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Posts Tagged ‘Designs’

Not Your Dive Bar’s Pool Table: 13 Modern Game Furniture Designs

12 Oct

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

Most game furniture looks like it belongs in a musty basement smelling of spilled beer and body odor, but high end tables for billiards, foosball, ping pong, shuffleboard and other popular indoor games are made to fit right into luxury environments, sometimes even complete with plated gold details. Some are even works of art in their own right, doubling as sculpture, while others bring games that haven’t changed much in decades a little more firmly into the current century.

Ping Pong FM Interactive Table Tennis Jukebox

This ‘fun musical take’ on table tennis by English designer Mark Wheeler lets you choose a song to set the tempo of your game, and the song only keeps playing as long as you manage to keep the ball in play. Drop it, and your game is over. “Usually music listening experiences are strictly about being as true to the original recording as possible. But why can’t listening to a record be as playful and interactive as a live performance?” says Wheeler.

Luxury Game Tables by Adriano Design

A gold-plated crystalline foosball table is among the ‘luxury’ game options offered by Adriano Design, an Italian-based company operating as both ‘Calma e Gesso’ and ‘TECKELL.’ The Cristallino comes complete with 24-karat-gold plated players – because what else would the owner of a $ 10 million estate put in their game room? Other offerings include the ‘Filotto’ pool table and the Lungolinea ping pong table, all made in the company’s signature crystal-clear glass. They even produce child-sized ‘Angolo’ foosball table models for kids, which spare no stylish details.

Isamu Noguchi Chess Table

Considered a seminal work of early organic modernism, Isamu Noguchi’s chess table is technically a functional sculpture, presented along with a set of game pieces Noguchi also designed. It debuted at ‘The Imagery of Chess’ in 1944, a show organized by Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst. The table was put into production in 1947, but only a few dozen examples exist. One was auctioned in Los Angeles in 2016, selling for over $ 100,000.

Woolsey Shuffleboard Table by Sean Woolsey

Long, narrow and sleek, the Woolsey Shuffleboard Table by designer Sean Woolsey features a rift-sawn white oak top finished with epoxy resin and solid black walnut legs, which hide leg levelers. The table comes with 4 white and 4 black pucks, lots of shuffleboard salt and a magnetic wall mount for the pucks when not in use. Prices, unsurprisingly, start at $ 10K.

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Houses to Human Hearts: 13 Recent Breakthroughs in 3D-Printed Designs

03 Oct

[ By SA Rogers in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

When 3D printers are widely accessible and affordable, will we see another industrial revolution, enabling us to manufacture just about everything we need on demand? Progress made in 3D printing thus far looks promising. Designers, engineers, architects and even novices are printing everything from fully functional human hearts and custom biodegradable shoes to full-scale architecture and bicycle bridges. One designer even printed himself a large-format camera based on three models he couldn’t afford.

Beating Artificial Heart

Created by researchers at ETH Zürich, this 3D-printed silicone heart beats almost like a real one, and though it’s not yet considered a viable long-term replacement, it can help keep a patient’s blood flowing while they’re waiting for a donor organ. Right now, the material can only withstand about 45 minutes of usage, but the team sees it as a proof of concept showing a way forward for artificial hearts in the future.

Ceramic Constellation Pavilion

Made entirely of 3D-printed terra-cotta bricks with a unique shape that allows them to slot together without conventional brick bonding techniques, ‘Ceramic Constellation Pavilion’ gives us a glimpse at what we might be able to achieve with 3D-printed architecture in the decades to come. The structure was created by the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Architecture along with Sino Group. “In a context that has largely been shaped by standardization and mass production, the project seeks to overcome the constraints of today’s architectural production through the introduction of a structure made entirely of non-standard components.”

Robotic Sign Language Arm

Shortages of sign language interpreters internationally (and the difficulty of finding one on the spot) led the students behind Project Aslan to seek better ways to bridge the communication gap between the hearing and deaf communities. This robotic sign language hand is one result, using 3D printing to make it more affordable and easy to build. The robot receives information from a local network to activate its joints, allowing it to interpret written language into sign language. It’s not meant to replace human interpreters, but rather step in when they aren’t available, and can be used to teach sign language, too.

