Call it the anti-flagship. Dover Street Market is the latest retail venture by Comme des Garcons founder and designer Rei Kawakubo – and it turns the notion of the luxury fashion emporium on its head.

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If this is the state of the art, then it is a dispiriting picture. If there is one thing revealing about the sprawling, relentless exhibition that is the 2004 Venice architecture biennale, it is that a new architectural orthodoxy has emerged with such speed that it has exhausted itself within a few years of its inception.

A partially ruined city peopled by living turds. No, not a destination on your holiday from hell but a satire of contemporary society and the dreams of social engineers.

El Ultimo Grito were causing a bit of a kerfuffle down at the Crafts Council. “We’ve always been unruly,” confessed Rosario Hurtado. “We’re non-conformists. We don’t believe in rules.”

“You know why giraffe necks are stripy? Giraffes are stripy because when they come together they form an optical haze that confuses predators. When you get a family of giraffes there’s this moiré-ing, and lions trip out, and what they have to do is to separate them to hunt them.”

UN Studio’s latest building is, perhaps, typically Dutch. A staid, cool exterior, and a bleeding heart interior – a kaleidoscopic courtyard as a metaphor for the repressed human desires of the office worker. Or perhaps it’s just a clever bit of material innovation that has been extended over the skin of a boring building type.

In 1981, Jerry Dammers of The Specials wrote the lyrics to the song that would sum up the experience of the young urban working classes in the early days of Thatcherism. Ghost Town at once described the desolation of the inner city (as riots raged in the streets of Liverpool) and satirised a rose-tinted view of urban life in “de boomtown”.
Brazil’s slum culture has become fashionable, from capoeira and the “favela chic” of the Campana brothers’ furniture to the brutal glamour of Fernando Meirelles’ film City of God. So when the Audi Design Foundation offered to take us to Rio de Janeiro to cover a design project it was sponsoring in the favelas, we wondered whether it was some kind of publicity stunt.