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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Unboxing Buildings: Dull Modern Facades Removed to Reveal Historic Decor

24 Oct

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Modernist architects rejected brick, stone and iron ornament in favor of clean metal and brutalist concrete, and in some extreme cases went so far as to cover up old facades with more contemporary cladding. But what was originally an act of erasure can also turn into an unintentional act of preservation, as in the case of this structure built in the 1920s but clad over in the 1960s.

This drab building in San Antonio, Texas was at best unremarkable and at worst a bit of an eyesore. White stripes and vertical strips of red worked with rows of glass to create something simple, Modern and a bit dull. It was also somewhat misleading: many of those apparent windows were covering up walls, not openings. All of this became clear as the surface started to be stripped away and old structure restored.

Echoing a similar trend in recent decades of stripping back paint to reveal wooden details in homes, developers and cities have started to realize the potential value in hidden landmark architecture. The Schoenfield Building in Cleveland, for instance (depicted above), was a beautiful structure built of brick but for a time covered in a less glamorous coat. Its underlying facade has since been uncovered.

In the case of the Odean theater, it is hard to imagine what ever possessed someone to cover the elaborate facade of the original (upper left) with its decorative details and beautiful windows with an array of vertical metal strips (upper right). Fortunately, though the name has changed, the architecture has since been restored (bottom).

The decision is not always so clear-cut, however. Architectural Observer followed the restoration of a structure in Hays, Kansas where “there was a push to ‘restore’ and ‘revitalize’ the immediate downtown area. The master plan called for the removal of this particular facade.”

“Much history was lost in the redevelopment process; should this facade be counted among the losses?  Or do you feel that the two early 20th-century facades (both needing restoration) which were revealed are the stronger asset?” It is a question that often faces preservationists, especially in places like Europe where long histories can result in many iterative additions and changes over time. In this case, the facade was removed but saved. To see more examples like these and discussion about historic preservation, check out this thread on reddit.

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Work Smarter: 12 Modern Desks Reinvent the Standard Office Surface

24 Oct

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

The typical desk design has remained the same for centuries, but we need these surfaces to do more – like incorporate our gadgets, offer privacy in loud offices, fit into our homes, fold up to take on the go or offer proper space for our cat overlords. Maybe even all of these things at once.  These designs are more than just a flat slab on legs, adapting to 21st century standards in all sorts of different ways.

Turia Table by Maxime Mellot Incorporates Nature

“Can we admire nature and put it in a cage?” says Maxime Mellot of his own design, this curious desk inspired by a park in the city of Valencia, Spain. “Turia participates in the debate, and forces the user to divert his attention, from his own person to live animals, requiring care and benevolence. In a society focused on performance and permanent connection to the internet, pure moments of privacy become rare and precious. But how can furniture invite us to take a break, drink a tea or have a snack and help us to enjoy this specific disconnected moment? My project tends to merge the universe of nature and relaxation, by combining iconic items such as bird cage and fish tank in an interactive way.”

Koloro-Desk by Torafu Architects

The interior of the Koloro-desk by Torafu Architects is like a cheerful miniature house with its very own operable windows, so you can lean inside to read, work, sketch or nap and feel a sense of disconnection from the world just outside its little walls. The two flip-out windows on either side offer shelves for drinks and other objects, and there’s even a skylight.

Oxymoron Desk by Anna Lotova

Shove stationery, pens and other item between the two little cushions under the surface of Anna Lotova’s Oxymoron Desk. The name comes from the unlikely pairing of materials. The cushion sandwich even lets you slide a piece of plywood inside to create a side table.

“We have to change our behavior, plan and think of work with a different mindset: no matter where an office is situated, it has to have a space it can call its own, identifiable, alterable, on a human scale, with its own history and objects, an enjoyable environment,” says Lotova.

