Dezeen Magazine

The 2016 Barbie Fashionista collection

"Why don't they make an ugly Barbie?"

Comments update: readers have accused American toy maker Mattel of dragging its heels in the attempt to diversify the iconic Barbie doll. Read on for more on this and explore our comments page to keep up with the latest discussions.

Barbie girl: the latest Barbie range includes four body types: original, tall, petite, and curvy. But has Mattel gone far enough to fend off criticism that the doll promotes unhealthy body ideals, or has the company simply pandered to unjustified concerns?

"If they want to be politically correct, why don't they make an ugly Barbie?" asked one reader on Instagram. "Playing is about fantasy."

Others welcomed the American toymaker's decision to diversify its range of dolls, despite declaring the move to be twenty years too late.

"Mattel should have been pioneering a variety of body images alongside the second wave of Feminism,” said Justine. "They shouldn't be applauded for this. It is too little too late."

"Barbie is finally moving with the times," concluded James. "The selection of Barbies should be vast and include religious garments such as the hijab too." Read the comments on this story »

432 Park Avenue by Raphael Viñoly
16 residential projects by famous architects that are changing the face of New York

Rising riches: New York's seemingly endless boom in high-end residential construction, including buildings by Álvaro Siza, Bjarke Ingels, Rafael Viñoly and Renzo Piano, provoked strong reactions this week.

"Manhattan [is turning] into a playground for vacuous multi-billionaires and [the developments are] marginalising everyone else," wrote one commenter. "I don't think any of these projects would be considered anything remotely close to the best of [the architects] work."

"The quality of design is going up on the whole and the city is growing in finesse, which is great," replied regular commenter Kay. "I can't see a negative."

"The fact of the matter is that New York City, like many cities, is growing and the most sensible way to sustain this growth is to pack as many units in as small a space as possible," wrote Brennan Ortiz. Read the comments on this story »

Wearable Habitation by Royal College of Art students
Wearable Habitation by Royal College of Art students

Crisis cloak: a group of students from London's Royal College of Art designed a prototype coat for refugees that transforms into a tent or a sleeping bag, but some readers have criticised the design and questioned the motives of its designers.

"How obscene to use the plight of Syrians for your own virtue," wrote Derek, while Dean derided the coat for not assisting in the refugee crisis in any way.

Some commenters leapt to the project's defence, highlighting that it had met the design brief and acted to raise awareness to the plight of refugees living out in harsh conditions.

"I think [people] are treating something extremely complex as resolvable with one solution," added Ian Nairn. Read the comments on this story »

My Micro NY by nArchitects
My Micro NY by nArchitects

Micro living: New York's residential architecture was also the subject of this week's second-most discussed story on social media, as photographs showing the city's first micro-apartment tower by nArchitects were released.

"Affordable housing needs to be solved through policy, not architecture," wrote one anonymous contributor. "Doing stuff like this is simply kowtowing to the prevailing trend of utterly ridiculous property prices in major urban centres."

Many made the case again that urban centres such as London and New York are almost exclusively the domain of the super-rich, while others saw hope in nArchitects scheme that could offer an affordable solution to housing crises across the globe.

"Although I do appreciate efforts to make the apartments flexible and compact," said Anna Kaim, "I can't help feeling these spaces are barely functional." Read the comments on this story »