The Eye
Slate’s design blog.

April 29 2016 8:41 AM

Hair Dryers Haven’t Changed Much in Decades. Dyson Decided to Fix That.

British engineer designer Sir James Dyson is known for obsessively high-tech, thoughtfully engineered reinventions of unglamorous everyday devices. He’s brought the world deluxe, bag-free vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans. And on Wednesday, after four years and $71 million of research and development by 103 engineers, Dyson unveiled his latest product—a sleek new Supersonic hairdryer that is meant to be an antidote to the clunky, loud and scalp-scorching models the company says have gone mostly unchanged since the 1960s.

April 28 2016 8:39 AM

These Norwegian Architects Make Chalk Drawings of Future Projects in Their Office Parking Lot

Digital photo renderings allow architects to project what finished buildings or interiors might look like in the flesh. Architectural drawings—a lost art—provide a bird’s-eye view of floor plans. But computer-generated line drawings can be challenging to interpret, too flat and abstract to offer concrete help visualizing what it will feel like to move through unbuilt spaces.

April 27 2016 8:43 AM

A Roving Tiny House in New York City Channels Manhole Cover Smoke Through Its Chimney

The steaming manhole covers of Manhattan tend only to attract enough attention to get New Yorkers to stop and stare when a manhole fire turns the steam to smoke. Brooklyn-based artist Mark A. Reigelmän II decided to highlight this often overlooked bit of urban infrastructure by installing a roving tiny house on the streets of Manhattan that channels manhole cover steam through its diminutive chimney, temporarily replacing the prosaic orange-and-white candy-striped tubes that are often parked atop Manhattan manholes, helping Con Edison’s vast underground network of pipes blow off excess steam.

April 26 2016 9:16 AM

Can Glass Bricks Modernize a Historic City Center Without Compromising Its Character?

Historic neighborhoods in city centers often turn into shopping malls for tourists, with building renovations and global branding that often defaces local architecture. Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has just completed a Chanel flagship boutique onP.C. Hooftstraat Street in Amsterdam that strikes an innovative compromise, with a gleaming, high-end storefront that celebrates the authentic character of the street by using ethereal glass bricks to create a portion of the original building façade.

April 25 2016 10:13 AM

Moleskine Re-Created Game of Thrones’ Opening Sequence Using 7,600 Paper Cutouts

One of the commercial tie-ins to HBO’s sixth season launch of Game of Thrones is a series of limited edition Game of Thrones–themed Moleskine notebooks that feature silkscreen prints of the Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen families by Hungarian graphic designer Levente Szabó. To promote the launch of the notebooks, Moleskine commissioned Milan-based video and animation studio Dadomani to create an homage to the opening sequence, with a recreation of the fortress at King’s Landing from 7,600 paper cutouts.

April 21 2016 5:20 PM

The Story Behind Prince’s Unpronounceable “Love Symbol #2”

With a given first name like Prince, you wouldn’t think that the late pop star (né Prince Rogers Nelson) would need to go to the trouble of inventing a stage name. But change his name he did, in 1993, to an unpronounceable symbol that would later be copyrighted as “Love Symbol #2.”

April 21 2016 8:55 AM

A British Artist Raises a Spooky “PsychoBarn” on the Roof of NYC’s Met Museum

On Monday, British artist Cornelia Parker unveiled her latest work, an architectural folly inspired by the wholesome red barn paintings of Edward Hopper and the spooky Bates family house from Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho perched atop the roof garden of the Metropolitan Museum.

April 20 2016 8:30 AM

A Marvel of Victorian Engineering Reopens as a Concert Venue in London

The influential 19th-century British mechanical and civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Thames Tunnel in London was the first underground tunnel to be constructed successfully beneath a navigable river. Built between 1825 and 1843, it was considered a wonder of Victorian engineering, achieved using tunneling shield technology in which an iron shaft 50 feet in diameter was sunk into the banks of the Thames by its own weight as a first step in excavating the space. When the tunnel opened, the Illustrated London News called it the eighth wonder of the world.

April 19 2016 9:09 AM

Now Even University Academic Buildings Are Trying to Look Like Tech Startups

The new Lassonde School of Engineering’s Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence at Toronto’s York University is the latest educational facility to reinvent classroom design for the evolving needs of design- and tech-savvy 21st-century students. And what better way to prepare tomorrow’s engineers for their careers than by building an academic center that looks more like a tech startup?

April 18 2016 10:12 AM

Enough With the Pot Leaves. Marijuana Branding Needs a Makeover.

James I. Bowie is a sociologist at Northern Arizona University whose Emblemetric blog examines patterns and trends in logo design using quantitative analysis of data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Here at the Eye, Bowie shares a recent Emblemetric post about the brief history of uninspired marijuana logos.