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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Ghostly Garden: Classical Wire Mesh Architecture Haunts Abu Dhabi

20 May

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

Seeming like a ghostly image of structures long gone overlaid onto the current reality, these wire mesh architectural creations arch over 75,000 square feet of event space in Abu Dhabi. The way the mesh shifts between transparency and opacity depending on how it’s layered, paired with its grid pattern, gives it the look of a light-based projection, yet it’s physical and three-dimensional, crafted in full-scale skeletal form to suggest structures rather than bring them to fruition.

Artist Edoardo Tresoldi previously resurrected an ancient church in Puglia, Italy that had been destroyed by earthquakes in the 13th century right where it once stood, allowing visitors to get a sense of how the structure interacts with the site before and after its demise. This time, Tresoldi sculpts a whole series of architectural sculptures, along with flying birds and cubes that hang suspended in midair.

The Abu Dhabi installation acts as a decorative tableau for a royal event attended by 1,900 guests from all over the Middle East, and took three months to complete, representing the artist’s first time creating a large installation for an indoor space. After the event, some of the structures will be moved and reassembled in public places across the UAE capital, including museums, parks and universities.

Many of these forms are reminiscent of previous Tresoldi works, including an archway used on a fashion runway, and a caged bird. Tresoldi creates figurative wire mesh sculptures, as well. You can see the evolution of his process at his Behance profile.

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

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Free Castles & Villas: Italy is Giving Away Over 100 Historic Properties

19 May

[ By WebUrbanist in Boutique & Art Hotels & Travel. ]

Anyone who has dreamed of retiring from the rat race to run a grand estate hotel, rural farmhouse bed and breakfast, quaint inn or remote monastery spa could see their wish come true in this unprecedented giveaway from the Italian government.

As part of its Strategic Tourist Plan, Italy is offering up 103 historic sites to those with the will and means to renovate them back into use for tourism purposes. And this is just the initial offering: 200 more are slated to be given away over the coming years.

The State Property Agency and Ministry of Cultural Heritage are leading the project, aiming to draw visitors to beautiful areas with currently disused architecture. In some cases, a lot of work is needed, but that’s the nature of centuries-old structures.

State employee Roberto Reggi says “The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector. The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists.”

The country has previously auctioned off historic properties, including dozens of lighthouses, with similar goals in mind, but this time they are making it all free, banking on the long-term prospects of the renovations to raise funds for local businesses and the national economy (via Inhabitat).

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The Sky’s The Limit: 14 Promising New Advancements in Solar Power

18 May

[ By SA Rogers in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

Even while it feels like certain things are moving backward, efforts to power the world with solar energy instead of fossil fuels continue to reach for the sky, innovating advancements that make a renewable future more achievable. Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles are about to become commercially available, flexible solar panels are cheaper and more efficient than ever, we’re several steps closer to transparent solar power-producing windows and there’s even a product so thin and tiny it’s called ‘solar glitter.’

Solar Blinds by SolarGap

Designed with apartment-dwellers in mind, these smart solar blinds are inexpensive, easy to install, and work best when the blinds are open. If you have a window that gets a little too sunny at some point in the day, these could be an ideal gadget to reduce your electricity costs by up to 70 percent. They work best on the outside of your window, producing up to 100 watts of electricity, which is enough for one window to charge your laptop. You can use a smart app to control the blinds and monitor how much power they’re producing.

Plug and Play Smart Flower Solar Device

The Smart Flower features solar panel ‘petals’ that unfurl at sunrise, automatically directing themselves toward the sun and continuing to move throughout the day for optimal placement to produce 40 percent more energy than a static solar panel setup. Taking its inspiration from the shape of a sunflower, the smartflowerPOP will juice you up with 3,400 to 6,300 KWH per year.

World’s Largest Solar Storage Facility Works 24/7

Tesla and SolarCity opened a 13 MW solar far in Kauai, Hawaii featuring 54,978 solar panels and a 52 MWh battery bank, large enough to run twenty-four hours a day and provide up to 44 percent of the island’s power, compared to its 92 percent dependence on fossil fuel in 2011.

Wattway: The World’s First Solar Panel Road

There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of a solar panel roadway, the first and foremost being that integrating an emerging technology into infrastructure may not be the best idea for long-term success. Solar power is rapidly changing, and the tech used for France’s ‘Wattway’ and similar projects will likely soon be obsolete, not to mention the probability of the panels being damaged. But The idea could still have weight for some applications, and Wattway is expected to generate 280MWh per year.

Solar Glitter Can Make Almost Anything Solar-Powered

An innovation called Dragon SCALEs by Sandia National Laboratories acts like solar glitter, shrinking solar panels down to tiny, flexible snowflake-inspired cells that could theoretically be applied to just about anything. Making use of recent advancements in micro design and micro fabrication, the panels can be folded like paper, rapidly and cheaply installed, and turn just about any object into a solar power generator.