Digital Grotesque II 3D-Printed Grotto

Designed entirely by algorithms, ‘Digital Grotesque II’ is a 3D-printed pavilion made of 7 tons of printed sandstone, with an incredible 1.35 billion surfaces. It’s another look at how we could achieve unprecedented complexities, porosities and spatial depth in future architecture using 3D printing and other new methods of fabrication as robotics become more accessible.

Flying Iron Man Suit

Considering the optimism and rapid rate of progress in the 20th century, many of us expected to have cooler toys by now. Are we finally about to get a suit that lets us fly? Kind of. The Iron Man suit by Gravity Industries is set to be 3D printed in metal, with six miniature jet engines mounted to the arms and back for vertical takeoff and flight. However, it’ll literally take an Iron Man to wear the thing, as it takes enormous strength to control the jets. The suit itself weights up to 90 pounds.

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Concrete Like You’ve Never Seen It: 15 Unexpected Furniture & Object Designs

21 Sep

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

Concrete might typically be cold, hard, impersonal and impermeable, but treat it right and it’ll soften right up into surprisingly comfortable, accessible and usable everyday items, from pens and iPhone skins to rocking chairs and squishy-looking seating. Cast it from pillowy molds, 3D-print it in squiggles, brush it onto highly detailed objects, impregnate it into textiles or imprint it with delicate textures and you’ll have objects full of intriguing contradictions.

Concrete 3D Printer Enables Innovation

This 3D printer by Dutch company ROHACO spits out concrete in all manner of shapes, even squiggly lines, through a swivel head attached to a hose from a concrete mixer. Not only does this enable concrete to take unprecedented forms, it makes it possible to 3D print entire homes unsupervised, with the kinds of curves and details that would normally take an extraordinary amount of work.

3D-Printed Concrete Canoe

3D printing with concrete makes it possible to produce things like the skelETHon 3D printed concrete canoe, which won first place at the 16th Concrete Canoe Regatta competition in Germany. That’s right, it’s not even the first canoe to be made from concrete! The inner frame of this one is made of concrete reinforced with stiff steel fibers, while the shell is a two- to three-millimeter-thick waterproof concrete skin.

Concrete & Canvas Seating

These objects are a bit of a contradiction: simultaneously appearing soft and hard. That’s because they’re both, technically. ‘Fabric’ is an outdoor seating collection by Miriam Estévez, wherein soft fabric poufs are soaked in a liquid concrete and allowed to dry in order to create a surprisingly strong, durable, waterproof result.

Traditional Chair Covered in Concrete

You might imagine that someone took a mold of a traditional chair and then cast it with solid concrete, producing the detailed form you see before you. The truth is actually much simpler. Bentu Design teamed up with Guangzhou fine arts students to carefully cover an existing chair with concrete mixture, making sure to preserve every detail, from the scallops along the wooden frame at the top to each individual upholstery nail.

Delicate Persian & Islamic Patterned Tables

Concrete doesn’t take on the adjective ‘delicate’ easily, but every now and then, something qualifies. This disc-shaped tabletop, just a few millimeters thick, balances on the neck of a water-filled jug to form a beautiful recycled coffee table. Milan-based design studio Daevas printed the top with a traditional Persian pattern.

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A Few Steps Higher: 14 Unusually Artistic Modern Staircase Designs

11 Sep

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

Stairs are inherently utilitarian, but some architects choose to really step up their interiors with highly sculptural designs that make you want to walk up and down a bunch of times. Cantilevered creations, floating stairs, spirals made of stone and zig-zagging graphic designs add both literal and figurative movement to these apartments, museums, offices and shops.

Stone and Wire in London by Groupwork + Amin Taha

During the completion of a renovation on a terraced house in central London dating to the 1950s, Groupwork + Amin Taha created a gorgeous centerpiece with this stone staircase, spiraling around a central cylinder-shaped wire cage, which acts as a balustrade. The load-bearing cantilevered travertine staircase extends from the basement to a skylight in the apartment’s roof.

Atrium Stairs at Moscow’s Dominion Office Building by Zaha Hadid

There’s something very futuristic-looking about the stark, graphic black-and-white stairs zig-zagging through the atrium of Zaha Hadid’s ‘Dominion Office Building.’ Each level is slightly offset from the next, producing a disorienting effect when looking down at the stairs from the edge of any of the balconies.

