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Just Pull Some Strings: 8 Easy Transforming Furniture Designs for Lazy People

21 Mar

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

gesture controlled transforming furniture

When you’re lazy, even the most intuitive transforming furniture isn’t easy enough to operate unless it’s on the same level as clapping your lights on and off. Luckily for those of us who fall into this category, some furniture makers are creating multifunctional designs for small spaces that work their magic at the push of a button, the pull of a string, a flick of the wrist or even a mere gesture.

Retractible Ollie Chair by RockPaperRobot

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You really have to watch the video of how this chair works to fully appreciate its brilliant simplicity. It starts as an entirely flat panel of slatted teak wood with a slight curve at the top. Pick it up, pull a string and the whole thing unfurls into a seat in a single fluid motion that’s very satisfying to watch, and it works the same way in reverse. The slats are affixed to a textile canvas to make the seating flexible, and the rest takes folding inspiration from origami.

A-Board Flat-Pack Shelf

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This bookshelf starts as a flat piece of laser-cut plywood. Yang the orange ribbon on the back, and it will pull the shelves down perpendicular to the face so you can rest the whole thing against a wall and use it as a bookshelf. Designer Tomas Schön used a laser-cutting technique to bend the wood instead of hinges, and there’s no other hardware or even glue involved.

MIT Media Lab CityHome

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Still not easy enough for you? How about commanding your bed to slide out with a gesture of your hands? MIT’s robotic ‘home in a box’ can pack a full, spacious-feeling apartment into 200 square feet of space, including a bed, workspace, dining table for dix, storage and a mini kitchen. The box uses built-in sensors, motors, LED lights and low-friction rollers to respond to your voice commands or gestures.

Ori Robotic Home Controlled via Smartphone App

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There are all sorts of complex transforming furniture systems designed to fit maximum function into small spaces, but how many of them are operated through a smartphone app? The Ori system (taking its name from the prefix of ‘origami’) runs on robotic technology, featuring an on-device user interface as well as an app for your handheld device so you can press a button to initiate various configurations, like the bed sliding out, the table folding down or the entire unit moving to tuck itself against a wall to open up the floor area.

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Just Pull Some Strings 8 Easy Transforming Furniture Designs For Lazy People

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Fruitless: 10 Closed & Abandoned Apple Stores

20 Mar

[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

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Apple Stores and Apple authorized resellers are about as sure a thing as can be in business but even these b&m goldmines close shop and are left abandoned.

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There weren’t any official Apple Stores before May 19th of 2001, only authorized Apple resellers ranging from Mom & Pop computer shops to big box retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City. The sign above hales from the 1980s (the “rainbow” Apple logo was used from 1977 to 1998) and towers over the Roberts Court strip mall on Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw, Georgia. According to Rebrn.com, the sign advertised Rick’s Educational Products and although that store moved many years ago, the sign lingered on for decades. The images above date from April 8th of 2011 and April 10th of 2011 respectively.

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Later that month, something – most likely a weather-related event – twisted the top of the sign 180-degrees and shattered the plastic on both sides. A Reddit user who lives nearby fortuitously picked up some of the pieces as seen above. Not sure what his plans for them are but we hear pretty much anything sells on eBay these days.

Dublin Down

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The number of Mac authorized resellers dropped by almost half between 1997 and 2000. Around that time Tim Cook, Apple’s Senior Vice President for Worldwide Operations since 1998, announced the company would “cut some channel partners that may not be providing the buying experience (Apple expects). We’re not happy with everybody.” Perhaps the late and lamented Apple Centre on Kildare Street in Dublin, Ireland was one such partner that aroused Cook’s ire – no pun intended. Flickr user Fintan Palmer (fintanp) snapped the shuttered shop in October of 2008; fellow Flickrer twrbl noted no change in its abandoned status five months later.

Simply Closed

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Simply Mac may have referred to itself as “the greatest Apple partner in North America” but according to a January 2017 announcement by the West Acres mall in Fargo, North Dakota, “Apple Corporation (is) ending its national agreement with Simply Mac to sell them Apple product, making it impossible for them to continue.” The Fargo store and the other depicted store in Billings, Montana are not the only Simply Mac stores closing and no doubt the signage pictured above will be coming down sooner than later.

