Dezeen Magazine

Dezeen's 10 biggest architecture and design stories of 2014

To see 2014 out with a bang, we've pulled together our most read stories of the year – including a silk leaf that could create oxygen in space, furniture for space-poor hipsters and a house with a swimming pool instead of a roof.

1. Christian Boer designs typeface for readers with dyslexia

Dyslexie typeface by Christian Boer

Dutch designer Christian Boer designed each letter in his Dyslexie typeface to be slightly different with the aim of creating text that is easier for dyslexic people to read.

Dyslexie typeface by Christian Boer

"When they're reading, people with dyslexia often unconsciously switch, rotate and mirror letters in their minds," said Boer, who is dyslexic himself. "By changing the shape of the characters so that each is distinctly unique, the letters will no longer match one another when rotated, flipped or mirrored," he explained.

The project was on show as part of this year's Istanbul Design Biennale, and went viral when it was published on Dezeen in November. Read the full story »

2. The "first man-made biological leaf" could enable humans to colonise space

Could a synthetic leaf allow enable long-distance space travel? In this movie filmed as part of our ongoing collaboration with MINI, Royal College of Art graduate Julian Melchiorri says his Silk Leaf project could make it happen.


The synthetic biological leaf he developed as part of the school's Innovation Design Engineering course in collaboration with Tufts University silk lab, consists of chloroplasts suspended in a matrix made out of silk protein. It absorbs water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen just like a plant. Read the full story »

3. Design education is "tragic" says Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive

The cultish status afforded to Apple's product design is largely thanks to the work of its senior vice president of design, Jonathan Ive. But during a talk at London's Design Museum, Ive said he struggles to hire young staff as schools are failing to teach them how to make products.

"So many of the designers that we interview don't know how to make stuff, because workshops in design schools are expensive and computers are cheaper," said Ive.

"That's just tragic, that you can spend four years of your life studying the design of three dimensional objects and not make one." Read the full transcript from Ive's talk »

4. Lego targets architects with monochrome building set

Lego Architecture studio

In August, Lego finally launched its Lego Architecture Studio – a new set of building blocks aimed at the architecture and design community – in Europe.

Lego Architecture Studio kit

Comprising over 1,200 pieces of 76 unique components, from chamfered wedge-shaped blocks to simple bricks, the set is designed to give as much freedom and creativity to the maker as possible.

The kit resurfaced again this winter as a number of readers said they were adding it to their Christmas wish list. Read the full story »

5. Mirage house by Kois Associated Architects to feature rooftop infinity pool

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects

The design for this house that will be built on the the Greek island of Tinos features an infinity pool, which covers the entire roof.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects

Partially buried in the rocky terrain of the island's south-west coastline, the Mirage house was created by Kois Associated Architects as "an invisible oasis" where residents can enjoy panoramic views over the Aegean Sea from both the roof and a large open-air living room at the front. Read the full story »

6. These gloves will "change the way we make music," says Imogen Heap

In an exclusive interview, musician Imogen Heap demonstrated her electronic gloves that allow people to interact with their computer remotely via hand gestures.

Imogen Heap portrait with Mi.Mu gloves

Heap worked with a team of developers and musicians to map movements to musical functions, enabling the wearer to control pitches and filters on a range of digitally-simulated instruments. "We really feel that they are going to change the way we make music," said Heap. Read the full story »

7. Google forced to add steering wheels to driverless car designs


It was a good year for autonomous vehicles, with a slew of driverless designs unveiled by car brands and even London's underground network introducing new train designs that could run without drivers.

But Google's  driverless bubble car faced a setback when California's Department of Motor Vehicles introduced new road safety rules, requiring all vehicles on its roads to have a steering wheel and brake pedal – neither of which features in Google's prototype, which was operated using buttons.

Google has since released images of a new "full functional" model with "typical 'car' parts". Read the full story »

8. Famous works of art transformed into buildings in Federico Babina’s Archist Series

Art meets architecture in Federico Babinas Archist Series

Italian architect and illustrator Federico Babina reinterpreted iconic works by artists including Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Marcel Duchamp as cross-sectional drawings of buildings in this series of illustrations.

Art meets architecture in Federico Babinas Archist Series

The collection of 27 images, entitled Archist, also interprets the styles and themes of Picasso, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro, among others, imagining them as architectural forms.

Babina has since created a series of architect's faces made up of their buildings, interpreted classic songs as illustrations of built structures and inserted 20th century architecture into famous paintings. But Archist remains his most popular work on Dezeen. Read the full story »

9. Ikea targets space-poor hipsters with PS 2014 collection

Ikea reveals PS 2014 collection

Furniture retail giant Ikea hit a nerve this year with its annual limited-edition PS collection, which was aimed at a growing number of young, creative city-dwellers faced with small living spaces and uncertain rental terms.

Ikea reveals PS 2014 collection

Based on research commissioned by Ikea, which found that one in five urban dwellers now lives in a space smaller than 30 square metres, the 51-piece On the Move collection included wire wardrobes by French designer Matali Crasset, a storage table by New York's Rich Brilliant Willing and a folding table by British-based designer Mathias Hahn. Read the full story »

10. Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art devastated in fire


The architecture and design industries watched in horror as news began to break of a fire at the Glasgow School of Art – the seminal work by influential Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.


Thought to have been started by an exploding projector in the basement, the fire quickly spread through the building consuming the final projects of hundreds of students and devastating the library.  "The most famous part of it is the library, which has only very recently been restored," explained Sunday Times architecture critic Hugh Pearman. "It's a really, really sad day."

American architect Steven Holl said the fire was "unbelievably tragic for architecture and the history of architecture".

The Scottish Fire Service responded quickly and managed to save 90 per cent of the building, and conservation work has already begun on the structure.  In 2015 an architect will be selected to recreate the library. Read the full story »