The “spiritual home” of the London Design Festival, the Victoria and Albert Museum is always filled with fun contrasts between classical masterpieces and modern design interventions. This year was no exception, with some fascinating installations throughout the museum. Here are just a few of our favorite pieces, from the mesmerizing Candela by Felix de Pass, Michael Montgomery and Ian McIntyre to Disobedient Objects, a new exhibit exploring the role of objects in activism, to Precision & Poetry in Motion, a kinetic sculpture created by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby with BMW that rotates and reflects within the Raphael Gallery, and more…
Entries tagged with: architecture
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The RCA Architecture school’s Hack Circus by Andre Kong was hard to ignore. The display was more like a desk you’d find on Steve Zissou’s ship. The wooden octopus stool, aquatic illustrations, and electronic fish in a bowl caught my eye.
What it actually is… “A theatre for the post-tragic condition of subverted capitalist technologies”. In Kong’s own words: “Here the first crowd-funded Hackfest (the annual hackathon event) is hosted in its germinal amphitheatre and from it THE CIRCUS IS BORN. As the alienated community grows and floats down the Thames, ties with power structures, ideology and the obsolete value system of the city are gradually severed until it sets itself free, beyond territorial waters and, in an act of ‘sousveillance,’ taps into a submarine Internet cable in the North Sea.”. A fascinating, beautiful, interactive project. Take a peek at the details on the next page!
It’s been a crazy summer of trying new things, which has inevitably lead to more unexpected travel, surprise encounters, and non-stop summer inspiration. Well, adding to the list of firsts ~ Toyota just brought me out to Farmington, PA for the last two days to play with the new 2014 Tundra, which has meant: my first time shooting a shotgun (and getting a taste of “golf with a shotgun”) as well as my first time properly playing with trucks (towing large things and off-roading in lots of water!)… So fun, so exhausting, and while somethings are embargo’d till next week, i did get the ok to share the experiences and design details with you now! It is definitely more angular and more aggressive visually… and designed right in socal at Calty!
So, take a peek on the next page to see my adventures at the bizarrely epic Nemacolin Woodlands Resort (which has everything from shooting, fly fishing, golf, spa, LIONS, airstrip, casino, classic car collection, ziplines, dog sledding, and so much more…) to our quick visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kentuck Knob, to off-roading and exploring with the new 2014 Tundra, as well as a few of my favorite details!
Alessi Il Tempo della Festa Timbale Moulds are a set of 6 architecturally inspired silicone molds that come in black, white, and three transparent colorways designed by Mario Trimarchi. As they describe, “Ever since the end of the 1500s the shapes of desserts, cake moulds and timbales have been evolving, often imitating or reproducing forms found in architecture and nature. Mario Trimarchi, with this series of six Timbales for sweet and savory preparations.” Depending on what you’re making, you can layer in different colors and substances to create surprising jello shots, cakes, and more! Take a peek at sketches, initial molds, and more on the next page!
This weekend at CSU Long Beach, the Associated Students, Inc. brought Architects of Air “EXXOPOLIS” to their lawns… The incredible inflatable Luminaria from Architects of Air are a wondrous series of tunnels and rooms to explore. The Exxopolis 1992-2012 is AOA’S 20th luminarium design to celebrate their original Eggopolis from 22 years ago. From the exterior it feels like you’ve driven past a colony of Pokemon or Super Mario’s Koopas bounce houses… bubbly and inflated on the lawn besides the huge blue pyramid. From within (without your shoes or sharp objects) it feels like you’re wandering a mesmerizing, inflated, toasty labyrinth where tunnels lead you to single colored glowing rooms that mess with your head… Take a peek on the next page at what it felt like…
There was SO much to see at the Venice Biennale ~ as usual, so much running around and so many details to take in… so beyond the features we’ve shared with you thus far (wire bending robots, Israeli Aircraft Carrier Shop, architectural model projection mapping, Russian QR code madness, amazing, colorful model in the Hong Kong space, Kipnis’ Field Of Dreams, the recycled wine bottle roof, and the incredible hydroponic floating plant system!) there have been tons of pictures left… so on the next page you can see a burst of the random inspiration encountered while exploring it all!
It was an awesome surprise to step into the Australian Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and see a robot wire-bending installation by my old professor, Dave Pigram! He and Iain Maxwell of Supermanoeuvre collaborated with Wes Mcgee from Matter Design Studio and together set out to design a wire-bent sculpture specifically for the pavilion. The installation begins on the lower level of the pavilion and spans all the way to the ceiling. As you get closer you notice intricate details of how it all fits together and can’t help but marvel at the precision.
