hypertext, words and more


  • I came across some lovely photos of some vintage Herman Miller pieces today (h/t @architeckure on Threads). This lead me down a rabbit hole of the designer at Herman Miller who created these workstations.

    The man behind the desk (so to speak), is George Nelson. He was a lead industrial designer at Herman Miller from 1945 to 1954. Sometime before that, he was an avid design writer. He contributed to magazines like Architectural Forum and in later years, published several books on architecture and design thinking.

    In 1959, Nelson and others designed and built the “Comprehensive Shelving System,” the CSS as it were — this pre-dates the Dieter Rams Vitsoe Shelving System by a few years

    Nelson’s contributions to mid-century decor and Herman Miller’s aesthetic remain steadfast and important. His workstations and office furniture are astounding.

    His sofa designs, home decor and other furnishing are still being sold to this day. Here’s a few items from Herman Miller’s online catalog dedicated to Nelson:

    Timeless design, exceptional dedication to craft and details. Here’s to you George ❤️

  • Jess Weatherbed reporting at The Verge writes:

    Following mounting pressure from regulators in the UK and EU, Adobe and Figma announced on Monday that both companies are mutually terminating their merger agreement, which would have seen Adobe acquire the Figma product design platform for $20 billion.

    As a result of the termination, Adobe will be required to pay Figma a reverse termination fee of $1 billion in cash.

    It’s a Christmas miracle! The competition in the field of creative/graphic design software is horrendous, so this is definitely good news if you’re a creative. The last time I wrote about this merger, I had a feeling the deal was going to be torn apart. Theoretically, this news means lower prices and more innovation down the road as Adobe and Figma compete for customers. This is also yet another sign that the United States has largely abdicated its regulatory authority to the European Commission.

  • For years, I’ve wanted to get a personal handling on what xº feels like in C. For too long have I used Fahrenheit like a plebeian. I’ve come up empty on a solution for a number of years. Until now! I was googling around the web trying to find a chart from science textbook (or an app or something!). Lo and behold, Mr. Eric Carr saved the day! Thanks Eric. This chart is a lifesaver. A few words from his blog post on Celsius:

    For reasons that I’ve mentioned before, I prefer to use SI units whenever possible. For me, it’s about practicality — using SI units makes the math easier, since unit conversion requires few or no “magic numbers” to convert from one unit to another.

  • Logobook

    I was re-organizing some of my bookmarks and discovered some old gems. Among them was an amazing design resource I have long forgotten about: Logobook – Discover the world’s finest logos, symbols and trademarks. Note: unfortunately this website does not have a SSL Certificate so it’s only accessible over http

  • Michael Steeber runs an awesome blog called Tabletops. It features stories and analysis of Apple Store’s visual displays and floor designs. His latest post caught my eye. Apple Stores used to feature wooden “headphone heads” in their music bays. I always thought they were quite striking, but it sounds like Apple is phasing them out:

    The Music bay, complete with its rows of spherical wooden heads, was part of the original set of Avenues introduced in 2015. It was perfectly suited for the on-ear Beats era and predated AirPods entirely. Apple began phasing out the display in June 2021, but at least two stores are still holding on: Apple Park Visitor Center, with its custom Apple Music display, and Apple Upper East Side, the first store in the world to pilot Avenues.

  • 2022 in Review

    Every subsequent year feels like it’s worse than the previous year. That’s not the reality of course. It just feels that way. Due to the connected nature of life now (thanks to Twitter and the Trinet). Each of us are saddled with an incalculable weight of the year’s past. We sulk around with so much in our little heads. The inane, the devastating, the memes, the news, the crosswords, the work, the emails, the to-dos, the payments, the notifications and yes — even your parents social status updates from Facebook.

    Naturally, we’re all very tired. I guess we live for this, right? We are after all, members of the human race. Despite what the madness every year brings us, we’re also graced with some good things too. When the years brings good tidings more so than bad tidings, I’d call it a good year.

    2022 was mostly a good year, I’d say.

    Let’s look over a few things from this past year. I even threw in a couple of things from 2021 I was dying to get caught up with.

