Michael Palin Chats With a Transgender Trailblazer

There are many different ways to describe Jan Morris. The short-form chosen for our headline is not meant to be sensational but rather is designed to emphasize an aspect of her remarkable life that seems worth re-emphasizing in this day and age.

Morris, who turned 90 on Oct. 2, recently sat down with Michael Palin at her home in Wales. The highlights of that conversation will premiere this weekend in the U.K. as part of the BBC-TV series Artsnight. From the episode notes:

Originally born as James Morris, Jan shot to fame as part of the team that successfully climbed Mount Everest in 1953. She spent the rest of the decade as a journalist travelling the world, interviewing figures such as Che Guevara and producing reports for BBC Panorama from Hong Kong and Japan. In the 1960s, she turned her attention to writing books about cities and countries, before undergoing gender reassignment in 1972, a process chronicled in her autobiography Conundrum.

The Palin episode was directed by Dublin-based filmmaker John O’Rourke. When O’Rourke spoke recently with the Irish Times, he said his biggest challenge was ensuring that all the main highlights of Morris’ life were touched on:

The high point of O’Rourke’s film finds 26-year-old James merrily tackling the world’s highest peak in May 1953, dressed in short sleeves and a rakish hat, as if he were strolling up a Welsh valley. At 23,000 feet he learned that [Sir Edmund] Hillary and [Tenzing] Norgay had reached the summit, which meant a hair-raising dash back down the mountain to file his copy.

“It was getting dark, and we had to go down through the icefall,” Morris tells Palin. “I was hopeless – kept getting tangled up in ropes and things.”

Although she makes it sound like a trip to the garden shed on a winter’s night it’s clear that Morris enjoys retelling the Everest story. Her lengthy, detailed reports in the Times were read by millions, and eventually enabled her to take a step away from journalism and start writing books, of which she would eventually publish more than 40 – including studies of cities, essays and several further volumes of biography.

Alongside the Palin conversation, a new appreciation of Morris was published this week in the U.K. Titled Ariel: A Literary Life of Jan Morris, it was written by her literary agent of 25 years, Derek Johns.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Before Bruce Jenner, There Was Renee Richards

Photo courtesy: BBC-TV

Yea or Nay? Deskbloks, "The World's First Modular Desk"

This is a project whose concept is meritorious enough to look at, but problematic enough that we should talk about it. Deskbloks are a system of technology-embedded oak squares which end users are meant to assemble together into a desk. There are five varieties of these blocks, as seen below:

The idea is that the user orders the blocks they want, then assembles the desk in a size and configuration of their choosing. Okay, that sounds nifty enough, but what will the actual UX be like? This is where I have my doubts.

First off, the key benefit of the concept appears to be that it tackles cable management. 

The legs are even hollow, allowing one to route cables through them. 

But I’m not sure that I want to plug anything into the front or side edge of my desk (and certainly not the rear). Perhaps this is particular to me, but I have a wide desk with work taking up the full width of it, and I roll my chair left or right to address different areas at different times. Having cables sticking out of the front would get in the way for me, and I do not have access to my desk’s sides.

I find the headphone jack/speaker modules to be the most puzzling: Who wants to crawl under the desk to plug a jack in? Nor can I see any advantage in floor-facing speakers.

The joinery method also seems problematic. The blocks appear to be user-joined with mending plates, only, on the undersides. And the blocks are made from oak to boot. This doesn’t seem like a structurally-sound way to support a heavy horizontal surface, and I have little faith that your average consumer—they who apparently have trouble assembling Ikea furniture—will be able to pull this off.

The development team is trying to get the project funded on IndieGogo. But while I laud their honesty, I do find their production woes troubling:

The process is expensive because we need to make 10-20 bloks in order to get just 1 perfect bloks. If the campaign proves to be a success, we’ll be able to optimize the production and create more bloks more easily.

Starting off with a part rejection rate of 90%-95% just does not sound promising to me.

Lastly, I think that the buying process also needs to be thought through. The average consumer will probably need an online configurator, allowing them to create different assemblies while it spits out final dimensions and prices.

I know it sounds like I’m crapping all over this project, but that’s not my intent; I think the concept has some merit, but needs several rounds of really thoughtful iterations. This seems like the kind of idea that might be presented at one of those Ikea design labs, and might start to hit its stride in the fourth or fifth round of development.

So, if you were part of this development team, what changes would you make? For starters, I’d say the oak has to go in favor of an engineered wood. I’m all for natural wood desks, but not when there are multiple components meant to be fit together; the problems created by any wood movement or warping might prove insurmountable.

Your thoughts?