Before bending each rod, curves are drawn and analyzed on the computer. Those 3D curves are then digitally interpreted to tell the robot how to move and what to do. The wire bender and the robot arm work together, rotating, grabbing, and bending each vertex. Since robotic fabrication is extremely precise and the makeup of the steel can vary, the result is a near perfect physical manifestation of the digital model. Once each rod is completed, larger chunks are assembled from the individual pieces. They use small tack welds to hold the assemblies in place. The designers and fabricators wrote custom software, made unique hardware, and are actively redefining the way we design and make things. Take a look at the Australian Pavilion installation as well as the robots in action on the next page!
Another Venice Architecture Biennale inspiration i’m surprised we didn’t see more of ~ projection mapping on architectural models! It really brings them to life as you see cars driving on the roads to shadows cast by the buildings moving as the daylight comes and goes… we spotted this one in the Spain Lab’s Cloud 9 project room. See the video and more pictures on the next page to see how effective it was!
It was hard not to get drawn in to the Hong Kong space across from the entrance of the Arsenale at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The amazing little courtyard filled with wooden edible garden planters beneath the old grape vine covered trellis… and inside, amongst the many projects… we found the most spectacularly colorful and detailed world of a model for Imaginary City Kai Tak by CAVE architecture design studio. From the mini flying cars to cow farms to dragons to card playing old guys and more, there were endlessly fascinating little details worked into the model!
They describe the project ~ “By reversing the conventional methodology of masterplanning CAVE speculates an Imaginary Kai Tak by firstly exploring the local stories, maps, photographs and cultural events before the process of zoning. Six narratives are inspired by qualities drawn from these events which are then further developed into six device systems. The device systems are embodied as residential blocks, a transport hub, agriculture green space, a cultural retail hub, a government complex and multi-functional units. These systems function collaboratively to compose a city that resolves the needs for a speculative future of Kai Tak (where Hong Kong is under global environmental threat) whilst simultaneously preserving the shared memories and qualities of South East Kowloon. This project was commissioned by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects and exhibited in the 2012 Venice Biennale.” The details can’t be missed ~ see it all on the next page!
One of the most visually inspiring projects at the Venice Architecture Biennale this year was undeniably The Piranesi Variations. As ArchDaily concisely explains, “Peter Eisenman has formed a team to revisit, examine and reimagine Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s 1762 folio collection of etchings, Campo Marzio dell’antica Roma. Derived from years of fieldwork spent measuring the remains of ancient Roman buildings, these six etchings depict Piranesi’s fantastical vision of what ancient Rome might have looked like and represent a landmark in the shift from a traditionalist, antiquarian view of history to the scientific, archaeological view.” Four variations emerged for the display from Eisenman Architects, students from Yale University, Jeffrey Kipnis with his colleagues and students of the Ohio State University, and Belgian architecture practice, Dogma.
Jeffrey Kipnis and the Ohio State University group’s presentation and visual language were so mesmerizing, i simply had to dive in to the details to share with you… On the next page you can see how their bold black and white (with a splash of gold) graphics and model pull you right in like a graphic novel… and as you get closer you start noticing the every day materials used - from rolling hills of drinking straws, to (penis and other more traditional shaped) pasta painted black, blocks creating cranes, frolicking/fighting human like creatures, and more. As they take you from heaven down to the known world and into the chaotic depths of hell ~ introducing you to the characters - buildings, both traditional reinterpretations and newer ones from “Captain Dust and the League of Happy Gentlepersons” ~ you can’t help but ponder the possibilities of what it all means, but first, jump into the fascinating tiny details of their presentation on the next page!
We’ve been spending a lot of time at OK “Offenes Kulturhaus” while here in Linz - especially today, since i was helping set up Shawn and Golan’s Free Universal Construction Kit project for the CyberArts12 exhibition (sneak peek coming in a few!) that opens tomorrow! In fact, spending all day there, both staring out the window and walking through the courtyard numerous times, we couldn’t help but be fascinated by the magical shipping container that at the push of a remote control, the corner lifts up and turns into a BAR! Take a peek at our view of it from the exhibition out the window on the next page!
The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw. Today she caught up with the action at Clerkenwell Design Week 2012.
Clerkenwell Design Week always amazes me with its beautiful and unusual venues throughout East London that provide beautiful backdrops for design. In addition to the stunning Farmiloe building and House of Detention. This year, CDW have added a third gorgeous and unexpected venue, the stunning Order of St. John. The order has been taken over by CDW to create two gorgeous gallery spaces, one light, airy and very bright space and a more mysterious, but equally stunning crypt! More photos of this gorgeous space and the beautiful furniture it showcases on the next page.
