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Documenting subway station design for 40 years

Lots of good-looking publications in Curbed’s picks for 2018’s “best design and urbanism books”—Archigram: The Book, Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, and more. I’d forgotten about having read a piece or two in recent years on the book from printer, artist, and Rhode Island School of Design graduate Philip Ashforth Coppola, which is also included in the feature.

Philip Ashforth Coppola drawing NYC subway

Coppola has been creating painstakingly detailed ballpoint pen drawings of the design work at New York City subway stations—their decorative elements, the tile patterns, the typefaces, and more—since 1978 (I think that cartoonist Julia Wertz might appreciate his effort). In May of this year, Princeton Architectural Press published One-Track Mind: Drawing the New York Subway, a hardcover book that includes 130 black and white illustrations culled from a collection of thousands of sketches with the help of editors Ezra Bookstein and Jeremy Workman. Coppola’s handwritten annotations point to the names of architects or firms contracted for the original labor—based on research he’s conducted at the library or elsewhere—or simply to the colors utilized, as the book is in black and white. See Jessica Leigh Hester’s 2018 Atlas Obscura feature on the artist and his book. More details about One-Track Mind are at the publisher’s site.