Words Joe Lloyd Photographs Elena Subach

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The images accompanying this article are a series by Elena Subach, a Ukrainian photographer whom Disegno invited to present an interpretation of her home city of Lviv.

During the dissolution of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991, there were some who thought that the world had reached what the political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously called “the end of history”. Liberal democracy would triumph, gradually erasing civic upheaval and armed conflict. For the people of Ukraine, a country that only gained its independence from the USSR in 1991, it would be fair to say that a new history had just begun.

The story of the independent Ukraine is characterised by economic volatility and rampant corruption. The 2018 Transparency Worldwide Corruption Perceptions…


Words Riya Patel Images Thomas Adank, Karolina Cialkaite, and Silo Studio

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A stack of Wealdstone Stools, developed by Silo Studio in conjunction with the Wealdstone Youth Workshop (Photograph Thomas Adank).

Since the beginning of 2018, London newspaper headlines have carried a consistently grisly theme. Acts of youth crime — murder, gang violence and stabbing among victims as young as 11 — have been reported with chilling regularity in the city. The tragedies have brought to the surface a problem rooted in austerity measures put in place by the UK government following the 2008 recession. …


Words Oli Stratford Illustrations Jörg Koopmann

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So we’re sat in the hull of a Lufthansa Airbus A350–900, whose name, somewhat weirdly given that we’re in Munich, is Nuremberg. Anyway, the Nuremberg is parked in a hangar, and it’s hellaciously hot, even though it’s September and I was expecting something a bit more temperate. But the problem is that they can’t air-condition these things when they’re in the shed because the engines aren’t running — although there must be power somewhere, because all the televisions are projecting flickering messages like “Flight Closed”, which is a bit like the start of a…


Words Catharine Rossi Images Into the Night

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A recreation of the bar at the Cabaret Fledermaus, originally designed by Josef Hoffmann (1907), displayed in the Barbican’s exhibition Into the Night.

Open on Zurich’s Spiegelgasse from February to July 1916, Cabaret Voltaire was a key centre for dadaism, the movement that positioned the absurd and the irrational as the only response to the war raging beyond Switzerland’s borders. Unassumingly located in the backroom of a basement restaurant, Cabaret Voltaire hosted artworks by the likes of Jean (Hans) Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Pablo Picasso on its blue-painted walls, while its tiny stage provided a platform for often impromptu sound-poetry performances, music recitals and readings of texts by Russian painter and theorist Wassily Kandinsky and French…


Words Kristina Rapacki Illustrations Alastair Philip Wiper

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The panda enclosure at Copenhagen Zoo, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), opened in the spring of 2019.

In 2006, biology student Nathan Yaussy launched a blog dedicated to “endangered ugly things”.

It was an effort, he wrote, to “promote awareness of endangered species that wouldn’t otherwise get noticed due to appearance or obscurity”. Endangered Ugly Things featured humorous and informative posts about creatures such as the Ohio lamprey, a blood-sucking eel with a gaping, multi-toothed maw for a head, and the biological ingenuities of the old world sucker footed bat, purple burrowing frog and legless skink. Then, in 2010, Yaussy added the giant panda to the list.

This was an…


Words Michael David Mitchell Illustrations María Ramos Bravo

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“Did you know that some regimes use the sound of crying babies as a form of torture?”

That was one of the questions designer Yves Béhar asked me when I interviewed him about the Snoo — a robotic bassinet he designed in 2016 that reacts to a baby’s cries with increasingly vigorous microshaking and swooshing white noise until its occupant falls back asleep. This augmented crib, co-created with paediatrician Harvey Karp, is marketed to Americans who are increasingly without family support and need to go back to work quickly. …


Interview Peter Kapos Photographs Matthew Williams

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Gary Hustwit in his New York studio.

Gary Hustwit has a new film out. Focusing on the approach of the seminal industrial designer Dieter Rams, Rams adds to the filmmaker’s trilogy of design documentaries: Helvetica (2007), Objectified (2009) and Urbanized (2011).

Although the film is presented as a portrait, Rams’s preoccupations — the entwining of industrial design and consumerism, questions of sustainability and the future of industrial design itself — open the film to more general and far-reaching issues.

I recently spoke with Hustwit about the new film and was struck by the connection between its making and his interest in…


Words Kristina Rapacki Illustrations Cat Bluemke

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The illustrations for this article are by Cat Bluemke. They have been developed from the graphics of her game Escape the Gig Economy.

A notification: “Meal, 2 min away.” My phone is beeping and flashing, urging me to accept the opportunity with the help of a 15-second countdown bar. “Hurry up!” the indicator seems to say. “There are plenty of others poised to take on this gig.”

It’s my second weekend of cycling as a delivery partner with UberEATS in London and I’m beginning to get the hang of the Uber Driver app, a piece of interface design that mediates every dimension of the job. That job, I should declare, is not what I do for a…


Words Kate Wagner Photographs Andrew Meredith

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The new flagship McDonald’s in New York’s Times Square is designed by Landini Associates.

I still remember when they came for our local McDonald’s.

It was 2006 and I was entering the seventh grade at Southern Middle School in Aberdeen, North Carolina. The McDonald’s was on the way to school and, overnight, things started to disappear. First it was the Playplace, which lay disassembled in a caution- taped parking lot. Then the red double-mansard roof complete with French-fry lighting came off in pieces, revealing the naked brick box underneath. Finally, the red bricks themselves were pasted over with quoined EIFS — fake stucco.

The metamorphosis took a month…


Words Oli Stratford Photographs Ugo la Pietra

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The photographs accompanying this essay are taken from Ugo la Pietra’s series La casa telematica (1983). The photographs were recently exhibited as part of Home Futures at London’s Design Museum.

“The TV show will fire back. It will fire back. Score, or be hit. Do you understand?”

Not many readers are likely to be familiar with Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Prior to reading sociologist T.L. Taylor’s 2018 book Watch Me Play: Twitch and the Rise of Game Live Streaming, I certainly wasn’t. Having grown up in Yorkshire in the 1990s, my opportunities to travel back in time to watch a 1987 children’s TV show broadcast only in Canada and the US were limited.

Captain Power is worth discovering, however.While…

Disegno

The Quarterly Journal of Design

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