Link About It: A Model for Computers with Human-Like Memories

A Model for Computers with Human-Like Memories

Thus far, we’ve been able to replicate both a cat and monkey-sized artificial brain. The human brain, however, has proven more elusive—though some scientists say it can be done by 2019. This blockade is energy. According to the Atlantic, artificial……

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GOT Characters in Real Life

Le graphiste italien Gianfranco Gallo s’est amusé à établir les portraits des personnages phares de la célèbre série Game of thrones d’une manière plutôt originale. En une seule silhouette, on distingue d’un côté le personnage comme il l’est dans la série, de l’autre, on le découvre comme il l’est en réalité, à la mode d’aujourd’hui.

Arya Stark / Maisie Williams

Jon Snow / Kit Harington

Tyrion Lannister / Peter Dinklage

Sansa Stark – Sophie Turner

Daenerys Targaryen / Emilia Clarke

Petyr Baelish / Aidan Gillen

Eddard Stark / Sean Bean

Cersei Lannister / Lena Headey

Jaime Lannister / Nikolaj Coster-Waldau


10 of the most popular pink-hued interiors on Dezeen's Pinterest boards

Designers have been tickled pink recently. We’re counting down the most-pinned examples of pink interiors on Dezeen, including a Japanese nail salon inspired by a French manicure and an Antwerp fashion boutique with a cabinet full of barbie dolls (+ slideshow).

10. House of Dust by Antonino Cardillo


This apartment in Rome contrasts glossy pink surfaces with rough, lumpy ceilings that have plaster missing from the walls.

Italian architect Antonino Cardillo concealed concrete washbasins and a cylindrical shower behind a ghostly white curtain.

Find out more about House of Dust »

9. Kolmio+LIM salon by Yusuke Seki


Japanese designer Yusuke Seki used a crimped wooden screen to create a seating area with pink walls in this Osaka beauty salon, which references the natural and pastel tones of popular nail varnishes.

Find out more about Kolmio+LIM salon »

8. Aesop Osaka by Torafu Architects


Pink walls are paired with cedar blocks and blackened steel shelving inside the Osaka store for skincare brand Aesop, designed by Japanese firm Torafu Architects.

Find out more about Aesop Osaka »

7. No Sex exhibition by Atelier Biagetti


During Milan Design Week 2016, Milanese designer Atelier Biagetti created a surreal clinic to provide visitors sanctuary from an over-sexualised world.

The “innocent pleasure house” featured a pair of champagne-pink stools with leather accordion-like seats and a mirrored side table.

Find out more about No Sex »

6. Odette restaurant by Universal Design Studio


Soft pink terrazzo features alongside natural wood and grey velvet to create a muted colour palette inside this Singapore restaurant, completed by Barber and Osgerby’s Universal Design Studio.

Find out more about Odette »

5. Step By Step boutique by Dialect


Local studio Dialect used raw and natural materials inside this pared-back Antwerp fashion boutique, which also features a display case filled with Barbie and Ken dolls.

The walls were painted in accordance with the store owner’s favourite colour – pale pink.

Find out more about Step By Step »

4. The Cold Pressed Juicery by Standard Studio


Standard Studio covered this Amsterdam juice shop in black and pink powder-coated steel panels, and slanted wooden slats.

Find out more about The Cold Pressed Juicery »

3. COS Los Angeles pop-up store by Snarkitecture


For a COS pop-up outlet in Los Angeles, Brooklyn studio Snarkitecture fitted out an industrial space with full-length mirrors and pink steel sheets, complete with cut-out shapes of garment silhouettes.

Find out more about COS Los Angeles »

2. Nike Presentation Space by Robert Storey Studio


Nike’s womenswear range is displayed in geometric wall cutouts within this New York presentation space designed by Robert Storey Studio for the sports brand.

Find out more about Nike Presentation Space »

1. J&M Davidson by Universal Design Studio


The most-pinned pink interior is a London boutique by Universal Design Studio for fashion brand J&M Davidson, which features soft pink tones paired with metallic details and brass fittings.

Find out more about J&M Davidson »

Follow Dezeen on Pinterest | See more interior design in our archive

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FXFOWLE reveals Statue of Liberty Museum for New York's iconic landmark

Architecture firm FXFOWLE has unveiled plans for a new museum beside the Statue of Liberty, featuring a green roof and viewing platform overlooking New York harbour (+ slideshow).

The 26,000-square-foot building on Liberty Island will provide information and exhibits for visitors, after access to the current museum inside the statue was restricted following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

It will be located behind the iconic copper statue, designed by Gustave Eiffel – the French engineer behind the eponymous Parisian tower – and completed in 1886.

News: Statue of Liberty Museum

FXFOWLE‘s design includes a wide external staircase that will lead to a rooftop viewing platform, providing views of both the statue and the Manhattan skyline beyond.

Grass will cover the remainder of the roof, including portions that will slope down to a circular plaza between the museum and the landmark.

“From the start, the design of the Statue of Liberty Museum was conceived as an extension of the park,” said FXFOWLE partner Nicholas Garrison. “The goal was to engage with the park’s formal, axial plan and respond to its spectacular setting.”

