Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Slavoj Žižek: Don't Act. Just Think.

I usually try to exclude any political slants on here, but given the current climate of the American presidential debates, I thought Žižek's ideas on progress and capitalism as both an ethical and religious category to be relevant and thought provoking. Whether you're for or against, it's still worth taking in all the way to the end.

(I must thank/credit Matthew Hartney for bringing this to my attention)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Camper Bike by Kevin Cyr

Since I'm on a bicycle kick at the moment, here's one more amazing design that needs to hit an assembly line in the near future. "Camper Bike" is a tricycle/motor-home hybrid designed by New York artist Kevin Cyr.

 (I imagine he must be in pretty good shape now)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bikamper Travel Tent

Introducing the Bikamper tent by Topeak. This personal travel tent utilizes the front wheel of your bike in place of tent poles, and folds up into a small, space-saving bag which can then be strapped to the handlebars/bike rack. The main body is constructed of water-resistant ripstop nylon and features three mesh panels for ventilation/stargazing, with a fly for extra water protection.

Stats: 3 seasons, 10" x 5,5", 1.6 m2 floor area, 3 windows/1 door, 2.98 lbs

Get yours:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Drying Rack/Flower Pots

An interesting design utilizing runoff water from drying dishes to grow plants:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Duolingo: learning/translation exchange

This is such a worthwhile project it needed posting. Duolingo is a non-profit, interactive language learning program that has the double benefit of providing language translation services for the world wide web. Users of all levels can gradually build their knowledge base in their chosen language, and in return actively participate in the translation of our international online information bank. Although there is a bit of a learning curve, the active format is a great way to start applying language skills right away, while contributing to a worthy cause. Highly recommended. (...did I mention it's free?)

Check out their home page to register:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We live in exponential times

Some fascinating mass-comm factoids worth watching... like how China is the world's biggest English-speaking nation? Or that India has more people with IQ's over 120 than the total population of the USA? Or that a home computer in 2049 will have more computing power than the total human species of 2008?
 Both inspiring and daunting; might leave you feeling a bit small and overwhelmed.

Solar-Powered Bionic Eye?!

It seems we're materializing all our sci-fi movie fantasies these days (I'm still waiting for my hover-board, btw...) - could this technology allow the blind the gift of sight again? Stanford University seems to think so. Although yet to be tested on humans, researchers at Stanford have invented goggles that can send information to chips – which behave like solar cells – implanted into eye retinas. These new retinal implants would require far less invasive surgeries than the limited options that are currently available.
The goggles have a miniature camera embedded in the nose-piece, from which images are sent to a tiny portable computer. In turn, the computer generates the video images that are transmitted into the eyes via infrared lasers inside the goggles’ lenses. The lasers then are reflected onto tiny photovoltaic chips embedded under the retinas, effectively allowing the patient to see hazy images. The device implanted behind the retina is essentially an array of mini solar devices, which use energy from the sun to provide power to the chip as well as to transmit data through the eye to the brain.
This new system is capable of producing vision of 20/200, which is beyond what is considered legally blind, but the researchers reasonable expect to achieve 20/100, which would produce a picture clear enough that a person could recognize faces and read large print.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vancouver Land Bridge - How it SHOULD be done!

Project: Vancouver Land Bridge; The Confluence Project
Architect: Jones & Jones
Location: Vancouver, Washington

Kudos, Vancouver, good on you. This pedestrian overpass - designed to reconnect Fort Vancouver to its waterfront and link the Discovery Trail system - utilizes a rainwater collection system to irrigate its indigenous landscape plantings. Sweeping across the State Route 14 in a simple, elegant arch, the interpretive landscape or the bridge is meant to pay homage to the native peoples encountered by the Lewis and Clark expedition.
"The land bridge is a link back to the Klickitat Trail, Lewis and Clark, and the development of the Northwest. It completes a circle that's been broken."
   -Johnpaul Jones (architect)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Casa Corallo: Ultimate Modern Treehouse

Project: Casa Corallo
Architect: Alejandro Paz
Firm: Paz Arquitectura
Location: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Constructed: 2008-2011
Simply an amazing project that needed sharing - tree houses are already my weakness, and this project's modern geometry and raw materials make it everything I fantasize about... I am so in love with this house.
Working with a site containing dozens of big trees, the design team chose to fully integrate this modern home into the existing landscape, laying the foundation around the trees with room to accommodate future growth.
In architect Alejandro Paz' s own words:
"The design process began with the aim to preserve the existing trees, in order to have the trees interact with the living space. The floor plan is free of columns and the changes in level adapt to the existing topography.”
Situated in a lush wooded hillside in Santa Rosalía, the house actually incorporates mature trees right into the living rooms. With its linear geometric planes, sharp right angles, and contrasting materials of concrete, wood paneling, and glass, the juxtaposition of living trees within is made all the more striking. The large windows and openings really help connect the indoors with the natural world outside. And the best part: the tiered home features catwalks on the highest level, which pass through the trees to the home’s entrance. Perfecto!

Friday, May 11, 2012

WOBO: Beer Bottle, Brick, or... BOTH!