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The Skys The Limit 14 Promising New Advancements In Solar Power

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City Hack: Cyclists Create DIY Bike Lane with 120 Glued-On Plungers

18 May

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Guerilla Ads & Marketing. ]

When the government fails to meet the needs of its citizens, the citizens will go around them and produce their own solutions, whether they’re legal or not. That might mean occupying an alleyway with temporary housing, using cheap materials to create new public seating and other street furniture, or turning a disused city square into a park. In the Omaha neighborhood of Aksarben this week, it meant cyclists rounding up 120 toilet plungers and transforming them into a DIY bike lane barricade on one of the city’s more dangerous streets.

The group, calling itself PSA, or Plungers for Safer Aksarben, wrapped the plungers’ handles with reflective tape and glued them to the street without asking permission from the city. They knew their installation wouldn’t stay up forever, but hoped it would remain in place for at least 36 hours to call attention to a growing problem, since this bike lane has been the site of multiple accidents. City workers came by to take them down after just three hours.

Todd Pfitzer, the deputy director for transportation for the city of Omaha, told KETV “You just can’t decide one day to go out and do something on a public street, which is owned by taxpayers, that could create a dangerous situation without at least working with Public Works and getting a permit for it.” But he also said the city wouldn’t have approved a permit anyway.

Well, actually, Todd, you can do that, if the city fails to take necessary action. Just ask your fellow Midwestern city of Wichita, Kansas. Members of a tactical urbanism group calling themselves the Yellowbrick Street Team installed their own makeshift bike lane safety barricade using plungers, reflective tape and masonry adhesive back in March with the same goal, and city officials ultimately agreed that a more permanent solution was needed. Since then, they put up real barriers in the plungers’ place.

Images via the Omaha World-Herald, Todd Ramsay and Jaime Green of The Wichita Eagle

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Ship & Swim: Mobile Cargo Container Pool & On-Demand Hot Tub for Homes

17 May

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

More stable and versatile than a typical temporary above-ground pool and less likely to tank your home real estate value than a built-in one, this modular plug-and-play swimming pool is the best of both worlds.

Developed by Canadian company Modpools, these converted shipping containers measure 8 by 20 feet (or 8 by 40), can be used year-round and can be converted for use as a hot tub on demand (via a segmenting module).

Using the relatively light but sturdy shape of the container as a framework, these pools can be lifted and loaded onto trucks and trains (just like any other inter-modal unit). They can also be plugged in and set to go in minutes, then rearranged on a lot should a resident decide to expand their existing home or reconfigure their yard.

Historically, having a carved-out backyard pool has been known to actually reduce real estate values, leading many homeowners to fill theirs in before putting a house up for sale. With this solution, the pool can simply be relocated to a new residence or resold and used somewhere else.

Currently priced around $ 27,000 they don’t come cheap, but offer correspondingly more flexibility — the twice-as-long 40-footer is also not much more expensive at $ 35,000 for those with the space.

The pools come with bonus technology features, too, like the ability to control the lighting and heating remotely, letting users crank up the warmth while on the way home to take a swim in the pool or a soak in the hot tub.

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Trainspotting Hotel: Stacked Shipping Containers Overlook the Rail Tracks

16 May

[ By SA Rogers in Boutique & Art Hotels & Travel. ]

The phrase ‘Trainspotting Hotel’ probably doesn’t conjure visions of a cozy, comfortable and safe place to lay your head at night, but this hotel gets its nickname from its location overlooking rail tracks rather than anything relating to the heroin-charged cult classic film. Obviously, that’s a good thing for guests who want to enjoy a peaceful getaway on the Elbe River near the town of Litomerice, Czech Republic at this unusual pop-up structure by Artikul Architects. 

The hotel is comprised of just three shipping containers, with one forty-foot crate stacked atop two twenty-foot crates in a perpendicular arrangement to create a covered space underneath. The two ground-floor containers house the bathrooms, storage and one of the guest rooms, while four more guest accommodations are set into the top layer.

The client commissioned Artikul to produce a modular design that can be easily taken apart and moved when desired, and would have a light footprint on the land. The hotel has its own built-in water reservoir for the showers and sinks, and utilizes waterless toilets, and the bedrooms are compact but warm and welcoming, fitted with bunk beds and lined with birch plywood.

Artikul is known for producing sustainable structures, so it’s no surprise that they did something creative using recycled and natural materials. Barely any modification to the containers was necessary, preserving the ability to load them onto a truck. The top container is sheathed in reclaimed wood and features a terrace and awning so guests can hang out in the open air and enjoy the views.

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Architecture in Miniature: 13 Modern Dollhouse & Other Tiny Buildings

15 May

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

Fit for the most discerning fans of modern architecture, these dollhouses and other miniature architectural creations feature tiny moving parts, high-end designer furniture, swimming pools, built-in lighting and other fun details, rendered in astonishing realism. You’ll almost wish you could shrink yourself small enough to tour their often-fantastical layouts, which range from the luxurious to the gritty.

Flipped Structures & Tiny Towers by Takahiro Iwasaki

Japanese artist Takahiro Iwasaki makes mirrored wood architectural models and tiny towers made of toothbrush bristles, both in ongoing series inspired by the structures commonly found in Japan. The artist says ‘Reflection Model’ is meant to show that everything can become vastly different depending on your perspective.