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Fruitless 10 Closed Abandoned Apple Stores

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Fearless Girl: Powerful Statue Faces Down Famous Charging Bull of Wall Street

19 Mar

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

fearless womens day statue

Located in the heart of the financial district in New York City, the Charging Bull statue has long been an icon of the industry, but now faces its first opponent: a young girl cast in bronze.

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Sponsored by city officials and a local firm and crafted by sculptor Kristen Visbal, The Fearless Girl was erected in recognition of International Women’s Day. Its intended message is to encourage companies to put women on their boards, but of course it carries a series of meanings in the face of Wall Street and the political climate.

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“One of the most iconic images on Wall Street is the charging bull,” explains a representative of State Street. “So the idea of having a female sort of stand against the bull or stand up to the bull just struck us as a very clever but also creative and engaging way to make that statement. Even though it’s a little girl, her stance is one of determination, forwardness, and being willing to challenge and take on the status quo.”

Whether the statue will stand the test of time remains to be seen, but its persistence would certainly not be without precedent. Per Colossal, the “Charging Bull was originally an act of guerrilla art by Arturo Di Modica, and only became permanent after its soaring popularity, leaving some to wonder if Visbal’s statue could follow the same story.”

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Hovering Tiny Black House Haunts the Woods Under a Railway Bridge

18 Mar

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

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Looking like something out of a creepy fairytale, this little black house hovers in the air beneath the arch of an old railway bridge, a spindly ladder reaching down into the fallen leaves. If you weren’t expecting it to be there and happened upon it while on a walk, you might be a bit shocked to see it seemingly floating in space, its skylights glinting in the sun. From far away, you can’t see how it could possibly be supported, lending it a somewhat supernatural appearance.

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The steel cables that support the structure become apparent as you walk up, and the ladder is usually hidden off to one side, requiring passersby to look around a bit for a way to get up.

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But if you did happen to be brave enough to approach it and climb the ladder, not knowing what you’d find inside, you’d be greeted with a bare-bones but cozy hut from which to survey the surrounding woods, complete with a loft and a wood stove.

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Set in an area that’s 15 minutes walking distance fro the city center of Pardubice, Czech Republic, the installation takes advantage of stark scenery left behind by disused infrastructure, aiming for the feel of a mysterious military complex.

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Created by H3T Architekti and photographed by Maritna Kubesova and Tomas Rasl, ‘Flying Black House’ is a temporary installation daring passersby to give in to their curiosity, even if it makes them feel like the foolish protagonist in a horror movie.

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Geotagger World Atlas: Most Scenic City Routes Mapped Using Photo Data

16 Mar

[ By WebUrbanist in Destinations & Sights & Travel. ]

tokyo

Tapping into geo-tagging data and the collective wisdom of photographers, you can use this interactive tool to follow in the footsteps of those who have mapped out the most beautiful routes through cities. Click to pan and zoom through London below:

Eric Fisher of Mapbox has spent years compiling data from Flickr users, turning their sequential geo-located uploads into paths through urban environments including San Francisco, Beijing, Istanbul and Tokyo.

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The result is the Geotaggers’ World Atlas, a data-driven compendium of paths to take through cities. It is more than just a connection of dots — Fisher’s interactive guides specifically highlight trajectories from one image to the next.

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“It signifies that people went there in the first place,” he says, and “saw something worth taking a picture of, and put the extra effort into posting it online for others to appreciate. And a sequence of photos along a route is even more significant, because it indicates that someone sustained their interest over distance and time rather than taking one picture and turning back.”

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The results are predictable in some cases, tracing lines between major landmarks, but often show side routes off of beaten tourist paths where keen photographers have found fascinating architecture and landscapes worth documenting along their way.

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LEGO-Compatible Tape Lets You Build Gravity-Defying Inception-Style Models

16 Mar

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

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Are plain old LEGO bricks gonna be ruined for you forever now that you’ve seen this flexible, cuttable, reusable LEGO-compatible adhesive tape? ‘Nimuno Loops’ is a crowdfunded creation that comes in rolls so you can stick it onto all kinds of surfaces – including verticals and diagonals – and then use them as a base for your creations. As shown in the product’s promo video, that means you can build gravity-defying structures and cities that practically double back on themselves in the style of the movie Inception.