    TV & Film

    There was a lot of content to watch this year. Ever since the pandemic became an endemic, I’ve found myself in theaters more than ever before. Alamo Drafthouse, I love you so ❤️ But the fact remains that streaming is now the de facto means to consume America’s greatest export, film and TV programming. Here’s some of my favorites from this past year (in no particular order or grouping).

    There’s so much more that belongs on this list 🥲


    There’s so much more I listened to, but I’m my favorite artist I discovered in 2022 is probably Sugar Candy Mountain. If you enjoy Tame Impala, you’re going to love them.


    Didn’t see much art this year. But, thankfully I had a friend who came to visit, and had a big list of exhibitions and galleries to see. We hopped around all day seeing art. I’ll need to see more art in 2023, that’s for sure.

    The Diane Arbus exhibition at David Zwirner was a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit.


    I played a lot of games this year. Or maybe I should say, I played a lot of Modern Warfare II this year. Activision/Blizzard really knocked it out of the park. But there were a few games that really outshined others.


    I have become a person who regularly relies on apps on my iPhone and Mac now. Wether or not I enjoy that admission is another thing.

    • TickTick – I don’t know where I’d be without this app
    • Duolingo – learning Korean, Finnish and Spanish!
    • Citymapper – old trusty, my daily carry for getting about NYC
    • Letterboxd – the original film diary
    • iA Writer – literally nothing compares


    Every year, my goal is to travel somewhere new. This year, I flew to Las Vegas twice. I traveled by Amtrak once in the summer. I hope to do more train trips in the future. It’s a luxurious and chill way to travel.

    • Las Vegas, Nevada
    • Saratoga Springs, New York
    • Great Sacandaga Lake, New York
    • Fort Worth, Texas


    I’m notoriously slow at reading. I have a Kindle that I swear by, but alas — like you, I am a mere mortal and only have so many hours in the day (and night). These books I really enjoyed (a few on this list, I have yet to finish, oops).

    Looking Ahead

    A lot happened in 2022. Personally, and globally. Not a lot of good things happened globally honestly. But, personally I feel like I’ve grown a bit. Things are looking up, I’m feeling positive about myself, and where I’m headed.

    Looking at my calendar for 2023, I really hope to travel more. Wait, why does that sound familiar? In 2022, I went back to the gym, and rode the ol Peloton quite a bit. Next year, will hopefully be no different. Another goal I have in mind is to speed up my reading habit, because I’m not getting any younger. Looking ahead, feeling’ rad. See y’all around✌️

  • From Dave Lynam’s post on the Bookmark OS blog:

    Google’s core business is still search. By neglecting UI and design for these products, Google corals user behavior into a “search-first” mentality. The more disorganized you become, the more reliant you become on search, and Google benefits.

    I’ve often heard people say they no longer use bookmarks any more and just rely on search. I wonder if that truly is the most practical solution for them or if it is the result of a self-serving dark pattern from Google.

    Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

  • The iPhone has no doubt been a crazy success since the early days. But how did the iPhone end up being such a success? Speculation, rumors and the lack of a design-first company in the market left Apple wide-open to squeeze into a already crowding market of cell phones and catalyze the smartphone industry into the behemoth that it is today. It took years of research, iteration and trial and error to produce the first iPhones. Apple was prototyping devices in secrecy with fabricators in China as early as 2005 with Foxconn and Pegatron. Looking back, we can see the design lineage and early ideas that were afoot in the company.

    Early on, there was a bet that the clickwheel, an invention of the successful iPod could be re-used in the iPhone. Thanks to @DongleBookPro, and (a few others over the years), we have some interesting images of late Acorns OS. Apple installed numerous diagnostic tools on these devices such as fabricator diagnostics, carrier and engineering diagnostic UI. Hap Plain of Cult of Mac put together this video showing just how rudimentary some of these early P-series iPhones worked here:

    The rudimentary touch-operated Acorn OS that ran on these prototypes eventually were refined and became the much beloved iOS. For further reading I recommend 9to5mac’s piece on the history behind Acorn OS and how it came to be.

  • A sand dam is a thousand-year old technique to collect water in arid regions. It has a surprisingly simple design that is constructed of rubble and cement. It has incredible agricultural benefits and can be constructed with very little ecological impact.