Mirrored Staircase at Kaleidoscope House by Paul Raff Studio

Sometimes, all it takes is a little creativity to produce a stunning effect, rather than a large space and expensive materials. The staircase ascending through Paul Raff Studio’s Kaleidoscope House features mirrored side panels on the balustrade which continue onto the landings of each level, reflecting each other so you can’t quite tell what’s real and what’s reflection. This piece is the heart of the home’s ‘kaleidoscope effect.’

Plywood Puzzle Stairs in London House by Tsuruta Architects

This staircase in a London Home renovated by Tsuruta Architects consists of nearly 2,000 plywood pieces slotted together like a puzzle. Replacing a larger staircase with a more compact design, this new creation connects all four stories without visually obstructing the transitional spaces between them, allowing light to filter through.

Smooth Staircase at Singapore Apple Store by Foster + Partners

It’s not unusual for Apple stores in larger cities to function as showcases for architecture nearly as much as they do for electronics. In this case, internationally renowned firm Foster + Partners augmented “the greenest Apple space yet” with two hand-carved spiraling staircases made of Italian Castagna Stone. The architects describe them as “warm and beautifully sculpted bookends” in an “homage to craftsmanship and materiality.”

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A Few Steps Higher 14 Unusually Artistic Modern Staircase Designs

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Cellular Urbanism: Analyzing the Anatomy of Functional City Block Designs

30 Aug

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

We all understand intuitively that different urban layouts lead to different kinds of cities, but a new book analyzes these on a block-to-block basis to illustrate how this civic anatomy works on a cellular level. In Urban Being: Anatomy & Identity of the City, Robin Renner uses anatomical-style classifications to look at urban landscapes through a kind of giant microscope.

Overlaying use patterns and transit networks, the reader begins to understand what types of urban “cells” make for functional built environments. Think of it like genome sequencing: through it, planners and architects can learn how to identify problems and, in some cases, address them or head them off in advance.

A combination of topography, transportation networks and design ambitions go a long way toward shaping cells in global cities, forming grids and networks familiar from satellite views of cities. All this in turn shapes the kinds of buildings and functions one finds within a given city.

At the most basic level there are “block cells” made up of arterial routes — these tend to be packed with activity, though specific functions vary on long and short sides of a block (shorter are often busier). These are often found in financial centers of major metropolitan areas.

There are also “linear cells” where two single-direction roads pass one another, which can form the basis of walkable commercial hubs.

Inside “central cells,” where traffic is pushed to the periphery, pedestrians can dominate, generating demand for things like stores and restaurants. Barcelona, for instance, has been implementing a plan to turn sets of blocks into single superblocks, leaving central zones free of cars.

In the process of analyzing all of these types and how they work together in neighborhoods, Renner has devised some rules of thumb, like: residential cells should be between 1200 and 2400 feet across. Industrial cells, which often grow up around transit routes (railroads, rivers and lakes) can grow too big and isolated unless located close to worker housing or connected via public transit. These kinds of decisions, says Renner, can help cities keep a healthy balance of livability and functionality.

“There is a long tradition of comparing cities with organisms as they have similarities in their anatomy, explains the author. “But since cities are brought into life by the presence of people, they are less living beings than urban beings with their own identity. This is based on the behaviors, needs and requirements of the residents. In other words, the anatomy of the city informs its identity.”

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New gear and impressions: Peak Design’s ‘Leash’ shoulder and ‘Cuff’ wrist strap

10 Aug
The new Peak Design Cuff in the ‘ash’ color (top) and new Peak Design Leash in the ‘black on black’ color (bottom). The addition of metal hardware to both these products is a major part of the update, though I personal prefer plastic hardware because it won’t scratch my camera.

I’ve long admired Peak Design products because they offer an elegant and simple solution to the chore that is removing and replacing one’s camera strap, something I do a lot of working at DPReview.

The ‘secret sauce’ of the Peak Design system is what the company calls ‘Anchor Links,’ which are small loops of incredibly strong cord connected to a circular plastic anchor. The cord threads through a camera’s eyelet and the anchor attaches to a Peak Design shoulder or wrist strap.

