Slate’s design blog.

July 16 2014 12:02 PM

Dubai Plans to Build the World’s First Temperature-Controlled City

This week Dubai announced grandiose plans to build “the world’s first temperature-controlled city, Mall of the World” in the Al Sufouh district.

Developers Dubai Holding estimate that the decadelong project, which does not yet have a start date, will require $6.8 billion in funding.

If all goes as planned, the self-contained shopping and entertainment complex will include a Broadway-style theater district, a pedestrian walkway modeled on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, a 4.3-mile retail network of roads based on London’s Oxford Street, 20,000 hotel rooms, underground parking, an indoor family theme park, and a “wellness district” catering to medical tourists.

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July 9 2014 12:13 PM

The Evolution of the Modern Emergency Exit

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 the design evolution of the emergency exit—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

July 8 2014 1:12 PM

Incredible Layered Glass Sculptures That Mimic the Ocean

This week landlocked design bloggers have been swooning over London-based designer Christopher Duffy’s Abyss Table, a mesmerizing sculpture masquerading as a coffee table that mimics the deep blue sea.

July 7 2014 11:12 AM

Watch Japanese Zoo Animals Distress Denim for Designer Jeans Fundraiser

A Japanese zoo has enlisted its resident lions and tigers and bears in a wildly entertaining fundraising initiative by helping to design a collection of limited-edition jeans.

Eager to find an eye-catching way to raise money for the Kamine Zoo in Hitachi City, local residents and volunteer zoo supporters the Mineko Club persuaded zookeepers to wrap the animals' favorite toys—rubber balls and tires—in denim. They were thrown to the animals, who gnawed, clawed, and otherwise went wild on the denim, resulting in a pile of naturally shredded and distressed fabric that Japanese fashion designers pieced together into a series of jeans fit for human hipsters everywhere.

July 4 2014 9:03 AM

An Underground Elementary School That Doubled as an Advanced Cold War Fallout Shelter

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 a Cold War bomb shelter cum elementary school—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

July 3 2014 9:00 AM

The World’s Most Clever and Unique Disposable Coffee Cups

Photographer Henry Hargreaves, whose fun and beautiful food-based country maps we featured recently, has spent the last year assembling a nicely curated collection of disposable coffee cups from cafés around the world. He brought them home and shot them at Café Moto in Brooklyn, so that the images would have a uniform look that focused on the individuality of the designs.

The original, clever, witty, or otherwise handsome designs of the cups demonstrate the possibilities of the quotidian paper coffee cup as a blank canvas.

July 2 2014 9:00 AM

What Happens When People Around the World Photoshop the Same Woman’s Image

Esther Honig, a 24-year-old Kansas City, Missouri-based journalist, recently hired people in more than 25 countries to Photoshop an image of herself with naked shoulders, hair tied back, and no visible makeup. The images have gone viral this week, starting an interesting conversation about whether there is a universal standard for beauty in a globalized world.

Honig used Fiverr to hire freelancers with varying Photoshop skills, receiving 40 doctored images from 25 countries for her “Before and After” project. “With a cost ranging from five to thirty dollars, and the hope that each designer will pull from their personal and cultural constructs of beauty to enhance my unaltered image, all I request is that they ‘make me beautiful,’ ” Honig writes on her website. Although you can see the obvious cultural influences in some photos, she received widely differing interpretations from Photoshoppers within the same countries.

July 1 2014 9:07 AM

World’s First Mosquito-Repellent Newspaper Increased Newsstand Sales by 30 Percent

Sri Lankans tend to read their newspapers in the early morning and in the evening, times when dengue-carrying mosquitoes are most likely to strike. Sri Lankan newspaper Mawbina teamed up earlier this spring with Leo Burnett Sri Lanka for a public health campaign targeted at preventing dengue fever during National Dengue Week.

The paper made news when a special print run that used ink mixed with natural mosquito-repelling citronella oil sold out by 10 a.m. and increased newsstand sales by 30 percent.

June 30 2014 1:38 PM

Paul Smith Designed a World Cup Soccer Ball That’s Too Beautiful to Use

Guinness World Record–holding soccer freestyler John Farnworth does some elegant tricks with a leather limited edition soccer ball designed by Paul Smith in a stylish marketing video (below) filmed in Smith’s London flagship Westbourne House in Notting Hill. Wearing a creaseproof Paul Smith travel suit and brogues, Farnworth does a mesmerizing pas de deux with the ball, which Smith designed using chevron-printed panels and his signature stripes.

June 27 2014 9:00 AM

A Beautiful Animated Film Made From Cardboard, Aluminum Wire, and Used Computer Parts

Brazilian filmmaker Daniel Ferreira won the best animation short award this week at the Palm Springs International ShortFest for Los Rosales. The film has a steampunk aesthetic that the filmmaker created using cardboard and used computer parts. He taught himself how to make twisted aluminum wire sculptures by watching videos on the Internet.

The filmmaker began the project as a music video for musician and composer Jhon William Castaño Montoya, a fellow resident at Treviso, Italy–based creative research center Fabrica. But he reacted to the music on such an emotional level that he ended up using the soundtrack as a vehicle to tell a surprisingly poetic story of a solitary robot in a post-apocalyptic sweatshop who labors among wheels and cogs to produce a monthly rose—rendered from masking tape, paint, and wire. Each month he devours the flower of his labors as a means to survive, until the machinery of his life breaks down and he has to face his fears of the unknown.

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