As this adventure comes to a close (about to head to the airport in a few for a day of GIG-JFK-LAX, hopefully home by weds afternoon) ~ had to share the views from helicoptering around Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ~ i’ve already shown you the aerial views of beaches and the Sambodromo… and there were SO many mesmerizing ones left, i’ve had the hardest time narrowing them down… so before i hop on my next plane, i leave you with a bunch of them to explore on the next page! It was AMAZING. I wish i could do it again ~ and again ~ and then heli-tour every city! But Rio was especially beautiful seen this way… so many incredible buildings and favelas mixed into the luscious greenery of Brazil… and the Corcovado! You can really see it just about everywhere! Take a peek on the next page… and perhaps i’ll add more details when i get back…
Another fun architectural piece I adored this year was this beautiful, delicacy filled indoor glasshouse by VONSUNG for Tramshed 2011. The Glasshouse was designed by Joseph Sung, Michiko Ito, Jing Chen, Gernando Cavalli and Grace Hsu and served as a pop-up cafe. Sung describes the Glasshouse as design nurturing the relationship between construction and innovation, forming an ‘incubator’ for the food within. From outside, the polycarbonate structure looks like a hybrid between a polytunnel and a glasshouse, with soft lighting permeating its translucent walls. It somehow manages to be simultaneously eerie and inviting. Great touches follow within as well, like the playful Peter Pan rabbits from Ligne Roset, and of course plenty of tasty treats as well (Vietnamese delicacies from Viet Hoa). More photos on the next page!
It is truly amazing what a perfectly designed, executed and situated lens and mirror can do to transform a space! John Pawson and Swarovski Crystal Palace have created a minimalist masterpiece that really showcases the beauty of the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral. Undeniably artistic, ‘Perspectives’ piece shows great understanding of the science of the optical experience and makes excellent use of light, space and proportion to capture and reflect the beauty of Sir Christopher Wren’s cathedral, 300 years after its completion.
‘Perspectives’ allows all visitors to look both up at the staggering beauty of the Geometric staircase as well as down from the top (a view accessible only to a privileged few). Pawson has accomplished this through a crystal meniscus of Swarovski crystal, situated on a reflective hemisphere. The view from above is then reflected downward from a spherical convex mirror hanging above in the tower’s cupola some 23m above. The project is a beautiful celebration of St. Paul’s and brings Swarovski’s role as a lens maker to the fore. The minimalist design of this impressive 14kg lens puts Wren’s architecture at the fore and provides a beautiful, unique perspective of this London landmark. London Design Festival is off to a great start! Check out more images of ‘Perspectives’, as well as photos of the champagne breakfast overlooking St. Paul’s on the next page!
Robert Ware’s piece explores techniques where information is translated from digital to physical. The first experiment is constructed from the recycled parts out of old inkjet printers connected up to an arduino board, which creates beautiful drawings from data (far more beautiful than printed spreadsheets!). He has also used RepRap, an open source 3D printer and hardware constructed from components available in any DIY store, Rob has 3D printed St Paul’s cathedral. But the project is about much more. See some of the many aspects of the project and more info on the next page!
Another find from Justine! - More fun from the architecture department at Show RCA 2011! My favorite, most unexpected piece was this gorgeous chair! The chair is a sample of one of the types of products that could be made in the Hackney Factory, beautifully capturing the process of recycling and reuse, i.e. junk being transformed into bespoke products through craft and digital processes. Love it! So pretty… also you have to take a peek at Hackney Factory project, which consists of a close loop of recycling micro-factories and market forum, essentially creating a micro-community model based on urban mining. Stunning stuff ~ check it all out on the next page!
Through some random and spontaneous series of events, i have currently found myself hiding out in Minneapolis for the EyeO Festival - “eyeo brings together the most creative coders, designers and artists working today, and shaping tomorrow - expect an amazing three days of talks, labs, demos & events fueled by the people and tools that are transforming digital culture. converge to inspire.” Inspiring, right? Well even just as surprising and mesmerizing is the beautiful SPACE they are holding it in ~ the Univ of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center… architecturally fascinating, as much as i try to focus and pay attention, can’t help but stare up every which way… the materials, facets, colors… anyhow, take a peek into the space on the next page as i try to pay better attention in this awesome “Session: Design I/O - Playful Spaces and Generative Design” talk by Emily Gobeille and Theo Watson. More to come…
UPDATE: the badges, maps, posters are by Erik Brandt aka Typografika!
Justine went to check out the incredible RCA 2011 Graduate show! Here’s a peek at what she found…
This is the Banking on Morals series by Sarah Wai. The models contemplate a new type of bank that is based on religious values and architecture, with the architecture taking on a hybrid role between sanctuary and bank. Take a peek at some of the details and models on the next page…
Ferrari parts, tiny abstract people, and architecture - how can you go wrong? Justine has found more window fun on London’s Regent Street. The display in the Ferrari store is my favorite of the Regent Street Windows Project, a collaboration between Regent Street retailers, the Royal Institute of British Architect’s, Elle and Regent Street.
