Design

Places that Work: Apple Stores

Setting the right mood and sending the right message are keys to the success of any space, whether it’s your design for a holiday party or architects’ spaces for successful retail environments. The Apple stores, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, do this extremely well. We know this intuitively. But let’s take a look at the location on Chicago’s North Michigan…

Places that Work: A Room at the Met

Places succeed when they support people’s activities. An office works when employees can collaborate and concentrate, whenever they need to do so. A concert hall performs well when the whole audience can see and hear. Such places are designed to support people who use them, psychologically and physically. They are honest expressions of need and intentions. One such supportive space…

Places that Work: Palmer House Lobby

Privacy, both physical and electronic, is a hot topic these days. The recent uproar surrounding Google’s changes to their privacy policies shows just how much it matters in virtual space. So does the continuing battle we wage to keep our electronic data and e-mail addresses safe from hackers. In the physical world, tussles over allowed fences regularly enliven neighborhood association…

Places That Work IV: Small is Good at HOK’s Chicago Office

I was jolted by a recent New York Times article profiling an Italian aircraft component manufacturer (Avioninteriors) who is introducing a new kind of seat for flights less than 4 hours long. Well, it’s not really a seat; the manufacturer says it’s more like a “saddle”.  It is further from the floor than a conventional seat and travelers perch/sit/stand with…

Places that Work: III, Helsinki’s Temppeliaukio Church

Photo by T.P. Tukiainen. As images of a book-burning pastor and airplanes flying into buildings increased stress levels across the US this past 9/11, I decided to take a mental retreat to some tranquil, spiritual spaces I’ve known. Wooded glens close to my parents’ home in Boston, mosques in Turkey, and the interior of Calatrava’s addition to the Milwaukee Museum…

Accessibility Watch: Furniture

This summer, to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, four new rules were proposed by the federal government. These amendments could make the design of objects and interfaces more accessible to people of all abilities. While some designers are already addressing such issues as making websites usable by the visually impaired, there’s much more to be done….

Places that Work: II, The Rookery

On a recent visit to Chicago, I ducked into the light court at The Rookery on the corner of Adams and LaSalle. I do this every time I’m in this city on the lake, because I love the space. As do others, apparently. While office vacancy rates are high around the country, at The Rookery only a small percentage of…

Places that Work: I. Grand Central Station’s Main Concourse

On a recent trip to New York, I took a train to Connecticut from Grand Central Station. What an opportunity, I thought, for me to assess why this grand space has worked for more than a century, from my environmental psychologist’s point of view. While most us can tell if a place or space makes us feel good, we rarely…

An Experimental Approach to Lighting

In the June issue of the magazine, David Sokol writes briefly about the lighting manufacturer iGuzzini’s new U.S. showroom. Below is an expanded version of Sokol’s text, with more details on the company’s history and products. Even if you’re not yet familiar with the iGuzzini name, you know its work. The Italian lighting brand manufactures Piero Castiglioni and Gae Aulenti’s…

Book Review: The Grid Book

The Grid Book wants to show us that the history of building, composing, computing, mapping, lending, painting, printing, trading, and writing—the history of modern existence, in other words—is really a history of the grid.

The Grid Book wants to show us that the history of building, composing, computing, mapping, lending, painting, printing, trading, and writing—the history of modern existence, in other words—is really a history of the grid. This is ambitious. By a bit too much, as it turns out. The author, Hannah Higgins, isn’t quite able to map out all the facts she…

Mix It Up: Lighting

On a sunny winter afternoon, the lobby of 200 Fifth Avenue is glowing brightly, thanks to dozens of light sources trained on its white terrazzo floors and limestone walls. David W. Levinson, the owner of L&L Holding Company, “wanted it to blow away all the other lobbies in New York,” says Clark Johnson, the lighting designer for the building’s public…

What’s Next: Lighting

For many of us, lighting is just a matter of wattage and bulb type. Maybe we’ve grappled with the question of whether an inefficient incandescent or a CFL, with its trace mercury content, is the lesser of two evils. But Dr. Mariana Figueiro, the program director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, thinks the way we design…

Michael Graves, Irving Harper, Others Remember George Nelson

George Nelson's talented team reveals the method to the madness—and how Nelson's greatest genius may have been in bringing them together.

George Nelson—architect, industrial designer, writer, editor, gadfly, and master impresario. Now the talented team behind one of design’s great figures reveals the method to the madness—and how his greatest genius may have been his skill in bringing them together.

A Call to Arms: Veterans on the Front Lines of Prosthetics Research

The Iraq war has produced thousands of wounded veterans, propelling research into the ultimate ergonomic challenge: the perfect prosthetic.

The Iraq war has produced thousands of wounded veterans, propelling research into the ultimate ergonomic challenge: the perfect prosthetic.
Military amputees now find themselves on the front lines
of prosthetics research, with each new development promising more than mere mobility.