Beyond Dieter Rams: A new exhibit debunks the myths of mid-century German design

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Despite the split between East and West Germany, some design elements transcended borders. From 1949 to 1989, Germany was split in two and stood at the center of Cold War tensions. The Federal German Republic in the West and the Soviet-aligned German Democratic Republic in the East were bizarro versions of each other, their shared history and language skewed through the lenses of geopolitics, economic systems and propaganda. Read Full Story

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Siemens Mobility CTO Roland Edel was told building an electrified highway was impossible. Now, Germany is considering installing 4,000 kilometers

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For spearheading Siemens’s eHighway project, which charges electric trucks as they drive, Roland Edel is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People of 2020. The idea of converting the famous German autobahn into an electrified highway has been percolating at industrial manufacturing company Siemens since the 1940s, “but I put it back on the agenda,” says engineer Roland Edel. Even so, board members told him they’d never see his plan, dubbed the eHighway, realized within their lifetimes. But after tests in Berlin, Sweden, and L.A., the company successfully opened a five-kilometer stretch of eHighway in Germany in May 2019. Siemens’s system converts energy from overhead contact lines to current in the motors of specially outfitted freight trucks, allowing them to run without fossil fuels. These trucks are custom-built by Volkswagen-owned Scania and fitted with links, called pantographs, behind the driver’s cabin that collect power when in contact with the overhead …

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How music label 88rising brought Asian rap culture to the United States

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The Asian-focused music label behind Rich Brian, Joji, and the Higher Brothers is building a bridge between East and West, one hip-hop artist at a time. Dressed in a black Deus Ex Machina baseball cap, half-zip Nike jacket, and Balenciaga slides (with socks), Sean Miyashiro was hunkered down on an early February afternoon in the common room of his apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side. The 38-year-old cofounder and CEO of the Asian-focused record label and media company 88rising has an actual office in the label’s Chelsea neighborhood headquarters. But he was using this room as a makeshift control center while he and his team met to hash out plans ahead of the annual Coachella music festival, which was scheduled to take place in mid-April. Also, the space made a sleek backdrop for the cameraman who was recording their discussions. Read Full Story

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The 7 best brands for sleek, well-designed outdoor furniture

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Ready to upgrade from Ikea and Wayfair? Looking beyond the West Elm cookie cutter? These seven brands will spruce up your backyard with stylish, functional products. When the weather turns from mucky to sunshine, suddenly your backyard and patio are whole new rooms for you to furnish. Outfitting your outdoors can be quite a task. You want comfortable, reliable furniture . . . that can withstand the elements, and look good while doing so. So, why not take the same considerations you do when shopping for inside the house? We’re talking high-quality, design-minded brands that use materials that don’t destroy the earth. And that will last for years to come. Read Full Story

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What ghost-designing for Martha Stewart taught this creative about leadership

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Delanie West has had an illustrious career, designing for everyone from Martha Stewart to Faber-Castell, where she developed the first reversible sequin toys (which are now everywhere). Then she struck out on her own: “I had always found myself to be the only Black woman doing what I’m doing throughout my career.” Delanie West is founding creative director of the brand and consulting business Be Super Creative . She is also chief operating officer at Healthy Roots Dolls and partner & chief strategy officer at Black Creatives. She spoke to Doreen Lorenzo for Designing Women , a series of interviews with brilliant women in the design industry. Read Full Story

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Can modern art heal? This children’s hospital is betting on it

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Work from the great Bauhaus artists Josef and Anni Albers informs the design of a children’s intensive care unit in London. Cue lots of yellow. In 1810, the German Romantic poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe published his definitive “Theory of Color,” in which he claimed that “We [experience] a very warm and cozy impression with yellow. Thus, in painting, too, it belongs among the luminous and active colors . . . The eye is gladdened, the heart expands, the feelings are cheered, an immediate warmth seems to waft toward us.” This text would ultimately influence the young German-born artist Josef Albers’s understanding of color and how he used it in his work; in a 1968 interview, he said he was “in the yellow period,” which would extend itself through many of his greatest-known works. Read Full Story

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REI’s new headquarters are like summer camp for grown-ups

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Complete with blueberry bogs and a campfire. In Bellevue’s Spring District, 20 minutes east of Seattle, a new type of workplace is emerging. Designers at the architecture firm NBBJ have meditated on what the ideal office of the future might look like, and have come up with this: streets in the sky, adaptable meeting spaces, and outdoorsy features like blueberry bogs and a campfire. This is the new headquarters for the outdoors company REI. Read Full Story

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