Slate’s design blog.

Oct. 17 2014 10:29 AM

This Gorgeous Sculpture Creates Instant Architecture in an Empty Room

 

Held annually since 2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ArtPrize is a democratic art competition open to anyone in the world over age 18, with generous cash prizes awarded by both a jury of experts and popular vote. For the first time, a single work—Intersections by Pakistan-born Anila Quayyum Agha—took this year’s public and juried grand prizes for a total of $300,000.

 

 

Agha’s stunning piece is an obvious crowd-pleaser, a 6½-foot square laser-cut, black lacquer wood cube suspended from the ceiling and lit with a single light bulb that casts breathtaking 32-feet by 34-feet shadows to create instant architecture in an otherwise empty room.

 

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Oct. 16 2014 9:08 AM

Was the 1977 New York City Blackout a Catalyst for Hip-Hop’s Growth?

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 New York City blackout that may have catalyzed the hip-hop movement—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

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.

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.

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