Urban Utility Buildings by EVOL

Grimy rectilinear urban objects become weathered, aging apartment buildings in the hands of street artist EVOL, who uses cardboard, stencils and spray paint to transform them into micro cities.

Architectural Furniture by Ted Lott

Wooden stools and chairs act as the structural basis for tiny timber-frame buildings by artist Ted Lott. Using found furniture and pine, the artist re-contextualizes stick frame construction, adapting it to the curves of the base object in works that are remarkably skeletal.

Hyperrealistic Architectural Models by Joshua Smith

Every last detail on Joshua Smith’s incredible architectural models looks aged, weathered and utterly realistic, from peeling paint and stained awnings to graffiti and posters wheat pasted onto the walls. The artist finds real-life urban buildings to use as a starting point and crafts everything from trash bags in a dumpster to Chinese takeout on tiny rooftop dining tables, from the restaurant on the bottom floor.

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Architecture In Miniature 13 Modern Dollhouse Other Tiny Buildings

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Flat-Pack Life Support: NASA’s Inflatable Hydroponic Space Greenhouse

15 May

[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

A key development in the quest to create sustainable ecosystems in space, this expandable greenhouse prototype aims to generate essential food and oxygen for long-term astronaut travel.

Recently, Peggy Whitson broke the record for longest stay in space (534 days) and astronauts have started growing their own vegetables on the International Space Station. This collapsible growing unit aims to take things to the next level, enabling longer-term settlements on places including the moon and Mars.

Developed by NASA and agricultural researchers at the University of Arizona, the test unit spans 7 by 18 feet. Its primary functions: convert carbon dioxide from crew, support plant photosynthesis. This bio-regenerative approach to life support is an essential system for recycling scarce resources off-planet.

It also takes its queues directly from our own world: “We’re mimicking what the plants would have if they were on Earth, and using of these processes for life support. The entire system of the lunar greenhouse does represent, in a small way, the biological systems that are here on earth.”

But a big trick to the design is simply its portability: materials take up space, so engineering minimal frameworks that will work when the system is expanded is critical to getting space greenhouses into (and out of) orbit in the first place.

Meanwhile, on the ISS, astronauts continue to grow (and consume) plants outside of Earth’s normal gravity, paving the way for a better understanding of how agriculture will really work off-planet in the future.

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Cookin’ With Gas: 12 Abandoned Food Trucks

15 May

[ By Steve in Culture & History & Travel. ]

Food trucks and snack vans are mobile kitchens that offer meals on wheels to busy folks on the go… until the day they break down and are left abandoned.

Food trucks are specialized vehicles that aren’t easily un-specialized – especially by owners who presumably have fallen on hard times. Sometimes the only thing to do is abandon the chewed-up hulk in a field somewhere. In the case of the former “Mr. Food Go Go!”, that field is situated in Ravenhall, just west of Melbourne, Australia, and it’s brought to us by Flickr user Ken O’Toole (KENO Photography).

Riddle Me This

In the Old West, cowboys saddled with a terminally ill or mortally wounded horse would “take it behind the barn and shoot it”. Times have changed but it seems were still shooting our meal tickets, for example this rough & ravaged former food truck parked permanently in driest West Texas. Flickr user food shark gets the “credit” for snapping the bullet-riddled step van above on April 18th of 2008 near Chinati Hot Springs.

Gratefully Dead

Tired old VW Microbuses are fetching big bucks on the collector car market these days but this particular trippy hippie transport looks to be far too er, wasted for that. At least it lived out its last days doing what most minibuses dream of: serving up natural non-poisonous vittles to a new generation of Deadheads. Flickr user travelr16 caught up with the busted bus on April 3rd, 2011 on the campus of abandoned St Mary’s College near Ellicott City, Maryland.

Sailing Into The Sunset

“Sales are slow,” states Flickr user Alan (sunset sailor) of the above land-locked former burgermobile. Judging from his user name, this would appear to be his very own retired rolling fast-food emporium. The truck looks to be in respectable shape, at least compared to some of our other examples, though it’s in danger of being swallowed whole by the steadily encroaching vegetation. Sean Spicer, are you in there?

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Cookin With Gas 12 Abandoned Food Trucks

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Dirty Car & Truck Art: Moscow Street Artist Adds Critters to Filthy Vehicles

14 May

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

Massive deep sea monsters, jungle predators and swamp creatures lurk in the grimey shadows on the backs of trucks, thanks to interventions by illustrator Nikita Golubev. Most of the featured critters are of the potentially creepy variety, including a deep-sea angler fish, octopus, shark, alligator, lion, owl and orangutan.

Based in Russia, the artist works on cars sometimes as well, but finds the broad doors and long sides on larger vehicles particularly inviting as blank canvasses for light-on-dark works of art.

As a subtractive strategy, there is less risk associated with these impermanent pieces as well — at worst, some truck driver may be less than amused to find their dirty vehicle highlighted in such a way.

Reverse graffiti is nothing new, but most artists who work in that vein operate at smaller scales, cleaning up sections of door and rear windows rather than tall trucks. Naturally, these pieces are all temporary, destined to come off in the wash or rinse out in the rain (but live on in photographs).

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