The 20 must-read longreads of 2020

2020 will go down in history as the year of Covid-19, of course. But also design and its maestros, architecture of the present, past and future, and much more are among the protagonists of this selection of stories worth reading this summer.

How should we live? Density in post-pandemic cities

Considering the impact of the pandemic on city life, Richard Sennett raises caution about the authoritarian control and social isolation “that might outlast it”, and challenges us to re-examine the architecture of density. From Domus 1046.

From “less is more” to “less, but better”: simplicity in the history of design

From Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more” to Dieter Rams’ “less, but better”, simplification has always been a leitmotif in the history of design, and today it has become a matter of life and death. From the new Domus for Design section.

What I saw crossing Milan on foot from north to south

From Cologno to Assago going through the city, from north to south, in a day’s journey and 26 km.

The miseducation of contemporary design

Taking inspiration from the visual language and aesthetics found in decrepit urban surroundings in order to find new stimulus and inject vital energy into tired creative ambits is a consolidated practice in art and music. In design, it is more recent. A few of the most distinctive flag-bearers of the phenomenon are Rooms, Virgil Abloh, Guillermo Santomà and Jerszy Seymour.

The end of the Silicon Valley, again

“Sic transit gloria siliconvallensis”, wrote Reyner Banham in the 80s.

Ten poems and thoughts on imagination that are dear to Michele De Lucchi

These texts collected by former Domus Guest Editor deliver a positive message and remind us that art and the imagination have always offered people a lifeline.

A new life without live music and entertainment

The lockdown has made all cultural events, and especially live music, concerts and clubbing, go virtual – which is a fairly new arena for us. Once the pandemic is over, are we sure that everything will go back to the way it was?

Y-Blokka, Oslo modernist icon with Picasso murals, will be demolished

The numerous protests failed to stop the imminent demolition of the historic government building in the centre of Oslo, which also houses important murals by Pablo Picasso.

Tetris, how an architectural paradox became a worldwide success

Various stories intertwine in Tetris: that of the Soviet Union approaching its end, that of the value of personal intellectual property and, why not, the paradox of a game in which you build, but only in order to destroy.

That Circumvesuviana train designed by Superstudio

These trains keep on running along the gulf, linking Naples to Sorrento: Learn more about the history of Superstudio’s electric train, the industrial masterpiece designed by the genius of Roberto Magris.

Just what is it that makes memes so different, so appealing?

As we keep consuming and sharing countless memes, we might literally find ourselves right in the middle of the most contemporary form of critical debate. Domus has met and exchanged some considerations with some outstanding figures from the architectural memesphere.

Architecture elements: the door

The term “door” indicates a movable structure used for giving access to something or for opening and closing an entrance. The door is a very simple element in its conception and application and yet has ambivalent meanings: it allows to enter and at the same time to exit a limited space; the door provides privacy and safety, but at the same it guarantees freedom and transparency. 

Tokyo from 1964 to 2021: the “postponed” Olympic City

Even though it couldn’t host its first Olympics because of the war, it managed to conquer the world with the 1964 games. And now, it has postponed the event by about one year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the past and present of the Japanese capital.

Ugo La Pietra: without cultivating nostalgia

A meeting with the Italian architect, artist and designer who describes, through experiences and friendships, the years of radical architecture and “counterdesign”.

A brief history of the balcony, from ancient Persia to the COVID-19 pandemic

A journey that involves Shakespeare, Goya, Medicean Florence and more. Our tribute to the architectural element that has proved to be the protagonist of this quarantine. 

The rise of the masks

They've become part of our clothing and are all different, some colored, a lot using cutting-edge technology. We've talked to those who design and produce them: since decades, a few years, or very recently. With a glance at the future.

Mario Galvagni’s architecture, beyond the stereotype of the misunderstood genius

Overlooked by critics for decades, the work of the Italian architect recently passed away needs to be observed as much as possible through a transparent lens, neither intentionally obscurantist, nor naively apologetic.

Architecture of the sun as a solution to post-pandemic urban design

At the origins of modernism there was also the intention to promote a healthy lifestyle and bring man closer to nature, even through naturism. A lesson forgotten and to be recovered, if we want to put back health at the centre of design.

Farnsworth House

Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the paradigmatic residences of 20th-century architecture. Here its history, from the complicated relationship with the client Edith Farnsworth to the recent floods. 

How we inhabited in quarantine: a journal (March 16- May 8, 2020)

Whether we lived in a shared apartment, in 35sqm, in the middle of nowhere, alone or in company, we were “locked inside”. For three months we collected ideas, projects and stories about the present and future of dwelling, updating this journal daily.

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