Metropolis Magazine - Metropolis Magazine October 2008


Rags to Riches

To-Go Ware’s reusable bamboo cutlery sets don’t just save untold pounds of plastic sporks from the dustbin. The California company’s new utensil holders are also hand-made from discarded plastic bags. Working for Conserve, an India-based NGO, New Delhi ragpickers create vivid patterns based on To-Go Ware’s designs, compressing the city’s garbage into durable wraps. October 1, 2008 Categories: Uncategorized

From the Notebook of Bryan Bell

What role can architects play in contributing to the world around us? “The top’s off the bottle,” claims Bryan Bell, founder of the Raleigh, North Carolina–based nonprofit Design Corps. That’s because people’s ideas about the profession are changing. “When I was in architecture school in the late eighties and said I wanted to do community design work, people thought I…

The Promise of Prefab

John Quale is an assistant professor at the University of Virginia School of Architecture and the project director of ecoMOD, an ongoing design-build-evaluate project.

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.

Model Citizens

A pair of Dutch artists aims to empower a Cairo community with a fantastically detailed miniature replica.

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.

Pragmatic Idealism

Docey Lewis balances humanitarian impulses with the bottom line in setting up design collaborations with traditional artisans.