The Eye
Slate’s design blog.

March 17 2015 9:08 AM

Can a Light-Box Therapy Lamp to Treat SAD Be Beautiful and Effective?

Millions of people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression thought to be caused by changes in the circadian rhythm. Many use light therapy as one strategy to combat symptoms that typically begin in late fall or early winter and end in spring. The therapy usually consists of sitting in front of a box designed to mimic daylight for 30 minutes in the morning. Light therapy boxes are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and may not be effective for everyone, but they have become a go-to option for people with SAD, often used in conjunction with medication and/or therapy.

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March 13 2015 3:10 PM

From Teakettles to Libraries, the Wide-Ranging Career of Architect Michael Graves

New Jersey–based architect Michael Graves died Thursday at age 80. An influential postmodern architect and member of the New York Five, Graves taught at Princeton for four decades. Over the course of his long career, he designed some 2,000 household objects for Alessi, Steuben, and Target, which made him a household name.

March 13 2015 9:03 AM

Isn’t It About Time Someone Redesigned the Car Dashboard?

The designers responsible for the mesmerizing, Frank Underwood-endorsed game Monument Valley: An Illusory Adventure of Impossible Architecture and Forgiveness (which also won Apple’s design award last year) have something more prosaic on their minds these days.

The designers at Ustwo are developing a prototype to redesign the instrument cluster—the speedometer, fuel gauge and so on located on your car dashboard—which they describe as “one fundamental and ubiquitous element in cars which has lacked an effective redesign over the last few decades.”

March 12 2015 11:52 AM

Singapore’s New “Learning Hub” Rethinks University Classroom Design in the Internet Age

Thomas Heatherwick is the London-based architect whose Heatherwick Studio has produced the 2012 London Olympics’ hammered copper cauldron, a futuristic version of London’s double-decker bus, plans for a Garden Bridge that would provide a grace note of urban flora for pedestrians crossing the Thames, and the new Googleplex in Silicon Valley.

Heatherwick Studio’s first major new building in Asia, the Learning Hub, which opened Tuesday at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, is an answer to the question of how to build a 21st-century learning institution in an era when you can get higher education via smartphone and the college library is now accessible from virtually anywhere.

March 11 2015 11:36 AM

The Military Tradition That’s a Morale-Booster—and a Drinking Game

Roman Mars’ podcast 99% Invisible covers design questions large and small, from his fascination with rebar to the history of slot machines to the great Los Angeles Red Car conspiracy. Here at The Eye, we cross-post new episodes and host excerpts from the 99% Invisible blog, which offers complementary visuals for each episode.

This week's edition—about challenge coins—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

March 10 2015 9:16 AM

What Does That Arrow on a Hotel Room Ceiling Mean?

It’s time for another international edition of What’s That Thing, Slate’s column that examines the details of the visible world that are hiding in plain sight. Send ideas for future columns, along with a photo if possible, to whatisthat@markvr.com.

The décor of the chain hotel room is as straightforward an icon of globalization as that of a Starbucks. That, of course, is the point. Although many leisure travelers prefer to rest their heads in locally tuned bed and breakfasts or Airbnb yurts, others—particularly frazzled business travelers—will take comfort in knowing that hotels consistently offer their favorite things: Internet access, an ironing board, daily cleaning, room service, a (pricy) minibar.

March 9 2015 11:54 AM

Business Cards for Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Other Comic Book Alter Egos

Imagining what business cards for fictional characters would look like is not a new exercise. But Pop Chart Lab has designed the imaginary business cards of more than 30 famous comic alter egos and collected them in its newest print, “The Vocations of Heroes and Villains.”

“The cards on our print are meant to be winking nudges toward comic fans, evocative of the characters referenced without directly spelling out their heroic (or villainous) IDs,” Pop Chart Lab’s Rachel Mansfield said in an email. “They’re more the characters in business card form rather than cards the character would actually use. If Barry Allen/The Flash were a real person, for instance, it probably wouldn’t be very good for his secret identity to hand out red business cards covered in yellow lightning.”

March 6 2015 7:51 PM

How the Design of a Selma Bridge Became a Metaphor for the Civil Rights Movement

This weekend, thousands of people will gather in Selma, Alabama, to march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The 50th anniversary Bridge Crossing Jubilee will commemorate the march known as Bloody Sunday, the March 7, 1965, attack by Alabama state troopers on roughly 600 nonviolent demonstrators, who were protesting voter suppression and police brutality, as they exited the bridge.

But before it was synonymous with the civil rights movement, the Edmund Pettus Bridge symbolized the mind of the white South and the sometimes paradoxical relationship between progress and history.

March 6 2015 12:04 PM

Why Do We Love Paris but Hate Frankfurt? A Swiss Author’s Six Qualities of Beautiful Cities.

In “How to Make an Attractive City,” a new video from the School of Life, London-based Swiss writer Alain de Botton offers a cheeky, thought-provoking, six-point manifesto on the need for making beauty a priority in urban architecture and design.

“So few cities are nice,” de Botton, the founder of Living Architecture, a British organization that commissions leading architects to build holiday rental homes in the U.K., says in the video. “Very, very few out of many thousands are really beautiful. Embarrassingly, the more appealing ones tend to be old.”

March 5 2015 9:17 AM

Why Do People Steal Palm Trees?

Roman Mars’ podcast 99% Invisible covers design questions large and small, from his fascination with rebar to the history of slot machines to the great Los Angeles Red Car conspiracy. Here at The Eye, we cross-post new episodes and host excerpts from the 99% Invisible blog, which offers complementary visuals for each episode.

This week's edition—about palm trees—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

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