News: Statue of Liberty Museum

The new $70 million (£56.3 million) structure will feature “bird-safe” glass walls and portions of bronze cladding. It will be raised above 500-year flood levels and built to withstand hurricane force winds.

“The island’s landscape is lifted and merged with the architecture to create space for the Museum in a new geology,” Garrison said. “The building’s angular forms and spaces are shaped by its views and the irregularity of the water’s edge, celebrating liberty.”

Inside, exhibits created by ESI Design will include contents and artefacts relating to the history of the statue – a gift from France.

News: Statue of Liberty Museum

“With state-of-the-art exhibitions and iconic artefacts including the statue’s original torch, the new Statue of Liberty Museum will ensure that future generations know, understand, and appreciate all that Lady Liberty represents in America and around the world,” said John Piltzecker, Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island superintendent.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which restored the statue for its centennial, has named fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg as chair of the campaign to raise $100 million (£80.5 million) for the museum’s construction and upkeep.

News: Statue of Liberty Museum

Von Furstenberg and husband Barry Diller are also benefactors for the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Pier 55 park under construction over the Hudson River.

“Lady Liberty is the symbol of everything America is about: freedom, hope, possibility and resilience,” said von Furstenburg. “It is she that millions of immigrants saw first as they arrived in this country, their hearts full of dreams for a brighter future.”

News: Statue of Liberty Museum

“Now it is my hope that the Statue of Liberty and her incredible story will live on and on, inspiring generations for years to come,” she added.

Access to the museum, due to open in 2019, will be included in the price of ferry tickets to visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Liberty Island will remain open to visitors during the construction period.

The post FXFOWLE reveals Statue of Liberty Museum for New York’s iconic landmark appeared first on Dezeen.

AARP Is All Over Desert Trip

DesertTripPosterWhen The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan kick things off tonight in Indio, Calif., there will be three journalists in the Desert Trip audience noting for AARP the sights and sounds: a writer and two members of the outlet’s visual team. It is in many ways a match made in demographic heaven.

“Our team will focus on the 70,000 plus attendees, whom we expect will be very much our member demographic,” a rep for AARP tells FishbowlNY. “In particular, they will be on the lookout for Desert Trippers who were at Woodstock.”

In between the two weekends, the trio will be uploading goodies to materials to Instagram. They will also contribute to AARP’s news app, the AARP Bulletin and put together some content for the November issue of AARP The Magazine.

Some 70,000 concertgoers are expected to watch the two weekends of mega-bands. The AARP Bulletin meanwhile reaches around 30 million.

Previously on FishybowlNY:
Bob Dylan Gifts AARP With 50,000 CDs

Why Some Outlets Aren’t Using Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook’s Instant Articles loads publishers’ content almost, well, instantly, making for a great reading experience. However, it comes with a price to the outlets, and that has turned some off.

In an interview with Digiday, Bloomberg Media’s global digital head Scott Havens explained that Bloomberg doesn’t use Instant because they believe in their own capabilities. “Our view is, why not create a really fast mobile template ourselves? Publishers are better off controlling their own destinies, content-wise, experience-wise, with their own customers.”

A spokesperson for NPR, another outlet that doesn’t use Instant often, said speed wasn’t enough of an attraction because NPR “has been consistently among the fastest news websites.”

ESPN simply said they already have a large enough audience, and thanks but no thanks to the boost Instant might provide.

Design Job: Have a Sweet Tooth for Graphic Design? Astor Chocolate is Seeking a Packaging/Graphic Designer in Lakewood Township, NJ

Graphic Designer- New Product Development Astor Chocolate is a premier chocolate manufacturer, with a foundation of quality based on three core strengths – Innovation, Creativity and Dedication. Our goal is to provide our customers with products of unparalleled quality, leaving a lasting impression of distinction. This can only happen with a strong team of professionals leading the way in an energetic goal oriented atmosphere.

View the full design job here

The Economist Is Joining Snapchat

Screen Shot 2016-10-07 at 9.17.14 AMThe Economist is joining Snapchat’s Discover feature, where it will publish 14 or more snaps that are focused on one theme. The stories will be posted during the weekend.

If The Economist and Snapchat sounds like an odd pairing, that’s because it is. The magazine prides itself on in-depth coverage of complex subjects, which don’t exactly lend themselves well to short, disappearing videos.

However, The Economist—like every magazine—needs as many revenue streams as possible, and so Snapchat it is. In fact, the first installment of The Economist’s snaps will be packed with Goldman Sachs ads.

In a statement, The Economist’s deputy editor Tom Standage made the magazine’s case for Snapchat users by saying, “We think our global, comparative and evidence-based outlook, with a dash of wit for good measure, is a perfect fit for the Snapchat generation.”

That might all be true, but what he was really doing was selling the magazine to advertisers. “The Economist is young and hip, too! Come, spend your money!”