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SK4 record player, Dieter Rams and Hans Gugelot, 1956. As seen in Dieter Rams: As Little Design As Possible.  

The Less Design the Better
The subtitle of Phaidon’s new book on industrial designer Dieter Rams says it all about his iconic style: “As Little Design As Possible.” To celebrate the book’s release, Phaidon and magazine Core77 co-sponsored a contest, “Good Design Is Long-Lasting,” to create sketches of Rams’s best-known works, the results of which will be displayed in Phaidon’s Soho store beginning this evening. Stop by for the opening and hear a panel discussion on Rams featuring designers Zoe Coombes of Cmmnwlth, Michael DiTullo of frog, and Gary Hustwit, director of the film Objectified (83 Wooster St., nr. Spring St.; 212-925-1900; doors open at 6:30 p.m.; RSVP by emailing “Dieter Rams” to store.soho@phaidon.com).

How Much for a Real Pool?
Summers in New York are notoriously devoid of the backyard experience, which has inspired “creative-ventures” company the Participation Agency to unveil a Timeshare Backyard. Opening this week on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side, the Backyard charges renters $50 an hour to hang out on a patch of genuine turf (formerly a vacant lot) with up to 30 friends. You can add a barbecue grill for $50, an inflatable pool for $200, and a Slip ’n Slide for $100, among other suburban-barbecue accoutrement. Live bands are allowed, provided you have the proper permits; there’s also the option of crossing the street to Cake Shop, which will be handling the entertainment at this Thursday’s opening-night party (145 Ludlow St., nr. Stanton St.; to book e-mail we@theparticipationagency.us).

Such Great Heights
If any cultural institution ought to be able to distinguish the merely tall from the supertall, it’s Battery Park City’s Skyscraper Museum. From now through January, the museum is displaying the results of its 2011 “supertall census” at “Supertall! World Towers Above 380 Meters,” a collection of models, renderings, and photographs documenting the world’s 48 greatest skyscrapers. From the shortest, the Empire State Building (the museum’s supertall benchmark is set at 1,250 feet), to the tallest, Dubai’s 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa, each edifice included in the show is an engineering wonder (39 Battery Pl., at Little West St.; 212-968-1961; W–Su, 12–6 p.m., closed M–T; $5, students and seniors $2.50; skyscraper.org).

Slashing the Souk
Lower East Side retailer Sheherazade is in the midst of its big summer sale, with discounts of up to 50 percent on items from Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, and Egypt, many of them purchased by the store’s owner, Rachid Ouassil. A Moroccan wood-and-metal end table, originally $750, is $450; ikat pillows are down to $75 from $125 (121 Orchard St., nr. Delancey St.; 212-539-1771; sale runs through August 14; sheherazadenyc.com).


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