Julie Lasky

Critic; Writer; Editor / United States / Design Observer

Julie Lasky’s Notable Books of 2011

The design books that interest me most these days play havoc with disciplinary boundaries.

Among my recommended sextet, one pretends to be about industrial design but is an environmentally motivated critique of consumerism. Another purports to be about interior design while appealing to enlightenment values that are too often neglected (along with illustrations from Diderot’s Encyclopedia) in other contemporary books on the subject. A third features the work of a rock star fashion designer who is equally persuasive as a sculptor. A fourth reveals designs for informal communities that are grounded in engineering and technology. A fifth argues for uniting architecture and landscape, disciplines that may abut one another in space but are weirdly disjointed in approach. And the sixth isn’t really about design, it’s about photography. You can draw your own connections.

1 book
Cynthia Smith

In 2007, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum organized a pioneering exhibition devoted to objects and systems designed for people with limited means; that is, most of the world. Recently, it opened a sequel show in New York exploring objects and systems for urbanites—another (recently accomplished) majority and one projected to grow ever larger as people flock to cities for work and social opportunities. Design with the Other 90%: Cities is particularly concerned with innovations that ameliorate the harsh conditions of slums in the “Global South”—designs for housing, sanitation, transportation, education, and commerce. As social design grows as a discipline and is subjected to greater scrutiny to distinguish effective from merely well meaning approaches, the examples making up this catalogue should in many cases offer inspiration and hope.

comments powered by Disqus