Metropolis Magazine - Metropolis Magazine October 2008


Against Type

In 2006, when Josh Owen was charged with creating a stool for Casamania, his mind naturally drifted toward what he calls “object typologies.” An associate professor of industrial design at Philadelphia University, Owen takes an assiduously theoretical approach to design, so an assignment to produce a simple stool is never quite that simple. He began by looking at successful examples…

From the Notebook of Teddy Cruz

As architectural activists go, Teddy Cruz is a firebrand. His passionate sermons begin with the observation of injustices along the Tijuana–San Diego border, but in his broad geopolitical gloss, urban inequality divides along a global north-south axis associated with immigration between richer and poorer countries. His presentations could be boiled down to a protest against the imbalances created by the…

Asset-Based Design

Seth Hendler-Voss is a principal landscape architect for the city of Asheville, North Carolina, and a founding partner of the Design Corps Summer Studio. Amanda Hendler-Voss is the faith-communities coordinator for Women’s Action for New Directions.

A Masterful Effort

“The Luisa is one of the great chairs of the twentieth century,” says Brian Kish, a New York–based dealer who specializes in modern Italian furniture. Franco Albini’s 1949 design is one of four that Cassina will reissue this fall as part of its Cassina I Maestri collection. For Kish, the choices represent “Milanese intelligence and refinement at its very best.”…

From the Notebook of Sergio Palleroni

The idea of incorporating hands-on educational experience with socially responsible design is not a new one, but its cultural currency seems especially relevant today. “When we started this, there were just a few programs going—I could probably count them all on one hand,” says Sergio Paller­oni, the cofounder and director of BaSiC Initiative, a multidisciplinary design-build program that for 13…

Affordable Housing

Erik Van Mehlman, based in Durham, North Carolina, won a design competition to expand the Wake County chapter of Habitat for Humanity’s portfolio of homes. Later, he started Studio B Architecture, a firm specializing in affordable housing.


Steve Badanes is the director of the Neighbor­hood Design/Build Studio, at the University of Washington, and a cofounder of Jersey Devil, a design-build practice specializing in innovative and energy-efficient structures.

Pro-Bono Architecture

John Peterson is the founder of Public Archi­tecture, an advocacy group dedicated to making architecture more socially engaged. The organization’s 1% program, which has recruited nearly 400 firms to its cause, encourages pro-bono service by architects and designers.

Pet Project

Pet products are a natural lure for designers—judging from the Best in Show–style theatrics at August’s Pet Fashion Week NY, people are happy to dig deep in their wallets for ­­Fluffy’s Swarovski-studded throne. Fortunately, industrial-design preoccupations such as simple forms, eco-friendly materials, and social responsibility also seem to be coming to a dog dish near you. Here are a few…