Six Design Ideas SEPTA Should Steal Now

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A recent article on The Atlantic Cities website made a point that is at once obvious and rarely made: Good design and strong imagery can attract more riders to mass transit.

Call it “branding” if you must, but the point remains: Easy-to-identify symbols and attractive stations and shelters make transit systems easier to spot and more pleasant to use. And a system that’s easier to spot and more pleasant to use will end up with more people using it.

This was the main point of my recent commentary elsewhere on how design does matter in transit, too. In it, I argued that SEPTA could stand improvement in that department, especially on its subway-elevated system and signage. Some readers agreed strongly with that argument, while others disagreed vehemently.

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How to Find the Perfect House in Philadelphia

First appeared in the March, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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CENTER-HALL COLONIAL

THE LURE: “The colonials are simply indigenous to our area, and it’s the style that most buyers are attracted to,” says Coldwell Banker Preferred Blue Bell’s Nicole Miller-Desantis. “Buyers know they’ll ultimately have resale value.”

KEEP IN MIND: On the Main Line, these houses can have hidden expenses: lot premiums, high utilities, spring and fall landscaping costs. “It can be expensive to ‘live the dream’ in suburbia,” Miller-Desantis warns.
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Amazing Spaces: Philadelphia’s Most Spectacular Interiors

Rafael Novoa and Robert Lieberman of Rafael Novoa Interior Design converted their Upper Makefield barn into a soaring space that’s part rustic, part glam.

The Converted Barn
Rafael Novoa and Robert Lieberman of Rafael Novoa Interior Design converted their Upper Makefield barn into a soaring space that’s part rustic, part glam. (Photo by Jeffrey Totaro; Styling by Lauren Payne)

THE BEST DESIGN—whether seen in the curve of a bike rack or the arch of a barrel-vaulted ceiling—is immediately recognizable. It makes you feel something. These days, everyone cares about aesthetics (see: Apple’s world domination; elegant spatulas), and the trend is especially striking in populist Philadelphia, now an internationally known design hub. To see our city’s design evolution, you only have to look around: Sophisticated design is now omnipresent, from corner coffee shops and corporate offices to seriously covetable homes. In the pages that follow, we feature some of the area’s best interiors, spanning spaces that surprise (slides in an office building?), bewilder (is that really a porthole in a living room?), stun (that bathroom ceiling!) and, above all, inspire.
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Could 30th Street Station’s New Art Installation Save Lives?

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Here’s a horrifying situation for you to consider: A stranger goes into cardiac arrest right in front of you while you’re waiting in line for coffee. What do you do? Chances are, you’d try to remember how to perform CPR from that babysitting class you took 15 years ago. But would you look around for the nearest automated external defibrillator to help save their life? Probably not. University of Pennsylvania’s Defibrillator Design Challenge wants to change that.

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This 600-Page Chanel Book Has Absolutely No Ink In It

Chanel Book

When Chanel commissions you to make a book, you don’t just print words on a page. After all, this is the fashion house of Karl, a man who has two maids and a driver for his cat, Choupette, whose house looks like this, who is equal parts crazy and brilliant. So Amsterdam-based book designer Irma Boom had her work cut out for her. And did she ever deliver.

Click to watch the video of the book being made.

The Coolest Things Ever Made From Felt

Felt Donuts

Because bowls of fruit as the centerpiece of your kitchen table are so 2012, there’s this: Heidi Bleacher’s collection of absolutely adorable felt sculptures in the shape of donuts. There are also tiny topiaries, and crazier designs that look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, but we’re partial to the sweets. Her collection (which also includes custom replicas of your wedding cake!) is on display at stadler-Kahn on Sansom Street through October 20th. Go there, and buy yourself a baker’s dozen.

 

Photo by Christopher String

Welcome to the New Phillymag.com

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We’ve changed.

This week, we roll out a completely redesigned phillymag.com–the product of lots of thinking, lots of conversations, and lots of hard work by a lot of different people. I’m a believer in letting things like redesigns speak for themselves, but I wanted to point out a few of the changes we’ve made (and our reasons for making them):
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Property’s Morning Obsession: Town&Country’s Obscenely Gorgeous ‘Hothouse Flowers’ Feature

When Hearst hired Jay Fielden as new Town and Country magazine editor in 2011, the media company made a canny choice, and one that has significantly improved the look of the publication. But in the April 2013 issue, Fielden has outdone himself, with a fashion spread that has the mark of his former Vogue co-worker Grace Coddington all over it.

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