The company’s Leash (camera strap) and Cuff (wrist strap) have been available for a while, but this update should offer some nice improvements to two already well-thought-out products.

What’s new

  • Both products have been re-worked for a more low profile design, and feature machine anodized aluminum hardware. The strap portion is still made out of ultra strong seatbelt-style nylon.
  • The Anchor Links have also been redesigned: The cord portion has been reduced to half the thickness for easier threading through narrow eyelets, but still holds up to 200 lbs like the older anchors. The plastic portion of the anchor is now angled for easier connecting.
  • A new aluminum anchor mount (included with leash) can be connected to a tripod socket allowing you to wear your camera more comfortably as a sling.
  • The updated Leash gains a second length adjuster. The hardware for the adjuster is now made of aluminum instead of plastic, and the adjuster has a leather strip for easy access.
  • The Cuff gains a new aluminum adjustment mechanism. There’s also a built in magnet in the leather portion of the strap for storing as a bracelet when a camera is not attached.
  • New color options: In addition to ‘black on black’, there is now an ‘ash’ color option which features tan leather accents and silver aluminum.

Impressions: the Leash

The new and improved Leash, in use. To remove the strap, simply press on the circular portion of the anchor and slide it up.

In my seven or so years writing about cameras, it brings a small tear to my eye to think about the cumulative hours spent fumbling to remove and replace camera straps. If only I’d started using Peak Design accessories sooner.

I’ve been using the updated version of the Leash for about a month now as my primary camera-reviewing strap and it’s largely been a good experience. Peak Design sent several of their new Anchor Links along with the review samples and I’ve been able to keep them on the different cameras I’ve been juggling. The Leash ships with four of these little connectors, and an additional 4 will set you back $ 20.

The old Anchor Links (left) and the newly-designed ones. Both have the same weight limit.

As mentioned above, the Anchor Links have been redesigned to play nice with narrow eyelets. Still, I ran into several occasions in which I struggled to affix them to certain cameras. Ultimately with the help of a push pin, I found success.

Back to the strap itself: I’m quite fond of the width of the Leash. Thick straps tend to get in my way and irritate my neck. And the nylon material of the Leash seems reassuringly strong.

That said, in general I found the strap too slippery. Sometimes I like to bike with a camera slung around my back. I could not do this with the Leash because my camera kept sliding forward. Simply put, the Leash could definitely benefit from some sort of grip or padding.

It’s nice to have two points of adjustment though (the previous version had one). However I can’t help but feel like the leather strip connected to the buckle – meant for easy adjustments – is over-engineered. Grabbing the buckle alone seems like an adequate method of adjusting. Furthermore, the leather strip makes loosening the strap easy, but tightening the strap is another story.

After a fair trial, I do not think I would purchase a Leash to use on my personal camera. More likely: I will consider Frankenstein-ing my current leather strap to use Peak Design’s Anchor Links and Strap Connectors for easy removable.

Impressions: the Cuff

I had less opportunity to try out the Cuff (I’ve been testing cameras too large to warrant a wrist strap), but I did spend a little time with it on a Ricoh GR as well as a Leica M6. And my impressions of it are almost entirely positive.

The leather portion of the Cuff hides a small magnet that can be moved up around. Why? So that when you are not using the Cuff, you can easily store it out of the way as a bracelet. The Cuff also features a new aluminum adjuster. It simply slides up and down, but works as intended.

When not using the Cuff, it can be folded up and worn like a bracelet. This keeps it out of the way, but at hand, until it is needed again.

One issue I did encounter while testing the Cuff is the nylon loop on the Anchor Links can feel too short, forcing you to grip the Anchor Connector along with the camera (see image below). Peak Design, if you are reading this, pretty please offer an Anchor Link with a longer cord.

I wish the cord on the Anchor Links were longer to avoid getting in the way of gripping the camera.

The Cuff may be a tad overkill for a camera as small and light as the Ricoh GR (shown above) but proved appropriate for shooting with a Leica M6 + 40mm Rokkor combo. It also looked darn nice attached to the latter.

