Slate’s design blog.

Oct. 7 2014 12:14 PM

Stunning Architectural Photos That Reveal How We Live

Modern architectural photo porn is a familiar genre in which a building is shot in the best possible light to emphasize its most flattering attributes while Photoshopping away the rest. A new book and a current London exhibition show how the art of photography can serve not only to document architecture, which photographers have been doing since the birth of the medium, but to help reveal larger truths about our relationship to the world.

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Oct. 6 2014 12:20 PM

Ikea’s New Line Tries to Fix Its Infuriating Assembly Process

The engineers and designers at Ikea apparently got the memo about how annoying it is to assemble their flatpack furniture.

This week the world’s favorite low budget furniture purveyor launched Regissör, a new line of flatpack furniture that the company claims can be assembled tools-free in less than five minutes.

Oct. 3 2014 11:15 AM

How Contemporary Art Influences One Italian Chef’s Michelin-Starred Restaurant

Massimo Bottura’s book, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chefis a heady trip into the thoughtful mind of the three-Michelin-starred culinary genius behind Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. Both a global citizen and a deeply Italian chef’s chef, Bottura counts Ferran Adrià and Alain Ducasse as mentors, has an American wife, and invents dishes inspired by cultural icons like Thelonius Monk and Picasso. The walls of his restaurant, one of the world’s best, are an ever-changing gallery of contemporary art that is more mission statement than decoration. Italy is his material, but art is his metaphor, the conceptual and critical lens through which he approaches and assesses his innovative reinventions of Italian culinary traditions.

Here at The Eye, Bottura shares an adapted excerpt from his book in which he discusses how he discovered the links between art and cooking and explains how a painting of a Ferrari inspired a radical redesign of the ultimate Italian classic: lasagne.

Oct. 2 2014 2:19 PM

A Mobile Standing Desk for Laptop Users on a Budget

The well-publicized fact that sitting all day is a death trap has created a booming market for standing desks. There are already infinite iterations of the modern standing desk: cobbled together from Ikea parts, gorgeously adjustable butprohibitively expensive, attached to a treadmill or a human hamster wheel.

But when Luke Leafgren, who teaches Arabic at Harvard, was thinking about investing in a standing desk, he realized that what he really wanted was something that would be as portable and lightweight as his laptop—something he could use at home, in the office, at the library, in a café, or anywhere else he wanted to get online. So he decided to invent one.

Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM

An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines

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 straight lines—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

Oct. 1 2014 9:26 AM

These Lego Masterpieces Capture the Fear and Humor of the “Dark” Side

New York City–based graphic designer and Lego artist Mike Doyle’s Beautiful LEGOwas the ultimate coffee table book for Lego nerds, with stunning photos of Lego-based creations by dozens of artists. The follow-up to that popular 2013 book is Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, out in November, that offers a look at what happens when artists from around the world let the dark side of their imaginations run wild while playing with the world’s favorite building blocks.

Sept. 29 2014 11:57 AM

Architecture’s Greatest Hits, From Prehistory to the Present, in a Single Poster

Brooklyn-based Pop Chart Lab—makers of such visual compendia as the chart of 500 beerspasta permutation map, and The Great Gatsby as an infographic—has turned its sights toward architecture.

Sept. 26 2014 11:27 AM

How Doodles and Sketches Become Gorgeous Infographics

Infographics are a staple of modern media. At their best, they’re elegant, streamlined visual capsules of information that help us process complex data at a glance. InInfographic Designers' Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Rick Landers, out in October, more than 50 leading graphic designers and illustrators from around the world share their creative processes behind the art and science of data visualization.

Using graphic shorthand to convey complex information has been used in magazines and newspapers since the 19th century, Heller writes, but today “a greater number of platforms and media outlets means it is incumbent on designers, who a decade ago would never have thought of themselves as ‘information architects,’ to become makers of some form of information visualization.”

Sept. 25 2014 9:37 AM

How Landlocked Dallas Once Tried to Become a Port City

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 port of Dallas—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

Sept. 24 2014 9:13 AM

A School Lunch Tray Redesign to Trick Kids Into Making Healthy Choices

Brian Wansink is a nutritionist, behavioral economist, professor at Cornell University, and the Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. He is the lead author of over 200 academic articles and books on eating behavior, including the best-selling Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (2006). In his new book Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, published this week, Wansink argues that 25 years of research has convinced him that "becoming slim by design works better than trying to become slim by willpower." In the book, he outlines concrete strategies for designing homes, restaurants, grocery stores, workplaces and schools in ways that surreptitiously encourage healthy eating habits. Here at the Eye, Wansink shares a brief adapted excerpt from the book that presents an idea for a stealthily redesigned school lunch tray—currently in the prototype phase—that he hopes will help kids make healthy choices without having to think twice.

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