CATable by Hao Ruan

Do you have a persistent feline companion who gets a little jealous of your computer or books when you’re working? This clever table by Hao Ruan of LYCS Architecture doubles as cat furniture, with the underside full of comfy curving hollows and tunnels for your cat friend to hide in.

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Work Smarter 12 Modern Desks Reinvent The Standard Surface

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Steel Mesh Kraken Sunken Off British Virgin Islands to Create an Artificial Reef

23 Oct

[ By SA Rogers in Destinations & Sights & Travel. ]

Perched atop the Kodiak Queen, a former WW2-era Navy fuel barge, this 80-foot ‘Kraken’ now serves as the base of an artificial reef and marine research station on the ocean floor near the British Virgin Islands. The project, entitled BVI Art Reef, accomplishes a range of goals all at once: saving a decorated ship from destruction, transplanting coral to a new site in the hopes that it will flourish, creating an epic dive site and underwater art gallery, and providing a new habitat for marine life.

Photographer Owen Buggy documented the process, from the early stages of building the massive sea monster to sinking it in April 2017 to checking out the results a few months later. Sunken off the coast of the island Virgin Gorda with the help of tugboats and helicopters, the installation is already helping to rehabilitate heavily over-fished marine populations. Filmmaker Rob Sorrenti also got some great footage, presented as a documentary entitled ‘The Kodiak Queen,’ which is due for release in early 2018.

“This is the story of learning from past lessons and coming together to create something greater; rooted in joy and fueled by the power of play,” reads the BVI website. “This is the story of a group of friends from around the world who fell in love with the BVIs… and turned a weapon of war into a platform for unity – and a catalyst for new growth. This charitable kick-off in the British Virgin Islands combine art, ocean conservation, world history, marine science and economy… to solve a series of challenges in the BVIs by asking: how can we use play and collaboration to install permanent solutions that boost the local economy, secure the prosperity of these pristine islands for generations to come?”

“Our solution: a fantasy art eco-dive and ocean conservation site that puts the BVIs on the map as having one of the most unique and meaningful dive sites in the world… and one of the most forward-thinking approaches to creative problem solving that secures the education of its youth, and the health and prosperity of this island nation.”

Get updates on the project at the BVI Art Reef Facebook page.

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Applied LEGO: Design Graduate Sends Miniature Figures of Himself as Resumes

23 Oct

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

Design and architecture firms are used to getting creative resumes in the mail that unfold into portfolios or assemble into paper models, but this LEGO figurine may be the most creative variant yet.

A designer and artist, Andy Morris decided to make a miniature of himself as a way to stand out to potential employers and highlight his creativity.

His three-dimensional curriculum vitae packaged like a toy figure but also includes graphic elements that convey aspects of his own creative work.

The packaging gives more details on his design capabilities and offers links to his website and portfolio, accompanied by descriptions of his experience and personal design philosophies. Hurry: supplies are limited!

He hopes not only that the figure will help him find a job, but that it will match him with a workplace that mimics his own quirky creative ambitions.

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Cutting Corners: LOT-EK’s 21-Box Sliced Shipping Container Home in NYC

20 Oct

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Rising up from its corner lot like a ship on a wave, this shipping container home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is a stunning private residence made from sliced, diced and strategically reassembled cargo boxes.

The cut containers were flipped and reassembled to avoid waste, reusing various angled sections generated through diagonal slicing (images by Danny Bright). Moving through the home, the logic of these cuts becomes increasingly clear.

Designed by LOT-EK, a firm famous for its industrial-style containertecture, the corrugated facade is spliced with vertical windows along the sides. Along the front and back, container ends open up for larger views and terraced roof access — there are outdoor spaces at each level, given privacy thanks to the angled cuts. Below, those same cuts provide a natural opening for the building’s sunken entry, garage and cellar.

Social living, dining and kitchen spaces are on the first floor. The inside is also shaped by the slice angles, forming spaces like a media room with bleacher seating and a projector. Upper levels include bedrooms, play areas and other private spaces.