Conclusion

Overall, as far as quick attaching strap systems go, I’ve yet to find one I like better. Both of these products are well-made and seem both reliable and durable. Though there are aspects of the Leash I still feel could be improved upon, the Cuff is one of the best-engineered and nicest-looking wrist straps I’ve used.

Overall, as far as quick attaching strap systems go, I’ve yet to find one I prefer more. Both these products are well-made and seem both reliable and durable.

The original Leash and Cuff retailed for $ 20 and $ 35 respectably. The new versions are $ 30 and $ 40. For a decent camera strap, $ 40 does not strike me as outrageous, but $ 30 for a wrist strap is certainly on the pricey side. Ultimately, I think I could justify the latter purchase, because there really isn’t any wrist strap quite like the updated Leash (especially the magnet bit). And the ‘ash’ color option sure looks fly. I’ll probably skip the Leash though.

What I like about the system:

  • Peak Design’s Anchor Links make it simple to remove and replace a strap
  • The cord portion of the Anchor Links is now narrower than before for cameras with small eyelets
  • New ‘Ash’ colorway is quite sharp-looking

What I didn’t like about the system:

  • Metal hardware on a shoulder/wrist strap can scratch your camera
  • The loop on Anchors Link is too short, gets in the way of gripping some cameras
I am not a fan of the new easy-grip strap adjusters on the Leash. They make it easy to loosen to the strap but difficult to tighten it.

What I like about the Leash:

  • Narrow strap with mostly low-profile design stays out of the way when shooting
  • Two strap adjustments points

What I didn’t like about the Leash:

  • Leash has has no grip to stop it from sliding or padding for shoulder
  • Leash quick adjusters feel over-engineered and have difficult time tightening the strap
The Cuff in ‘ash’ has a classy look.

What I like about the Cuff:

  • Movable magnet in Cuff is a nice touch, makes it easy to store wrist strap as bracelet when not in use
  • New strap adjuster is simple but effective way to tighten or loosen the Cuff

What I didn’t like about the Cuff:

  • $ 30 is a tad pricey for a wrist strap

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Art of Wearable Tech: 10 Fashionable Designs Help with Fun, Sex & Self-Defense

03 Aug

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

Not all wearable tech has to be a tiny smartphone on your wrist or a device that tracks how many steps you’ve taken – it can also record your memories as you see them, visibly react to your emotions, flirt with people on your behalf, warn others they’re invading your personal space or even measure your sexual performance. These unconventional wearables are also a little less dorky than usual, aiming to blend fashion and technology in a way that’s exciting,  beautiful and sometimes strange.

Robotic Jewelry by MIT Media Lab

What look, at first, like jewels or little bulbous decorative accents on a blouse suddenly start crawling around like they’ve got minds of their own. ‘Kino’ is a collection of ‘living’ jewelry from MIT Media Lab, designed to reconfigure itself in response to environmental conditions. “It is our vision that in the future, these robots will be miniaturized to the extend that they can be seamlessly integrated into existing practices of body ornamentation. With the addition of kinetic capabilities, traditionally static jewelry and accessories will start displaying life-like qualities, learning, shifting, and reconfiguring to the needs and prefereces of the wearer, also assisting in fluid presentation of self.”

Lumoscura Smog Mask by Stephanie Liu

Dazzling fiber optics inspired by shimmering white peacock feathers make the need to wear a smog mask at least a little bit more fashionable. Says designer Stephanie Liu, “Masks have always been associated with disease, fear and negativity. Some wear it in public to hide their identities, in reality it attracts attention and can generate fear and stress amongst those in their immediate surroundings. As air pollution becomes more and more of an issue in many countries, people have begun to surrender to wearing a mask for the sake of their health, however there are still a lot of people who do not wear masks for many reasons – the top three being unattractive, uncomfortable and repelling people.”

Smart Self-Defense Spider Dress by Anouk Wipprecht

People might be less likely to mess with you if the mechanical spider you’re wearing as a dress makes a sudden move. That’s the idea behind the Smart Spider Dress by Anouk Wipprecht, powered by Intel Edison. The legs of the spider constantly move, reacting to the wearer’s real-time biometrics as well as violations of social norms, like when someone invades their personal space. “Since the system based with mechanic spider legs is literally hosted on the shoulders of the wearer and attacks using the same viewing angle as the wearer, the system knows how you feel and adapts to those feelings,” says Wipprecht.

