Slate’s design blog.

Oct. 15 2014 9:07 AM

John Malkovich Pays Homage to Iconic 20th-Century Images in a Wild Series of Portraits

John Malkovich is one of a handful of actors who brings his inimitable persona to every role, giving off the impression that he is playing some (often twisted) version of himself. A cultural icon in his own right, he’s also shown he is game to offer himself up as cultural fodder, à la Being John Malkovich. In a new series called “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters” by Sandro Miller, Malkovich plays the parts of man, woman, and child with an eerily unsettling plausibility in 32 wild portraits that celebrate great 20th-century photography.

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Oct. 14 2014 11:59 AM

How Font Names Became One-Word Sales Pitches for Typography

Over the past 25 years, Tobias Frere-Jones has created some of the world’s most widely used typefaces. He has taught at the Yale University School of Art since 1996, gives lectures around the world, and has work in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Here at the Eye, Frere-Jones shares a post from his blog about the history of typography names.

Oct. 13 2014 11:06 AM

Norway’s Redesigned Banknotes Will Be the World’s Coolest Currency

Norway’s Norges Bank invited eight design teams to submit proposals for a series of sea-themed banknote redesigns. The standout concept above by Snøhetta Design, which will appear on the backs of Norway’s krone bills, uses the abstracted language of pixels to depict coastal settings.

Oct. 10 2014 9:11 AM

The Spellbinding Beauty of Chemical Reactions Captured in Ultra HD Video  

Beautiful Chemistry is a new digital media and technology project aimed at getting the world excited about science by magnifying the sheer magnificence and visual poetry of a chemistry experiment in full bloom. Shot using special lenses in 4K Ultra HD, the videos capture the transformations caused by chemical reactions like bubbling, smoke, precipitation and crystallization in exquisite, spellbinding detail.

Oct. 9 2014 9:04 AM

A Graphic Designer’s Playful, Philosophical Depiction of Time in an Overscheduled World

Graphic designer Vahram Muratyan’s popular 2012 book, Paris Versus New York: A Tally of Two Cities, was a charming visual accounting of the subtle differences between life in those storied locales, both of which he calls home.

Now, his travel across four continents has inspired a broader theme for his new book,About Time: A Visual Memoir Around the Clock, which will be published next month. It’s a series of riffs on our perceptions of time and memory told in Muratyan’s signature style.

Oct. 8 2014 1:01 PM

The Unexpectedly Seedy Past of the Pinball Machine

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 pinball machines—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

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.

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.