    A practical construction revolves around flood-prone or low-lying drainage areas that are dry in the off-season. During the rain seasons, they flood, so re-capturing these drainage systems are key. However, they should be permeable enough to allow for water to flow downstream for collection from sand — which if erected correctly can allow for water to be filtered of debris and in some cases very little water treatment will be necessary:

    Rainwater harvesting is integral to transforming agricultural yields and staying alive in regions where water can be scarce. The RAIN Foundation put together a wonderful PDF which has thoughtful construction methods, research and material recommendations. You can download the PDF here.

    For further reading, I would recommend visiting The Water Project for more information on sand dams.

  • That’s right. Namgoong Hyeonja, the architect mentioned in the film Parasite, is a fictional architect. He’s not real. However, the genius behind the house in the film was real. Bong Joon-Ho tapped his production designer Lee Ha-Jun, and their art department wizards to build a remarkable architectural vision. The Park house was constructed entirely on a film lot. Here’s some of the initial renderings and concept models:

    Compare some of those concept renderings with some actual stills from the film:

    Incredible attention to detail and commitment to getting the right shot. There are more photos and insights from Bong and Lee in the interview piece at IndieWire. Bong Joon Ho’s stories and films are heavily steeped in symbolism. They’re dense and delicious like a strong sun tea that’s been sitting outside for hours in the hot sun. They’re chock full of complex metaphors and reference cultural deep-cut films such as Akira Kurosawa’s, High and Low.

    Bong’s intelligent cuts, tedious blocking, and deliberate recycling of shots are a delicious recipe for a fun film. Here’s some of his own words (from the IndieWire piece) on why they chose the structure of the house and the film:

    Cinephiles may be reminded of Akira Kurosawa’s “High and Low.” In that case, the structure is simpler and stronger. The Japanese title is “Heaven and Hell.” On the top of the hill is a rich guy and in the bottom, there is the criminal kind of structure. It’s basically the same in “Parasite,” but with more layers.

    Because the story is about the rich and poor, that’s obviously the approach we had to take in terms of designing the sound and lighting. The poorer you are, the less sunlight you have access to, and that’s just how it is in real life as well: You have a limited access to windows. For example, in “Snowpiercer,” the tail cars didn’t have any windows and with semi-basement homes, you have a very limited of sunlight you get during the day — maybe 15 or 30 minutes — and that’s where the film opens.

    We actually used natural lighting for those scenes in “Parasite.” All of our sets, the rich house and the poor house, were built on outdoor lots.

    Lee Ha-Jun, a seasoned production designer says the the living room should act as a stand-in for TV. I believe he means that literally for Mr. and Mrs. Park, initially. But, offering an appreciative and wide view of the garden, the large window becomes a living portal to the backyard green space. A gateway of vast symbolic significance within Bong’s plot. The window occupies an intentional 2.35:1 aspect ratio, which is culturally symbolic to film, but more importantly feels spacious on screen. It has its production merits too, inviting light and warmth during the day on set. Lee has a terse explanation, but it is pretty clear that almost everything on set was thoughtfully produced for the sake of blocking:

    The front yard was a key reason why he had to build Mr. Park’s house. Director Bong already had the actors’ blocking in mind.

    Even all of the furniture was custom-made for Bong’s film:

    The semi-basement neighborhood was built to flood:

    Photo: ⓒ 2019 CJ ENM Corporation, Barunson E&A All Rights Reserved.
    A still from the film, using the same fabricated production set.

    I wasn’t joking when I said it was full of metaphors. Here’s a few examples I fell in love with that caught my eyes. Ample repetition reinforces significance. As a resolution begins to unravel, the same shot cedes itself to darkness as something sinister emerges only moments later.

    Reflections and oppositions are important. Light and warmth. Opaque and transparent. Cloudy and clear. Clean and dirty. Level and angled. Rich and poor. Survival and oppression. High and low.

    What I find to be the most striking, is these temples of film production are all temporary. They’re built on film lots, hundreds of works laboring to build these realistic places, used for shots, deconstructed, and the cycle repeats for the next big movie. It’s like they’re emulating the Himalayan practice of creating Tibetan Sand Mandalas. For more photos and concept images from the film, check out Architectural Digest.