MIT Duoskin Temporary Electrical Tattoos

Anyone can create functional devices directly attached to their skin, including lights and controls for mobile devices, using an electricity-conducting gold leaf paint in a fun design that makes it look like a metallic tattoo. “We believe that in the future, on-skin electronics will no longer be black-boxed and mystified; instead they will converge toward user friendliness, extensibility, and aesthetics of body decorations, forming a DuoSkin integrated to the extent that it has seemingly disappeared,” says MIT, who refer to the project as ‘digital skin jewelry.’

i.Con Smart Condom Ring Measures Performance

No more boasting about your performance using inaccurate figures. The i.Con smart condom ring by British Condoms will know exactly how long you last, how many positions you used, ‘velocity of thrusts,’ ‘girth’ and other data, sending the information straight to your smartphone via bluetooth. One positive of this technology is, it can give users a way to measure improvement if their data is disappointing and they want to work on things. But perhaps even more valuable is the fact that the wearable comes with an ‘antibodies filter’ to detect the presence of sexually transmitted infections.

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No More Ugly Apartment Buildings: 13 Designs Refreshing the Paradigm

25 Jul

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

Apartment buildings are typically so hideous, it’s kind of exhausting. A structure with some measure of character gets knocked down in a prominent spot and before locals dare to dream that something cool might go up in its place, there’s another boring old block of apartments (or worse yet, condos) adding to the dull architectural noise of the city. Of course, it’s all subjective. You could argue, fairly enough, that pretty much all new apartment buildings are ugly, and that trying to make them ‘cool’ results in an even more irritating visual offense. What do you think – are these 13 designs switching up the same-old same-old in a positive way?

Lots of Light: 9 Units at the Apartment in Kamitakada

Developers looking to squeeze big bucks out of a project by creating high-end luxury housing are a lot more motivated to build structures that are more interesting than usual, but every now and then, there’s the rare project that gives some aesthetic consideration to a building that’s actually affordable to the average city resident. Takeshi Yamagata Architects designed this 9-unit building in Tokyo as a cluster of four buildings connected by open-air pathways, integrating gardens, curving walls and lots of windows for the feel of an urban refuge minus the multi-million-dollar price tag.

325 Kent by SHoP Architects

Currently under construction on the site of an old Domino sugar factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the 325 Kent project by SHoP Architects is part of a redevelopment masterplan transforming the refinery into a 380,000-square-foot complex with a waterfront park and four residential buildings containing 2,800 rental units. SHoP’s building will house 522 of those apartments in a 16-story structure, arranged around a dramatic elevated courtyard. The units at the top will be stepped to create a series of spacious outdoor terraces. Nope – this one isn’t going to be cheap.

Pixelated Concrete: 222 Jackson by ODA

Over in Queens, the 11-story 2222 Jackson building by ODA features a pixelated concrete facade creating voids and projections for shade, privacy and outdoor spaces. Located just steps away from MoMA PS1, the building is conceived as a modular grid, giving it about 30% more outdoor space than the same-sized building with the same number of units arranged in a more typical shape.

Parasitic Growth: Plug-In City 75 by Stephane Malka

Commissioned to update and expand a 1970s-era building in Paris, architect Stéphane Malka proposes a system of parasitic wooden cubes that would attach to the facade, extending the living space and reducing the structure’s energy consumption by 75 percent. The unusual design would help mitigate problems with poor insulation and permeable windows while adhering to the city’s restrictive building laws, which don’t allow architects to build vertically.

Contemporary and Complimentary: p17 Housing in Milan

How do you sensitively design a new apartment complex that will blend in with a historic neighborhood while reflecting the era in which it’s being built? For P17, a residential housing complex in Milan, Italian architectural firm Modourbano harmonizes with surrounding buildings while retaining a contemporary feel, thanks to the beautiful natural hues in its sandstone facade.

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No More Ugly Apartment Buildings 13 Designs Refreshing The Paradigm

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Bold Boats: 15 Wild, Fantastical & Futuristic Nautical Designs

12 Jul

[ By SA Rogers in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

File these awesome boat and watercraft designs under ‘things you’ll wish you had access to this summer.’ Who wouldn’t want their very own personal submarine, or a house boat shaped like a UFO? Some of these wild-sounding creations are concepts – like automated, self-piloted cargo ships and yachts shaped like giant illuminated swans – but others are available to rent or purchase right now.

