The Eye
Slate’s design blog.

March 27 2015 12:47 PM

What If Neighboring Skyscrapers Could Cancel Out Each Other’s Shadows?

Skyscrapers telegraph man’s lofty ambitions but often cast a pall on the street life below. To combat that obscure downside of urban living, designers from NBBJ have devised an ingenious proposal for a pair of“no shadow” towers on London’s Greenwich Peninsula (site of the prime meridian). The proposed mixed-use residential and business towers would use algorithms to redirect sunlight—canceling out shadows to create more light on the ground instead.

In an article by NBBJ design director Christian Coop, architect David Kosdruy, and architectural assistant James Pinkerton for New London Quarterly, the designers explain that the proposal is “aimed at easing a significant problem that London will encounter with the increase in tall building development, namely the impact of over-shadowing and an increase of dark and gloomy public spaces.”

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March 26 2015 9:05 AM

The Post-Apocalyptic Meal Plans of Doomsday Preppers

Photographer Henry Hargreaves, whose food-related passion projects have included fashioning stunning food-themed country maps and visualizations of rock star concert rider demands, has turned his attention to the subculture of “doomsday preppers.”

March 25 2015 10:25 AM

Mad Men’s Don Draper Gets His Own Bench Outside Manhattan’s Time-Life Building

New York City–based firm Pentagram has designed a monument to Don Draper as part of a campaign to mark the much-anticipated final season of AMC’s Mad Men on April 5.

Planted in the heart of Manhattan in front of the Time-Life Building is a 12-foot-long, black powder–coated steel and concrete bench. It is etched with the iconic silhouette of the fictional hero as he appears in the opening titles of the show. (The Time-Life Building was the fictional home of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, subsequently changed to Sterling Cooper & Partners.)

March 23 2015 9:16 AM

How a Technology That Helped Settle the West Became Known as the “Devil’s Rope”

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 barbed wire—can be played below. Or keep reading to learn more.

March 20 2015 9:03 AM

NikeLab’s New Women’s Collection Is Not What Female Athletes Want

This week, NikeLab debuted a new women’s sportswear collaboration with Japanese fashion studio Sacai that aims to blur the line between couture and athletic. On its website, Nike called it a “bold expression of femininity.” In reality, it’s comical and insulting to female athletes everywhere.

March 19 2015 9:03 AM

This Is What a Psychiatric Ward Designed by Patients Looks Like

What would a psychiatric ward look like if patients designed it?

That is the question behind “Madlove: A Designer Asylum” from British artist and activist James Leadbitter (aka “the vacuum cleaner”). Leadbitter—whose work has been exhibited at venues including the Tate Modern and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art—has endured stays in many public hospital psychiatric wards during his long struggle with mental illness.

March 18 2015 9:20 AM

Getting Americans to Walk More Using DIY Guerrilla Wayfinding Signs

Pop-up parks, open streets initiatives and other short-term, community-based projects have become quick, inexpensive, DIY tools in the arsenal of urban activists, land use planners and policymakers looking to make their cities better places to live. Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change by Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia, out Tuesday from Island Press, is part history of the Tactical Urbanism movement from two of its founders as well as toolkit for those looking for ways to improve their communities without get strangled in bureaucratic red tape.

The following adapted excerpt is about the guerrilla wayfinding effort Walk [Your City], a project to encourage walking initiated in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2012 by concerned citizen Matt Tomasulo that is now increasingly being used by walkability advocates, community organizations, and city planners elsewhere.

March 17 2015 9:08 AM

Can a Light-Box Therapy Lamp to Treat SAD Be Beautiful and Effective?

Millions of people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression thought to be caused by changes in the circadian rhythm. Many use light therapy as one strategy to combat symptoms that typically begin in late fall or early winter and end in spring. The therapy usually consists of sitting in front of a box designed to mimic daylight for 30 minutes in the morning. Light therapy boxes are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and may not be effective for everyone, but they have become a go-to option for people with SAD, often used in conjunction with medication and/or therapy.

March 13 2015 3:10 PM

From Teakettles to Libraries, the Wide-Ranging Career of Architect Michael Graves

New Jersey–based architect Michael Graves died Thursday at age 80. An influential postmodern architect and member of the New York Five, Graves taught at Princeton for four decades. Over the course of his long career, he designed some 2,000 household objects for Alessi, Steuben, and Target, which made him a household name.

March 13 2015 9:03 AM

Isn’t It About Time Someone Redesigned the Car Dashboard?

The designers responsible for the mesmerizing, Frank Underwood-endorsed game Monument Valley: An Illusory Adventure of Impossible Architecture and Forgiveness (which also won Apple’s design award last year) have something more prosaic on their minds these days.

The designers at Ustwo are developing a prototype to redesign the instrument cluster—the speedometer, fuel gauge and so on located on your car dashboard—which they describe as “one fundamental and ubiquitous element in cars which has lacked an effective redesign over the last few decades.”