99% Invisible

by Roman Mars (roman@prx.org) · · · · 301 subscribers

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org. A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

After World War 2, city planners in Amsterdam wanted to design the perfect “City of the Future.” They decided to build a new neighborhood, close to Amsterdam, that would be a perfect encapsulation of Modernist principles. It was called the Bijlmermeer, and it tested the lofty ideas of the International Congress of Modern Architecture on a grand scale. When it was over, no one would ever try it again. Bijlmer (City of the Future, Part 1)


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Older Episodes

Tom Geismar has been a driving force in the field of design and graphic identity for over 60 years. The influence of the firm he co-founded can be felt in logos you see every day.
294- Border Wall Feb. 6, 2018
Three stories about the physical border at the southern edge of the U.S.
293- Managed Retreat Jan. 31, 2018
In the 1970s it looked like the beloved, 200-year-old Cape Hatteras lighthouse was in danger. The sea was getting closer and threatening to swallow it up. And people were torn over what to do about it -- they could move the lighthouse, or leave it in place and try to ...
Cartoonist and theorist Scott McCloud has been making and thinking about comics for decades. He is the author of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. This classic volume explores formal aspects of comics, the historical development of the medium, its fundamental vocabulary, and various ways in which these elements have been ...
291- Thermal Delight Jan. 17, 2018
Air conditioning does a lot more than cool spaces. It has dramatically changed where people in the United States live and the design of homes and other buildings.
This part two of the 2017/2018 mini-stories episodes, where Roman interviews the staff and our collaborators about their favorite little design stories that don’t quite fill out an entire episode.
Japan’s Shinkansen doesn’t look like your typical train. It is a fascinating example of biomimicry, the design movement pioneered by biologist and writer Janine Benyus.
Mysterious ice boats, green ruins, sack dresses, steampunk violins, and a little update from a couple of the notable city flags that have been redesigned around the country.
In the early morning of August 5, 2001, artist Richard Ankrom and a group of friends assembled on the 4th Street bridge over the 110 freeway in Los Angeles. They had gathered to commit a crime — one Ankrom had plotted for years.
The culture of heavily regulated, data-driven, auto-safety engineering did not always exist. In fact, for decades, automakers tried to keep data about car wrecks to themselves. They not only resisted making cars safer, they argued the very idea of a “safe car” was impossible.
Clive Desmond covers the golden age of radio ads, featuring Frank Zappa, Ken Nordine, Linda Ronstadt, and Randy Newman in this featured episode.
285- Money Makers Nov. 21, 2017
For a long time, anti-counterfeiting laws made it illegal to show US currency in movies. Now you can show real money, but fake money is often preferred. Creating fake money that looks real enough for film is a tough design challenge.
Annie Atkins specializes in graphics for filmmaking, including lettering, illustrations and more -- she has designed all kinds of graphic props, including telegrams, vintage cigarette packaging, maps, love letters, books, passports and fake CIA identification cards.
People have been stealing the bricks of St. Louis.
282- Oyster-tecture Oct. 31, 2017
New York was built at the mouth of the Hudson River and one creature in particular shaped the landscape: the oyster. Over time, pollution and other environmental changes killed off that oyster population, but a new underwater landscape architecture project aims to bring them back.
281- La Sagrada Familia Oct. 25, 2017
The line to enter Barcelona’s most famous cathedral often stretches around the block. La Sagrada Família, designed by Antoni Gaudí, draws millions of visitors each year. There are a lot of Gothic churches in Spain, but this one is different.
280- Half Measures Oct. 18, 2017
The United States is one of just a handful of countries that that isn’t officially metric. Instead, Americans measure things our own way, in units that are basically inscrutable to non-Americans, nearly all of whom have been brought up in … Continue re...
It’s hard to overstate the vastness of the Skid Row neighborhood in Los Angeles. It spans roughly 50 blocks, which is about a fifth of the entire downtown area of Los Angeles. It’s very clear when you’ve entered Skid Row. … Continue reading →
Among the most important advances in sports technology, few can compete with the invention of the sports bra. Following the passage of Title IX in 1972, women’s interest in athletics surged. But their breasts presented an obstacle.