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This Copy of the Book ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Can Only Be Read When Heated

19 Oct

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

Science, art and dystopian fiction come together in a fascinating new project that puts a highly appropriate heat-sensitive twist on Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, Fahrenheit 451. Charles Nypels Laboratory, which is part of Holland’s Jan van Eyck Academie, an institute for fine art and design, collaborated with graphic design collective Super Terrain to create a very special edition of the book. Check out the effect in their video below.

This week our colleagues from Super Terrain are working in the Lab as a last stop on their all-over-Europe printing adventures. They showed us this remarkable book they made "Fahrenheit 451". — @superterrain #printingadventures #heatsensitive #fire #experimental #artistsbook #allblack #screenprint

A post shared by Jo Frenken (@charlesnypelslab) on

Made in a lab, the pages are coated in thermochromic pigment, which disappears when a flame is held close to it (but not too close – you don’t want to actually reenact a major plot point of Fahrenheit 451, in which all books are contraband, and any that are found must be burned by ‘firemen.’) In the comments on the Instagram post, the designers note that the book will turn black again once it cools down, so you’d use a whole lot of lighter fluid (or matches) to read the whole thing.

This week our colleagues from Super Terrain are working in the Lab as a last stop on their all-over-Europe printing adventures,” says the Charles Nypel Lab on Instagram. “They showed us this remarkable book they made ‘Fahrenheit 451.’”

(h/t My Modern Met)

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Preserving Architectural Gems: 8 Beijing Hutong Plug-Ins Update Historic Shells

19 Oct

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Passing through historic Beijing neighborhoods, seeing only the preserved street-facing facade, you’d never know that surprisingly modern structures contrast with aging surfaces within the courtyards just out of sight. Instead of just demolishing the ‘hutong’ courtyard houses found only in this Chinese city, architects are adapting them to modern life, slotting houses, hostels, museums, tea houses, cinemas and more under the existing roofs.

Tea House by Archstudio

In a truly stunning adaptation, Archstudio has completed a tea house and cafe within an existing hutong house, enclosing it from above with new roofs while leaving atriums open for bamboo and other greenery. The intervention connects the site’s five existing structures with a glazed corridor following the path of the original courtyard, forming three tea houses with their own unique views.

Twisting Courtyard by Archstudio

A river of glossy grey bricks streams through the courtyard of a Siheyuan house in the Paizihutong area of Beijing, upgrading the historic architecture with spaces that meet modern requirements of living. Archstudio‘s stunning pathway arches over the new volumes and even continues right into the dining room as part of the floor.

Mini Hostel Inside Hutong by ZAO / standardarchitecture

The firm ZAO / standard architecture inserted a small hostel inside a renovated Beijing hutong, exploring the potential of small-scale accommodations that slot right into the city’s existing architecture instead of displacing it. The glazed facades of volumes made of board-formed concrete project into the courtyard, facing each other (in some cases, with views of toilets, much to the horror of many Westerners looking at these images.) “The result is an architectural operation that brings back the courtyard as generator of the program, as it activates the building by creating a direct relationship with its urban context.”

Lai Yard House by Minggu Design

Tucked away behind weathered brick facades near the ancient city wall of Beijing, this courtyard home was crumbling. Minggu Design protects and preserves the original Chinese architecture while enhancing and adapting it for the 21st century, inserting volumes made of wood and glass to complement the surroundings without overpowering them. They used the new volumes to intentionally block and filter light to the original interior, creating a tranquil cave-like feel.

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Preserving Architectural Gems 8 Beijing Hutong Plug Ins Update Historic Shells

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LURVIG for Pets: IKEA Debuts its First Line of Animal Furniture & Accessories

17 Oct

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

Made to be compatible with other IKEA furnishings and fixtures, this new first-of-its kind pet collection has something for all your favorite furry friends.

The 62-piece collection was designed by Inma Bermudéz and aims to fill a market gap with quality, aesthetically pleasing but affordable pet products.

