Do malls really excite us any more? The rhetoric of Bullring's brand identity is so laid back that it suggests that it is simply a god-given truth that the new £500 million retail development, opening this month, will be the most thrilling thing ever to have happened to Britain's second city.

Cistercian Trappist monks in the Czech Republic are settling into their new monastery, designed by architect John Pawson.

The client for the Anderson House, a wealthy lawyer, endured a whole summer of living in a semi-derelict backlands warehouse near Oxford Circus in London just to see if he liked living in the area. He plumbed-in a bath himself, and settled down to live in garret-like surroundings

Avant garde architect Greg Lynn's designs are inspired by Costa Rican tree frogs, jellyfish and B-movies. Quite colourful aren't they?

We've seen the future and it's full of trendspotters. They're out on the streets, in bars and supermarkets, surfing the net, observing what people are saying, doing, eating, wearing and buying. They're then reporting their findings back to their clients: retailers, manufacturers and - increasingly - architects and designers.

If Prada Tokyo and Selfridges Birmingham define store design in 2003, then 2004 will be all about a plain, 6,500sq m shed next to the giant Metro Centre shopping mall outside Gateshead.

This month marks the largest confluence of design-related events ever to be held in London. Established events Designersblock, 100% Design and Open House are joined by the first London Design Festival, the World Creative Forum, and the first European Design Biennial at the Design Museum.

This summer's best-selling gadgets were all monochrome and rectangular with rounded corners and minimal detailing. But are they are pleasurable as their styling suggests?

Karim Rashid has landed. Bam! Kapow! America's design superhero is here and he's going to save us from bad design. Rashid is the most successful, most self-promoting and fastest-talking designer on the other side of the Atlantic and his first UK projects - a boutique hotel for MyHotel in Brighton and the interior of a second one at Paddington, West London - are underway.