The Eye
Slate’s design blog.

Sept. 26 2016 8:52 AM

Think Concrete Is Stronger Than Timber? This London Pavilion Wants to Prove You Wrong.

The Smile is an urban pavilion on display at the London Design Festival that shows off the virtuosity of cross-laminated timber. Designed by London-based Canadian architect Alison Brooks and engineered by Arup, the Smile is a 112-foot-long, 10-foot-high curved tube engineered from American tulipwood whose ends are cantilevered into an approximation of giant upturned lips.

Sept. 23 2016 8:47 AM

This Company Gives Felt Dolls Modeled After Its Employees as a Loyalty Perk

Corporate perks are one measure of a company’s culture. Wall Street dolls out cash bonuses to executives; Google keeps employees on campus with free food and playground office spaces. And staff at online print and design company Moo, which makes high-tech business cards, offers its workers a quirky perk as a reward for putting in two years of service: a handmade Voodoo-like felt doll fashioned in their very own likenesses by Greece-born, Atlanta-based textile artist Helen Greenstein.

Sept. 22 2016 8:49 AM

A British Designer Is Building a $150 Million Climbable Sculpture in New York City

British designer Thomas Heatherwick has unveiled plans for Vessel, a climbable piece of public art to be built as a centerpiece for the Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan, designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio. Part of a massive privately funded mixed-use development, the space will feature more than 5 acres of public plazas, gardens, and groves that connect to the High Line.

Sept. 21 2016 8:41 AM

The Elegant Newest Smithsonian Traces Black History in Its Architecture

Washington’s National Museum of African American History and Culture opens to the public on Saturday. The 400,000-square-foot museum is nestled in the heart of D.C.’s National Mall, occupying the last undeveloped plot of land on Constitution Avenue adjacent to the National Museum of History and the Washington Monument.

Sept. 20 2016 11:30 AM

Britain Releases Postage Stamps Embedded With Hidden Clues to Honor Agatha Christie

It’s been 100 years since Agatha Christie wrote her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (published in 1920), giving life to Hercule Poirot. To mark the occasion, the U.K.’s Royal Mail has released a set of innovative stamps dedicated to six of her most famous works.

Sept. 16 2016 8:46 AM

Find the Letters Hidden in Satellite Images of the U.S. in This Innovative Alphabet Book

ABC: The Alphabet From the Sky by designer Benedikt Gross and geographer Joey Lee is a modern twist on the classic children’s alphabet book where accidental letterforms are hidden in the contours of roads, buildings, rivers, lakes, fields, and other satellite imagery of U.S. landscapes.

Sept. 15 2016 8:48 AM

Seattle Is Building the Coolest Electrical Substation Ever

Construction is underway for Seattle’s Denny Substation, an innovative electrical substation determined to defy expectations by becoming a vibrant public gathering place rather than a blight on the landscape.

Sept. 14 2016 8:48 AM

A Spanish Street Artist Gives a Drab Kiev Train a Psychedelic Makeover

Veteran Spanish street artist Okuda San Miguel has transformed public spaces around the world with his riotously colored, geometric, fantastical painting style. Recently, he has turned a historic Spanish church into the Sistine Chapel of skateboarding and enlivened the otherwise blank sides of long-haul trucks to create a rolling art gallery on the Spanish highway.

Sept. 13 2016 8:51 AM

JFK Terminal 4 Adds Playful Signage to Try to Make Air Travel Less Grating


To cheer up travelers stuck in airport purgatory, Amsterdam’s airport has recently commissioned prominent Dutch designers to install a giant clock whose numbers are painted on by human hands and a dreamy wall of three-dimensional clouds. NowJFK’s Terminal 4 is using design to freshen up its image and inject some personality into the busy travel hub with a cheerful new logo and directional signage from branding firm Base Design.


Sept. 12 2016 8:48 AM

This Lightbulb Was Designed to Make You Look More Beautiful

Award-winning British company Plumen has made its reputation on reinventing the lowly lightbulb, with eco-friendly designer bulbs that are now sold and featured in prominent museum collections around the world. The company’s first release was the sculptural Plumen 001 in 2010. In 2014, it released Plumen 002, a softer take on the original. Its newest bulb is the 003, which it bills as “a patented bulb that will make you and your surroundings more beautiful.”