Design History

Privatus

Everyone takes pleasure in moments of solitude. To some, it is a way of pausing in the amidst of events and enjoying lonesome; others enjoy the focus it can offer or the chance to forget everything and probe the emptiness of the space they create. This can denote privacy or something else. It is the [...]

A History Of The World In 100 Objects

I’ve been told that our civilization will be known for our diaper landfills and our nuclear waste sites. Other fragments of our culture might survive as well: bits of Tupperware, mountains of lithium batteries or maybe the traces of our highway system. The foundation of a skyscraper might make for a [...]

Hotel design in British Mandate Palestine: Modernism and the Zionist vision

Modernism in hotel design – at least on a large and popular scale – has been credited as the postwar accomplishment of Conrad Hilton (1887 – 1979), father of the eponymous hotel chain, whose mass-produced formula evolved in the 1950s and 1960s. For the practical-minded Hilton, modern architecture was “oriented to the human scale [without [...]

The Inventor of the Cowboy Shirt

A few years ago, I found myself lost inside a shopping mall with the man who, in 1946, invented the snap-buttoned cowboy shirt. Jack A. Weil, better known as Jack A, was one hundred and one years old and he was not happy. He was, in fact, highly annoyed. We had wandered into the shirt [...]

The Most Successful Chair

The monobloc is not the first plastic chair in design history. This honor goes to Joe Colombo’s stacking chair Universale. First introduced in 1965, it was made of five injection-molded pieces and thus started a new way of mass production. The monobloc is not even the first one-piece plastic chair in design history. That’s Selene, [...]

High Bridge

No roads lead to High Bridge and no one is allowed to cross. The first bridge to connect two New York boroughs, the first to span the Harlem River and open up the great island of Manhattan should be celebrated and pedestrian-choked but it isn’t. The credit often goes to the Brooklyn Bridge, a more [...]

How Do Committees Invent?

That kind of intellectual activity which creates a whole from its diverse parts may be called the design of a system. Whether the particular activity is the creation of specifications for a major weapon system, the formation of a recommendation to meet a social challenge, or the programming of a computer, the general activity is [...]

The Bridge to Nowhere

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” These words ebb and flow in my mind at two points on my pilgrimage to Wards Island Bridge on 103rd Street and the Harlem River. First, as I exit the train station on Lexington Avenue and see a woman in her 50s [...]

Spuyten Duyvil Bridge

Of all modes of transport, the train is perhaps the best aid to thought: the views have none of the monotony of those on a ship or plane, they move fast enough for us not to get exasperated but slowly enough to allow us to identify objects.
-Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel
There’s something about [...]

Guns at MoMA

Listen here.

Reading Room rss icon


tourer

The Formation of the…

Clement Edson Armi
noguchi

Sometimes We Do It Right

Ada Louise Huxtable
agee - evans 3

Overalls

James Agee
PSloterdijk_DuMusst032009gr

A Cautious Prometheus?

Bruno Latour
R18587_layout_NEW.indd

A New Page

Nicholson Baker
Orwell

The Art of Donald McGill

George Orwell
Henry Ford-Model T

My Life and Work

Henry Ford
sontagnb

Against Interpretation

Susan Sontag
John Ruskin

Railway Stations

John Ruskin
ruskin1nb

The Lamp of Beauty

John Ruskin
chandlernb

The Long Goodbye

Raymond Chandler
engine_small

Industrial Design and…

Reyner Banham
bakernb

Clip Art

Nicholson Baker