Some of the objects extend existing uses, helping customers save money and space, like kitty-scratching materials that attach to existing IKEA table legs or puppy beds that slot into bookshelf systems already on offer.  A number of the products are designed to pack flat and fold away when not in use.

The designs reflect extensive research into pet needs and behaviors, including a bed designed to be stuffed with old clothes, blankets and towles to help dogs feel comfortable and familiar around their human family.

Aside from pet sleepers and carriers, the LURVIG line features an array of brushes, bowls, leashes, bag dispensers spanning eating, playing, sleeping, traveling, walking.and other cat and dog activities.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in this stellar new collection is that no one at IKEA thought to do this sooner — thankfully, now they have.

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Floating Tent: Pole-Free Inflatable Structure Pops Up in Minutes

17 Oct

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

Camping season may be just about over for the casual fair-weather enthusiast, but in any case, here’s a fun piece of gear to add to your Christmas wishlist. Have you ever gone paddle boarding or kayaking, and wished you could just sleep out on the water? Or maybe you’ve fantasized about living in a houseboat, but owning one is a bit impractical. The ‘Shoal Tent’ by SmithFly is like a cheaper, more casual version of heavy-duty floating fishing tents, and it’s way easier to set up.

Noting that 70% of the surface of the Earth is covered in water, the Ohio-based outdoor goods retailer offers an inflatable floating raft with a tent topper that lets you sleep out on the water, and requires no poles to set up. You just use a pump to fill the three raft body air chambers and tent frame with air to make the world “your waterbed.”

Since the tent floor is inflated, your air mattress is built right in, and it features a 6” drop to keep you dry, along with heavy-duty waterproof fabric and sturdy #8 zippers. The top and sides attach with velcro, so you can get in and out easily if you need to (no struggling to position the door just right.)

The tent features an 8’x8’ footprint and can sleep people up to 6’3” tall, with the same standing room height in the center. It packs down to a burrito-roll-style bag and comes with a patch kit and manual foot pump. At 50 pounds, it’s not exactly lightweight, but depending on your plans, it’s probably worth it. It’s currently on pre-order sale at a discount for $ 1274.15, with an MSRP of $ 1499.

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Nice Slice: 30+ Sculptures & Illustrations Created with Cut Paper

17 Oct

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

Hand most people some paper and an X-acto knife and ask them to make art, and at best, they’ll produce some cartoonish shapes spattered with blood. But these twelve artists are producing some of the world’s most impressive papercut art, whether by laboring over astonishingly intricate tapestries for months at a time or making use of clever minimalism for a surprisingly big impact.

Sea Creatures by Kiri Ken

Sea creatures and other natural subjects become the slightest wisps of paper in these extraordinarily delicate and detailed paper cuts by artist Kiri Ken, who shares her work on Twitter. The creatures often become something slightly unnatural in the textures and lines Kiri applies to their various parts, sprouting mechanical objects or patterns that look computerized.

Nature Scenes by Pippa Dyrlaga

Each teeny-tiny feather on a kingfisher’s wing, each scale on the body of a goldfish, is cut out with seemingly endless patience and unfailing accuracy in works by Yorkshire-based artist and printmaker Pippa Dyrlaga.

Anatomy by Ali Harrison

Ali Harrison’s versions of human organs are quite a bit prettier than the real thing, each one given surprising depth and heft despite being cut out of ordinary sheets of paper. The artist designs each one and then laser-cuts them so they can be reproduced. She sells them in her Light and Paper shop.

Endangered Species Cut-Outs by Patrick Cabral

Wolves, elephants, pangolins, tigers, pandas and more are rendered starkly in black and white cut paper against a black surface, each layer of their lace-like faces and bodies cut by hand. Manila-based artist Patrick Cabral donated half the proceeds from the sales of each of these endangered species to WWF Philippines.

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Nice Slice 30 Sculptures Illustrations Created With Cut Paper

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