1. Farewell, Anti-Apartheid Campaigner Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Activist and icon of the anti-apartheid movement, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has passed away at 81 years old. Married to Nelson Mandela for 38 years (and separated for 30 years because of his imprisonment), Madikizela-Mandela became an “international symbol of resistance to apartheid and a rallying point for poor, black township residents who demanded their freedom.” Later, however, her reputation was somewhat marred, thanks to rumors about brutal punishment of informants, a kidnapping charge and more—all of which she denied. For her fight against apartheid, Desmond Tutu said, “Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists.” Read more at the BBC.
2. Redesigning the Wheelchair Symbol into the Accessible Icon
Danish design student Susanne Koefoed created the International Symbol of Access back in 1968 and as ubiqituos as it’s become, there’s a passivity to the design that’s arguably been bested by the newer “Accessible Icon.” With its own emoji and escalating adoption around the globe, the newer symbol began as a Boston-area street art project which tackled perceptions of “disability and the built environment.” Now, it’s a point of controversy. As Atlas Obscura notes, “It has variously been called ableist and empowering; officially rejected by the ISO; and deemed federally illegal, despite having been adopted by the states of New York and Connecticut.” To learn more about perception and prevalence, head over to Atlas Obscura.
3. Contemporary Protest Art Rises to the Occasion
No matter where you sit on the political spectrum, there’s no doubt that activism has spiked over the past decade and with that, protest art has too. Displaying some of the last 10 years’ best activist designs, London’s Design Museum is currently showing “Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008–18,” exploring the ways in which graphic design and technology have elevated and evolved contemporary protests. From apparel and accessories, to posters, fliers, magazine covers and more, the pieces on show reflect an era in which we are making noise—audibly and visually. See more at FastCo.
4. Sebastian Bergne’s Travel-Size Kits for Shabbat Rituals
British designer Sebastian Bergne has created brilliant travel-size kits for Shabbat rituals on the move. In order to keep up tradition in contemporary life, Bergne’s kits include a wine glass and “digitally printed bread cloth and portable glass candle holders” all housed in a 3D-printed box. Called Digital Shabbat, the set was created for “To Go: New Designs for Jewish Ritual Objects,” an exhibition currently on show at Jerusalem’s The Israel Museum. See more at Dezeen.
5. Mini T-Rex Unearthed in Montana
Students at the University of Kansas have unearthed a dinosaur pelvis, segments of a jaw, teeth and skull in Montana that’s accompanied by “a long-simmering controversy in paleontology.” While some scientists believe the bones belong to a juvenile T-Rex (of approximately six-eight years old), some think it’s a different kind of dinosaur: the T-Rex-like Nanotyrannus, which is a dubious genus. The contention surrounding the dinosaur has been pleasantly diminished thanks to all sides being excited about the discovery—no matter the kind of dinosaur it turns out to be. Read more at Smithsonian Magazine.
6. Amsterdam Dockyard Crane Turned Luxury Hotel Suite
Towering beside Amsterdam port, “The Yays – Crane Apartment” is a luxury accommodation unlike any other. It’s a suite housed inside of a decommissioned dockyard crane, refurbished by Edward van Vliet. It’s managed by Yays Concierged Boutique Apartments, and beyond the uncommon structure, the defining attribute might just be its large windows overlooking the water. See more photos over at Design Boom.
7. Airbnb Plus and the Desire for Premium Listings
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has observed that “guest expectations have evolved.” With that, the home-sharing organization deploys a new tier to their service: Airbnb Plus. After two trial years, it’s comprised of 2000 homes in 13 cities. All of these locations have been verified through a detailed inspection process. Verification means homes can charge more and will appear higher in search results. Hosts in the select cities can apply and pay a one-time $149 application fee. According to Skift, “Airbnb said it intends to have a total of 75,000 Airbnb Plus listings in 50 cities worldwide” by the end of the year. Learn more about the program at Skift.
8. Fascinating Superstitious Habits of Famous Creatives
From Frida Kahlo to Coco Chanel, Salvador Dalí and more, Artsy has explored the fascinating (and, at times, odd) superstitious habits of famous artists, designers and musicians. While Charles Dickens believed that sleeping facing north helped his creativity, Dr Suess put on a hat when he felt writer’s block. Coco Chanel was obsessed with the number five, thanks to a fortune teller saying it was her lucky number, and Pablo Picasso apparently “would not throw away his old clothes, hair trimmings, or fingernail clippings for fear it would mean losing part of his ‘essence.'” Read more at Artsy.
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