The Eye
Slate’s design blog.

May 11 2015 12:44 PM

This “Unstainable” White Shirt Repels Wine, Coffee, and More

Putting on a clean white shirt is a tiny act of faith. But the pristine beauty of this classic wardrobe staple is no longer as fragile a proposition thanks to a line of “unstainable” white shirts from Elizabeth & Clarke, an online purveyor of affordable white shirts for women. Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the shirts have already brought in more than $162,000 of the $30,000 goal.

According to a project description, the Unstainable Shirt uses nanotechnology to repel “virtually any water-based or oil-based liquid spill, including perspiration, which evaporates before even touching the fabric.”

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May 8 2015 11:25 AM

This High-Tech Pet Adoption Campaign in London Will Tug at Your Heartstrings

Pet stores have long used the puppy-in-the-window trick to tug at the heartstrings of passersby. Now an innovative, high-tech pet adoption campaign for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home uses interactive billboards featuring a lovably scruffy pooch named Barley to try to emotionally engage potential pet adopters in East London.

May 7 2015 12:30 PM

A Viennese Architect Pioneered the American Shopping Mall. Then He Became Its No. 1 Critic.

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 Viennese architect who pioneered the American shopping mall—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

May 6 2015 9:12 AM

A Cancer Survivor Designs the Cards She Wishes She’d Received From Friends and Family

Los Angeles–based designer Emily McDowell was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 24, enduring nine months of chemo and radiation before going into remission.

“The most difficult part of my illness wasn’t losing my hair, or being erroneously called ‘sir’ by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo,” McDowell writes on her website. “It was the loneliness and isolation I felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they didn’t know what to say, or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it.”

May 5 2015 11:13 AM

Seven Innovative Riffs on the Common Household Door    

Throughout history, the door has been a blank slate for woodcarvers and decorative painters, often lending a bit of theater to the act of making an entrance. But these days your average bedroom or bathroom door is a generally boring affair, an inoffensive slab of interior real estate whose form follows function without making an effort to be or do any more than that.

To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Japanese furniture manufacturer Abe Kogyo invited Oki Sato of prolific, multifaceted Japanese design studio Nendo to do a riff on the standard interior door. Nendo reimagined seven innovative variations of a basic wooden door that were recently on display at the Milan Furniture Fair.

May 4 2015 12:02 PM

This Hoverboard-Inspired Light Bulb Uses Magnetic Levitation to Defy Gravity

Stockholm-based American designer Simon Morris has combined science with a stroke of design wizardry to create a surreal, gravity-defying light bulb. Currently raising funds on Kickstarter, Morris has already collected $440,000 and counting of his $80,000 goal with more than two weeks left to go.

May 1 2015 1:50 PM

This Watercolor-Inspired, Hand-Painted Wood Furniture Is Vibrant and Dreamy

German designer Meike Harde makes poetic objects and furniture, such as a clock that tells time with a ballerina’s limbs or lightweight metal clothing storage covered in soft, dreamy fabrics.

Recently featured in a satellite showcase for emerging talent at the Milan Furniture Fair, her new series, Wooden Aquarelle, is inspired by the fluid pigments of watercolors and techniques used by German Expressionist painters August Macke and Emil Nolde.

April 30 2015 1:11 PM

The Eccentric Life and Fashion Philosophy of “Geriatric Starlet” Iris Apfel

In recent years, blogs like Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style have emerged to celebrate the personal fashion of older women. And lately there’s been something of a trend for major brands to acknowledge the buying power of women over 50 by swapping young models for famous older women in fashion and beauty campaigns: Octagenarian writer Joan Didion was the star of a Céline ad, and sixtysomething actresses Helen MirrenJessica Lange, and Charlotte Rampling have posed as the faces of cosmetics brands like Nars and L’Oréal.

Those women were revered for talent, beauty, and style in their youth. But 93-year-old Iris Apfel—who recently appeared alongside 19-year-old Tavi Gevinson in an ad campaign for New York City–based jeweler Alexis Bittar—didn’t become a style icon until 2005, when a show of her dizzying costume jewelry collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art turned her into a self-titled “geriatric starlet.” Ever since, the fashion world has been obsessed with the spirited, quick-witted, show-stealing Apfel, the subject of the new doctumentary Iris.

April 29 2015 10:59 AM

The Dark Legend Behind San Jose’s Most Famous Haunted House

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 legend of Sarah Winchester—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

April 28 2015 12:03 PM

Britain Has a Poo-Powered Bus. But Does Its Design Campaign Stink?

British recycling and renewable energy company GENeco sent its first human waste–powered bus on a maiden voyage to show off the potential of using fecal fuel that doesn’t smell to power local transport last November. The 40-seater Bio-Bus runs on biomethane, gas generated by treating sewage and food waste. It began a limited ongoing service last month on the No. 2 line (pun definitely intended) in Bristol, England, which happens to be the European Green Capital of 2015.

When it came time to design an identity for the Bio-Bus, GENeco didn’t hire an agency to finesse some high-concept graphics. Instead, the company’s in-house PR and team held a brainstorming session with operators at their Bristol sewage treatment works, where the gas is produced.

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