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Devised by South Africa-based designers Anine Kirsten and Max Basler, Nimuno Loops starts at just $ 11 plus shipping for two rolls or $ 50 for ten rolls, and it’s available in red, blue, gray and green. Not only can you cut it to size, you can create custom shapes with it You can even stick it to your shoes, bikes, water bottles, strollers and anywhere else that might help you distract your kids for two seconds while you try to brush their hair or check your email.

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People are clearly excited about this innovation, obliterating the original Indiegogo funding goal of $ 8,000 to raise $ 743,000 and counting with a full month left on the campaign. It’ll be interesting to see what LEGO artists do with this stuff. How could Nimuno Loops revolutionize your own LEGO creations?

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Urban Off-Grid: 12 Creative Solutions For Self-Sustainability in the City

16 Mar

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

off grid urban main

Off-grid housing is almost always relegated to remote areas due to strict urban building codes and access to affordable land, but sometimes self-contained structures pop up in parks, on rooftops and in canals anyway – or the owners of more conventional city dwellings simply cut the cord. There are already a lot of different ways to go off-grid in the city, most explored by necessity due to poverty, others seeking a more sustainable way of life without giving up community and convenience. From rooftop structures and mobile housing to entirely new self-powered city blocks, these solutions work within cities that already exist rather than envisioning expensive futuristic eco-cities from the ground up.

The Mobiators

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Somewhere between a DIY cabin, a tent and a mobile home, this strange structure by The Mobiation Project travels through Amsterdam, setting up in locations all over the city as a statement about the increasingly broken global economy and damage to the environment. Built by an artist/architect and a carpenter/designer, The Mobi-01 acts as an interactive, inhabitable, ‘open-house’ example of an off-grid structure that can set up virtually anywhere.

Off-Grid Rooftop Penthouse in Canada

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Reclaiming the rooftop space atop urban structures isn’t a new idea, but it’s rare to see them disconnected from the power grid, like this former mechanical room on a 19-floor office building in Edmonton, Canada. Architect Vivian Manasc saw potential in the structure when doing a technical evaluation of the building, and ultimately transformed it into a home for herself. The home horseshoes around an existing elevator core, which warms the space passively, and gets its power from solar panels.

Free Off Grid Camping on a NYC Rooftop

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Bivouac is a pop-up campsite rotating to different rooftop spots around New York City, consisting of little more than six waterproof canvas tents with wooden frames and wool floor mats, a kitchen area with a table, and a small library. There’s no internet, electricity or showers, and you can’t have a campfire, but at least there’s access to a toilet within the building. It’s entirely free, and an interesting concept, though one wonders what this project says about accessing urban spaces when you’re well-off just for fun versus the tent cities created by homeless people who have nowhere else to go.

Off-Grid Urban Block for Dallas, Texas

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What if entire city blocks could be designed to power themselves, built in areas that were previously disused, like former industrial properties or rail yards? Winner of the Re:Vision Dallas competition, ‘Forwarding Dallas’ envisions a complex of living spaces inspired by rolling hills, with vegetation-covered roofs, solar panels, wind turbines, and passive solar louvers covering the building’s glass facades to regulate heat. The block also has its own rooftop water catchment system, a greenhouse, a swimming pool and other communal spaces. The 40,000-square-meter complex could sustainably house 854 people within the space of a typical city block.

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Urban Off Grid 12 Creative Solutions For Self Sustainability In The City

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Simplified DIY: New Tool-Free IKEA Furniture Snaps Together in Minutes

15 Mar

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

wedge joint

Buying a piece of IKEA furniture is generally a bit of a gamble in terms of potential complexity, but these clever joints are designed to radically simplify and speed up the process across the board.

The so-called “wedge dowel” makes it possible to put together wood products without bolts or screws, hex keys or screwdrivers. The ribbed connector and associated slot lets large objects remain flat-packed for shipping then fit together for long-term durability (without any glue or loss in structural integrity).

furniture set

Historically, some IKEA items have come pre-assembled but at a size that makes them hard to transport. Other smaller items can pack flat but demand a dizzying array of little parts and associated tools. This single joint is letting the company replace dozens of metal fittings for certain sizable items.

stockholm cabinet

The company first started using the dowel system in its Stockholm cabinet series (above) as a test, but now plans to roll it out across its furniture lines, moving next to the Lisabo table. What used to take a half hour can now be connected with these wedge joints in three minutes.

dining set

And it is not just a function of assembly: these joints make it easier to take things apart again, making them particularly useful in a day and age where people move frequently for work and other reasons. Some of their furniture lines are expected to adopt the wedge joint entirely.