UFO Houseboat by Jet Capsule

This UFO-shaped fiberglass floating object features a main living area with kitchen, bathroom an storage in its above-water level, while the submerged level contains a bedroom and second bathroom. Or, you could commission one to hold a floating restaurant, gym or hotel reception area. They’re powered by electric engines that push them along at a speed of about nine knots, and their batteries are charged by solar panels, wind turbines and water turbines. The manufacturer, Jet Capsule, will reportedly be ready to start shipping these out via helicopter in 2018.

Quadrofoil: Electric Hydrofoiling Personal Watercraft

This thing looks like a mechanical animal galloping through the water. It also looks really fun to ride in. The Quadrofoil gets a top speed of 21 knots and features an electric engine that can be fully charged in under two hours. They’re available for order now at the company’s website, in three models.

U-Boat Worx C-Explorer 3

This ‘luxury personal submersible’ boat by U-Boat features a 360-degree acrylic pressure hull capable of containing a pilot and two passengers, zooming around underwater for up to 16 hours at a time at a maximum depth of 3,300 feet. Plus, it’s air-conditioned. That’s pretty incredible! While it’s primarily geared toward scientists and researchers rather than the general public, it looks like anyone can order one, provided you have the cash.

Hydrohouse by Max Zhivov

A houseboat, dock, garage and water parking for a hydroplane all come together in a single nautical creation called the HH Hydrohouse, with all parts made from prefab modules so it can be transported by truck. It contains a kitchen, master bedroom and two guest bedrooms and a bathroom, and its upper canopy is one big solar panel array.

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Bold Boats 15 Wild Fantastical Futuristic Nautical Designs

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Tread Lightly: 16 Clearly Stunning Transparent Floor Designs

06 Jul

[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

Glass floors give us a glimpse at what’s beneath our feet – whether that’s the historical bones of a building, a swimming pool on the next floor, the city streets or the bottom of a canyon – while freaking us out over the potential of breakage. And yes, sometimes these glass floors really do crack, no matter how ‘unbreakable’ they’re supposed to be, including those situated hundreds of feet above the ground.

2 Glass-Bottomed Bridges in China

You’d better not be afraid of heights if you’re gonna cross this glass-bottomed bridge in China, suspended a stomach-turning 590 feet above ground level in China’s central Hunan Province. Known locally as Haohan Quiao, the bridge features glass panels measuring 24 millimeters thick, which are supposedly 25 times stronger than regular glass. But this isn’t the only such bridge in China. The second is the structure hanging 1350 feet over the bottom of Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon – and this bridge really did crack at one point under an unexpected volume of visitors, forcing its closure. This one is officially the world’s longest glass bridge.

Office in Oslo by Reiulf Ramstad

A 19th century villa gets a modern update by architect Reiulf Ramstad, while this transparent section of floor reveals the old beams hidden beneath the newer materials for a reminder of the building’s history.

Hotel Les Cols Pavellons

You’d never guess that just beyond the traditional-looking 13th century farmhouse at hotel Les Cols Pavellons in the Catalan town of Olot is a series of ultramodern glass pavilions. These ‘zen’ hotel rooms are like crystal cubes housing almost nothing but a bed, a glass table and chairs and a bath for a minimalist experience that’s all about experiencing the design.

Glass-Bottomed Sky Slide in Los Angeles

More than just a glass-bottomed observation deck, which is becoming more common all over the world, this attraction at the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles is a fully functioning slide that chutes guests 45 feet from a window on the 70th story to a terrace on the 69th.

Glass-Bottomed Suspended Pool in Houston

Houston is home to an awesome plexiglass pool that cantilevers 10 feet past the edge of the building, 500 feet above street level. Installed at the new Market Square Tower apartment building by Jackson & Ryan Architects, the skypool offers views of the Houston skyline, and stops passersby in their tracks on the sidewalk below.

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Tread Lightly 16 Clearly Stunning Transparent Floor Designs

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[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

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