Eat My Words: The New Dwell

Now that I have a blog with comments (!!!), I’m happy to send you towards my writing published elsewhere to hear what you think. Give it a read. Maybe we can discuss how wrong I am.

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In my Eavesdrop column for the January issue of the California Architect’s Newspaper, I tackle a sensitive issue for some of you reading this blog: The redesign of Dwell.

What I didn’t get to say in this short piece is that I really love Dwell. I’ve written for Dwell. I’m going to a party they’re hosting this week. In fact, I’ve been a Dwell reader from the very beginning, something that I think has made me somewhat unnaturally possessive of the magazine. I bet a lot of readers feel the same way. So although the new fonts and dotted lines grate upon my brain, it’s not as much the way it looks as what the redesign represents. (I have nothing, however, against the use of pink. Go pink!)

I’m most disappointed because I got way excited when Dwell recently hired some very smart people: Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG; Sarah Rich, formerly of Worldchanging and Inhabitat; Aaron Britt, who is probably the second smartest person on the planet since he used to work for William Safire; design director Kyle Blue, who blogs at Arkitip; and designer Geoff Halber, who came from Winterhouse. Mind you, most of those people were hired to replace people who quit, but all of those people, I assume, have some very smart things to say about the future of where we live. The hyped-up design and scaled-down content unfortunately says Look at these cool houses! If Dwell wants to go that route, it’s probably fine for some of its readership. But then it’s just another magazine on the newsstand.

Also in January’s Eavesdrop, my recap of December’s gin-and-Tang-soaked shmoozefests Art Basel Miami Beach and Design/Miami (which is pretty much a condensed version of my coverage over at UnBeige, except for the Yves Béhar moment, which I relive every morning as I wash my face…sigh). And finally, there’s the Back of the Envelope Bush Library Contest, where sketches for the soon-to-be-designed library for the soon-to-be-former president will be judged by the highly-literate folk at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Coincidentally, just after we sent that issue to the printer, another contest to design a presidential institution was announced: White House Redux. Anyone can participate, and the winning ideas will be announced in June, which gives officials plenty of time to make the proper renovations for whoever moves in—or, uh, back in—next year.

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