This is an old idea, but the growing interest in cradle-to-cradle design has shone the spotlight back on this innovative idea. Back in 1963, Alfred Heineken (yes, the beer guy) and Dutch architect John Habraken devised the concept of the beer-brick. The glass bottle was designed so it could be reused as a building material. As the story goes, Heineken initially came up with the idea after visiting the Caribbean, and witnessing tons of bottles littering the beaches. Combined with the lack of affordable building supplies on the islands, he saw the necessity of building in a double life into his beer’s packaging.

The WOBO’s interlocking design was three years in the making, made to work like brick and mortar construction. The final bottle designs came in two sizes - 350 and 500 mm. A thousand bottles bonded with cement mortar could build a 10″ x 10″ shack, and construction would be simple because the instructions could be printed right on the beer label.

The use of bottles in wall construction dates back much earlier, like the famous example of Tom Kelly's house in 1902, nicknamed "The House of a Thousand Headaches" for all the hangovers it held. But the step to embrace mass production is credited all to Heineken - I'll drink to that! Cheers guys.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

zecOO: new electric motorcycle

Designer: Kota Nezu
Company: Znug Design
Country: Japan  
Speed: 130 km/h
Charge time: 6 hours

Completely electric powered, the zecOO was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show this March and is reportedly headed for small scale production at the end of the year. As a design artifact, the body impresses with its single-sided swing-arm, hub-center steering and long, raking windshield (how aerodynamic the latter is, I'm not sure?). Although the performance specs aren't quite as bad-ass as its sleek low-rider aesthetic, it still promises to breathe new life into the e-bike movement. (Probably at a pretty penny, however... hey I can dream)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I NEED this couch/bunk-bed transformer

I had to post this, as it is just pure awesomeness. I love convertible toys!

Find it at Bonbon: Compact Living Solutions:

Starry Night: LED Installations by Lee Eunyeol

Photographer Lee Eunyeol constructs elaborate low-energy LED light installations that appear as if the night sky was flipped upside down with glowing stars and planets nested inside tall grass or between deep earthen cracks.

In his own words:
"Starry night expresses private spaces given by night and various emotions that are not able to be defined and described in the space. I’ve chosen analogue type for the expression which attempts to install electric bulbs in an object to be expressed using back space of night by taking advantage of huge studio. There are two spaces in photographs. One is a space before electric bulbs of familiar landscape are installed and the other is a space after electric bulbs expressed by dispersing personal emotion are installed. Unified light from these two spaces generates a mysterious landscape"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

AirHotel: Mobile Hanging Hotel

Time Circus, a group of Belgian artists, have designed a temporary mobile aerial hotel alternative – a pop-up installation comprised of sleeping pods made entirely of recycled materials. AirHotel will be moving to different festival locations, starting in the woods of Norfolk, England, and will offer guests themed pods such as The Drop, The Lotus, and El Ambassador. After a healthy breakfast and visit to the sauna, you can request room service (a love song, a sweet music box or a disco party) by "airhostesses" and waiters. Accommodations are ~$50 CAD/night.

For more info, check out the Time Circus website:

Monday, April 30, 2012

I love green roofs: West Kowloon Terminus

Another cool project: Express Link West Kowloon Terminus by Aedas & AECOM, will connect Hong Kong to the National High Speed Rail Network. The distinctive terminal will be characterized by arching fins, abundant natural daylighting, and covered with pedestrian paths and green roofs. The Express Link West Kowloon Terminus will be the largest underground facility of its kind, and it will reserve its above-ground area for nature. The roofscape circulation will link to retail and nearby subway and public transit points. (I don't know how legal those grades are from the renders, but looks pretty cool all the same.)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

DIY Green Graffiti

You'll need:
  • 1-2 handfuls of moss
  • 2 cups of buttermilk or yogurt
  • 2 cups of water (or beer)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • Corn syrup (optional)  
  • Paintbrush
  • Blender
1) Wash the moss to get as much soil out of the roots as possible.
2) Break the moss apart into manageable pieces and place in blender.
3) Add the buttermilk/yogurt, water/beer and sugar. Blend the mixture until completely smooth. You'll want it to have a paint-like texture.
Note: If the mixture is at a consistency where you feel it will drip, add corn syrup until the consistency you desire is reached.
4) Use a paintbrush to apply the moss-paint to the surface on which you wish your design to grow.
5) If possible, check back weekly to either spray the design with water (to encourage moss growth) and/or apply more moss-paint.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reclaiming Osaka: Urban Renewal at its Best

Project: Namba Park
Location: Osaka, Japan
Architect: The Jerde Partnership
Built: 2003
Formerly a baseball stadium (abandoned in 2003), the Namba Parks project is yet another striking example of Japanese innovation at it's best. Being located at Namba Train Station, in a busy commercial area, NER finally decided to convert the stadium area into an amazing rising public garden complex - a natural intervention in Namba’s dense and harsh urban condition.Within the park lie an array of towers, a commercial center, as well as gardens, trees and waterfalls. The sloping park connects with the street, giving cars and passers-by comfortable access to the complex. Below the park there are also various restaurants, as well as a shopping mall with eight floors of gardens.

Another ingenious project: Gate Tower Building, also in Osaka, intersected by the Hanshin Expressway. So clever, those Japanese.