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The Design Observer Group
Places

WEEKLY EMAIL: JANUARY 17, 2013


Paju Bookcity: The Next Chapter

FEATURED THIS WEEK : SHANNON MATTERN

Paju Bookcity: The Next Chapter

"When I first heard of Paju Bookcity," writes Shannon Mattern, "I imagined a bibliophilic paradise of human-scaled buildings with legible facades nestled side-by-side like volumes on a shelf. When I traveled to the real Paju Bookcity, I found an industrial estate created by companies related to all aspects of book manufacturing, sited north of Seoul in the marshes near the Demilitarized Zone. But if Bookcity is not the fairy tale I envisioned, it is a kind of Cinderella story: this is the industrial park remade." Here Mattern explores the ongoing remaking of Bookcity — and book culture — in the digital era.
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JILL DESIMINI

Cartographic Grounds: Projecting the Landscape Imaginary

"As design extends its purview to cartography," writes Jill Desimini, "it is time once again to look closely at maps and plans, to immerse ourselves in their beauty but also to uncover their projective potential. We have an even greater challenge now, as our drawings are required to be interactive, to make sense of big data, and to describe increasingly complex systems." Desimini explores a range of cartographic practices, from a 13th-century view of the British Isles to contemporary data visualization.
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ADELHEID FISCHER

What Falls to Hand

Jugaad, the Indian practice of "doing more with less," has swept the business world. Here Adelheid Fischer explores its potential for design at all scales, from the gadget to the city, and argues that in the coming era of resource scarcity, "jugaad has the potential — maybe our best shot yet — to articulate and frame a global philosophy for sustainable innovation."
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What are you doing this summer? How about studying design history, theory and practice in Italy — the birthplace of Western typographic tradition. You can at the Masters Workshop in Rome May 26-June 9, 2013.
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DAVID HEYMANN

My Beautiful City

"No one in Texas thinks of Austin as a real city, and as a city it is in truth a model of nothing. Invented almost from scratch as the capital, its consequent slight grandeur of scale has never been matched by its industry, and so it has had a vague pleasant lithium quietness. ... Then, really in the last ten years, that particular odd disembodied quality became desirable." To start the new year, an essay by David Heymann, on Austin then and now, and a heartbreak of a house commission.
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NAOMI STEAD

Writ Small

For generations children's books have told fanciful stories about the creation of houses and the comforts of domesticity. "When you go looking," writes Naomi Stead, "you realize that there is a huge, even dominant genre in children’s literature: stories about houses, about the choice of a house, the quality of homeliness, and the very concept of home." Stead surveys the scene, from Iggy Peck to Roberto, from The Little House to House by Mouse, and wonders what these books tell us "about the architecture profession and how it is conceived and represented in culture more broadly."
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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2005

Campus Design as Critical Practice

How to turn a lackluster midwestern campus into an international cultural destination.
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