds the human Talbot: ”Tilly will challenge you on materials." 

Seventh-generation Diné (Navajo) designer, textile artist, and weaver (and according to her Instagram, part time skater and model) Naiomi Glasses is the inaugural artist in residence … at Ralph Lauren.

The 22nd annual ArtReview 100 is here — click through for an eclectic and inspiring array of artists, many of whom use their platforms to speak truth to power. Photographer Nan Goldin tops the list; her most recent work has been dedicated to exposing the art world’s complicity in the opioid epidemic by accepting money from the Sackler family.  

Love Odih Kumuyi offers an excellent blueprint for designing meetings for inclusion and innovation. It’s all about the psychological safety. “Based on current dynamics or past experiences, individuals have a generalized sense of whether their voices will be received with respect or silenced and dismissed. Leaders asking for individuals to vulnerably share ideas must carefully curate an environment where the rules of engagement are in alignment with principles of psychological safety.” 

The controversial president of the COP28 climate summit, Sultan Al Jaber, does not seem to be on board with fossil fuel targets. “[P]lease, help me, show me a roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuels that will allow for sustainable socio-economic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves,” he said at last month's She Changes Climate summit. 

London-based designer Brendan Callaghan obscures typography through a series of imagined destinations in his project, Untold Roads—an exquisite site for adventurers—or, frankly, for anyone who appreciates a beautifully articulated demonstration of what happens when form reinforces content. See the case study here.

In Boston, Northeastern University is looking for a full-time Professor in Design, Civic/Social Values and Democracy. Details here.

Minnesota flag finalists' entries into a statewide competition all reflect common themes and elements: all of them have a star, a nod to the state's motto "L'Etoile du Nord," and some shade of blue (for the land of 10,000 lakes). FairVote Minnesota—an organization which advocates for implementing ranked choice voting—conducted the election, and more than 12,000 people cast their vote. Here's the winner.

The first graphic appeared on a Kansas plate in 1942, with sunflowers on the lower left and right sides. Since then it's been a wild ride. (If you're late to the Plategate party, here's a primer.)

“This is her fifth long-form visual project,”writes Wesley Morris in his review of Renaissance, Beyoncé’s newest movie, out now in theatres. “We’re now talking about an auteur.” Morris doesn’t stop there. “Simply at the presentation level, coherence and visual imagination are in the house.” Observes Vanderbilt Professor Michael Eric Dyson—who calls Beyoncé a process theologian—"her secular sites have offered spiritual nourishment, providing a venue for uplifting holy praise in thanks for the vibrant variety of life."

Did you know that the Institute for Scrap Recycling sponsors a design award? And that it has done so for more than three decades? Friends, you have until February 12 to submit your game-changing ideas. Get cracking.

Legendary architect William McDonough—who was one of the first proponents of “circular” design—thinks we’re talking about the issue all wrong. And on that same topic, this year's Business of Design summit brings together policymakers, business executives, and creative leaders to identify critical challenges, innovative ideas, and smart design processes driving circular design. (More here.)

Thanks to a number of new collective projects in Paris, Ukrainian design is becoming a fully-fledged part of the global creative industry.

This just in from the Department of Dystopian Prognostications! A new AI tool— called COLE, named in honor of Henry Cole (the creator of the first graphical Christmas card in 1843) lets you type in a graphic design project idea and have an AI generate not only the image, but the text to support it baked in. 

The Female Design Council names a new director: Angharad Coates previously served as director of communications at the New York Academy of Art and was most recently a managing partner at Camron, a design-focused public relations agency.

Designing better (and more inclusive) (and more innovative) meetings.

"It’s interesting, highly random, and even has the excitement of gambling and card drawing." A designer uses MidJourney to explore new dimensions in typography. 

As the talent pool for luxury artisans in Europe dwindles, fashion brand LVMH has created a unique apprenticeship program in the US in partnership with Tiffany & Co., the  Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, the trade school Studio Jewelers, and RISD. “We are teaching the next generation of craftspeople how important the details are,” says Dana Naberezny, chief innovation officer of jewelry at Tiffany and head of its workshop in Manhattan.

Loon-loving Minnesotans, this is your last chance.

Hundreds of documents related to chattel slavery — including wills that bequeathed enslaved people to relatives —have been discovered among probate records in Fulton County, Ga. "We were able to uncover some interesting stories about slave owners," says Chief Probate Judge Kenya Johnson. "A story that I hadn’t heard before: Slave owners paid for their slaves to go back to Africa."

Due to climate change, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been forced to update its "plant hardiness zone map," an essential tool for gardeners (and anyone wondering why native plants are dying.)

Russia’s Supreme Court has banned "the international LGBT public movement," calling it an extremist organization.



Jobs | December 06