The Ferrari display, “Cities of Tomorrow” showcase Ferrari-inspired urban environments of the future. The window designs are the work of Duggan Morris Architects in collaboration with Ferrari and Pipers. The displays are made of Ferrari memorabilia, original, unique and certified components from past and present of F1 and GT cars, which can be purchased from the Ferrari store. The Cities of Tomorrow windows will be on view at the Ferrari Store on Regent Street until Sunday 29 May 2011. Take a peek at the installations on the next page!
A fun mix of materials and geometric, multifaceted textures… the ESPA Spa: Istanbul EDITION Hotel. Designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates, it is “inspired largely by Turkish traditions, with design elements that echo the Hammam customs and atmospheric elements of Istanbul” to create a contemporary, luxurious space filled with embossed bronze floors, chocolate brown marble, cast bronze sinks, walls of crystals, horsehair walls, mirrored glass tiles, and more. Almost an intentional aversion to straight lines, paths and corridors lead you through kinks everywhere, creating a mysterious effect as you explore the unknown relaxation space… Take a peek at some of the design sketches before, and a peek at the newly realized Espa on the next page!
From surreal bent wood cocoons, to augmented reality projections on the screens outside the pod windows showing you real time views of the Eiffel Tower… even though you are UNDERGROUND… to a stunning living wall… the Six Senses Spa Paris is transformative on so many levels. Oh! And it even has its own secret elevator from the Westin, Place Vendome, for tose who wish to drop down to their subterranean oasis without stepping foot outside. The interior is designed by French architect Pierre David, integrating the elements of light, wood, stone and earth. The vertical garden that greets you as you enter from street level is created by landscape artist Patrick Blanc. The combination of greenery, gorgeous eco-centric design, and technology had me visually inspired as it was… combine one of the most diving massages, and it was hard to leave the cocooned underground haven… if only there were bird’s eye view looks at the Eiffel Tower projected BELOW your head when face down looking through the massage table hole… i kept being tempted to peek to stare at the projected views outside my pod window! See pictures of this Six Senses oasis on the next page!
“It’s a 60’s post modern gingerbread house. Although I hesitate to call it a house… It’s more of a Palazzo.” And then i can’t help giggling. And then once i stop… can’t help but note what an awesome gingerbread palazzo that is! The whole Acura Season for Reason ad campaign by RP& is pretty cute ~ though there’s a tiny part of me that wants the ridiculousness they mock in the ads more than reason! See the chestnut roaster and the awesome xmas tree/live reindeer/etc, as well as the Gingerbread Palazzo ad on the next page!
Black and white? Wood blocks? Golden Ratio? How could i not give in to it? Besides, a gorgeous desk toy to help distract and inspire while i work my way through the fun and craziness that is the upcoming Holiday Gift Guides and Giveaways… perfect! Swiss company, Naef, makes some of the nicest quality wood toys, and they appeal to the beautiful simplicity of geometric shapes to create unthinkably inspiring complexities. Their description of the Naef Tectus? “Impressive architecture This cube is divided several times in adherence to the golden ratio and surrounded by black shapes. During play, these become foundations, walls or roofs and a player the architect. Everything fits into each other harmoniously.”
Ok i keep getting far too distracted constructing buildings across my desk as i attempt to write this post. So go take a look at the unboxing of this gorgeous Naef Tectus on the next page…
FoodParc just opened in NYC at 6th Ave and 29th Street ~ it’s like a high tech foodcourt of sorts, and Anna and Sean of Sub-Studio popped by to take a look for us! Of course they also tasted a bunch of food for us too.. and it sounds like quite the unique bacon-fest! From Bacon Snack and Hash browns with bacon and cheddar and onions inside to Benton’s Smoked Bacon Egg Rolls and Steamed Shrimp, Bacon & Watercress Dumplings… luckily there were also beautiful juices and flatbread sandwiches to even it out as well! “FoodParc is a serious, yet fun, accessible culinary destination. It has 4 distinctly different food and beverage concepts and a full-service bar that includes: The Press, RedFarm Stand, Fornetti, and 3Bs (Burgers, Bacon, and Beer)” The Press is you go to cafe, RedFarm Stand is an asian concept with a twist by Joe Ng of Chinatown Brasserie, Fornetti has italian salads, sandwiches, pastas and more, and 3Bs is exactly as it sounds! All housed in a 20,000 square foot indoor/outdoor, modern space ~ futurist and conceptual designer, Syd Mead (of Blade Runner, Aliens, and TRON) created the environment… and it’s no surprise that in addition to old school ordering, you can also order from all 4 restaurants at once at the self serve monitors! Take a peek at it all on the next page…