Peter Luger is one of the oldest restaurants in New York, and it shows as soon as you walk through the door. A traditional steak house, Peter Luger is exactly as you would picture a classic old school restaurant, complete with ornate wood decorations on the wall, a well worn, darkly stained wood floor, overbearing fireplace, and antique furniture. The waiters (there were no waitresses that I could see) all wear starched white shirts, black bow ties, plain slacks, and towels over their arms. The restaurant is semi-formal: most patrons wear jackets and pants (for the men) or dresses (for the women), although given that the restaurant is located in a very liberal community, it is not unusual to see people dressed in jeans.
The pace of the restaurant varies depending on the night; Friday and Saturday evenings, the place is bustling with activity, with waiters whirling around crowded tables carrying heavy plates stuffed with enormous portions of steak. At other times, Peter Luger is very laid back, although it never looses its stuffiness or well-earned dignity. The lighting is dim, with the chandeliers giving off subdued light. The seating area is abuzz with animated conversation; this is a place people go to enjoy themselves and their company, and for most, to taste traditional upper-class dining without having to dress fancily or spend time at a club.Baluchi's
Baluchi's is an Indian restaurant in SoHo (downtown New York), whose atmosphere can best be described as blatant. Its dark setting induces a feeling of intimacy, a perfect place for a quiet dinner. The restaurant, beyond tasting authentic, also feels authentic. The utensils and cups are brass, and the serving plates are covered in woven leaves.The chairs' backs are intricately carved wood, and their seats are well worn, covered in dark fabric, with the springs almost poking through. The tables are similarly carved wood, with a table top of glass covering colorful tile mosaics.
The size of the restaurant is small, although not tiny by SoHo standards. To lend the room a more open feeling, the entire front window section of the restarant is removable, and the operators take advantage of this whenever the weather is agreeable. This allows the sounds of the bustling downtown nightlife drift into the eating area (the restaurant is right on a well used street), providing a grounded yet separate view of reality.Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage
This Harvard standby has been around for a long time, and has become an institution. The political bent of the Harvard population and surrounding area is well represented by the multitudinous pictures, signs, posters and other decorations hanging on the walls. Most of these pieces are tongue-in-cheek; they poke fun at the current political and celebrity figures. The owners of the Cottage constantly change these visual offerings--new objects can be seen every visit. The decorations often spark conversations; spontaneous laughter can often be heard as people's eyes run across a particularly amusing sign or bumper sticker.
The low key fare of the restaurant attracts a similarly low key dress on behalf of the patrons, and this creates a bustling, base atmosphere, where any conversation goes. The servers are direct and quick to joke with those ordering; brief moments of fraternization take place when waiters or waitresses take a moment to catch their breath. The basic wooden tables, plastic chairs, and bright lights help maintain this low-key and open atmosphere.The King and I
This Thai restaurant is quiet and reserved. The basic elegance of the space is maintained by simple earth colors and monotone, flat shadings. The walls are undecorated wood and the tablecloths are white, the seats basic and angular, colored similarly to the walls. The waiters and waitresses stay out of the way, and are quick in both serving food, and leaving once they have done their duty.
This is the kind of restaurant that allows its food (which is superb) to stand on its own--the environment takes a back seat to the flavors and aroma of the dishes. The light is set at mid level, although it is dimmed Friday and Saturday evenings. Patrons are dressed for a casual evening out on the town, and tend talk quietly. The front of the restaurant is narrow, providing a more intimate setting, although the back room opens up to twice the size of the front, evoking a more removed, yet less intimate atmosphere.
I.D. is a magazine for graphic designers and artists, though its content tends to be of more commercial bent. The writing is light and witty; it doesn't distract readers from the main focus of the magazine, which is (usually) visual design. There are often objects shown, with annotations and quips surrounding the photographs.
The layout of the magazine is visually stunning, but not overbearing. The use of vibrant colors and large fonts, with heavily designed text flow, gives the pages a modern flair, while keeping an air of elegance. The general feeling is more artsy than commercial, although it is often difficult to tell the articles from the advertisements.
In this image, household wares are shown and described. Notice the use of white space: It is interspersed throughout the layout, so that each element doesn't feel cramped. There are good examples of 1+1=3 design, especially with the layout of the text; the only thing separating the text from the photographs is white space, which acts as a boundary without the need for any supplemental lines. Images also overlap, but their common areas are either unimportant, or serve to enhance the contrast of the image. A good example of the latter is the spoon overlapping the convergence of the necks of the bottles. This creates a dark section, which is in direct contrast to the handle of the spoon and the head of the fork below it.Sky & Telescope
The main audience for Sky & Telescope is amateur and professional astronomers. Its writing assumes at least a good interest in the field, and sometimes a bit of background knowledge as well. It is a traditional magazine, with little design; its content is its main attraction. There is a bit of attention paid to the visual layout of the magazine, although it is very commercial and (in my opinion) poorly executed.
White space is not present on most pages, and the margins are stringently adhered to. This example shows a number of poor design points: the listing of the BASIC program uses thin fonts and a heavily shaded background, making the text very hard to read; the advertisements, which alreaty are boxed, are separated from one another and the column by thin lines, which are completely unnecessary. The color on this page is nonexistent, and when color appears on other pages, its use is blatant and loud, and competes with the content instead of reinforcing it.Wired
Wired is a magazine for digerati, and those that would like to be digirati. It's hip, in-your-face attitude shows both in its writing style (which is very technical, often for no reason), and in its layout and design. Bold, brash colors are the norm, and white pages seem to be in the minority. The layouts often scream at the reader, and are often more obnoxiously obvious than the advertisements, which seem subdued in contrast
This page shows a typical color saturated layout. The fonts are all sans serif, which adds to the high contrast and bright background to make the text almost illegible (it sometimes can give you a headache). There is an overuse of color on this page: the silver background for the number is extraneous, as is the green gradated background behind the titles. 1+1=3 is in full effect on this page, creating extra boxes around the text from the interaction of the heavy, dark font, the bright green backdrop, and the gradated green titlebars. Also note the extra bright green background peeking through between the silver boxes and the title background just above it.
rec.music.phish - discussions, questions about the band Phish
alt.brain.teasers - obvious
alt.anonymous - not quite sure, but very belligerent
netscape.public.mozilla.rhapsody - about the port of netscape to the Mac OS X Server platform
alt.prose - posts of people's prose stories, plus responses
Maybe there should be blending of colors (translucency of dots)?
This is a 3D extension, using the actual text of the messages, of the design above. A dot cluster above is a stylized version of this 3D representation (the layering of the dots in the group view is wrong).
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