Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018
The Blanket at Burning Man by Alex Schtanuk

Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018

This year had its fair share of provocative stories, from a proposal for a gigantic space blanket to an installation that saw Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye sunk in a Danish fjord. For our review of the year, digital editor Karen Anderson looks at the 10 that were the most polarising.


Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018: Massive NASA space blanket proposed as billowing Burning Man installation

Massive NASA space blanket proposed as billowing Burning Man installation

The story that received the most comments this year was a proposal by Russian artist Alexander Shtanuk to create an enormous artwork at Burning Man festival using NASA's metallic emergency blankets.

Readers pointed out a long list of potential problems that the object could cause. "It looks like a giant, flabby Hindenberg," suggested one commenter.

In the end, Shtanuk didn't reach his crowdfunding target. It is unclear if he ever went through with the idea.

Find out more about The Blanket ›


Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018: Unfettered capitalism "can solve the housing crisis" says Patrik Schumacher

Unfettered capitalism "can solve the housing crisis" says Patrik Schumacher

Zaha Hadid Architects director Patrik Schumacher is no stranger to controversy, but he caused a particularly big stir when he published an essay titled "Only capitalism can solve the housing crisis".

Commenters were shocked by his suggestion that height restrictions, space standards and rent controls should be scrapped.

"Somebody please gift him a monopoly game for Christmas so he can see what unfettered capitalism does to all players except for the winner," said one.

Find out more about Schumacher's essay ›


Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018: Amin Taha ordered to demolish his RIBA Award-winning home and office 15 Clerkenwell Close

Amin Taha ordered to demolish his RIBA Award-winning home and office 15 Clerkenwell Close

One of the biggest architecture stories of this year was the news that architect Amin Taha might have to demolish his popular 15 Clerkenwell Close housing block in London, which features an exposed exoskeleton of rugged stone.

Islington Council claimed the natural stone was not been fully detailed in the planning documents, causing Dezeen readers to jump to the building's defence.

"This building is a masterpiece," said one reader. "It is shocking to me that people think it is ugly."

Find out more about 15 Clerkenwell Close ›


Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018: Baby blimp "giving Trump a taste of his own medicine" says designer Matt Bonner

London mayor approves flight of Trump Baby blimp over London

Just like last year before, 2018 was filled with Donald Trump-related controversy. The story that captured people's imagination the most was when a blimp depicting the US president as a baby was flown over London.

Dezeen filmed the flight and spoke to one of the designers behind the project, who said their aim was to communicate with Trump "in a language he understands".

Find out more about the Trump Baby blimp ›


Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018: Kanye West to launch architecture arm of Yeezy fashion label

Kanye West to launch architecture arm of Yeezy fashion label

Hip-hop artist and producer Kanye West announced this year that he plans to extend his fashion label Yeezy, with an architecture division. "We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home," tweeted West. "We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better."

"He's a brave man," said one reader. "Bravery and stupidity often go together," replied another.

Find out more about Yeezy home ›


Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018: Daniel Quasar redesigns LGBT Rainbow Flag to be more inclusive

Daniel Quasar redesigns LGBT Rainbow Flag to be more inclusive

For Pride 2018, graphic designer Daniel Quasar added a five-coloured chevron to the Rainbow Flag, widely recognised as the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. He said it was to place a greater emphasis on "inclusion and progression".

The redesigned flag includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalised LGBT communities of colour, along with the colours pink, light blue and white, which are used on the Transgender Pride Flag.

Readers couldn't agree whether the design was refreshing or pointless. "It's a literal rainbow, it doesn't get more inclusive than that," said one.

Find out more about Daniel Quasar's flag ›


Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018: Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye sunk in Danish fjord

Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye sunk in Danish fjord

Artist Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen shocked commenters by sinking one of Le Corbusier's most famous buildings, the Villa Savoye. Obviously it was just a model, not the real thing, but it still made a big impression on many because of its association with Brexit.

"A pointless demonstration of preening, petulant narcissism," said one commenter.

Find out more about Flooded Modernity ›


Richard Meier

Richard Meier takes leave of absence following sexual harassment allegations

One of the biggest shocks of 2018 was the news that Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier had been accused of sexual harassment, causing him to step down from his company.

Five women, including four former employees, made allegations that were published in the New York Times in March. "I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions," Meier said in response.

Find out more about the Richard Meier allegations ›


Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018: Christo unveils floating Serpentine sculpture made from 7,506 barrels

Christo unveils floating Serpentine sculpture made from 7,506 barrels

Christo faced criticism from readers who felt that his London Mastaba, a 20-metre-high sculpture on London's Serpentine Lake, was pollution rather than art.

"I guess this is one way to dispose of trash," said one commenter.

Find out more about the London Mastaba ›


Dezeen's top 10 controversial stories of 2018: Panasonic's human blinkers help people concentrate in open-plan offices

Panasonic's human blinkers help people concentrate in open-plan offices

News that Panasonic's Future Life Factory is developing wearable blinkers, designed to limit your sense of sound and sight, infuriated readers.

The prototype device, called Wear Space, is designed to keep people distraction-free when working in busy spaces or open-plan offices. "This is like a bandaid to the problem," suggested one commenter.

Find out more about the Panasonic blinkers ›