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Eavesdrop: Editors

The state of the economy has supplanted real estate as the thing New Yorkers never stop talking about. Witness Murray Moss’ recent screed on Design Observer, “Design Hates a Depression,” a riff on Michael Cannell’s “Design Loves a Depression” from the January 3 Sunday Times. To our eyes, Cannell’s point that design “could stand to come down a notch or two” was well taken. Moss was having none of it. “I deeply resent the tone of comeuppance in Mr. Cannell’s article, his condescending, parochial-school-matronly, Calvinistic reproach,” he wrote. Other notable names jumped into the fray, including I.D. magazine’s Julie Lasky, designers Constantin Boym and Gong Szeto, and curator Aaron Betsky, who offered a silk cushion for Moss’ weary head: “The work you have shown has been infinitely more critical, important and interesting than most of the bland reductions that passed as correct design in previous eras,” Betsky commented. We’ve always loved $41,000 Maarten Baas dining tables for their criticality.

McGraw-Hill’s new title HQ might have seemed like a good idea when it was launched last fall, but how quickly things change! The magazine, subtitled “Good Design is Good Business,” goes to 65,000 executives and 10,000 architects, according to executive editor Cathleen McGuigan. Much as we agree that good design is good for business, it’s certainly a claim that’s hard to build an entire magazine around. We wish them the best of luck. But the real issue, of course, is: Did you make the cut? 

Oh, and Allison Arieff knows how to fix the suburbs! The woman who pays someone to grow organic food in her backyard understands the plight of those facing foreclosure in the exurbs. In her recent online column for the Times, the former Dwell editor wrote, “And after decades of renovation-obsession that has simply gotten out of hand, it seems a prudent time to swap Viking ranges for double-paned windows and high-efficiency furnaces.” That’s sure to fix it. Thanks, Al!

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