Hello dear readers, and welcome back to our weekly Design Diary, where we bring you five projects that caught our eye this week.
The California Sunday Magazine—the excellent longform weekly often referred to as the “West Coast New Yorker”—is going purely visual in December, with an issue themed around the home and exclusively including photography. The issue, At Home: In the American West features photographers such as Ahndraya Parlato and Gregory Halpern, Texas Isaiah, and Ricardo Nagaoka, all of whom traveled throughout the western U.S. to speak to people about what, and where, home is. As the magazine puts it, “In a year when thousands of migrant children have been sent to live in tent cities, rents for a San Francisco apartment average $3,750, and wildfires have destroyed entire communities, the question of how people define “home” has never felt more urgent.” The answers they found range from single mother who found serenity living off the grid in Taos, New Mexico, to a formerly homeless woman who recently moved into a tiny house in Seattle. The images we’ve seen are intimate and evocative, proving photography a lovely medium for the topic.
A small Midwest city is an unusual mecca for architects and design enthusiasts, and yet Columbus, Indiana, boasts public buildings designed by the likes of I.M. Pei, Robert Venturi, Cesar Pelli, and Richard Meier. Between 1942 and 1965, J Irwin Miller and his wife Xenia Miller initiated a program in which more than 60 buildings showcasing modern architecture were built in the city (seven are now national landmarks). Despite her collaborations with Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard on The Miller House, one of the city’s biggest draws, as well as her own design advocacy and historic preservation work, Xenia is much less known today than her husband. Luckily, a small Indiana design studio called Commercial Artisan, is dedicating the most recent issue of their annual journal Commercial Article to Xenia Miller and her quiet influence on Indiana design. We’re very impressed.
Many a Design Diary ago, we ran an interactive map by Lucas LaRochelle that asked people to map out their queer experiences with drop pins marking personal city landmarks. This week we got news that Monash University’s XYX Lab in Victoria, Australia, is doing something similar with its Gender Equality Map. Not quite as nicely designed as Queering the Map, the concept is just as strong: the researchers are asking citizens of Victorian cities Darebin and Melton to add a drop pin on locations where they have had positive or negative experiences of gender equality, then detail the experience in the description. The aim is to gather this data and address the mechanisms behind these instances, then ultimately help planners and communities better understand where inequality occurs. Crowdsourcing for a worthy cause.
And finally, we’ve been doing a lot of research around here lately into generative design tools. We recently stumbled upon Randomatizm, a lovely little tool that seems to have no larger purpose than to rearrange, be colorful, and delight. It’s strangely mesmerizing. Happy Friday.