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Grime in 1:20 Scale: Gritty Dollhouse-Sized Urban Architectural Models

14 Mar

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

urban architectural models

The kind of graffiti-covered, poster-plastered, weathered and visibly aging architecture that once characterized many big cities and has now largely been demolished is recreated in miniature by artist Joshua Smith. Every aspect of Smith’s tiny urban environments is crafted in loving detail, with absolutely nothing overlooked. Photographs of each miniature will make you wish you could examine them in person with a magnifying glass, appreciating the realism in every sidewalk crack, weed, pebble and fallen leaf.

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A dumpster at the Oakland Docks is packed full of tiny trash, some strewn around its base, a plastic bag fluttering on the barbed wire fence behind it. Melbourne’s Liberated X Bookshop and Shoe repairs features some fantastic Bladerunner-inspired wheat pasting, peeling plywood and the world’s tiniest padlocks. Big Bang Fireworks Company, based on 15 Pell Street in New York City’s Chinatown looks like you could slide those windows open and find a tiny family dining inside.

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Based in South Australia, Smith previously worked for sixteen years as a stencil artist, and has now shifted his focus to model-making. The artist recently granted an interview to ArchDaily about his modeling process.

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“The longest build, which was my Kowloon Miniature, took three solid months working on average six to seven days a week and eight to sixteen hour-long days,” says Smith. “I strive to create a reality. I take as many reference photos as possible to mimic every single streak of rust, grime and chipping of stonework. I want viewers to be fooled, if I are a photo of the completed work in sunlight, to think it is the real thing.”

Take a closer look at some high-resolution images at Joshua Smith’s website.

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Green House: 17 Residential Designs Intertwined With Nature

14 Mar

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

water lily house

Replicating parks in the middle of largely-concrete cities or merely connecting tropical homes to the lush vegetation that’s already growing right beyond the walls, these homes integrate living plants, water features and direct access to the sky. Prioritizing a connection with nature – and all the natural daylight that comes along with it – these modern home designs are breezy and bright yet private, often placing their courtyards centrally like secret gardens or building around existing mature trees.

Rattan House, Sun House, Water Lily House, Willow House & Cluny House by Guz Architects

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Has any architecture firm mastered the form of the nature-influenced luxury tropical home quite like Guz Architects? Working primarily in temperate climates like that of Singapore, this firm consistently produces jaw-droopingly beautiful residences full of lushly planted courtyards, green roofs, swimming pools that transition into seemingly natural decorative water features, living trees and lots of blurred lines between indoors and out. For example, the center of Cluny House is a generous fish pond filled with tiny tree-covered islands overlooking a lap pool. Willow House features a ground-level reflecting pool with glass walls to make water a more visual element of the home, with greenery dripping down from the edges of the terrace above.

Jardins House by CR2 Arquitetura

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The fittingly named Jardins House by CR2 Arquitetura is an oasis in the middle of a city, replacing an industrial building. The architects created a series of voids within the structure to house gardens that would be naturally illuminated from above without compromising the privacy of the residents.

Mirante House by FGMF Arquitetos, Brazil

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Every sightline in Mirante House by FGMF Arquitetos is directed through the glass to the valley below, with an open scheme of interior spaces divided by transparent walls. Nature seems to invade the home at every turn, with planter boxes installed in every space and most rooms looking down onto the central courtyard.

Living Garden House by KWK Promes

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While glassed-in ground floors connected to the outdoors aren’t unusual in tropical settings, this home by KWK Promes uses the scheme a little differently. Rather than opening onto swimming pools or courtyards, the glass room at the base of the home is part of the lawn, so residents can feel like they’re still lounging in the warm grass even in the middle of winter. The glazing opens this lounge to the open air when desired. The home consists of two volumes, one essentially cantilevered over the other (supported by this glass room) while the street-facing facades are nothing but brick for privacy.

Sunken Pavilion by Act Romegialli

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Take the steps on the lawn or navigate a subterranean tunnel to access an enclosed swimming pool and gym from the original home in this addition by Act_Romegialli. The swimming pool structure is essentially sunken into the ground with its glassed facade peeking out at an artificial pond full of water lilies. This keeps the structure naturally cool and focuses views on nature rather than neighbors.

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Green House 17 Residential Designs Intertwined With Nature

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