The Eye
Slate’s design blog.

March 4 2015 11:15 AM

Gorgeous, Vibrant Photos of an Istanbul Hidden in Plain Sight

Like many people who have visited Istanbul, I came away with snapshots of men fishing along the Bosphorus, hilly neighborhoods dense with a mishmash of architecture testifying to the city’s disparate historical influences, and majestic mosque domes and spires.

But when I stumbled upon the beautifully vibrant, color-blocked photo compositions of Istanbul on 32-year-old Turkish architect Yener Torun’s Instagram account making the rounds on the Web, I was astonished that I was looking at pictures of a place I had seen with my own eyes. It was as if Torun had redesigned the city with his camera, taking me to a place I’d never been.

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March 2 2015 4:10 PM

Built-In Furniture That Functions as Architecture Rather Than Décor

The 500 pages of color photographs of intriguing, cleverly designed small spaces in the recently published 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora provide plenty of evidence of how the seeming constraints of a small footprint can free designers and homeowners to take risks and put a roof on their most eccentric of dreams.

“A scarcity of space can trigger talent and creativity,” Zamora writes in the book’s introduction. “Architects do not shrink in the face of small spaces.”

But in addition to offering plenty of small space eye candy, the book’s new builds and renovations—including urban apartments, rural houses, converted garages, stables, garden sheds and more—are also united in their use of space-saving strategies that require confidence and commitment to get right. These include a willingness to embrace open space, build multifunctional rooms, exploit verticality and incorporate built-in furniture that functions more like architecture than décor.

Feb. 27 2015 11:49 AM

Flow Hive Delivers Honey on Tap Without Stressing Out the Bees

Humans have been keeping bees for thousands of years. The process of extracting honey from hives has always been laborious, messy, time-consuming, and occasionally painful for beekeepers. It’s also a source of stress for bees that often switch to fight mode during a hive invasion.

But a father-and-son team of second- and third-generation beekeepers from Byron Bay, Australia, has spent the last decade redesigning the beehive to make extracting honey painless for both beekeepers and bees. Cedar Anderson, 34, and Stuart Anderson, 60,  have developed an innovative beekeeping system that provides honey on tap with no need to crack open and pull apart the hives.


Feb. 26 2015 11:58 AM

This Wondrous Dutch Light Installation Mimics the Northern Lights

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde is a modern wizard of interactive landscapes. His poetic, art- and nature-inspired, high-tech light installations include a glow-in-the-dark bike path reminscent of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night and a vibrant rainbowat the end of the train tracks at Amsterdam’s Central Station.

Wednesday night in the Netherlands, Studio Roosegaarde previewed its latest act of self-described “techno-poetry” using state-of-the-art LED technology to create a spellbinding installation that streaks across the nighttime sky like the Northern Lights.

Feb. 25 2015 12:38 PM

This Airport’s Beloved Carpet Has Inspired Foot Selfies, Tattoos, and an IPA

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 Portland, Oregon’s cult airport carpet—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

Feb. 24 2015 1:15 PM

Is This Text-Message Alert System for Pregnant Cows the Design of the Year?

London’s Design Museum revealed its 76 nominees for Design of the Year 2015 on Thursday. The list spans architecture, fashion, product design, digital design, graphics, and transport, and it includes high-profile projects such as Google’s self-driving car, a French supermarket campaign to reduce food waste by sellingmisshapen vegetables, and Norway’s cool redesigned banknotes. And, as part of what the Design Museum notes is the year’s strong theme of “the desire to harness new technologies to solve long-standing problems,” an Irish birth-monitoring gadget for cows called Moocall received a nomination.

Moocall noninvasively hooks onto the tail of a pregnant cow (unlike more invasive cow birthing monitors) and sends a text message to the farmer when the cow’s about an hour away from giving birth. Dreamed up by farmer Niall Austin, Moocall was designed to free up farmers from keeping vigil over pregnant cows and to help increase live births and farm profitability. The device, which the company says can be shared among 50 to 60 cows, uses 3-D motion sensors, algorithms, and an embedded roaming M2M SIM card that claims it can pick up even weak network signals.

Feb. 23 2015 11:51 AM

How Clever Lighting and Graphics Can Give New Life to Outdated Buildings 

The design world is full of stories about buzzy new architectural builds and gut renovations of dated structures. But the American landscape is still populated with dull or otherwise tired-looking buildings.

Because it isn’t feasible to tear down or completely reimagine every building in need of an overhaul, New York City–based ESI Design has created noninvasive solutions to give the interiors and exteriors of 20th-century buildings some 21st-century game with strategic LED lighting schemes, video installations, and graphics.

Feb. 20 2015 9:44 AM

Profanity-Laden Advice From an Inspirational Poster in Apple’s Design Guru Jony Ives’ Office

While reading the new profile of Apple design guru Jony Ive in the New Yorker, I found myself yearning for visuals when writer Ian Parker described the contents of Ive’s sketchbooks. Not to mention the décor of his office inside the Apple design studio: “Overlapping framed images leaned against the wall: a Banksy print of the Queen with the face of a chimpanzee, and a poster, well known in design circles, that begins, ‘Believe in your fucking self. Stay up all fucking night,’ and ends, many admonitions later, ‘Think about all the fucking possibilities.’ ”

So I wondered about the story behind the profane pep talk of an inspirational poster on the wall of the man who makes some of the most covetable design objects in the world.

Feb. 19 2015 10:49 AM

The New York Times Magazine Relaunches With Redesigned Logos and a Focus on Digital

The nearly 119-year-old New York Times Magazine is relaunching on Sunday with new features including a weekly poem, an updated logo, a new suite of fonts, and an abbreviated logo for use on social media.

“We have used the hammer and the tongs but perhaps not the blowtorch; we sought to manufacture a magazine that would be unusual, surprising and original but not wholly unfamiliar,” Jake Silverstein writes an editor’s letter about the redesign, which launches Sunday with “The Global Issue.”

Feb. 18 2015 10:58 AM

What Happens When an Online Video Game Shuts Down?

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 apocalypse of an online video game—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.