When I was younger, before I had stepped on foreign soil or entered an IKEA, Wallpaper was the magazine I either loved to hate or hated to love. Although well aware that I, a midwestern transplant to the South, probably wasn’t their target audience, I couldn’t help but lust after the artfully designed products and the articles that spoke with an intimate familiarity of places I’ve never seen. Design out of reach; but hell, it was always good for a collage or mood board. But now things have changed. I’m a little more worldly wise, I have a little more cash in my pocket, and I’ve stepped into not one, but several IKEA. And yes, I’ve been enjoying Wallpaper without malice for quite some time now (when I want to be humbled, I pick up an issue of Monocle), especially in its online form, where a few cool features have recently popped up in honor of the magazine’s 100th issue.
First up, the 101 architect’s directory, a great resource for discovering “the world’s most exciting new offices.” Office’s like France’s BLOCK and Dubai-based dxb.lab architecture, or Britain’s interdiscipinary Designkommander – the best name for an architecture firm since F.A.T. The interface isn’t as intuitive as it could be, but the abstracted world map is still a great concept. Although it’d be nice to know a little more about their selection process, if you’ve got some time to kill and want to explore the work of a new firm or see what’s going on on the other side of the world, I recommend checking out the directory.
Next up is EcoEdit, an exhibition of 101 innovative, eco-friendly projects that asks the question “can environmentally friendly design be good design?” Much like the magazine it springs from, EcoEdit represents the entire spectrum of what we can understand “design” to be – from completely self-sufficient homes to hybrid motorcycles to fair-trade, organic clothing.
Appropriately, and in true service to the zeitgeist, EcoEdit eschews the gallery in favor of a zero-carbon online exhibition. While virtual galleries won’t be replacing our beloved white boxes any time soon, the online exhibition is a pleasure to stroll, I mean scroll (eh? see what i did there?), through. The projects and products have been stunningly rendered in illustrations reminiscent of a strealined IKEA catalog as published by El Lissitzky.
Both articles/exhibitions, although not perfect, are great uses of the online medium and definitely worth spending some time with.